In their desperate attempts to paint the incoming Trump administration as anti-Semitic, The Huffington Post has found a story they think will really stick: National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn met with Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the Austrian Freedom Party, a few weeks ago. Strache is an ally of Vladimir Putin’s; the Freedom Party is a far-right European nationalist party. Their headline: “MIKE AND REICH: FLYNN MET LEADER OF EX-NAZI PARTY.”
So, what’s the evidence that this is part of a Jew-hating conspiracy?
Here’s what The Huffington Post has to offer:
The Freedom Party’s first leader was Anton Reinthaller, who supported the Nazi party as early as 1928 and later served as a Nazi government official. Reinthaller was a member of the SS, the Nazi paramilitary organization-turned-secret police that executed much of the Holocaust. Although there’s no clear evidence that Reinthaller was directly involved in the shooting, gassing and torture of millions of Jews, Roma, communists, gay people and others, he served in the government that carried it out and did nothing to stop it.
By this standard, Barack Obama gaining the presidency should have been headlined: “OBAMA BECOMES LEADER OF EX-SLAVERY PARTY.” After all, the Democratic Party was steeped in racism and slavery, originated Jim Crow and Japanese internment, and largely ignored the Holocaust as it was happening. Hey, maybe JFK’s election should have been headlined “AMERICA ELECTS SON OF NAZI SYMPATHIZER.”
Parties change over time. Their interests change over time.
The Freedom Party is currently one of the most pro-Israel parties in Europe; they think they have common cause with Jews in fighting the Islamacization of Europe. Strache met in Israel with some governmental officials last year; the Freedom Party has campaigned for increased Austrian aid to Israel. Just as Marine Le Pen has shifted the National Front in France toward Israel and away from her father’s anti-Semitism, so too has the Freedom Party shifted.
Is that a shift that the world should trust? Not necessarily. But to headline Flynn’s meeting with Strache a sort of European Klanbake (the 1924 Democratic National Convention was actually called the “Klanbake”) is ridiculous.
But the Trump Derangement Syndrome is setting in and spreading wildly across the Democratic landscape.