Is the keffiyeh the new swastika?

By Michelle Huberman, Harif creative director


"That is pure evil," proclaimed one of the little girls with me on leaving the festive Klezmer in the Park event in Regents Park last Sunday, September 11th.

No, she was not referring to the wonderful community festival that was put on in one of London''s Royal Parks, but the demonstration that we encountered on leaving as we weaved our way to Gloucester Place for a bus towards the leafy suburbs of North West London.
The skies had been blue all afternoon and the sun shone down on happy dancers and picnickers enjoying the live Klezmer bands. And amongst the celebrations there were solemn melodies and recitals to remind us that we were also commemorating 9/11 and standing with America.
"Burn, burn, USA"   London, September 11th 2011    photo: M. Huberman
But on leaving, the sky turned grey, dark clouds hovered over us as, right on cue, we were unexpectedly confronted with a demonstration of angry Muslim men, many dressed in black with faces covered by keffiyehs and holding banners proclaiming "Jihad", “Islam will Dominate the World”, and shouting “Burn, burn USA”.
The banners revealed these demonstrators’ true agenda. They were parading in favour of terror, murder and genocide. They wanted to kill people just for being non-Muslim. A massive police barricade surrounded the protestors to protect them from the shocked bystanders.
The march was heading towards the Regents Park mosque. I later learned that the demonstrators had burnt the US flag outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square. On 9/11! Apparently nothing is sacred in the UK in the name of free speech.
The keffiyeh makes me shudder. Today it no longer represents the desert Bedouins or Lawrence of Arabia. Nor is it a mere fashion accessory. I had one myself, which I bought as a souvenir in Jordan in 1995 just after the peace treaty was signed. Today it has been hijacked by the Islamist world and is now a symbol of everything dark, sinister and anti-Semitic. It stirs the same emotions in today’s Jews that the swastika must have done to those in Hitler’s Europe.
And the swastika spread fear across the Jews of the Arab world too. Hitler was extremely popular there too. They had their own Hitler Youth movements – the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Futuwwa in Iraq and Young Egypt. The Syrian party is one of the largest today, with 100,000 members. It’s emblem is eerily similar to the swastika.

Nazism inspired the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood, a reaction to Western culture and modernity. As early as the 1930s the Brotherhood had hundreds of thousands of followers across the Arab world. The US writer John Carlson observed: “their only liberalism is the liberal use of terror.''
Shameless supporters of the Nazis, from the beginning the Muslim Brotherhood targeted Jews in Egypt: "The Jew, if left to his own resources in Egypt, is doomed to pogrom and persecution."
But Hitler’s greatest ally was the Palestinian Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini. The Mufti promoted hatred and violence against the Jews of Palestine and the terrible 1941 pogrom against the Jews of Iraq, incited by the Mufti, was simply an extension of the Nazi project to exterminate the Jews.
The Nazis were eventually defeated, of course, and the Arabs have failed to defeat the Jews of Israel. But the Mufti was never tried as a war criminal. The Arab world is now Judenrein. The Islamists'' genocidal intentions against the infidel remain very much alive. Thousands have died in Al Qaeda’s war against Jews and Crusaders; Islamists spread their bigoted poison all over the world. Hamas, with its unabashedly anti-Semitic charter, now rules Gaza. And their keffiyeh wearing supporters are visible everywhere.
After the Klezmer festival, when we boarded the bus back home, the little girl asked me if the demonstrators were going to hurt her grandparents in Israel. “Don''t worry Sweetie” I reassured her in hushed tones, “they''ll be ok, we have a strong army”. But as she asked more questions loudly - in the way that children do, I suddenly realised in London in 2011, with 50% of the passengers around us wearing hijabs, and naive teenagers draped in keffiyehs, Israel was no longer a subject we could talk about openly.