Housebroken rightists?

It is clearly Islam that is the focus of the DPP at the present time when Jews are a scarcely discernible minority in Danish society.

Danish People’s Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl expresses his jubilation after the Danish elections (photo credit: LINDA KASTRUP / REUTERS)
Danish People’s Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl expresses his jubilation after the Danish elections
(photo credit: LINDA KASTRUP / REUTERS)
OPENING THE Danish Parliament in October 1999, the socialist prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, remarked to the right-wing Danish People’s Party (DPP), “No matter how hard you try, in my opinion, you will never become housebroken.’’ In the Danish general election on June 18, the DPP emerged as Denmark’s second-biggest party.
More than one out of five Danes considered the DPP sufficiently housebroken to place the party’s leader, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, in a position to have a powerful influence on how Denmark will be governed for the next four years.
Theoretically, he could have become the next prime minister.
The DPP is a conservative, nationalist, populist party. It strives to protect the Danish way of life and cultural heritage, the language, the rule of law, the monarchy, the flag and the Lutheran church. In accordance with its nationalistic principles, the DPP is strongly against the power of the European Union, which it sees eroding Danish sovereignty.
One of the party’s principal demands in the current coalition negotiations is the reintroduction of control barriers at all Danish border crossings ‒ partly to stem the influx of illegal immigrants and partly to allow detection of stolen Danish goods being freighted to Eastern Europe across borders left barrier-free by the Schengen Agreement.
While the DPP’s initial focus was on its opposition to multi-ethnicity and immigration from non-Western (read Muslim) countries, the party has increasingly attracted voters from the left by outbidding socialist parties on social issues. This is rather reminiscent of the tactic employed by Menachem Begin’s Likud to wrest power from the socialist left in the 1970s.
The DPP’s rise in popularity echoes the rise of similar nationalistic, anti-immigration parties in the rest of Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. The DPP should, however, not be placed in the same category as overtly anti-Semitic right-wing parties like Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece with their rabid leaders Gábor Vona and Nikolaos Michaloliakos.
The DPP’s Dahl, despite his handsome Aryan features, is a softly spoken, mild academic with degrees in business administration and commercial law. In opinion polls, he is regularly placed among Denmark’s most trustworthy politicians. Moreover, the DPP’s foreign policy spokesman, Søren Espersen, whose wife is Jewish, is fiercely pro-Israel. His very vocal support of Israel, especially during the Gaza conflicts, has made him a focus of hate in anti-Zionist circles.
In 2005, when neighboring Sweden’s pro-immigration government criticized the DPP’s attitude toward Muslim immigration, the founder and then head of DPP, Pia Kjærsgaard said, “If they want to turn Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö into a Scandinavian Beirut with clan wars, honor killings and gang rapes, let them do it. We can always put a barrier on the Øresund Bridge’’ (the bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark).
The tidal wave of refugees currently flooding the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea slows to a mere ripple by the time it reaches Denmark’s northern latitudes. However, mainly because of the wars in Syria and Eritrea, the number of refugees seeking asylum in Denmark has risen from about 1,400 in 2008 to more than 14,000 in 2014. The DPP believes refugees arriving in Denmark should be treated humanely, but that stricter restrictions should be imposed so that the country’s identity and social services are not overwhelmed.
Not only the DPP, but all parties in the center and right of Danish politics, had the issue of limiting the flow of refugees as a major point on their election manifestos. Equaling their fear of dilution of social services is their fear of the rise of radical Islam in the country, as illustrated by the terrorist killings in Copenhagen in February and the sentiments of the likes of Adnan Avdic, a radical Muslim Danish citizen.
During the election run-up, Avdic admonished the country’s Muslims not to vote because it would insult the prophet. When interviewed on national television, he harangued, “All laws come from Allah and it is, therefore, forbidden to vote for laws made by man.’’ When asked what he thought of the Danish constitution, Avdic replied, “To hell with your constitution.’’ It is clearly Islam that is the focus of the DPP at the present time when Jews are an anonymous, scarcely discernible minority in Danish society.
But, deep down, this Jew wonders ‒ had the DPP existed during World War II, what would their attitude toward Jews have been then? Have they really become housebroken?