Nick Griffin’s road to Damascus

A younger Nick Griffin (left) with his then National Front colleague Derek Holland visiting Libya in 1988.

Today’s Times reports the arrival of Nick Griffin in Lebanon, and no doubt tomorrow’s papers will update the story now that the BNP leader has crossed the border into Syria and arrived in Damascus.

We have made many criticisms of Nick Griffin over the years, but several of his recent statements would not be out of place in Heritage and Destiny!

  • Distancing the BNP from the cretinous Zionist thuggery of the English Defence League.
  • Arguing against successive British governments’ wars for Israel.
  • Defending the Syrian government against relentless Western propaganda, and exposing the terrorism of anti-Assad rebels.
  • Endorsing the Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah in recent online comments.

That said, The Times is justified in pointing out the remarkable contortions and contradictions in Mr Griffin’s comments on the Middle East over the years.

During the mid-1980s he was a leading spokesman for the most militantly anti-Zionist faction of British nationalism, which became the “political soldier” faction of the National Front, and eventually the “International Third Position”.  In this capacity he visited the Libyan capital Tripoli in 1988 and sought funds from Col. Gadaffi.

As leader of the BNP after 1999 he remained pro-Gadaffi, but only because he saw the Libyan dictator as anti-Islamist, and by now Mr Griffin was hostile to all Muslims – apparently endorsing neo-conservative notions of a “clash of civilisations” between Islam and the West.

In January 2009 for example Mr Griffin criticised the BBC for “anti-Israel bias” and condemned “neo-nazi cranks” within nationalism who opposed Israel, saying that the destruction of the Zionist state would “inspire and radicalise a whole new generation of Jihadist fanatics”.

Mr Griffin now concluded that the survival of Israel was “in our clear national interest”.

Only a year or two ago, Mr Griffin was still condemning both the “Sunni and Shiite fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Iran”.  Now he seems to have decided (correctly as it happens) that only the Saudi Wahhabis should be criticised (though in H&D‘s view he should go a lot further in his historical analysis of this phenomenon).

Some cynics might argue that Mr Griffin has no genuine ideological (still less scholarly) interest in the region, and is motivated solely by the search for cheap headlines and potential donors.

But perhaps we should not be too cynical, and as Mr Griffin follows the road to Damascus we should remember the words of St Luke’s gospel:

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

 

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