Defend Europe, the project of the European anti-Muslim Identitarian movement, has acquired a ship in order to blockade search-and-rescue missions for refugees attempting to cross the treacherous Mediterranean waters. This appalling operation – which could put lives at risk – has been made possible by crowdfunding to the tune of nearly €100,000.
The reactionary “news” outlet Breitbart has provided sympathetic coverage for Defend Europe’s dangerous mission. Breitbart London reporter Chris Tomlinson has penned multiple articles over the past year presenting positive portrayals of the Identitarians, who have a sorry track record of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant politics.
Following their first attempt to block NGO ships in May, Tomlinson described the far-right outfit as “members of the hipster-right, anti-mass migration Identititarian youth movement” who “blocked one of the ships of a pro-migrant NGO which was setting sail for Libya to pick up migrants to ferry them to Europe”.
In June Tomlinson gave a sympathetic interview to Defend Europe leader Martin Sellner, who has previously written about “our attempts to rehabilitate Nazism as a revolutionary idea, to ‘wash’ its ‘negative image'”. After providing Sellner free reign to promote his mission, Tomlinson again went on to criticise supposedly “pro-migrant” NGO rescue ships.
Defend Europe’s actions have also excited open racists, and sordid extremist elements have been vocally proselytising and raising funds for the group.
David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist veteran, has urged people to donate to Defend Europe, tweeting to his 40,000 twitter followers: “Defend Europe Identitarian SAR has a ship, now needs money to get to the Mediterranean. Donate now! #DefendEurope”.
In an article on AltRight.com, the platform run by white nationalist and alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer (who describes himself as an “identitarian”), author Charles Lyons calls Defend Europe’s initiative “heroic” and refers to NGO ships as “invasion vessels”. He goes on to state:
American Renaissance, the racial nationalist, pseudo-academic organisation run by longstanding white supremacist Jared Taylor, has also advertised Defend Europe’s video in a May blogpost.
The Daily Stormer, the world’s premier Nazi website, has published multiple supportive articles filled with antisemitic dog-whistles, gutter racial epithets and even the eager anticipation of deaths. One article states:
In another piece titled “Nazi Project to Sink Rapefugee Boats Crowdfunded for $100k” the author Charles Zeiger, who uses the SS Death’s Head logo as his avatar, writes:
Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin wrote in yet another article that the efforts of Defend Europe would “have a massive impact” on the “media narrative”, which would be forced to acknowledge that “NGOs are engaged in a criminal human trafficking racket that is being funded by the state and private Jews”.
Taking on Defend Europe
Defend Europe’s plans to disrupt the search-and-recover activities of NGOs not only risks lives. If successful, they will also provide a major propaganda coup for the European far right, and for the politics of hate across the world.
HOPE not hate is undertaking a raft of measures to challenge the dangerous plans of Defend Europe, including commissioning legal briefings and constantly monitoring the movements of the ship.
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