AS (2014) CR 30
Addendum 1



(Fourth part)


Thirtieth sitting

Tuesday 30 September 2014 at 10 a.m.

Counteraction to manifestations of neo-Nazism

The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from delivering them.

Mrs MATTILA (Finland) – I thank the rapporteur for this report. I agree that neo-Nazism is unacceptable and that neo-Nazis should not be turned into martyrs either. We have to be able to discuss this phenomenon openly. I would rather use the more cautious term of "protest votes". How do we define what a protest vote is when discussing democratic elections? Is not every vote right? Can a fire be put out incorrectly? In any case, the report is thorough in its analysis of neo-Nazism.

The countries that the rapporteur has visited offer only a narrow example. It is necessary to discuss political violence in general, not just political violence committed by the far right. Two weeks ago, the windows of a party office in Finland were stoned and, according to the media, a left-wing anarchist group took responsibility for the action. No one has ever suggested that, for instance, this party should be denied party subsidies, as it is a legal political party, but no political violence is acceptable, either from the far right or the far left. We cannot have a public discussion when violence carried out by certain political actors is tolerated.

As we do not want to turn neo-Nazis into martyrs, we have to challenge them to political discussion. They cannot have a permanent political agenda based entirely on resistance. There has to be a political solution. I agree with the rapporteur that prohibiting political parties in law should be used only as a last resort.

Prohibitive laws are not necessarily an effective method in the present day, as we have easy access to society and the rest of the world via the internet. Thus, the actions of extreme movements resemble each other and can be led from other countries. Moreover, the rapporteur refers to so-called “cover actions”. When these kind of joint methods of action are recognised, we can talk about an organised far-right movement. Violence is always indefensible and should lead to judicial action. However, the emphasis should be put on the preventive work done among the young, as the young are more likely to join extremist movements, whether they be far left or far right. If the common denominator in all extremist movements is total rejection of everything, it is our task to provide more alternatives.

Mr KHADER (Palestine, Partner for Democracy) – I would first like to congratulate the rapporteur Ms de Pourbaix- Lunden on her important and courageous reports and Ms Kakzova on her accurate remarks.

What we are discussing is not exclusively a European phenomenon. We in the Middle East are unfortunately witnessing the rise of similar trends of extremism and intolerance. If, in Europe, it is a question of threatening the values and principles of democracy, in our part of the world, it is a question of directly endangering human lives, as we see this kind of ideology justifying brutal massacres not only of minorities, but of dissidents and political opponents.

We must counteract not only hate speech but hate ideology. However, there is a very delicate, thin line that separates hate speech from legitimate political criticism. And that is what makes the fight against extremist ideas so difficult. Hate ideologies are directed against an ethnic or religious entity. For example, we reject anti-Semitism because it inspires hate against Jews because they are Jews, but that does not mean that any criticism of Israeli policies is anti-Semitic. The legitimate rejection of anti-Semitism does not justify the continued occupation of Palestinian lands and the ongoing denial by Israel of the Palestinian people’s most basic human rights. Unfortunately, during the recent war against Gaza, we heard voices trying to justify the massacre of Palestinian children under the pretext that “even Hitler himself was a child.” This is hate language and hate ideology – inspiring hate against Palestinians because they are Palestinians. This is the language that induces crimes such as the burning alive of the 16-year old Palestinian Jerusalem resident Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

I propose that we call this practice neo-anti-Semitism because, after all, Palestinians are also Semites. We very much regret and condemn the Holocaust, but it is only fair to request that the mass extermination of innocent civilians in Gaza should be equally acknowledged and condemned.

Mr SHEVCHENKO (Ukraine) – The question on the agenda of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is the crisis in Ukraine. But in Ukraine there is no crisis; the Russian Federation is committing acts of aggression against Ukraine. One of the goals of this aggression is to block Ukraine’s European integration, to keep it within Russian political-economic and cultural space, and to destroy Ukrainian national identity.

Even now, in the eastern territories of Ukraine, occupied by Russian troops, people are killed just because they speak the Ukrainian language, wear national clothes and so on. For example, in Crimea all Ukrainian-language schools and classes have been closed. During the summer, several thousand students and school pupils who do not want to be Russified moved with their parents from Crimea. There are even some cases where doctors have refused to treat people just because they are Ukrainian. Services of worship are prohibited in the Ukrainian language. In general, the policy of the Russian Federation on the occupied territories has all the features of the linguicide and ethnocide of the Ukrainian people.

The same policy is being applied to Crimean Tatars. For example, in the residential area of Zhukovo, near Simferopol city, all Crimean Tatar schools have been closed. In accordance with the Russian law on “Education”, teaching in tenth and eleventh grades is being conducted only in Russian. Muslim students are forced to learn the Christian texts and prayers and so on off by heart.

In this Parliamentary Assembly, far right and far left politicians have been observed supporting Russian policy towards Ukraine. Their actions remind me of the behaviour of a young man from the short novel “The Abyss” by Leonid Andreyev, who, along with his fiancée, with whom he had a platonic relationship, went for a rest in the countryside. There, they were attacked by bullies: the young man was hit on his head and lost consciousness, and the bullies started raping the fiancée. When the young man recovered, he stood in line and also raped his fiancée.

Those who support the aggressive politics of Putin towards Ukraine are the rapists. They act under the principle: “We are not the ones who started it, but we won’t skip a beat.” They, along with Putin, humiliate not only Ukraine but western countries. Their acts destroy the world’s order and security, which in turn could push the world towards the abyss of a nuclear disaster. I think that the Parliamentary Assembly should withdraw Russia’s membership of the Council of Europe.