This is now a guest post on Harry’s Place, where you can also read more on Lorant Hegedus Jr.
A couple of months ago, I took a look at the BNP’s connections with Italian Far Right party Forza Nuova, whose thugs have intimidated Italian Protestants. Forza Nuova’s priest Giulio Tam openly embraces fascism, and conducts memorial services for Spanish Falangists in 2007, and the Italian Far Right.
Now that news comes that UKIP is forming an alliance with Italian separatist party Lega Nord, bringing in other European hard-Right parties, it’s worth taking a similar look at UKIP’s ally in Italy. Whilst this alliance is probably a “marriage of convenience”, it is nevertheless worrying that UKIP are lending legitimacy to those involved in neo-fascist politics.
One of Lega Nord’s MEPs, Mario Borghezio, has a conviction for setting fire to the belongings of immigrants who were sleeping under a bridge. Borghezio’s links to neo-fascists in France have recently been exposed in a French video documentary.
According to the Huffington Post, SSPX priest Floriano Abrahamowicz is considered the ‘unofficial chaplain’ of Lega Nord.
Who is Floriano Abrahamowicz?
In late January 2009, British Catholic SSPX priest Richard Williamson made headlines due to comments in an interview on Swedish TV playing down the numbers of Holocaust victims (Williamson estimated the real count to be between 200,000-300,000) and denying that the Nazis employed gas chambers to kill Jews.
Some days later, in an interview with Italian newspaper Tribuna de Trevise, Abrahamowicz defended his fellow SSPX member, claiming that the gas chambers were only used by the Nazis for ‘disinfection’, and complaining about the importance given to the Holocaust. The SSPX promptly dismissmed Abrahamowicz, distancing themselves from Holocaust denial.
Earlier this month however, in an interview given to Stephen Heiner, Abrahamowicz suggested that Holocaust denial is far more widespread in the SSPX than most assume. Heiner claims:
My fellow-priests agreed with all that I said in my interview with the Tribuna de Trevise. But no one imagined the media effect it would produce. So it was the very fact of publicly attacking the Jews which made my confreres and superiors tremble and then shook their friendship.
In an extreme example of the Livingstone Formulation, Williamson’s Holocaust denial was merely ‘criticising Zionist policy’, which has become the ‘new Messiah’:
Touching the new Messiah, i.e. criticising Zionist policy, is the ultimate lèse-majesté. At present the Vatican is bowing down before the Zionist reign. So the Society, by entering into friendship with Ratzinger’s Vatican ought to sacrifice to the gods… In order to avoid saying that it is forbidden to touch the new Messiah, the affair has been classified as a “historical question”, falling outside the competence of a bishop.
If true, Abrahamowicz’s claim that he has support from other SSPX priests is of some concern. Equally concerning is that UKIP has entered into an alliance with a party that considers Florian Abrahamowicz as a moral authority.
UKIP have just run a campaign in Norwich North claiming to offer an alternative to the BNP. UKIP leader Nigel Farange has said of the BNP:
“There are no circumstances, no possible situations, in which we would even consider doing any type of deal with the BNP whatsoever […] I’m simply amazed that the BNP thought we would even consider such a thing, given that we are a non-racist, non-sectarian party.”
So, Mr. Farange, what makes Lega Nord any different?