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UN Human Rights Chief Compares Islamic State to Farage, Le Pen, and Trump

CNN reports on an outburst from Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, directed principally at Dutch politician Geert Wilders but looping in other “populists, demagogues, and political fantasists,” such as Nigel Farage of the U.K. and Donald Trump in the United States.

Speaking at a security conference at the Hague, Hussein accused these populists of using propaganda tactics similar to the Islamic State:

Hussein criticized the Dutch politician’s philosophy, likening it to that of Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, right-wing French National Front leader Marine Le Pen and Brexit leader Nigel Farage among others, saying that they all share an ideology of “deceit, bigotry and ethnic nationalism.” He also noted the similarities of their political platforms to that of ISIS.

“All seek in varying degrees to recover a past, halcyon and so pure in form, where sunlit fields are settled by peoples united by ethnicity or religion — living peacefully in isolation, pilots of their fate, free of crime, foreign influence and war.  A past that most certainly, in reality, did not exist anywhere, ever.

The formula is therefore simple: make people, already nervous, feel terrible, and then emphasize it’s all because of a group, lying within, foreign and menacing. Then make your target audience feel good by offering up what is a fantasy to them, but a horrendous injustice to others. Inflame and quench, repeat many times over, until anxiety has been hardened into hatred,” he said.

“Make no mistake, I certainly do not equate the actions of nationalist demagogues with those of Daesh, which are monstrous, sickening; Daesh must be brought to justice.  But in its mode of communication, its use of half-truths and oversimplification, the propaganda of Daesh uses tactics similar to those of the populists,” Hussein said, using an alternate name for ISIS.

[…] Hussein said he saw similar sentiments when he served in the UN peacekeeping force during the Balkan wars 20 years ago — wars he said were spawned “from this same factory of deceit, bigotry and ethnic nationalism.”

And now he’s fighting to “defend and promote the human rights of each individual, everywhere.”

“To them, I must be a sort of nightmare … I am a Muslim, who is, confusingly to racists, also white-skinned; whose mother is European and father, Arab. And I am angry, too. Because of Mr. Wilders’ lies and half-truths, manipulations and peddling of fear.”

A spokesman for Nigel Farage responded by saying Hussein’s statement was “so ridiculous it shows the desperation of the establishment in their struggle to maintain the status quo.”

“What an utter foolish comment from the UN Jordanian bureaucrat. Another good reason to get rid of the UN. I lost my personal freedom in my fight for freedom and I don’t want my country to lose its freedom as well. That’s why we really do have to de-Islamize. Islam and freedom are totally incompatible,” Wilders responded via email.

The UK Telegraph notes that Hussein’s office has been accused of “bizarre” behavior recently, such as sending a tweet to its 1.5 million followers asking, “Do you believe that free market fundamentalism – the belief in the infallibility of free market economic policies – is an urgent threat?”

“While millions of people are suffering from genocide, sexual slavery and starvation, it is far from clear why the UN would instead focus its attention on unidentifiable ‘urgent threats’, let alone on economic subjects about which it has neither competence nor expertise,” the Telegraph quotes Hillel Neuer of UN Watch saying.

“The same UN human rights office has failed to issue a single tweet about this past month’s dire human rights crisis in Venezuela, where millions face mass hunger in part due to attacks on the free market,” Neuer observed.

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