July 28-August 3, 2022 | Issue 3 - Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC)
Christie Hui, CTSC Team
Salomon Montaguth, Editor; Hannah Norton, Senior Editor
UN Press Conference
Date: July 28, 2022
Parties involved: Israel; the United Nations (UN) International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel panel; UN COI panel member Miloon Kothari; US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Michele Taylor; Jewish lobby; Jewish non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
The event: Israel called for the dismissal of the COI panel assigned to investigate alleged human rights violations in Palestinian territories and Israel. Kothari questioned Israel’s UN membership, claiming that “the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a UN member state”. Kothari also implied that the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs control Israel’s social media. Taylor expressed outrage at Kothari’s anti-Israel comments and concerns about the COI panel’s open-ended nature.
Analysis & Implications:
Kothari’s comments about Israel will very likely harm the panel’s credibility, raising questions about its ability to remain unbiased. Consistent calls from multiple member states to remove Kothari or dissolve the panel will likely prompt the UN to investigate the reliability of its first report concerning Israeli occupation as the key root of regional tensions. This will very likely hinder efforts to create long-term solutions to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic organizations will likely use Kothari’s comments to support propaganda against Israeli and Jewish populations. The propaganda will very likely increase violence toward Jewish people and institutions. There is a roughly even chance that individuals who agree with Kothari will not perceive his comments as anti-Semitic, prompting further tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters.
Date: July 28, 2022
Location: Ieper, West Flanders, Belgium
Parties involved: Frontnacht organizers; European far-right musicians; Belgian state counter-extremism agency Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA); Ieper authorities
The event: The organizers of Frontnacht, an annual nationalist music festival, claimed that their festival, which features identitarian music, lacks far-right extremist and neo-Nazi themes. Frontnacht’s headlining acts are well-known in the international far-right extremist music industry with one band describing their music as “manifestos' for their far-right causes. Frontnacht has been blended into the Flemish nationalist festival Ijzerwake, which became more associated with far-right extremism. Frontnacht has not violated the Belgian Anti-Racism Law, which prohibits hate speech, preventing Ieper authorities from legally banning the event and causing local city leaders to seek advice from law enforcement and CUTA.
Analysis & Implications:
Music festivals and concerts featuring performers with far-right extremist and neo-Nazi beliefs, or connections to such organizations, will almost certainly attract more individuals who share the same beliefs. This will very likely establish new relationships among attendees and performers, expanding the far-right network across international borders. Frontnacht will likely also inspire other organizers to host similar music events in different countries to promote the far-right community and its beliefs.
The universality of music will likely spread far-right extremist and neo-Nazi beliefs internationally, despite language barriers, within far-right communities. Musicians will likely perform covers of the original music in other languages such as English, making the music and “manifestos” more accessible to a larger audience. Greater accessibility will very likely help the community recruit and radicalize more people.
Authorities are likely unable to legally ban Frontnacht due to the musicians performing with less extreme lyrics to avoid violating Belgium’s anti-racism law. Fans will likely adopt lyrics as euphemistic slogans to identify like-minded individuals and spread far-right beliefs. Euphemistic slogans will likely act as a gateway to more extreme lyrics as individuals research the slogans’ meaning and discover far-right extremist music.
________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)
 Israel Calls for Dismissal of UN Commission Over Investigator’s ‘Antisemitic, Racist Remarks’, The Algemeiner, July 2022, https://www.algemeiner.com/2022/07/28/israel-calls-for-dismissal-of-un-commission-over-investigators-antisemitic-racist-remarks/
 ‘Our Songs are Manifestos’: Why Music Matters for Belgium’s Far-Right, Bellingcat, July 2022, https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2022/07/28/our-songs-are-manifestos-why-music-matters-for-belgiums-far-right/