European Parliament: Elon Musk nominated by far-right group for prestigious 2023 Sakharov Prize for human rights

European Parliament: Elon Musk nominated by far-right group for prestigious 2023 Sakharov Prize for human rights

Elon Musk has been nominated by the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) political group in the European Parliament for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded annually, and described by the parliament as “the highest tribute paid by the EU to human rights work.”

Musk has himself sought, somewhat admirably, to position himself as a champion of free speech, but has been on the receiving end of criticism for permitting increased anti-Semitic rhetoric and other hate speech on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He also has courted controversy for allowing former U.S. president Donald Trump and other populist figures adored by the far-right back onto the platform, something that most journalists – excepting those on the far-left – would support. Freedom of speech must surely be universal if it is to exist at all.

By Their Friends Ye Shall Know Them?

The ID group in the European Parliament, which has nominated Musk for the highly prestigious Sakharov Prize – although it is not known if the group sought his permission for their nomination – comprises a number of political parties that have benefited politically or financially from their relationships with the Kremlin.

Aviazapchast was sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2020, under Section 3 of the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

Whilst Marine Le Pen denied that the €9.4 million Russian loan influenced her politics in any way, the broker in the deal was Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, then a Member of the European Parliament.

Schaffhauser, who reportedly received a commission of €140,000 on the deal, was to become well known in the Brussels press corps for ranting against EU sanctions against Russia.

Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) which also sits in the ID group, has opposed the transfer of tanks and other war equipment to Ukraine.

In August of this year it was reported that AfD filed a lawsuit against arms deliveries to Ukraine at the instruction of the Kremlin and with Russian cash.

The Vienna-based magazine Profil has suggested that FPO has taken money for tabling a pro-Russian motion in the Austria’s National Council.

It has also been reported that the FPÖ has tabled a total 30 pro-Russia motions since the start of the Ukraine war.

He has defended Russia by claiming NATO was arming itself against Russia, standing on Russian borders and exerting pressure on the country. According to Okamura, in this situation nobody should fail to understand that Russia is defending its positions.

Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party), is led by Morten Messerschmidt, a former ally of Nigel Farage in the European Parliament, and famous for allegedly singing Nazi songs and engaging in Nazi salutes in a restaurant on Hitler’s birthday, a charge he successfully defended himself against after having been forced to resign as an MP.

Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond (Conservative People’s Party of Estonia) also sits in the ID group. It is known for its anti-Russia rhetoric.

Musk has often claimed to champion free speech, and has received much praise for broadening the scope of what is acceptable on X, a refreshing blast of fresh air in an increasingly woke environment. Freedom of speech is a basic human right, and his activities would certainly justify his nomination.

He must surely, however, be careful as to who is riding on his coat-tails.

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