From Vote of Protest to Racism

June 2, 2014

3 min read

While some in Israel say European far right is pro-Israel and anti-Muslim, surveys from past decade show that anti-Muslim racism goes hand in hand with anti-Semitism.

A serious development has taken place in Europe: the extreme right have significantly strengthened their power. Most likely, this signifies a vote of protest against the organizing power in Brussels and against a lack of restrictions on immigration.

But Europe is slipping towards dangerous waters. Some of the European parties run with a neo-Nazi platform. Compared with such results, Israel can be perceived as a sane country. We have an Israeli right, and it is not weak. But the extreme right in Israel did not pass the electoral threshold in the previous elections.

In wake of these alarming results, Aryeh Golan interviewed Avi Primor on Kol Israel. Primor served as Israel’s ambassador to the European Union, and heads the European Studies program at Tel Aviv. Primor said that the rising right is pro-Israel, anti-Muslim, and that anti-Semitism is found today among Muslims.

This stance is shared by sources in Israel. They think that the issue at hand is racism against Muslims, and not against Jews. And maybe, they think to themselves, that might not be as bad. Let the Muslims worry, not the Jews.

And so, the record needs to be set straight. The extreme right in Europe consists of parties like the National Front in France, Jobbik in Hungary, The National Democratic Party (NPD) in Germany, Greece’s Golden Dawn, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Danish People’s Party, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in the Netherlands.

Out of all the extreme right parties in Europe, only two, the British and the Dutch, are not anti-Semitic or anti-Israel (the two usually go together), and they’re the most moderate factions on the scale.

The other parties’ policies are anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli. The most successful one is of course the National Front, which has become a strong front-man in French politics. Party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen is a friend of Dieudonne, the anti-Semitic French comedian who has the support of Iran. Le Pen is also the godmother of one of the comedians’ children.

Dieudonne established the “anti-Zionist party”, that replaced the word “Jews” with “Zionists”, and advocated the elimination of the Zionist takeover of France, Europe and the world. When the party ran for the EU Parliament Elections, it received support from Pen’s National Front. Dieudonne’s party is not only comprised of extreme right-wingers; he has the support of several radical leftists as well.

While Marie Le Pen, the daughter of the National Front’s founder who became its leader, did deny her connection to Dieudonne, she also stood up for him in view of the ban on his anti-Semitic shows. Acts that were done on behalf of freedom of speech, of course. Another daughter of the family, Marion Le Pen, also an MP, has openly declared her anti-Israel views. That’s the background.

While Marie did occasionally try to shake off her father’s legacy, that doesn’t make her pro-Israel, and it certainly doesn’t make the party pro-Israel. The anti-Muslim direction is attracting like-minded Jews. This is of course a disgrace. Anti-Muslim racism, according to surveys from the last decade, goes hand in hand with anti-Semitism. The situation is much worse in the other far right parties in Europe.

Israel has a crazy right-wing of its own. We have no need for a connection with Europe’s anti-Semitic right-wing. When Primor links between Israel and the extreme right in Europe, he creates a false representation. Essentially, he is providing us with tranquilizers. Considering the right-wing’s anti-Semitic nature, it seems like warning lights are required.

Reprinted with author’s permission

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