September 7, 2017

COMMON CAUSE:

Europe's Far-Right Proves It's Possible To Be Pro-Israel And Anti-Semitic (Tamara Micner, September 5, 2017, The Forward)

In continental Europe, allying with Israel is also a way to advance an anti-Muslim agenda. For far-right leaders, Islam and its adherents--be they immigrants or European-born--have become the new target for scapegoating and discrimination.

So these leaders have found an ally, and a model, in the Israeli government's narrative of Israel as "the bulwark of Western civilization in the midst of Muslim barbarism," as Mr. Weidinger puts it.

Mr. Wilders argues that both Muslim newcomers and established Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch communities present a threat to the Netherlands' "Judeo-Christian" identity.

Eric Krebbers and Jennifer van Leijen, from Dutch anti-racism organization Doorbraak, say this nationalist identity ignores 2,000 years of Christian persecution toward Dutch Jews, and is a way to exclude Muslims.

"If you ask Jewish people, it's a meaningless term," says Ms. van Leijen. "They don't really like the fact that he's hijacking our identity to do that."

And when it comes to proposing or voting on legislation, Mr. Wilders' talk of "Judeo-Christian identity" fails to translate into action. For example, the PVV has supported a proposed ban on "ritual slaughter" without sedation (affecting both Muslim and Jewish practices).

"They're not really against anti-Semitism as much as they are against Islam," says Mr. Krebbers.

In Austria, the FPÖ uses the issue of anti-Semitism as a way to scapegoat Muslims. Mr. Weidinger says the party claims that Muslim immigrants have "introduced" present-day anti-Semitism to Austria, and that it no longer exists among "native" Austrians--which absolves non-Muslim Austrians of any prejudice or responsibility.

"The narrative of the Freedom Party is, 'Anti-Semitism in Austria today equals anti-Semitism in Muslim communities,'" he says.

As for Ms. Le Pen, Mr. Camus believes her support for Israel depends on who is in power and whether the government continues to ally with her worldview.

"It's a pro-Israel party as long as the right is in power in Israel, and as long as Israel fights the neighboring states and the Palestinians, and fights the terrorism movement that comes from an Islamic background," he says.


Posted by at September 7, 2017 6:52 PM

  

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