Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Rise of the Far Right

Over the last 17 years, Europe has seen the number of seats for far-right parties double in each election, from 11 percent in 1999 to 22.9 percent in 2014, according to a report by European Parliament research fellow Thilo Janssen.
If the trend continues, the far-right could win 37 percent of European Parliament seats in the next election, the same percentage that Adolf Hitler’s National Society party won in 1932, resulting in the rise of the Nazi regime.
Many of these political groups have a history of antisemitism. After the fall of the Nazi regime, blatant antisemitism lost popularity, and so did the far-Right, Hafez said.
When large numbers of foreign workers began streaming into Europe in the early 1990s, the far-right tried to re-establish prominence through economic nationalism, a feeling of loyalty and pride in their own country. They also felt native-born citizens should be given job preferences and welfare support over non-natives. But their efforts were largely unsuccessful.
However, after 9/11, and in the wake of Muslim refugees flooding into Europe, the far-right found its ticket, Islamophobia, according to Ayhan Kaya, director of the European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey. He calls what’s happening in Europe “Islamophism” and likens it to the antisemitism of the 19th century.
“Muslims have become global scapegoats, blamed for all negative social phenomena, such as illegality, crime, violence, drug abuse, radicalism, fundamentalism,” Kaya wrote in a recent paper. “There is a growing fear in Europe that Muslims will demographically take over sooner or later.”
Bar-Ilan University professor Amikam Nachmani says Nazi-style rhetoric employed against the Jews is now targeted against Muslims.
He estimates the anti-Muslim hatred increasingly being employed by the far-Right is a proxy for its longstanding racism and antisemitic ideologies.
In France, for example, there were 806 antisemitic hate crimes against Jews in 2015, as reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). While attacks against Muslims tripled in volume, the total was only 400, half the number of attacks committed against Jewish people and property.
“The far-right parties claim they want to defend Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage and foundations,” said Hafez. “This is a game.”
Here is the link to a good article on the rise of far right in Europe. Although it is an old one (published in August) it is quite informative to understand recent events.

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