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May 2020

April 2020 newsletter: The Rise of the Radical Right and Anti-Semitism: Three European Case Studies

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A day after Yom Ha’atzmaut it is good to remember that although Israel has given Jews a haven from antisemitism, this phenomenon remains an all too accute issue today. Our monthly paper focuses on the political contexts behind contemporary European antisemitism. Throughout the 20th century it was tightly connected to nationalist movements throughout the continent. Hence, their comeback in the past years has raised concerns among local Jewish communities. In this research we measured the strength of this connection in the 21st century in three countries hosting most of the European Jewry: France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Rise of the Radical Right and Anti-Semitism: Three European Case Studies

This study is published with the support of the World Zionist Oranization. It examines the connection between the rise of the radical right and antisemitism in three West European countries. Throughout the previous century, populistic nationalist movements were typified by a link to antisemitic views and dissemination of those views in the public domain. It is no wonder therefore that the resurgence of extreme right-wing parties and their re-appearance on the center of the political stage is arousing grave concern of increased antisemitism among many Jews.
In recent years, claims have been voiced linking radical right parties and antisemitism and the current study therefore proposes to examine the correlation between these two phenomena in order to determine the radical right parties’ degree of responsibility for the deteriorating security of the local Jewish communities. In order to ascertain the answer, we examined the three countries with the largest Jewish communities in Western Europe: France, Britain and Germany.
The study opens with a survey including an ideological analysis of the radical right, and subsequently designates the time period used to examine the correlation between the growth and strengthening of the radical right-wing party in teach country and the level of antisemitism. To this end, the study uses several indices of antisemitism: antisemitic incidents and violent attacks, and the prevalence of antisemitic stereotypes in civil society.
Since the re-emergence of the National Rally Party (formerly: The National Front) in its new form, led since 2011 by Marine Le Pen, there has been no general rise in the number of antisemitic incidents or in the level of identification with antisemitic statements.
A quantitative scrutiny of the violent outbursts that occurred in certain months and reports of victims of antisemitism indicates a higher prevalence of attacks with an anti-Israel and Islamic background than those related to nationalist radical right factors.

Statistical analysis of the antisemitism figures within the designated time period reveals no connection between the growth of the UKIP Party and the increase in the number of antisemitic incidents.
The rise in antisemitism in particular and in hate crimes in general appears to have occurred around the time of the debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and extended beyond the limits of the radical right’s influence.
The rise in power of the Alternative for Germany Party does not correspond with the increase in the number of antisemitic incidents during the time period analyzed.
According to the data in our possession, the radical right does play a role in the phenomenon of antisemitism however this is significantly less than that published by the German authorities in 2018.
In our opinion, the radical right is not the main motive for antisemitism in Western Europe today, and the changes in the degree of antisemitism – should they exist – are not specifically related to its political strength.



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The IZS in the News

In addition to the Jerusalem Post piece, our reasearch on contemporary Europan antisemitism was featured on the German website Die Achse des Guten, and a critique of it was published by the Forward.

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