In the old days, far right European politicians leveraged anti-Semitism to gain votes.
Newsweek magazine reports that this political marketing strategy has been tossed overboard.
The new strategy?
Making common cause with Israel against the perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism.
Only a few years ago, many of Europe’s far-right politicians were openly anti-Semitic. Now some of the same populist parties are embracing Israel to unite against what they perceive to be a common threat.
Over the past few years, Europe’s right-wing political leaders have tapped into rising worries over immigration from Islamic countries to predominantly secular and Christian Europe, where the number of Muslims has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010, or up to 10 per cent of the population in countries such as France. Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam firebrand whose Party for Freedom last July gained a record 24 seats in the Netherlands’ Parliament, likens the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has called Muhammad a “devil” spreading a “fascist ideology,” and has vowed to stop Muslim immigration. In Switzerland, 57 per cent of voters banned the construction of minarets in a popular referendum in late 2009. In poll after poll, large majorities of Europeans say they worry about the spread of Islam and that Muslims have not properly integrated.
…Members of the Knesset did meet with (a group of European rightists), which signed a “Jerusalem Declaration” guaranteeing Israel’s right to defend itself against terror. “We stand at the vanguard in the fight for the Western, democratic community” against the “totalitarian threat” of “fundamentalist Islam,” says the document, which was signed by members of the group that included Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party; Filip Dewinter, head of Belgium’s ultranationalist Vlaams Belang; René Stadtkewitz, founder of the German Freedom Party; and Kent Ekeroth, the international secretary for the Sweden Democrats, a populist anti-immigration party.
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