Extremist National Political Movements
Countering the spread of political extremism in Europe
Even as European integration proceeded and new countries joined the EU, extremist political movements arose, and in some countries made electoral gains. In today’s environment, as skepticism about Brussels grows and anxieties over the influx of Middle Eastern refugees mounts, extremism grows stronger.
Right-wing parties in Western European democracies such as France, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands may not have enjoyed the election victories some feared, but they still represent an outsized presence in the political arena. In other countries, such as Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia, extremist parties are not content to court supporters with general anti-migrant messages; they also feature overtly anti-Semitic tropes from the prewar, fascist era.
This extremism and anti-Semitism from the far-right is a direct threat to the security of European Jews and the future of Jewish life there. But the situation should not be viewed as a uniquely Jewish concern, since, in a deeper sense, it also undermines the EU’s core commitment to the protection of human dignity and the values of democracy, pluralism, and mutual respect.
That is why we have called on European leaders to speak out clearly and strongly in condemnation of this anti-Jewish and xenophobic rhetoric, and to address the security needs of Jewish communities.
AJC’s Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute has worked closely with Members of the European Parliament in the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive resolution enumerating the steps EU Member States should take to combat anti-Semitism. AJC’s European offices and Department of International Jewish Affairs are pressing these governments to follow through with the appointment of national coordinators in the fight against anti-Semitism, and the adoption and use of the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, which are among the key recommendations of the European Parliament.