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Right-wing Populism and the perception of the Jews

Right-wing Populism and the perception of the Jews
We can see, then, that certain characteristics of the Far-right make it a hotbed for antisemitic perceptions and attitudes. In varying degrees, many of the antisemitic notions that existed in this sphere prior to the war still continue to persist, especially among the more extreme, neo-Nazi groups. To these, new forms of antisemitism, particularly Holocaust denial distortion, should be added. Prior to further examining the blatant antisemitic manifestations found in the Far-right, let’s first turn to the role and place of antisemitism in the more “mainstream” Right-wing Populist groups. Antisemitism is an intentional issue in all right extreme movements, parties, initiatives. In the right populist parties or movements it plays a role but it’s not intentional.
But it is an issue and I think it’s more dangerous in these right populist movements because it comes to more people. They try to attract people from, let’s say, mainstream society and these people wouldn’t really agree with really right extremist parties. There you could find also racist antisemitism which is not the case in right populist parties. There there is more what we call ‘secondary antisemitism,’ antisemitism which comes out of - you can say antisemitism because of Auschwitz - so which comes out of a feel of guilt and a feel of “Let’s finally end these discussions. We don’t want to hear any more about the Holocaust.”
And so this is something you can really find in these right populist movements and parties. Some of them are very pro-Israel. You see, you might see Israel flags on Pegida demonstrations. This is a movement in Germany which comes out of these populist, right populist areas. It’s mostly against foreigners and refugees but it also tackles Jews. But, to a certain extent, they try to be … to have a philosemite view because they think they they have a cooperation partner against Muslims. But the problem of philosemitism is that if the Jews or the Israelis are not doing what you think they should do, then it could very lightly switch over to antisemitism.

Dr. Juliane Wetzel

Prior to further examining the more blatant antisemitic manifestations found in the Far-right, let us first turn to the role and place antisemitism holds today in the more “mainstream” Right-wing Populist groups.

How do some among the populist groups and movements view Jews today?

  • Kahmann, Bodo, “‘The Most Ardent Pro-Israel Party’: Pro-Israel Attitudes and Anti-Antisemitism Among Populist Radical-Right Parties in Europe,” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 51. no. 5, pp. 396 – 411.

  • Mudde, Cas, The Populist Radical Right: A Reader (London: Routledge, 2016).

  • Wodak, Ruth, ‎Brigitte Mral and ‎Majid KhosraviNik, Right-wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (Bloomsbury: Indiana University Press, 2013).

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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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