In a recent piece for Vocal Europe, Associate Professor of Political Science from DePaul University, Erik Tillman, worries about the possible rise of the “radical-right” due to the immigration crisis. But he does not worry overly much and for very good reason. He writes:
Their message does not appeal to the majority of European voters, even when broader political and social conditions are favorable. Thus, fearful predictions about the ‘specter’ of the radical right hanging over Europe are wide of the mark.
If there is one place on the planet least likely to enamor themselves of nativist, radical-right political trends it is western Europe which, given its bloody and racist history, has no desire for conflict or war and, despite the immigration crisis, remains committed to the principles of social justice and universal human rights. In fact, the Swedish Greens’ deputy prime minister, Åsa Romson, literally cried before the cameras upon announcing a tightening up of the Swedish borders although, as it turns out, it is questionable the degree to which such actual tightening-up was undertaken.
I would like, however, to challenge this statement by Professor Tillman:
the refugee crisis is helping to push those voters attracted to the radical right—individuals who value security and social cohesion over individual autonomy and universal rights—to vote for those parties.
While it is true that right-leaning European voters favor security and social cohesion over human rights, it is not the least bit clear that they favor – or the degree to which they favor – such values over individual autonomy.
As for social justice and universal human rights, it might be wise for Europeans to consider the political leanings of the people streaming onto the continent and how those people will effect European politics going forward.
What Europe will look like in the future, from a social-political perspective, will depend upon the political values of its citizenry. To the extent that those values represent liberal values then the continent will be liberal. To the extent that those values do not represent liberal values then the continent will be other than liberal.
One thing that we know with certainty is that the great majority of Middle Eastern immigrants into Europe do not hold liberal values, i.e., the values of minority rights, gender equality, free speech, freedom of religion, and Gay rights. On the contrary, the young men streaming into Europe come from places notorious for holding the most reactionary right-wing, racist politics imaginable.
The tendencies within Arab and North African cultures are to oppress women and free thinkers, while seeking to murder Jewish people, Gay people, apostates, and anyone who says anything unpleasant about Muhammad.
Jews, in particular, are getting nervous on the European continent and for very good reason.
On December 22, the Times of Israel posted an article by Josefin Dolsten, Facing death chants and hate crimes, Sweden’s Jews live in a climate of fear:
On a chilly fall day, passersby on a central street in Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, were greeted with chants in Arabic urging the killing of Jews…
These types of incidents, where anti-Israel rhetoric turns violently antisemitic, have created a climate of fear for Sweden’s small Jewish community, which numbers 15,000. Hate crimes against Jews are on the rise, with 2014 seeing a 38 percent increase in reported antisemitic incidents from the previous year, according to a report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
“Right now, a lot of Jews in Sweden are scared. Parents are scared to drop off their kids at the Jewish preschool,”
says Johanna Schreiber, a prominent Jewish journalist who lives in the country’s capital, Stockholm.
“People of all ages are scared of going to synagogue, there are many people who are taking off their Stars of David because they are too scared to wear it.”
The inclination among many western Europeans to welcome refugees into their countries is commendable, but it needs to be done on a well moderated basis.
Given the sheer numbers of young, religiously-conservative, Arab-Muslim men flowing onto the continent, one must wonder how this will change the face of Europe in years to come. What I have argued is that introducing millions of religiously-inclined, conservative Arab-Muslim men into Europe will change the political and ideological nature of the continent and will drive out what little remains of its Jewish population.
It will also erode the liberal democratic nature of European societies… the very sensibility that opened the doors of Europe to begin with.
First posted at Israel Thrives
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco.
He Blogs at Israel Thrives, the Elder of Zion and The Jewish Press.