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European Jews Fear Rise of the Right

Anti-Islam parties won big gains in the European Union parliamentary elections this week. Jews fear they also are anti-Semitic.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/10/2009, 9:46 AM

BNP

European Jews have expressed fears that the gains by anti-Islam and anti-immigration parties in this week’s European Union parliamentary elections will heighten anti-Semitism. The most surprising victory was by the far-right wing British National Party, which restricts membership to whites.

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) called on the EU to "immediately engage in issues of tolerance and intercultural dialogue."

In a written statement, the group added, “The success of the far-right and nationalistic parties that won seats in the elections on the basis of racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic platforms points to a clear erosion of tolerance and a clarion call to European officials to immediately engage in intercultural dialogue."

The British right-wing party won two seats in the 736-member EUP, the first time it has won representation. Opponents pelted its leader Nick Griffin with eggs when he called an impromptu press conference after his victory.

The party opposes immigration and also wants Britain to withdraw from the EU.

Right-wing gains were widespread. One of the big winners was pro-Israel and anti-Islam Geert Wilders. His Freedom Party came in second place in the Netherlands, only three percent behind the party that governs the country. Wilders has declared himself a friend of Israel in his fight against growing Muslim dominance and has teamed up with National Union Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad to expose violence in the Muslim religion.

The nationalistic Freedom Party in Austria and the Jobbik party in Hungary also scored impressive gains, which the European Jewish Congress said “will sadly only serve to embolden those who espouse the dangerous concepts of extreme nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.”