Jews May Be Anti-Semitism’s First Victims, But They Are Never Its Last

http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/16/europes-new-problem-with-anti-semitism/

Foreign Policy /  Observing the rise of European anti-Semitism from a slightly dispassionate, politically wonk-ish perspective, this Foreign Policy piece notes several alarming trends. First, far-right, anti-Semitic parties don’t just exist, they’re winning seats in parliaments across Europe. Next, when governments take action, they seem motivated more by political expediency than by a sense of right and wrong. And finally, extremist parties are apparently getting enthusiastic backing from the Russian government. All of this suggests that resurgent anti-Semitism is not just a passing fad.......

It’s no coincidence that Jobbik, Golden Dawn, and most extremist parties in Europe support Russia. (Golden Dawn Leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos says Greece and Russia are “natural allies.”) The far right shares President Vladimir Putin’s espousal of “traditional” values and his opposition to the EU and the United States. And despite Russia’s historic anti-fascism, Putin has good reason to return the support — and the anti-Semitism of his far-right allies doesn’t appear to be a deal-breaker. Political scientist Mitchell A. Orenstein says Putin hopes to “destabilize his foes and install in Brussels politicians who will be focused on dismantling the E.U. rather than enlarging it.” Recently, France’s National Front — whose leader, Marine Le Pen, has effusively praised Putin — received a major loan from a Russian bank. (Le Pen has been trying to cleanse her party of its well-earned reputation for anti-Semitism, an effort that suffered a blow in June when her father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, “joked” that Jewish singer Patrick Bruel should face the ovens.) In Russia, even private banks are overseen by the central bank, so it’s unlikely that the Kremlin did not have hand in the loan. The New York Times reports that the loan is “yet another sign of growing closeness between Europe’s far-right parties and Russia.”