B’nai B’rith International is deeply dismayed by extremist gains in the weekend’s European parliamentary elections, as far-right, nationalist parties claimed new seats. The disturbing results reflect the trending growth of political extremism across Europe and the increased specter of racism and anti-Semitism corrupting public discourse.
The biggest waves were made in France, where the National Front party secured 24.5 percent of the vote—France has 74 seats in the European Parliament. The notoriously anti-Semitic Jobbik party of Hungary and Greece’s Golden Dawn also picked up seats in the parliament. Right-wing parties also drew significant support in the United Kingdom and Denmark, while Austria’s Freedom Party claimed more than 20 percent of the vote in that country.
The impact of these shifts is uncertain, but it is clear that extremist parties—some for the first time—will have a European-wide platform from which to spread their racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic polemics. B’nai B’rith calls on mainstream political groups to confront these proponents of hatred both in the European Parliament and in their respective national capitals. Parties that foment hatred and incite violence should be vigorously opposed and their bigoted views stigmatized.