What is it about?
This paper is about how populist radical right parties in Europe increasingly speak of Europe as defined by a “Judeo-Christian civilization”. This way of describing European values contrasts with the secular and universal ways of referring to liberal values in EU treaties. I argue that this particular way of speaking about European identity on the radical right (with the inclusion of the ‘Judeo’ ), is politically motivated. Political parties and leaders who have recently adopted this language want to emphasise that “Islamization” poses a threat to Europe's values. At the same time they want to distance themselves from toxic associations with anti-Semitism. This quite recent shift on the radical right (over the last two decades) is prompted by growing settled Muslim minorities and challenges posed by Islamist extremism. This recent focus on a supposed Islamic threat to Europe has seen Jews redefined by the radical right. Where Jews were once considered the primary threat to the ethnocultural integrity of European nations, they are now treated as an authentic part of Europe’s culture, and victims of Islamic illiberalism and anti-semitism. This way of speaking about Europe’s identity as “Judeo-Christian” shapes attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Israel is now seen as part of Europe’s cultural family and its front line against the threats posed by radical Islam. I illustrate this with respect to the marked shift in Austria’s policy towards Israel under the coalition of the centre-right People’s Party and radical-right Freedom Party (2017-2019).
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This page is a summary of: Judeo-Christian civilizationism: Challenging common European foreign policy in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, Mediterranean Politics, March 2020, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/13629395.2020.1739928.
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