- Dec 2016
The push for stronger cultural identities and political borders is inseparable from the general concern about Islam and immigration. Most of the new populists are promoting a one-sided criticism of Islam. This is connected to the public fears of terrorism, angst about Sharia, the status of women in Muslim communities, demographic tensions (aging European populations with lower birth rates and younger immigrant populations with higher birthrates), and issues surrounding the social integration of immigrants. In this context, talk about the Jewish and Christian heritage of the West has reemerged in secular Europe and in the United States as an alternative identity-forming heritage. This is the case even in a very secular place like former East Germany.
The Jewish and Christian heritage is not really under discussion. Christian, sure, but many of the populist parties in the US and Europe are either explicitly or tacitly identifying with historically anti-Semitic ideologies. See the embrace of Trump by the KKK, American Nazi Party, "alt-right,"; the Austrian Freedom Party; the historical anti-Semitism of the French Popular Front.