Is the European Far Right Shedding Its Anti-Semitism?

Most of Europe’s far-right political parties—the Freedom Party of Austria, the National Front in France, and so forth—have histories of anti-Semitism, sometimes quite vicious. But recently they have been distancing themselves from anti-Semitism (and neo-Nazism), driving the worst offenders from their parties and expressing support for Israel. Charles Hawley believes that this represents more an attempt to gain respectability than a change of heart:

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing [the leaders of these parties] is that of clearly separating themselves from the swamp of racism further out on the right-wing continuum. Among classic neo-Nazi parties—such as the National Democratic party of Germany or Golden Dawn in Greece—one can still find the kind of racial anti-Semitism, virulent xenophobia, and extremist nationalism that fueled Adolf Hitler’s murderous ideology. . . . Right-wing populist parties, by contrast, can be found in the narrow strip of anti-Muslim, irredentist, and xenophobic ground in-between the neo-Nazi extreme right and mainstream center-right parties, themselves no great friends of immigration. . . .

Public-opinion polls hint at a possible explanation for the far right’s attempt to moderate its image. Even as anti-Semitism in Europe appears to be on the rise and anti-Zionism has once again become de rigueur, the Continent’s 20th-century history dictates that overt bile directed at Europe’s Jewish population does not go over well with the vast majority of voters. And increasingly, right-wing populist parties have a lot to lose. The Swedish Democrats in August became the country’s largest political party, with support spiking to a record high of 25.2 percent, according to a YouGov poll. France’s National Front has likewise seen a surge in support recently, as frustration with President François Hollande remains high and the ongoing influx of refugees dominates headlines.

Read more at American Interest

More about: Anti-Semitism, Austria, Europe and Israel, Marine Le Pen, neo-Nazis, Politics & Current Affairs

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security