Francisco Assis, a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) political group has warned against the return of antisemitism and the infantilisation of European public discourse in a column for the Portuguese daily newspaper Publico.

Addressing the huge increase in antisemitic incidents in France as one of the most poignant examples of this phenomenon, MEP Assis wrote: “In recent years, French society has experienced a new kind of antisemitism, stemming from Islamic fundamentalist currents and which has benefited from a certain complacency on the anti-Israel currents in the far left. What also seems to have come back is the antisemitism of an avowedly anti-liberal, anti-cosmopolitan, and anti-universalist far-right.”

“It seems that the movement of the yellow vests in France has contributed to the spread of xenophobic and racist positions and to the popularisation of a proto-fascist discourse,” he added, “yet the effects of globalisation and meagre economic growth in France in recent years do not solely explain this phenomenon: There are  economic roots, but there are also important cultural and political causes.”

“I firmly believe that the intellectual and political collapse of moderate currents of thought, in the context of the infantilisation of public discourse, opens the door for the rise of those brutal and infamous ideologies, which have not been strange to us in the past,” Mr. Assis concluded.