There are various points one could make in response to Dr. Lumish's article. But I will keep my response focused on the point that his article raises in response to mine: specifically about how we understand the values of various groups of individuals.
The Psychology of Voters
Dr. Lumish claims that "it is not the least bit clear" that radical right parties draw support from "individuals who value security and social cohesion over individual autonomy and universal rights." To put it bluntly, he is wrong.
Decades of research on radical right parties find that their programmatic appeal focuses heavily on a combination of nationalism, authoritarianism, and populism. Political scientist Cas Mudde (literally) wrote the book on this. When Dr. Mudde describes authoritarianism as one of the three core characteristics of radical right parties, he is referring to the psychological concept rather than the regime type (though there is an obvious relationship). So what is authoritarianism in the sense that social and political psychologists understand it? All sorts of definitions exist in the literature, but they all center on the idea of...you guessed it...prioritizing "security and social cohesion over individual autonomy and universal rights."
Dr. Mudde argues that radical right parties appeal to such authoritarian sentiments. In an ongoing research project, I show that individuals who display a higher tendency towards authoritarianism are more likely to vote for radical right parties in recent years. Here is a paper I recently presented on the subject. Going beyond a simple measure of authoritarianism, I draw on the work of Israeli psychologist Shalom Schwartz, who developed the Human Values Scales. Specifically, I show that individuals who place more emphasis on the Security value and who place less emphasis on the Universalism value are more likely to vote for the radical right.
Motivations versus Rationalizations
My suspicion is that Dr. Lumish's misguided criticism is rooted in a misunderstanding of my analysis. Not understanding that I am making a point about the psychology of radical right voters, he focuses instead on the statements and arguments made by radical right parties.
It is true that radical right parties these days often claim to defend the European liberal tradition, with which they claim Islam is incompatible. Their leaders and members may sincerely believe this about themselves too. But decades of survey research in political science have taught us that people's claims about their beliefs and motivations are often not reliable. Who will admit to being a racist or xenophobe in contemporary society? Not many individuals will do so willingly, particularly to a stranger. We can even deceive ourselves as to our true motivations. Go take an Implicit Association Test, and see if you don't in fact harbor some negative associations towards ethnic or religious minorities.
The point is: Radical right parties claim that they (and their voters) are motivated by a defense of European liberalism. The slightly harsher reality is that many of their voters are motivated by a more basic desire to protect against threats and to maintain social cohesion. As a general pattern, radical right voters do not welcome immigration, whether it is from the Middle East or Romania. The arguments about Islam and liberalism are more post-hoc rationalization than actual motivation. This is what decades of research into political psychology show us.
None of this makes radical right parties, or their supporters, "bad." But nor should we blind ourselves to the reality of much of their electoral support.
Psychology, Culture, and Socialization
Dr. Lumish goes on to raise a separate claim:
One thing that we know with certainty is that the great majority of Middle Eastern immigrants into Europe do not hold liberal values, i.e., the values of minority rights, gender equality, free speech, freedom of religion, and Gay rights.Unfortunately, Dr. Lumish provides only anecdotal evidence. We do not know enough about this topic, in part because it is more difficult to conduct systematic research into a minority population.
The systematic evidence that we have may back up Dr. Lumish's claims to some extent (see here and here), but it also points to widespread discrimination faced by European Muslims--which may well contribute to hostile attitudes towards non-Muslims and a turn by some individuals to extremism. Indeed, the meaning of answers to questions about hostility towards 'the West' or Jews may difficult to parse out given the present political realities in the Middle East. For example, the Koopmans study asks respondents whether the West is out to destroy Islam. In the present geo-political environment, is answering 'yes' to that question truly an indicator of out-group hostility? This suggests is a confluence of individual psychology and broader political socialization, which can be tough to parse out even in well-designed survey research.
Further, evidence questions both Muslims are particularly 'exceptional' in their levels of outgroup hostility and fundamentalism and whether they are alike. Koopmans finds big attitudinal differences between Sunni Muslims and Alevi Muslims living in Europe. In a related vein, I find big differences between left-wing and right-wing party supporters in Turkey. Cas Mudde points out that levels of Muslim fundamentalism are not remarkable in comparative perspective.
In short, there is much more that we still need to understand. Importantly, the way forward here is through systematic research, not polemical and anecdotal argumentation.