Figures on anti-Semitism released by the Jewish Agency in January of this year, just days before commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, revealed that anti-Semitic incidents in Europe reached a level not seen since the end of World War II. Data presented at a press conference held at the Jewish Agency offices in Jerusalem (with comments from Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Jewish Agency chairman Nathan Sharansky, and the Jewish Agency taskforce on anti-Semitism Amos Hermon) concluded that “Classical anti-Semitism is changing, and it is being replaced with a new anti-Semitism, which takes its shape in the form of unbridled attacks against the idea of a Jewish State.” To ensure that there is no confusion between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, Sharansky offered simple criteria. He said, “We have identified such criteria through a 3-D principle: Demonization, Delegitimization, and Double Standard.” Sharansky added, “If you look at anti-Semitism throughout the ages, we see these principles at play as well – the demonization of Jews, the delegitimization of the Jewish nation, and a double standard towards Jews as a people and a religion.”
France, in particular, has been a hotbed for Jew-hatred. Rabbis have cautioned religious boys and men to wear baseball caps rather than yarmulkes outside their homes. A suburban Paris Torah Center, or Merkaz Hatorah school, was destroyed by arson, and a Jewish girl was thrown to the ground and beaten by 20 students who yelled at her, “Dirty Jew.”
In an e-mail conversation several months ago with Lyda Peltz, a French Jew friend, she complained about the fear she has of walking in the streets of Paris. “You cannot wear anything that identifies you as a Jew,” she wrote and added, “France is no longer a place for Jews to live.” Lyda has since moved to Netanya, Israel.
Residual anti-Semitism in Europe has conveniently piggybacked on the visceral anti-Semitism openly displayed by Arab-Muslim immigrants under the guise of anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism. Western Europe’s guilt over colonialism, and their abandonment of religion and Christian values, has left Western Europeans with a spiritual emptiness. It has also created a crisis of confidence in European ability to restore its cultural and political prowess. Fear of, and intimidation by violent Muslim youth roaming the streets of European capitals has made Europeans adopt Stockholm syndrome — i.e. victims identifying with their victimizer. Jews are therefore easy scapegoats for European malaise, with the extreme Right blaming the Jews (and Zionism) for Europe’s troubles, and the radical Left allying with radical Islam and railing against “American imperialism and capitalism,” as well as Zionism and Israel. Jews, however, have always been an easy target for European and Arab frustrations and hate. Israel moreover, has assumed, as Nathan Sharansky noted, the role of the individual Jew in European society. For Muslims, a Jewish State can not exist in the “Domain of Islam,” and for the European political and theological anti-Semites, the Jewish State and Jews must be persecuted for their original sin.
As European demography changes, in large measure due to low birthrates among native Europeans, and while Muslim birthrates explode, anti-Semitism is bound to increase and Israel will increasingly become a target for demonization, delegitimization, and double standard. This combination is a precursor for deadly anti-Semitism, unless the Europeans awaken to reassert their self-confidence in their culture, religion, and politics, and chose to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.
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