* UN interpreter, unaware that her microphone was on, accidentally tells the truth at the UN General Assembly: Why are all ten resolutions against Israel? “There’s other really bad sh-t happening, but no one says anything.”
* NBC Nightly News reporter says she is “in awe” of incredible work of Israeli medics in Philippines.
* BBC omits Israel from its online list of countries helping in the Philippines even though Israeli army and civilian doctors have done considerably more than many of the countries on the BBC list.
* Daniel Schwammenthal: A study in eight European countries by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation concluded: “Data show anti-Semitism often appearing in the guise of criticism of Israel.”
* “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” that Russian forgery purporting to reveal a Jewish cabal bent on world domination, may not be acceptable dinner conversation any more. But repackage the sentiment as criticism of Israel, and say that the Jewish lobby controls U.S. foreign policy against “true” American interests, and voila, you are no longer dabbling in nasty old tropes about sinister Jewish power, but in bold political analysis.
* Jonathan Sacerdoti: “The far right, the far left, the middle class intelligentsia and European Muslim communities all have within their ranks groups who not only hate Jews, but never seem to tire of finding new ways to express their hatred.”
* “The European Union … has just published the results of its [biggest ever] survey of European anti-Semitism… The report covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live… The results of the survey leave little room for doubt; Europe’s Jews feel increasingly threatened and abused. 66% of respondents consider anti-Semitism to be a major problem in their countries, and a staggering 76% said the situation had become more acute over the last five years. In the 12 months preceding the survey, 21% of all respondents personally experienced at least one anti-Semitic incident. Worryingly, however, 76% of those victims did not report the most serious incident to the police or any other organization. These Jews not only suffered attacks, but also seem to have lacked faith in any organization’s ability to help or protect them.”
* Tom Gross: People are often not even aware that the stereotypes they are expressing about Jews and Israel are exactly that: misguided or anti-Semitic stereotypes.
You can see these and other items that are not in these dispatches if you "like" this page: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia.
1. First baby born in IDF field hospital in Philippines is named ‘Israel’
2. Openly pro-Israel story on NBC Nightly News
3. Saudi Arabia joins China, Russia as UN Human Rights Council Members
4. UN interpreter caught on mic: Why are all ten resolutions against Israel?
5. Tom Jones condemns boycotts of Israel by musicians after playing Tel Aviv
6. Anti-semitic serial killer to be executed
7. German paper accused of anti-Semitism over Netanyahu poison cartoon
8. “You had to choose between war and dishonor, you chose dishonor, you will have war”
9. “The New Face of European Anti-Semitism” (By Daniel Schwammenthal, Wall St. Journal Europe, Nov. 14, 2013)
10. “Groundbreaking survey reveals scale of Europe’s Anti-Semitism crisis” (By Jonathan Sacerdoti, MIDA, Nov. 8, 2013)
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
This dispatch primarily concerns anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. I attach two articles below with various notes by myself before.
FIRST BABY BORN IN IDF FIELD HOSPITAL IN THE PHILIPPINES IS NAMED ‘ISRAEL’
Whereas, according to news reports, countries such as the U.S. and Britain first and foremost sent warships to help in the Philippines, Israel immediately sent people, including over 150 specialist doctors and nurses to set up field hospitals and treat the injured in stricken areas. They were flown there by the Israeli army and by the charity IsraAid.
On Friday the first baby born in an Israeli army field hospital in the Philippines was named “Israel” by his parents in honor of the doctors and nurses who helped deliver him.
As well as setting up what is described as a “multi-department medical facility” with senior doctors, the Israeli army has search-and-rescue units now working to find survivors of the devastating typhoon, which hit the Philippines a week ago.
OPENLY PRO-ISRAEL STORY ON NBC NIGHTLY NEWS
On Friday’s NBC Nightly News, for once, Israel was portrayed in a positive light.
NBC correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman said she was “in awe” of the Israeli medics in the Philippines. She said the work of the Israelis was “remarkable, triaging and treating patients in the midst of the devastation” in the hardest hit towns “off the beaten path.”
“As I left, I walked away in awe of this group of doctors: physician humanitarians, and medicine at its very best,” she said at the end of her report.
You can watch a video of it here.
By contrast, the BBC omitted Israel from its online list of countries helping in the Philippines, even though Israeli army and civilian doctors have done considerably more than many of the countries they listed.
Israel has frequently been at the forefront of aid efforts in the wake of disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 and the earthquake in Turkey in 2011.
(For more on Haiti, with striking videos, please see here: And his name will be ‘Israel’: Mother of Haitian baby honors IDF rescuers.)
SAUDI ARABIA JOINS CHINA, RUSSIA AS UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL MEMBERS
China, Russia and Saudi Arabia were elected last week on to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the body that does so little for human rights worldwide and spends almost its entire time demonizing Israel.
Russia is listed 176th out of 196 countries surveyed in Freedom House’s 2013 global press freedom rankings. China is ranked 179th and Saudi Arabia is 182nd.
Cuba, Vietnam and Namibia were also elected.
Admission to the council means members can seek to block probes into human rights violations in their own countries.
For two articles of mine on the UN Human Rights Council, please see:
UN INTERPRETER CAUGHT ON MIC: WHY ARE ALL TEN RESOLUTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL?
In a rare moment of honesty at the UN in New York on Thursday a United Nations interpreter, unaware that her microphone was on, said in reaction to the General Assembly’s adoption of nine different resolutions all condemning Israel, and no resolutions about the rest of the world:
“I think when you have… like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? [It’s a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There’s other really bad sh*t happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.”
Her comments can be seen in this UN video at 2 minutes, 10 seconds:
Laughter erupted among the delegates. “The interpreter apologizes,” said the unfortunate interpreter, moments later.
Hillel Neuer of UN Watch points out that by the end of its annual legislative session next month, the General Assembly will have adopted a total of 22 resolutions condemning Israel and only four on the rest of the world combined – with none condemning, for example, Syrian dictator Assad for using chemical weapons.
The General Assembly is comprised of all 193 UN member states.
TOM JONES CONDEMNS BOYCOTTS OF ISRAEL BY MUSICIANS AFTER PLAYING TEL AVIV
British superstar Sir Tom Jones says that the campaign by anti Israel-activists to try and make him cancel his concerts in Tel Aviv last month made him more determined to play there.
“I was in Israel two weeks ago where a lot of singers won’t go because of the boycott campaign… They should go... I did two shows in Tel Aviv and it was fantastic. The people and atmosphere are wonderful. I was so glad I went and I’d definitely like to perform there again,” the Welsh singer told a British newspaper.
Among other artists who withstood intense campaigns not to sing in Israel (and only in Israel) recently, and performed to sold out audiences there, were Alicia Keys and Rhianna.
Miley Cyrus is among pop stars due to perform in Israel in coming months.
ANTI-SEMITIC SERIAL KILLER TO BE EXECUTED
The American Neo-Nazi who shot at bar mitzvah guests at a St. Louis synagogue in 1977 is to be the first prisoner executed in Missouri in 3 years, state authorities announced.
Joseph Paul Franklin, now 63, admits to killing at least 12 people in the 1970s. He said his killing spree was motivated by a hatred of “Jews and blacks”.
He is scheduled to be put to death on Wednesday, with an injection of the drug, pentobarbital.
His attorney, Jennifer Herndon, says her client had been misled when he was influenced by a copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” he read as a teenager.
Franklin had a particular dislike for interracial couples, according to the Associated Press. In addition to the killings in 1977, he was convicted of shooting a black man and a white woman in 1978. The man died, and the woman was paralyzed. He killed a couple in Oklahoma City in 1979, and another couple in Pennsylvania in 1980. He confessed to killing a 15-year-old prostitute because the girl had black customers.
A fourth man has been charged in relation to the violent anti-Semitic assault of four Jews in Sydney, Australia last month. The Jews were severely beaten after they left synagogue services by a group of men hurling anti-Semitic abuse. One Jewish man was hospitalized with a brain injury.
Italian police on Thursday raided the homes of 35 suspected neo-Nazis accusing them of spreading anti-Semitic hatred online. Police said they found two loaded weapons, a hand-grenade and swastika flags in the apartment of one 51-year-old man, together with literature saying that the Jews and Israel were behind Italy’s economic crisis.
GERMAN PAPER ACCUSED OF ANTI-SEMITISM OVER NETANYAHU POISON CARTOON
A cartoon in a German newspaper showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu killing the Iran nuclear talks with poison has led to accusations of anti-Semitism. The cartoon appeared in the regional German newspaper of Badische Zeitung, in Freiburg, alongside stories about the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht last week.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, told Jerusalem Post correspondent Benjamin Weinthal that, “In the 14th century in Germany and France, the Jews were accused of poisoning wells and became the victims of murders. This German cartoon is yet another mutation of the ancient anti-Semitic poisoning motif. It follows an earlier one this year in the Stuttgarter Zeitung. Both fit perfectly the evil mindset of half of the German population which believes that Israel exterminates the Palestinians or behaves like the Nazis.”
The Badische paper cartoon shows Netanyahu poisoning a peace dove and a snail on its way to the Geneva talks on Iran. Netanyahu talks on his cell phone, saying, “I need pigeon and snail poisons.”
Alex Feuerherdt, a German journalist who has written extensively on media anti-Semitism, told the Post that the cartoon shows “that modern anti-Semitism is dressed up as criticism of Israel.”
Gerstenfeld said, “Anti-Zionists and anti-Israelis frequently repeat the lie that they are not anti-Semites. Yet the classic anti-Semitic motifs appear in their circles again and again with new anti-Israeli mutations.”
“YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN WAR AND DISHONOR, YOU CHOSE DISHONOR, YOU WILL HAVE WAR”
Regarding the Iran dispatch on this list/website last Thursday (Diplomacy is better than war but bad diplomacy can cause bad wars), here are some tweets by the former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, who is a subscriber to this list:
* Over Iran’s nuclear program: Obama and the West (less France for the time being) seem intent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
* Minimalist Kerry. After threatening Syria with “unbelievably small” military strike he now offers to ease a “tiny portion” of Iran sanctions.
* The only disarmament on the table at Geneva appears to be the moral disarmament of the West.
And reader Paul Lewis reminds me of Churchill’s comment:
This Obama/Iran fiasco (which you predicted long ago) recalls Churchill’s magnificent speech against Chamberlain:
“You had to choose between war and dishonor, you chose dishonor, you will have war.”
And to repeat two paragraphs from my dispatch of September 3, 2013:
“Trust us,” the world – led by the U.S. – has urged Israel for years on Iran. “We will deal with Iran, we will not allow them to get nuclear weapons. Even if they do, there is little chance they will use them. Nobody is that crazy.”
Really? Syrian President Bashar Assad is that crazy, using chemical weapons in broad daylight against his own people, even though he knew he would be held culpable?
I attach two articles below. The writers of these articles, as well as those quoted in these articles or notes -- German author Henryk Broder, former Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, the journalist Benjamin Weinthal and the scholar Manfred Gerstenfeld -- are subscribers to this list.
-- Tom Gross
This graffiti in Rome reads: “Shoah must go on”
The New Face of European Anti-Semitism
The ‘Elders of Zion’ are out, but demonizing Israel is mainstream.
By Daniel Schwammenthal
Wall Street Journal Europe
Nov. 14, 2013
This past weekend was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom against German Jews, and European commentary focused predictably on the traditional anti-Semitic threats from the far right. The recent rise of openly anti-Jewish parties in Greece and Hungary shows that this remains a problem that authorities and civil society must confront without equivocation.
But in many parts of the Continent, things are more complex. As German author Henryk Broder quipped, if after 1945 Europe experienced anti-Semitism without Jews, we are now experiencing anti-Semitism without anti-Semites. As a 2011 study in eight European countries by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation concluded: “Data show anti-Semitism often appearing in the guise of criticism of Israel.” Unlike classic anti-Semitism, which is now largely taboo in polite company, demonizing Israel is mainstream.
“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” that Russian forgery purporting to reveal a Jewish cabal bent on world domination, may not be acceptable dinner conversation any more. But repackage the sentiment as criticism of Israel, and say that the Jewish lobby controls U.S. foreign policy against “true” American interests, and voila, you are no longer dabbling in nasty old tropes about sinister Jewish power, but in bold political analysis.
Thus, when former British foreign minister Jack Straw, during a conference last month in the House of Commons, listed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its allegedly “unlimited” funds among the greatest obstacles to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, he thought nothing controversial about it. For many Europeans, U.S. support for Israel – the only democratic ally in a sea of dictatorships, terrorism and civil war – remains so unfathomable that they can only explain it as the product of nefarious Jewish money for equally nefarious purposes.
If a Labour MP can speak publicly like this without triggering any rebuke from his or other parties or from the mainstream media, one can only imagine what is said privately in daily European life.
We know what people are telling the pollsters, at least. According to the Friedrich Ebert study, 63% of surveyed Poles and 48% of Germans agreed with the statement that “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” Forty-one percent of Britons and 42% of Hungarians agreed. In the other surveyed countries, agreement was in the high 30s; the lowest level was 38%, among Italians.
Additionally, 55% percent of Poles and 36% of Germans agreed with the statement that “considering Israeli policy I can understand why people don’t like Jews.” For the other surveyed countries, the level of agreement with this statement ranged from the mid 30s to the high 40s.
Realizing the depth of the problem already in 2005, the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) drafted a working definition of anti-Semitism that specifically included the targeting of Israel, “conceived as a Jewish collectivity.” The EUMC listed such examples as questioning the Jewish right to self-determination by calling Israel a racist endeavor, applying double standards against Israel, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, or holding Jews responsible for Israel’s actions. The draft definition, despite being praised by the U.S. State Department and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has yet to be adopted.
Now, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the EUMC’s successor, documents in a new study that an alarmingly high proportion of Jewish citizens have experienced harassment, threats, vandalism and physical attacks. This first survey to collect comparable data across EU states on Jewish experiences of anti-Semitism shows how European Jews suffer from Israel’s vilification.
According to the survey, released last Friday, 21% of respondents have experienced at least one incident of anti-Semitic “verbal insult or harassment and/or a physical attack” in the past 12 months. Forty-eight percent of respondents have “frequently” or “all the time” seen or heard the accusation, in the last 12 months, that “Israelis behave to the Palestinians like the Nazis to the Jews.” In Belgium, Italy and France, around 60% reported this. In the U.K., Germany and Sweden, 40%-50% did.
Twenty-three percent of respondents in all eight surveyed countries said that at least occasionally they avoided Jewish events or sites. Another 29% have considered emigrating in the past five years. In Hungary, France and Belgium, 40%-48% have considered emigrating.
EU leaders can no longer ignore the grotesque misconceptions about the Jewish state. By adopting the EUMC’s working definition of anti-Semitism, the EU would have an excellent tool to differentiate between legitimate criticism of Israel on the one hand and bigotry on the other, while sending a strong signal that it won’t tolerate the latter.
This is not just a question of the image of an entire nation or the future of bilateral relations between European countries and Israel. At stake is the future of European Jewry – or, given the high number of Jews who have contemplated emigration, whether there will be such a future at all.
“ONE SECURITY PROFESSIONAL TOLD ME THAT RAZOR WIRE AND BOMB PROOF DOORS HAVE BECOME SO NORMAL MOST OF THE CHILDREN DON’T EVEN NOTICE IT ANY MORE”
Groundbreaking Survey Reveals Scale of Europe’s Anti-Semitism Crisis
By Jonathan Sacerdoti
November 8, 2011
A new survey published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reveals the worrying extent of anti-Jewish abuse in Europe and failure of states to tackle this growing problem. There is now little room for doubt; Europe’s Jews feel increasingly threatened and abused, fearing antisemitic abuse from Muslim extremists, the extreme right-wing, and left-wing radicals. With few European member states taking any serious action, and the failure of the authorities to tackle this growing problem, the human rights of Jewish Europeans are under threat. 75 years after Kristallnacht, has Europe failed to learn from history?
This week marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria which was the ominous prelude to the mass murder of much of European Jewry. The savage attacks of 9th November 1938 saw Jewish businesses attacked, hundreds of synagogues torched and around 30,000 Jewish men rounded up for deportation to concentration camps. German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week described Kristallnacht as “one of the darkest moments in German history,” urging “all the people in this country to show their civil courage and ensure that no form of anti-Semitism is tolerated.” But 75 years on, where do German Jews stand? Merkel herself went on to observe that today it is “almost inexplicable but also the reality that no Jewish institution can be left without police protection.”
This is true elsewhere in Europe, too. In Britain, I am used to attending synagogues protected by concrete crash barriers, watched over by teams of security guards. Our Jewish schools are surrounded with razor wire, and bomb proof doors. One security professional told me that this has become so normal most of the children don’t even notice it any more. Yet I grew up in a country that gave me, and generations of Jews before me, a safe place to live, study and pray. As a Rabbi friend of mine often publicly remarks at events of national importance, Britain has been good to its Jews, and the Jews have been good for Britain.
Yet over recent years, things have changed for the worse in Europe. Anti-Semitism has appeared in the lives of a generation who never thought they would experience it first hand. From stories about verbal abuse shouted at kippah-wearers and physical attacks on Jews, to an arson attack on a London synagogue and a shooting at a French Jewish school, it is clear that something has changed.
Jews across Europe are learning that anti-Semitism respects neither national nor ideological boundaries. Islamic anti-Semitism is proudly displayed on the streets of London and in Germany during the Iranian sponsored ‘Al Quds day’, with Hezbollah flags and Bashar al Assad banners held aloft. Chants of “Judenschweine” (Jewish pigs) rung out for all to hear at a German football match in Offenbach, only two months ago. The far right, the far left, the middle class intelligentsia and European Muslim communities all have within their ranks groups who not only hate Jews, but never seem to tire of finding new ways to express their hatred.
Despite the increasingly distressing amount of anecdotal evidence appearing in the news, it has been hard to gauge the extent of Europe’s anti-Semitism problem. Stories of individuals suffering antisemitic discrimination and even violence are, of course, unacceptable. But they cannot alone provide a clear picture of a trend. Some argue that ‘legitimate’ criticism of Israel is erroneously labeled as anti-Semitism (it rarely is). Academics and commentators are unable to agree what it all means. Manfred Gerstenfeld writes in his recent book, Demonizing Israel and the Jews, that
“polls show that well over 100 million Europeans embrace a satanic view of the State of Israel… [this] view is obviously a new mutation of the diabolical beliefs about Jews which many held in the Middle Ages, and those more recently promoted by the Nazis and their allies.”
But others warn that comparisons with German National Socialism of the early 20th century are alarmist and overblown. It is true that the cracks on German shop windows this week will be nothing more than stickers, applied as a part of a peculiar campaign of remembrance and solidarity with the murdered Jews of Kristallnacht. One British Jewish community leader once challenged me, asking, “surely you don’t think it’s as bad here as it was in Nazi Germany?”, as if Europe’s Jews ought to wait for a full-scale repeat of such extreme levels of Jew-hatred before we allow ourselves to say “enough.”
ANTI-SEMITISM IS STILL SHOCKINGLY WIDESPREAD
It is against this backdrop of reports of antisemitic attacks occurring across Europe, aggressive campaigns launched against Israel, and general academic disagreement over the true levels of European anti-Semitism, that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has just published the results of its survey of European anti-Semitism. Today, the FRA proudly released “the first comparable figures on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU.” Published on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, we finally have statistical data which shows what many have long known: that anti-Semitism is still shockingly widespread, and that Europe has failed to take action to prevent another alarming escalation in levels of hate crimes aimed at Jews.
The report covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live, and should be a vital tool for EU decision makers and community groups who need urgently to address this unacceptable problem.
Until now, European policy makers have failed to act effectively enough to prevent or stop anti-Semitism from getting worse. This could either be because of a lack of firm evidence of the problem in the first place, or because of a lack of political motivation to do so. Today, only 13 EU member states even bother to collect official data on antisemitic incidents reported to the police or processed through the criminal justice system. The FRA’s survey now provides robust and comparable data on the situation, putting pressure on individual states and the EU as a whole to take action – they can no longer plausibly claim ignorance of the problem. There can be no doubt that inaction now would be through choice.
The results of the survey leave little room for doubt; Europe’s Jews feel increasingly threatened and abused. 66% of respondents consider anti-Semitism to be a major problem in their countries, and a staggering 76% said the situation had become more acute over the last five years. In the 12 months preceding the survey, 21% of all respondents personally experienced at least one antisemitic incident involving verbal insults, harassment or a physical attack. Worryingly, however, 76% of those victims did not report the most serious incident to the police or any other organization. These Jews not only suffered attacks, but also seem to have lacked faith in any organization’s ability to help or protect them. The decision makers and police forces of Europe must drastically increase their efforts to redress this damning indictment of their abilities to reassure and protect Jewish victims of hate crime.
Modern European Jews, like everyone else, face a variety of day to day challenges in their lives. Yet anti-Semitism is considered the fourth most-pressing social or political issue across the countries surveyed – even in 2013. As with other forms of bullying and abuse, the Internet has provided a new platform for racists: an overwhelming three-quarters of respondents consider online anti-Semitism to be a problem, indicating that there is an urgent need for more effective reporting and investigation of online racism against Jews. Recent cases, however, show sites such as Facebook refusing to act when Holocaust denial groups and other hate pages aimed at Jews are reported. European member state governments and the EU itself should become far more proactive in policing these outlets for racist abuse.
The results of the survey also call into question some of the rigidly held positions of the ever increasing number of organizations and pseudo-academic bodies studying anti-Semitism. Most notably, the idea that antisemitic attacks are mostly carried out by right-wing extremists, does not correlate with the responses of the victims of those attacks. Of those exposed to incidents of antisemitic violence, threats and harassment over the past five years, 27% of respondents reported that the most serious incident was perpetrated by someone with Muslim extremist views, 22% attributed it to someone with a left-wing political view, and 19% to someone with right-wing views.
It is not clear why so many organisations professing to deal with anti-Semitism have been working so hard to deny the main sources of this hate crime. The director of the Berlin International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Dr. Clemens Heni, seems to blame a politically correct “post-colonial and post-Orientalist ideology,” lamenting in a recent paper that “almost all scholars in the social sciences and humanities … reject or ignore research on Islamism and Muslim anti-Semitism.” Heni suggests that “the strange increase in research centers, consortiums, and events regarding anti-Semitism [indicates] a hijacking of serious scholarship by newcomers who have no interest in analyzing anti-Semitism.” The FRA’s data, however, clearly suggests at least as much attention needs to be paid to tackling Muslim anti-Semitism and left-wing anti-Semitism, as to the very real threat posed by far right anti-Semitism.
There is some level of regional variation, with different European cultures resulting in different manifestations of anitsemitism in different countries. For example, in the UK, 9% of respondents said they had often heard the statement “Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis,” while this figure rose to 59% in Hungary. The survey found that while in Latvia only 8% of respondents said the Israeli-Arab conflict had a large impact on how safe they felt, the figure rose to 28% for Germany, and was as high as 73% in France. Thus it is important that European nations act according to the actual needs and demands of their own populations, as well as joining in a wider continental effort to eradicate this pervasive hatred.
A COMPLEX SYNDROME
Anti-Semitism is no less complex a hatred today than it was 75 years ago. The Italian writer Fiamma Nirenstein warns in a recent article that
“Not a single person admits to being anti-Semitic … Even the little girl who asked me if I had a tail back in elementary school didn’t actually know she was antisemitic; she asked out of curiosity … the true anti-Semitism that still exists in Europe is not recognised or understood.”
Last week, the German public television station ARD broadcast a documentary about modern anti-Semitism in German society. The documentary focused in part on the anti-Israel actions and ideologies common to the otherwise apparently unrelated groups carrying out antisemitic acts in Germany. It effectively demonstrated that in Germany, as in much of Europe, anti-Israel discrimination is all too often the glue that binds together the antisemitsm of Islamists, the educated middle-class, those on the left, and extremist right-wingers. The FRA’s research backs this up with robust statistical evidence.
Furthermore, in the German film, Professor Monika Schwarz-Friesel, who has studied many examples of antisemitic letters and emails sent to Germans, points out that the vast majority of letters are not written by those belonging to extremist groups of the left or right, but by those in the “center of society.”
Professor Andreas Zick of Bielefeld University, a specialist in prejudice research, warns that “anti-Semitism, even if it is only latent, remains a pioneer from words to deeds.” And startlingly, Jörg Ziercke, the President of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, reported that “2 or 3 violent antisemitic attacks take place in Germany each day.”
75 years after Kristallnacht, Europe must wake up to the real and immediate problem of rising anti-Semitism which it has misunderstood and ignored for too long. The FRA’s important work in surveying European Jewry to uncover its first hand experiences of abuse and hate crime provides a clear signal of how much work needs to be done in this area. With the FRA’s robust statistics and suggested actions clearly and explicitly stated, there can no longer be any room for doubt that decisive action is needed. Those concerned with human rights and the protection of minorities should accept nothing less than a thorough and effective overhaul of how anti-Semitism is tackled. Europe has failed its Jews before in the most tragic of circumstances. It must not allow political correctness, modern technology and bogus anti-Israel action to facilitate renewed attacks on one of history’s most persecuted minorities. “Never again” must be more than a utopian wish: now is the time to for Europe to make it a promise.