Increased Jewish Concern Over Anti-Semitism in Europe

The anniversary of Kristallnacht passes with more relevance today than ever.

20070226BerlinAntisemitism0Last Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10, marked the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of the Broken Glass. It took place throughout the Nazi Third Reich, which included Germany, Austria, and the Sudeten portion of Czechoslovakia, annexed by Hitler’s Nazi Germany. At least 1,000 synagogues were torched, Torah scrolls were desecrated and burned.  Ninety-one Jews were murdered by SA paramilitary storm-troopers. Thirty thousand innocent Jews were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps, and Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked. In addition, 7,000 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed.

Public commemorations of Kristallnacht in Europe and particularly in Germany have become a vehicle to abuse Israel, today’s collective Jew. At this year’s memorial conference held at Berlin’s Jewish Museum, a Jewish anti-Israel hate-monger, Brian Klug, was featured. In 2010, the then-Mayor of Frankfurt, Petra Roth, a Christian Democrat, invited a Jewish anti-Semite, Alfred Grosser, to deliver the Kristallnacht speech in Paul’s Church. Grosser used his speech to draw parallels between the conduct of the Nazis and that of Israel.

Europe has had a very short moratorium on anti-Semitism, and Germany in particular has been anxious to throw off the burden of guilt over the Holocaust. Seventy-five years after Kristallnacht, and 68 years after the Nazi beast was destroyed, the anti-Semitic virus is latent, and lately it has burst into the open as the survey particulars below show.

Appropriately, the EU (European Union) Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) released last Friday the result of a major survey titled “Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism.” The survey polled 5,847 Jewish individuals in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Instead of providing a hate crime report the way the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does it, with absolute numbers, the European survey has focused on the perceived danger of anti-Semitic attacks by European Jews, and how much anxiety this causes the respondents, and affects their lives.  Sixty-six percent of the respondents said that anti-Semitism is a problem in Europe, and 76% qualified that there had been an increase in anti-Semitic hostility in their home countries in the last five years. Just about half of those surveyed (46%) claimed that they are afraid of being verbally attacked or harassed in a public place because they are Jewish. A third (33%) said that they fear that such attacks could turn violent. Twenty-one percent of all respondents have experienced an anti-Semitic incident involving verbal insult, harassment or a physical attack in the 12 months preceding the survey. Two percent of respondents had been victims of an anti-Semitic physical attack over the previous year.

The survey also noted that 76% of victims of anti-Semitic harassment did not report the most serious incident to the police or any other organization.  There has also been an under-recording of incidents. Limited data-collection mechanisms in many EU Member States mean that anti-Semitic attacks remain under-recorded. Significantly, three quarters of the respondents in the survey consider online anti-Semitism to be a huge problem.

Anti-Semitism on the Internet was highest, according to the survey, in Italy with 87%. Next was Hungary at 86% and France/Belgium at 85% each. The lowest was Latvia with 52%.  Hungary topped the anti-Semitism in the media category with 73%, followed by France at 71% and Belgium at 70%.  France had the highest Expressions of Hostility towards Jews with 84%, followed by Belgium with 74%.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum, had this to say about the survey: “Anti-Semitism is a disturbing example of how prejudice can persist through the centuries, and it has no place in our society today. It is particularly distressing to see that the internet, which should be a tool for communication and dialogue, is being used as an instrument of anti-Semitic harassment." He added, “While many EU governments have made great efforts to combat anti-Semitism, more targeted measures are needed.”

Individual Jews expressed their feelings to the survey takers with comments such as “If a political figure makes an anti-Semitic statement through the media, I personally take it as anti-Semitism, and it makes me unhappy about the future of Jews in general in Sweden [man, 55-59 years old, Sweden].” A man 40-44 years old, in Hungary said, “The responsibility of politicians is important, if they tolerate anti-Semitism, it grows especially in times of scapegoating.” Another man 25-29 years old from Italy revealed, “I often don’t say I am Jewish, so I can really understand what people think of us.  Anti-Semitism is very widespread in Italy, especially in public places and in the daily small talk among people.” In Germany, a Jewish man 50-54 years old said, “Anti-Semitism is one reason for me to leave Germany because I want to protect my family from danger.”

The FRA survey pointed out that in Germany, 49% of the respondents claimed to have heard or watched on TV non-Jewish Germans suggesting that “Israelis behave like Nazis towards the Palestinians.”

The survey also found that respondents felt the Arab-Israeli conflict had a large impact on how safe they felt, and in France, it was the highest rate.  The results indicate that the Arab-Israeli conflict affects the lives of most respondents in Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK. About 90% of respondents in Belgium and France reported that the Arab-Israeli conflict has a notable impact on their feelings of safety as Jews.

Europe was infested with the anti-Semitic virus long before the arrival of Muslim immigrants into the Continent. Although in the 1960s, with the memory of the Holocaust still fresh, anti-Semitism was politically and socially incorrect in Europe, the open floodgates soon thereafter enabled millions of poor North-African Arab Muslims to become the new “victims.”  These poor Muslims, isolated in banlieues (ghetto- like suburbs) and incited by Islamist imams against the “infidel” exploiters and enemies of Islam, found convenient support from European governments. France and other governments sought to ingratiate themselves with the Arab world, whether because of oil in the 1970s, or economic gain and they championed the Palestinian Arabs in their policies and in the media. It served a dual purpose for them. It quelled some of the frustrations of the jobless and futureless Muslim youth by channeling their anger at Israel and Jews, instead of the European authorities. It also gained them credit with the Arab states. Domestically, the center-left governments in Europe adopted the Muslim community as its permanent constituency. In return for their votes, these European governments and media adopted an anti-Israel line.

In order to assuage their diminishing guilt over the Holocaust, Europeans in general and Germans in particular, have employed the narrative that “Israelis are no better than the Nazis.” This moral relativism requires that the Palestinians be made into victims and the Jews (Israel) as victimizers.  It enables the Germans, for example, to commemorate Kristallnacht, while at the same time use it as a platform to shift guilt onto Israeli Jews.

It is clear from the 2013 FRA survey that Jews continue to serve as a convenient scapegoat for Europeans. And while the new “religion” in Europe is a combination of multi-culturalism and human rights, the old anti-Semitic strains are still embedded in the European character 75 years after Kristallnacht, and 68 years after the liberation of Auschwitz. Europe for Jews has once again become increasingly inhospitable.

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