Anti-Semitism in Today’s Europe
When Jew-hatred becomes normalized in the streets.
By Joseph Puder
The legacy of anti-Semitism in Europe is a long and painful one. It had its culmination in the Holocaust. Today, while Europe’s democratic governments profess their intentions to combat anti-Semitism, the influx of millions of Muslim migrants from throughout the Middle East has intensified the residual anti-Semitism embedded in the subconscious of many Europeans. The European-born Muslims, along with the migrant newcomers, were honed on hatred of Jews thanks to the media and mosque indoctrination in their native lands. The Middle East Muslim migrants have additionally brought along with them a deep hatred for Israel. In Europe today, anti-Semitism has been normalized on the streets if not in governmental bureaus. European governments are now worried that their native Jews might be fleeing the continent as a result of increased levels of anti-Semitism, especially when Covid-19 is plaguing Europe, and Jews have become ready scapegoats. The European Union (EU) governments in particular, are concerned that should Jewish life in Europe end, it will show that Europe has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.
An EU poll of European Jews from across Europe published in January 2019, showed that 89% of those surveyed said that anti-Semitism had significantly increased in the last five years. The EU poll sampled 16,395 Jews in 12 EU countries. Yet, in a separate EU survey under the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, the conclusion arrived at was that Jews were “subjected to a sustained stream of abuse.” 38% of those surveyed said that they were thinking of emigrating out of Europe because the continent was no longer safe for Jews. In the last decade, thousands of French and British Jews left for Israel.
The Jewish future in Europe is bleak. A recent poll by the London-based Henry Jackson Society think tank found that 44% of British Muslims believe in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The poll also indicated that forty-seven percent of Muslims with a college degree back the “dual loyalty” canard against British Jews. Even more seriously, however, are the growing incidents of physical and verbal attacks on identifiable Jews by Muslims. In fact, for each of the past three years, the U.K has reported the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents ever recorded.
In France, police are seen as “dirty Jews” by many Muslims. According to Sammy Ghozlan, founder of France’s National Bureau for Vigilance against ant-Semitism, “The anti-Semitic equation between cops and Jews is a new development borne out of conspiracy theories, and this is already inciting violence and bloodshed. It is dangerous not only to Jews, but also for the rule of law in France.” In France, with the third largest Jewish population in the world, government records have shown a 74% spike in anti-Semitic acts between 2017 and 2018.
In Germany, anti-Semitic incidents rose more than 19% in 2018. It prompted Germany’s first anti-Semitism commissioner to caution Jews about the dangers of wearing kippahs (traditional skullcaps) in public. More recently, on October 9, 2019, a heavily armed German anti-Semite, intent on killing Jewish worshippers during Yom Kippur services at the local synagogue, in Halle, Germany, ended up shooting to death two people and injuring two others.
A 2019 Anti-Defamation League poll found that one in four Europeans harbors negative attitudes toward Jews. Anti-Semitic tropes such as Jews control business and finance, and that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their home countries, are in common usage. European respondents have also complained that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”
The EU officials shouldn’t have been surprised or shocked by the survey findings. Germany’s reunification of former Communist East Germany with the Federal Republic of West Germany in 1989, opened the way for the poorer East Germans resentment. They were fed on Communist propaganda that hid from them the extent of Jewish suffering and the full dimension of the Holocaust. During WWII, according to the Marxist-Leninist regime in East Berlin, it was the fascists who were responsible for the crimes of the war; Jews were lumped with everyone else as “victims of fascism. In the 1960’s, large-scale immigration into Europe (Muslim Turks in Germany, Muslim Arabs from North Africa in France, Indonesians into Holland, Pakistanis, and Jamaicans in Britain) spawned white supremacists groups throughout Europe. But hatred was not the exclusive domain of the Right. Radical leftist terror groups like the German Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang, labeled by some as “Hitler’s children,” participated along with Palestinian terrorists (Black September) in the hijacking of an Air France flight from Israel to Paris in 1976. They took more than 100 Israeli Jews as hostages after performing a Nazi-like selection. There were plenty of violent Israel-bashers and Jew-haters on the far left.
In the last few years, 1.5 million migrants entered Europe, mostly Middle Eastern Muslims. Indoctrinated by their Arab dictatorial regimes, these migrants harbor deep hostility towards Israel and Jews. The EU elites refrained from using tough measures against the violent elements of their Muslim populations to stem the growth of anti-Semitism. They are held back by their new “religion” of multiculturalism and political-correctness. They did, however, get tough on native right-wing groups. In the meantime, the Internet has made it possible to spread anti-Jewish hate unhindered.
EU leaders describe the battle against anti-Semitism as one that they cannot afford to lose. Some even go so far as to say that it encapsulates the struggle for Europe’s very soul. French President Emmanuel Macron, following a visit to a desecrated Jewish cemetery in February 2019, where swastikas had been daubed on about 80 graves, said that “anti-Semitism is the negation of what France is.” Yet Macron and French officials are quiet regarding radical Muslim clerics that foster Jew-hatred. Additionally, by backing the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to even discuss the Trump peace plan, he played into the reject Israel (and Jews) narrative. Macron’s words to Jews can be reassuring but his actions are less consistent.
France has experienced three anti-Jewish mass shootings in recent years, each committed by Muslim terrorists born and raised in Europe. (One actually occurred in Belgium by a French Muslim.) In 2012, in Toulouse, France, a rabbi and three children were murdered at a Jewish school. In 2014, four people were killed in the Brussels Jewish Museum. It was followed by the killing of four people at a Paris Kosher supermarket. French court injustice was on display in the case of Sarah Halimi who was murdered by a Muslim named Kobili Traore, and acquitted on the ground that he was “not criminally responsible” for his actions. Hundreds of Jews and their supporters rallied in Paris on January 5, 2019, deploring the court’s decision.
Anti-Semitism in today’s Europe has become fashionable in the streets of many European capitals. The young generation throughout the continent is clueless about the Holocaust. Israel is routinely singled out by the EU with punitive measures such as the boycott of products from Judea and Samaria. European politicians increasingly cater to the growing Muslim vote, and that means overlooking anti-Semitic acts committed by Muslims. It also drives the anti-Israel decisions by EU legislators. Christian values seem passé, which means that the Bible and churches decreasingly serve as moral guides. There is a focus on ‘live for today, and the hell with tomorrow’. For the Jews in most of Europe, however, the future comes with fear.