The very disturbing rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world should not be surprising to any person who has been monitoring the news on a regular basis. I am not referring to instances in the Middle East. Those are not surprising, given the demographic make-up of those countries. What I find most disturbing is the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the US and Western Europe, areas that are thought as enlightened and tolerant. I have published a few blogs that deal with anti-Semitism, but recent disturbing events mandate that I revisit the topic.
Recently, there have innumerable instances in various of these so-called enlightened and tolerant countries. For example, in just the last couple of months:
- US – According to a recently-published report by the Anti-Defamation League 1,299 defamatory instances were reported in the US for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, which represented a whopping 67% increase over the same period in 2016. Even more disturbing was the sharp increase in anti-Semitic-related bullying, taunting and vandalism in K-12 schools and on college campuses. The highest frequency of these incidents occurred in states, such as NY, Cal., Mass, and FL, where the largest Jewish populations reside. One could interpret that result as “familiarity breeding contempt” on the part of bigots.
- I have posted blogs dealing with anti-Semitism on college campuses before, but below please find a few more recent incidents to illustrate my point.
- The Chancellor’s Office of UC Santa Cruz reported that there were eleven anti-Semitic incidents on campus just during the last calendar quarter. They included spray-painted swastikas, fliers containing white nationalist language, desecration of an Israeli flag, and the like. Campus spokesman Scott Hernandez denoted that there were fewer such incidents compared to last year. Fine, but even one is one too many.
- In December at Portland Community College – Cascade dozens of neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and white supremacist posters, fliers and stickers were distributed around the campus. One notable poster depicted a sinister-looking man with a hooked nose, the classic caricature of a Jew. Another flier used the phrase “blood and oil,” the Nazi Party symbol for anti-Semitism and directed the reader to the web site “bloodandoil.org.” Nice.
- Also in December, a student at Tufts published an op-ed in the campus newspaper, Tufts Daily, that delegitimized the State of Israel as a “real” country, characterizing it as a “European colonial settlement established by the British Government and now sustained by imperialism and neo-colonial powers… The supporters of the Zionist movement around the world have no legal or historic right to immigrate, confiscate and claim lands that belong to the indigenous people of Palestine.” Sounds like the ravings of a lunatic to me, not something one would expect to hear from a college student at a mainstream university, but this is where we are today.
- For a change of pace, we have a Florida cop who was forced to resign after posting anti-Semitic comments on Facebook. This was not an isolated instance. In 2011 he implied that Jews were somehow taking unwarranted advantage of “our system,” adding “put them in an oven and deal with them the Hitler way.” In 2013 he posted an anti-Semitic joke: “What’s the difference between boy scouts and Jews? … Boy scouts come back from their camps.”
- In previous blogs I have reported anti-Semitic incidents in various European countries, such as Sweden, UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, among others. These are part of a disturbing trend, which, if anything, is accelerating. Just in December there were incidents in Germany, France and the UK.
- The New York Post reported that anti-Semitism is “sweeping” Germany. For example:
a. Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and a Holocaust survivor, has opined that “anti-Semitism [is] in the heart of German society.” Moreover, the word “Jew” has once again become an insult in German schoolyards.” Knobloch has been pressing the government to appoint a special commissioner to help combat the problem, but, in my opinion, that will not resolve the problem. People’s basic attitudes will have to change, and I am not optimistic about that happening.
b. Many Jews are trying to live in the shadows by down-playing their Jewishness. It is estimated that there are some 200,000 Jews living in Germany, and about half of them are “unaffiliated.”
c. Many hateful instances have been posted online. For example, in Berlin a hateful barrage of anti-Semitic insults directed to a restauranteur by a patron went viral. Moreover, during Hanukkah in Heilbron haters desecrated a public menorah.
d. I believe, as do many others, that these instances can be attributed, in part, to a substantial influx of immigrants from Russia and predominantly Muslim countries. Many of them have brought their hateful attitudes with them. In addition, concurrently, there has been an increase in the power and influence of a right-wing neo-Nazi political party, which has given “cover” to these vile haters.
9. Youpi, a French children’s magazine, published an article insinuating that Israel was not a “real” country. The article read, in part,: “There are 197 countries, like France, Algeria, or Germany. There are a few more, but not all other countries in the world agree that they are real countries (for example, the State of Israel or North Korea).” Israel’s ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun, stated she was “shocked by this lie taught to children.” Youpi Magazine’s publisher, apologized for the “mistake” and had the issue pulled from stands, but, obviously, the damage was done.
10. In the UK the problem is more insidious. Yes, the country has had its many anti-Semitic incidents, but, worse, many of its major cities, including London, Leeds, and Birmingham, among others, have been electing Muslim and Sharia Law-leaning politicians. These peaceful, legal “takeovers,” which I believe can be traced to Britain’s “open door” immigration policy, do not bode well for Jews in those cities or for the UK as a whole.
11. Recently, virtually every country, except for the US and a few others, supported a UN resolution criticizing the US’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the bona-fide capital of Israel and move its embassy there. The official argument was it would hurt the “peace process.” I say, what “peace process.” How can there be a realistic “peace process” when most of the Arab countries continue to refuse even to acknowledge Israel’s legitimacy?
Once again, we can learn from history. Don’t forget, Jews lived peacefully in Egypt, Poland, Spain, Russia and many other countries for centuries until the powers that be decided to expel or murder them. They were welcome until they weren’t. Presently, Jews all over the world are feeling increasingly uncomfortable in their home countries and are emigrating to Israel.
Time and time again beginning with the Roman Empire, Jews have been a convenient scapegoat for a country’s economic, social and political problems. Who killed Christ? The Jews. Crops failed? Blame the Jews. Stock market tanked? Jewish bankers. What will Jews be blamed for next? Global warming?
Please explain your premise: “electing Muslim politicians . . . do[es] not bode well for Jews . . . or for the UK as a whole.” Isn’t posting anti-Muslim language while decrying anti-Semitism incongruous?
As an aside, most Brits don’t share your concern. Our September England trip featured lots of visits with family and friends, of both Christian and Jewish religion, in London, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Birmingham, Hampshire and Leeds (coincidentally hitting the three cities you mentioned.) In ALL cases, no matter their diverse political persuasions, their overwhelming concern is with Donald Trump, not their Muslim immigrant neighbors. I have always found my English family’s openness to immigrants very refreshing and was heartened to discover that welcoming attitude is still strong. The UK and our English Jewish friends will be just fine!
As always, I’m looking forward to your explanation. Thanks, Larry! Happy, healthy 2018 to all the Jacob family.