click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Join 400,000 Aish subscribers
Get Email Updates




The Cancer of Anti-Semitism in Europe

The Cancer of Anti-Semitism in Europe

When civilized nations fail to rise up against the Jew-haters in their midst, it is often just a matter of time before the Jew-haters in their midst rise up against them.

by

I have been meaning to write about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, a topic to which I last devoted a column in April 2002. Jews, I wrote then, "are the canary in the coal mine of civilization. When they become the objects of savagery and hate, it means the air has been poisoned and an explosion is soon to come."

At the time, much of official Europe resented the attention being paid to the return of anti-Jewish hatred to the continent where 6 million Jews were murdered between 1938 and 1945. "Stop saying that there is anti-Semitism in France," the French president, Jacques Chirac, admonished a Jewish editor. "There is no anti-Semitism in France."

Official Europe takes the attacks on Jews, most of which are the work of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, more seriously now. At a conference in Brussels last month, Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, acknowledged that there are "vestiges of the historical anti-Semitism" in Europe today. "Attacking a Jew," French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has said, "is tantamount to attacking the French republic." Chirac told the president of Israel during a state visit that he would be "uncompromising" in rooting out anti-Semitism.

And yet the hatred spreads.

At the University of Geneva, a Jewish researcher wearing a small Star of David necklace was attacked in a campus elevator by Arab students. When she reported the attack, she was told not to wear the necklace in public.

In Hasselt, Belgium, Muslim fans at a soccer match between the Israeli and Belgian national teams waved Hamas and Hezbollah banners, and chanted: "Jews to the gas chambers!" and "Strangle the Jews!"

The British Political Cartoon Society awarded first prize in its annual competition to a cartoon in depicting a gigantic, naked Ariel Sharon biting off the head of an Arab baby. "What's wrong," reads the caption, "you've never seen a politician kissing a baby?"

In Germany, scores of Jewish graves and Holocaust memorials have been defaced. At the cemetery in Beeskow, for example, "Heil Hitler" and "Crap on the six million lie" were painted on gravestones. At Langenstein-Zwieberge, a sub-camp of the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp, vandals plastered the walls with copies of anti-Semitic Third Reich newspapers.

According to a poll conducted by the European Union last fall, 59 percent of EU citizens identify Israel as the world's greatest threat to peace -- ahead of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In December, millions of Europeans with satellite TV reception were able to watch "Al-Shatat," a Syrian film that portrayed Jews as blood-drinking monsters who conspire to rule the world.

In a leading Greek newspaper, a journalist wrote that the Jews "have vindicated the persecutions of the Nazis. . . . They deserved such an executioner [as Hitler] since they proved to be murderers themselves." At a televised reception to mark the publication of his memoirs, Mikis Theodorakis, the composer of "Zorba the Greek," denounced Jews. "These little people are the root of evil," he told an audience that included two cabinet members -- neither of whom reacted to his antisemitic outburst.

The hatred has been most palpable in France. There have been so many attacks on Jews in recent months that the chief rabbi has urged religious boys and men to wear baseball caps instead of yarmulkes outside their homes. In November, a newly-built wing of the Merkaz Hatorah school outside Paris was gutted by arson. Last week, in a newspaper column headlined "Jewish children are in danger," six French scientists described recent episodes of anti-Semitic violence in Parisian schools. In one of them, a girl was thrown to the ground and beaten by 20 students, who were yelling, "Dirty Jew! Dirty Jew!"

* * *

As this is written, it is Friday afternoon, about 36 hours since the massive bombing that tore apart Madrid's commuter-rail network. The death toll has reached 199. Another 1,500 victims have been wounded, many severely. The Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi says it has received a statement of responsibility purportedly issued in the name of Al Qaeda. The statement describes the bombing as "part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader, and America's ally in its war against Islam." Spanish police have found a van with seven detonators and an Arabic tape of verses from the Koran.

Whether this massacre, like earlier massacres in Istanbul and Bali and at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, was the work of radical Islamists, the world will know soon enough. What the world should already know but so often forgets is that Jews are the canary in the coal mine of civilization. Anti-Semitism is like cancer; unchecked, it can metastasize and sicken the entire body. When civilized nations fail to rise up against the Jew-haters in their midst, it is often just a matter of time before the Jew-haters in their midst rise up against them.

Published: March 20, 2004


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 17

(16) M.MOUTH, August 21, 2011 6:23 PM

Talking of education particularly on the subject of the holocaust it is now a compulsory part of the national corriculum.Now i suppose most people myself included might think it agood idea,i was aware my children had been learning it for sometime,one day to my horror i got to see the text books used.If i were to call it revisionist history,it would seem an inadequate word demonic might be abetter word to explain the content of the books.People go to prison for holocaust denial yet glorifying a mass murderur is it seems quite acceptable. I can not express the horror i felt when i first got to see the books being used'there are alot of different books and they are all terrible.I memorised so much of the text i dont really know what to quote as an example.i complained about these books and asked why the holocaust was now being taught i was told by the education department it was to prevent it ever happening again.So i quoted a couple of lines 'the jews were only about one percent it was better to ignore them and enjoy the good times germany was now experencing'.They tried to make out that there many books .Yes thats true i have seen seven books by three different publishers and they are all terrible.One more thing guess what is taught for ithik the examination'thearab israel conflict'.So it is no wonder we read of antisemetisum in european schools .and the antidote is aparently more holocaust education.may the lord rescue his people.

(15) C D Goldberg, October 11, 2010 5:13 AM

So called civilized nations!

The nations of this world are no more civilized then what they give themselves credit for. The psychoses and ignorance of Neville Chamberlain when he appeased Hitler in 1938 with the British giving Czecozlovakia to Germany is all to apparent especially with regard to Anti - Semitism. I note in the article that a Swiss University Student (Jewish) was told not to wear a Magan Dovid. then by the same token Muslim students should also be told not to wear the Islamic aparel. Luckely in South Africa we have both a constitution and a human rights commission that is effect provided victims of racism, islamaphobia and of anti - semitism can report the perpetrators to the South African Human Rights Commission, who if they find the perpretrator guilty, will impose a fine on same and force that perpretator to make a public apology and this will also be noted in the press. It is disgusting to note that no such laws exist in the so called civilised word. If the growing anti - semitism is not dealt with and with a public name and same of the perpretators then disaster will happen with many incocent lives will be lost not to mention the uneccesary suffering that might occor. You have got laws in most countries please make use of them.

(14) Michelle Wayne, June 12, 2007 8:31 PM

antisemitism

In Poland there is a radio station colled Radio Maryja and a TV program bouth run by a polish prist name Rydzyk very antisemitic ban by the Pop and by European Union but nobody in the polish goverment is doing enythink about it Whay?

(13) ted pearce, March 13, 2007 1:35 PM

Take a stand in Germany with us!

I'm involved with a German church that is retracing the steps of the Death March to Dachau from 8 concentration camps in Swabia. It is not a protest but a silent prayer walk with holocaust survivors making speeches along the way at various stops. There will be Americans, Germans, Israelis, christians, jews, and otherwise all walking in unity to honor the memory of those who died and to make a statement to the world for such a time as this.

Wanna go?

http;//MarchofLife.org

(12) hopey5000, October 25, 2006 8:30 AM

causes of anti-semitism

Can we address the fact that we sometimes contribute to anti-semitism. I have a family member who is demanding and difficult and goes in to stores stating, this is Mrs. Goldstein, I need to speak with the manager, this is unsatisfactory, and you can see anti-semitism developing.

I have seen country clubs where people are haughty and treat employees poorly. Anti-semitism does not come solely from nowwhere, we start from a difficult book (new testament) which portrays us in a poor light.

No one justifies the horrible things that have happened to us. However, can we take a reasonable and realistic look at ourselves. Can we realize that our acts impact what people thing. We should give charity to non-Jewish organizations and help others if for no reason other than to dispell stereotypes.

We should realize that our acts will impact how others see us. Being tough, and continually protesting anti-semitism is not the complete solution. In fact, we acknowledge that actions contribute to our perceptions of others-blacks, Polish, but cannot apply the same reasoning to ourselves.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub
Sign up today!