Tuesday, 17 May 2011
The Full-Blown Return of Anti-Semitism in Europe
Guy Millière has written a revealing and chilling article. Read the full article here.After World War II, anti-Semitism seemed to disappear in Europe. It is back, to a very disquieting degree.
Although it is not exactly the same anti-Semitism that in the 1930s, it is not fully different.
The new, current anti-Semitism now adds on to the old kind, the demonization of the State of Israel. The Islamic view of Israel is now the dominant view of Israel in Europe. The idea that Israel is a “colonial power” that has “robbed” people of their land, and is an “artificial State”, even though the Jews have been on that land for three thousand years – and even though many states in the area, such as Jordan and Libya, and Iraq are even more illegitimate, their borders having been drawn on paper by the British in the 1920s – is a commonplace among journalists.
Hatred towards Israel is now the most widely shared sentiment among Europeans, whatever their place on the political spectrum. It is now through hatred of Israel, that hatred of Jews as annoying “troublemakers” can again express itself.
In the 1930s, Jews were accused of not being full members of the country where they lived. Today, the same criticism rises in a slightly different form: Jews are accused of the existence of a Jewish state, and are suspected of being too tied to that state to be full members of the country where they live.
More deeply, the Jews of Europe might feel that if they can paint the Jews as evil, then perhaps what their parents and grandparents did to them during World War II was not really so bad after all; you could even say they deserved what they got. As some Scandinavians put it, The Jews killed Christ; at least the Muslims did not do that.
The anti-Semitism of the 1930s led to the Holocaust, which led the Jews to flee to Israel, the only country that would take them in and not let shiploads of fleeing Jews sink at sea. Now, European anti-Semitism accuses the Jews of Israel's existence and of reminding them of the Holocaust by remembering it themselves.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of Europeans seem quite ready for another Holocaust: one that would be the annihilation of Israel.
If sacrificing Israel allowed non-Muslim Europeans to see Muslim anger disappear, they would be willing to make the sacrifice immediately. If, in order to accept the sacrifice with a clear conscience, non-Muslim Europeans have to caricature Israel ignobly, they will – and do. Anti-Israel cartoons fill European newspapers from London to Spain, and even receive awards. The Israeli army is often compared in European media to the Nazi army. The comparison is fully playing its role: if the Jews are Nazis today, it means that the Europeans did the world a favour in killing six million of them, and that the Europeans are not really guilty.
If Israel can be portrayed as a Nazi state, its destruction is acceptable, maybe even legitimate, maybe even desirable. The fact that Mein Kampf is a bestseller in the Palestinian territories and in most countries of the Muslim world is totally left out, just like the fact that many Jews living in Israel are survivors of the Holocaust committed in Europe sixty five years ago.
A survey conducted last year for the Friederich Ebert Foundation, a German think tank linked to Germany's Social Democratic Party, was eloquent. To the question: “Do you think that Jews abuse their status as victims of Nazism?” positive responses reached proportions hardly imaginable: 72.2% in Poland, 48% in Germany, 40.2% in Italy, 32.3% in France. Another question, “Do you understand why people do not like Jews?” generated results that must be faced. Number of positive responses: 55.2% in Poland, 48.9% in Germany, 40.2% in Italy. The question was not asked in France. In several polls conducted in Europe over the last decade, Israel was identified as the most dangerous country for world peace, tied with Iran.
The question: “Are you anti-Semitic?” was not asked anywhere. I have no doubt that, if asked the question, those who understand that “People do not like Jews”, and who probably do not like them either, would have said that they were not anti-Semitic.
The question, “Do you think that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians?” was asked. Positive responses : 63% in Poland, 47.7% in Germany.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, called the poll “very disturbing. The governments of Europe, and the European Union," he said, "would do well to wake up to this problem before it is too late.”