This article is alarming without attempting to be alarmist. The writer cites examples of officials, community leaders and average citizens opposing antisemitism, but it also describes some very unnerving incidents of anti-Jewish hatred, and an extreme unease and even fear, generating a substantial emigration of Jews from Europe now and the potential for a mass exodus later. To read it, click on this title: “Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes Out of the Shadows.”
Unfortunately, the Gaza war and Israeli policies toward Palestinians in general are triggering these events. This threatens to shatter truths we’ve lived by for a long time:
- that Israel is the cure for antisemitism,
- that antisemitism has nothing to do with what Jews do,
- that the Western world has unalterably changed for the better in its attitudes toward Jews.
The second point needs some amplification: the Jews being targeted in Europe are blameless; they have no authorship of Israeli policies that their antisemitic attackers claim to be protesting. We unequivocally condemn these attacks, but note the sad truth that some Israeli actions are, in fact, endangering Jews in other lands. Should this not be a consideration in policy decisions made by the Jewish state?
On the third point, we need to remember that this time, as opposed to the 1930s and ’40s, most government leaders are condemning antisemitism and the police are providing protection. But there is also some evidence that politicians are wavering. In particular, many Jews now feel that left-wing parties are losing interest in standing with Jews, as they become more concerned about bigotry against Muslims and increasingly feel solidarity with Palestinian victims of Israel’s military and of the expanding sway of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
As a result, some Jews are moving right in their political allegiances. Extreme right parties mostly remain antisemitic, but some are making a conscious play for Jewish support with their hostile focus upon Muslim immigrant communities.