How can antisemitism still exist in Europe? We’re living in 2019, not 1939. Yet report after report after report show increasing levels of hate and abuse being directed towards Europe’s Jews. How can this be happening? How can it be stopped?
Germany saw a 20% increase in antisemitic attacks in 2018. On 9 October, during the holiday of Yom Kippur, a far-right extremist attacked a synagogue in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt. Unable to gain entry, the attacker shot and killed a passerby, before driving to a nearby Turkish kebab shop and killing another person. This may be an extreme case, but hatred is unfortunately growing more common across Europe.
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in via our “Suggest a Debate” page by Jan. He asked simply: “Why is antisemitism still so rampant and prevalent in Europe in 2019?“
To get a response, we spoke to Robin Sclafani, Director of the organisation CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe. What would she say to Jan?
sUnfortunately, antisemitism has been around for a very, very long time. And hatred, in general, lately seems to be running high. I think one of the things that was made so apparent during the attack in Halle is the interconnectedness of hatred. So, this attacker specifically targeted the Jewish community and, when he couldn’t access them, with frustration he turned and attacked a Turkish kebab shop and whoever was nearby. He was filled with hate. On that day, it started with antisemitism, but it’s all interconnected. We talk of it being the oldest hatred, and it’s at the root of so many hatreds.
Next up, we had a comment from randomguy2017, who thinks there is confusion over what constitutes antisemitism (he believes it can mean “anything”). Is he right? Or do we actually have a very clear definition of antisemitism?
It is pretty clear and, actually, for that reason – because so many people have a hard time accepting it for what it is – it’s been so important to have a definition that’s accepted by the international institutions. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which gathers over 40 countries, have agreed on a definition which has now been acknowledged by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, and more and more by national governments. So, they have approved a definition so that people stop saying ‘We don’t know what it means’ and that when there is an antisemitic incident, this definition can be used to give guidelines in terms of what is and isn’t antisemitic…
Here is that working definition on antisemitism from the IHRA:
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.
What’s behind Europe’s rise in antisemitism? Is there confusion over what constitutes antisemitism? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
What’s behind today’s Anti-Semitism?
For years I’ve read opinions and theories about ‘Why Anti-Semitism’?, and when it is on the rise again, we re-visit, re-name… but there has been a constant stream of it, particularly in Europe for centuries. If we discount that there is a spiritual element to it then certainly it will resonate with most, but the reasons and opinions that do not include a spiritual aspect do not adequately explain the particularity of hatred towards the Jewish people in my opinion.
This is another subject put forward for discussion, however, when you put forward genuine open reason for the possible lean toward anti-semitism it is rejected. So, unless you are willing to accept the possibilities of an issue as they truly stand, you will never know the answer. Will you?
Could you explain what you mean with “an issue as they truly stand” regarding Anti-Semitism
I am finding it difficult to understand what you feel is confusing in that line? Please, can you explain the difficulty you have with it.
However, as a little hint. When a post is sent into DB wanting to elaborate on various issues regarding the use of news clips exposing horrific violence toward Palestinians hoarded together in an open prison called Gaza. They are not happy with an exposed account of how this came about. The Balfour Declaration for example. The history of the Zionist movement and take over of Palestinian land to establish Israel via the slaughter of ancient villages, and Kibbutz settlements, etc.. Menachaim Begin, a Polish national, being a terrorist rather than a freedom fighter and so on. It’s gets sticky territory for them. They writhe uncomfortably and the fear of being pronounced anti semite arises. By the way, so we have a clear picture, the word semite means Arabic of origin.
The blowing up of the King David Hotel with the British inside. The real story of the illegal take over of that part of the world, which was a peaceful area where Jews, Muslims and Christians, lived happily side by side, is not something good to be discussed. Even though it is factual historic knowledge.
I could go on and bring links but that may be a terrible waste of time to do so, so I end it here.
Yes Catherine, it would be a waste of time to send links… I could do the same, but you show by your statement, how deeply rooted Anti-Semitism is because the topic was the rise of it in Europe and you seem to offer instead an explanation meant to infer that the return of many Jewish people to their ancient homeland is a justifiable or at least an explanation of the increasing Anti-Semitism because they themselves were in fact terrorists, slaughtered the population… and everything had been great until they arrived huh? (if I’m wrong that you did not infer that, I’ll retract it.) You left out some important facts and you do not touch on the actual topic and why it is so deeply embedded in Europe (long before 1948 Catherine) You failed to mention what was the major catalyst that precipitated the return, the 6 million reasons, the centuries of Anti-Semitism (I use the term as it is understood by everyone unless they have a bias and thus refuse to acknowledge it’s accepted normative meaning).
Yes, Catherine there are some facts in your response but there are some important ones missing that give a different picture that’s also factual historic knowledge. Words morph as do meanings, but you know what is meant by the term Anti-Semitism.
Paul was correct that Anti-Semitism never left European soil. Yes, the large immigration into Europe by Muslim populations has fueled some of the increase but it only fanned what was there lurking beneath the surface already and social media has certainly helped further the hatred of Jewish people. Whether it was the Catholic church, Some Protestants, Muslims or secular population, the deep hatred that has permeated Europe is still there isn’t it (For the last twenty years it often conveniently flies under the ‘Anti-Israel’ speech but listen close enough and it’s against the Jewish people. So, what should be done now, today, Catherine, to stop the lies, slurs, violence, bias… against Jewish people for no other reason than the fact that they are Jewish?
You appear to be blaming the rise of antisemitism on Jews themselves. They have brought it upon themselves through their actions? That is the oldest antisemitic trope of them all. Please do end it there.
If you know your history of anti semitism thruout the ages in Europe, you will appreciate there has been no “increase”..simply a continuation
Paul, you are right!
Nazis and extremist nationalists are only a minor factor for antisemitism today in Europe, as they are a tiny minority of Europeans. Antisemitism will continue to rise as long as Western Europe continues to settle muslim migrants from Africa and the Middle East on their territory.
Unfortunately, rising stupidity… History should have taught us we can achieve great positive things together.
very easy to go anti-semitic after the daily examples comming from actual Israel people
Manuel wow! So according to you every Israeli is bad?
The problem is not antisemitism but islamophobia
not islamophobia, but islam.
Both are a problem
The shooter was not a Muslim. He was alt-right (you know, the ones who hate Islam) and antisemitic.
what does islam did to u bro ?
Jurgen, did u read the Quran ?
Easy answer. Just look at the rising demographic.
Israels warmongering and conservativistic populace doesnt help. Before point all fingers to others.
So, like Catherine, you’ve turned the discussion to Israel (A non-European independent recpognized country, with a predominany Jewish population) as a reason for European Anti-Semitism’s current rise . If we want a debate about Israel, then please start one but what this discussion shows is that at the bottom of all the accusations… there will be the same old finger pointing to those’Jews’,
They have contributed to Europe in vast ways for centuries but you didn’t want them- because? They atre Jews? So, wheb they pulled themselves out of the ashes of the Holocaust and in a brief moment of historical sympathy they were granted a small portion of thier ancestral homeland- Israel (Not Palestine) and once European soil was now free of many of them, either through the murders or leaving for Israel- Lo and behold they turned Israel into a thriving modern democracy- the only one in the Middle-East but, the long arms of Europe cannot harm them there so they continue to do so as they’ve done for centuries to them here in Europe and use Israel as the excuse.
THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED BY MODERATORS FOR BREACHING OUR CODE OF CONDUCT. REPLIES MAY ALSO BE REMOVED.
“If people of your ilk, and I believe you are a plant to stop debate”
-You would have done better in keeping your word by stopping. ( “so I end it here.” you said)
A plant?, don’t flatter yourself. Anti- Semitism, -In Europe, Catherine, stay focused, Greed? How did that word pop into your head hmm… – Back to the topic- Europe- Terrible Anti-Semitic history that continues…
I hope this comment ‘passes’ but I’m not so confident it will as a few previous responses to Catherine and Jeroen did not. I wanted a debate on this topic because here in Europe we are full of people voicing similar opinions to Catherine where the Jewish people are still blamed for the Anti-Semitism that plagues them in Europe.The ‘Catherines’ deflect their own culpability in this by attacking Israel with cherry picked history and then label voices like mine as ‘of a certain ilk’… and truth falls in the street and the aggression violence and lies continue against the European Jewish communities.
‘Debating Europe’?- I hope so, we’ll see.
DE was not willing to air the valid views that are factual in this thread. Hence the reason the question cannot be answered, or, worse, even addressed with civility. The reality of the political movement relies on warped vision. I cannot be an anti semite, so you are an extremist to believe other. It is you who is the anti. Anti exposure as you are well aware of the European feeling on the issues Zionism raises in all peoples. Not simply those termed Gentile.
THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED BY MODERATORS FOR BREACHING OUR CODE OF CONDUCT. REPLIES MAY ALSO BE REMOVED.
Toni simple : DONT ATTACK OR DISTROY THERE COUNTRIES BUT IF U DO THEN THEY WILL COME HERE.
Kalid I guess, there is a lot of reason in what you say. Actually i agree in most part of it. But for example my country never colonized anyone, infact we were enslaved by the ottomans for almost 500years. To be honest, often we say, that the west totally deserved all of it. They can’t say anything in their own countries or will be called……racists lol. They are being most of all engulfed and filtered by their former colonies and slaves. The “funny” thing is, that mostly englandstanians and belgistanians are talking about racism and teaching others about how they should not be racists, but they enslaved, killed and destroyed most than any other colonial country and they atill do one way or another. The sad thing is, that people outside Europe (now Eurabia), think that all europeans were colonizers and should pay for the westerner’s atrocities and genocides.
Are you sure you have the right debate or should one assume that you also believe that the large immigrant Muslim population is behind the rise in European Anti-Semitism?
they colonized us, enslaved us and still today they change diamonds, oil, gold with papers. Most of the rasists are illitterate, they dont know the reality..
I have two friends from syria and both of them were rich back home they had tall buildings and they all destroyed by the air strikes. Now they have nothing in here. Do u think they like living here ? Were there is a full of discrimination, racism, islamafobia …
Anyone would think antisemitism began with the holocaust,in truth there isn’t one country on this entire continent that hasn’t persecuted jews at one time or another dating back over the last five hundred years.Some of you would do well to remember that when your criticising Israel,the only true democracy in the whole middle east.
@Zoltan- You make good points Most who are critical of Israel know very well that Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle-East. Some criticize anyway because thier ideology wants a Middle-East that is completely Islamic, others, will not say anything positive about Israel because no matter how they dress up the language, in their hearts they hide Anti-Semitism and so by proxy they vent against the Jewish people via Israel. In fact, some would wish that Israel was not democratic, pluralistic and thriving because it makes it more difficult to criticize them. Here in Europe they still do not accdept them and they hope to drive them all out of Europe to Israel which of course would be the absolute ruin of Europe and they refuse to realize it.
The EU itself and their oppressive and regulating reigning, the deformation of “democracy”, the political unwillingness to listen to it’s states and their people, and like it or not, islam…
After reading your comments, do you believe that if the ‘EU’ was less less ‘oppresive’ and listened to the diffent ‘states’ and eased some regulations that that would lower Anti-Semitism? It seems that is what you must have meant as the discussion is, ‘What’s behind Europe’s rise in AntiSemitism? What should the ‘EU’ listen to, that would help curb the increase in Anti-Semitism?
Two months before the shooting in Halle, in a survey taken in Germany, it was found that 24% of Germans believed ‘Jews’ have too much power in world affairs and 27 % concurred with a range of Anti-Semitic stereotypes and statements.
Similar surveys in Europe often reveal identical or higher negative views, and often, people believe that there is too much attention given to the Holocaust. So, if nearly 25% of Germans and Europeans feel this way, they would do well to remember that the Jewish Community will always remember the Holocaust and do so publicly.
Why? First, they are a people taught to remember, in their faith to God, Holy days, and their history. Secondly, they do so because Europe would like to forget. Finally, there must remain a canary in the mine or a voice of warning because as some here have posted, Anti-Semitism has been here for centuries and remains.
This thread is the equivalent to the writing in the book Brave New World, where the overseers repeatedly removed facts of history, dictionaries, current affairs and replaced that reality with fake events showing only stories suiting their political agenda and therefore allowed.
Removed facts, history, – Fake events? You are not a Holocaust denier, are you? – Figures on current rising Anti-Semitism in Europe and scores of examples are readily available for all to see. Political agenda? Oh, yes, all this is probably another ‘Jewish backed conspiracy’ is that it?
No, it’s about staying on the topic. Not steering a debate to a comparison of a Science Fiction novel. Agenda? Yes, It’s called truth.