Europe’s Jew Hatred, and Ours

Europe’s Jew Hatred, and Ours

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December 5, 2018

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Paris. Toulouse. Malmo. Copenhagen. Brussels. Berlin.

For most people, they are lovely cities where you might happily take a holiday. But for the world’s Jews, they are something else, too. They are place names of hate.

Paris for us doesn’t mean just baguettes and Brie but also this year’s murder of a Holocaust survivor in her apartment in the 11th arrondissement and the 2015 siege of a kosher supermarket during which four people were killed. Toulouse is the place where in 2012 three Jewish children and a teacher were murdered at school.

Malmo doesn’t call to mind the Swedish coast so much as fire bombs planted outside a Jewish burial chapel. Copenhagen? Copenhagen is where a 37-year-old Jewish economist and voluntary security guard was gunned down as he was guarding a bat mitzvah at the city’s main synagogue in 2015. (The notion that synagogues require armed guards has long since stopped making us flinch.)

Brussels is where in 2014 four people were murdered at the Jewish museum. Berlin is a dateline we associate with news of people getting pummeled or harassed, for the sin of wearing a kippah or speaking Hebrew.

And this is to say nothing of the nonviolent attacks, which are impossible to keep up with. The desecration of cemeteries. Swastikas painted on synagogues and schools. Calling Jews “apes and pigs” at anti-Israel rallies.

On Tuesday, a CNN poll about the state of anti-Semitism in Europe startled many Americans — and confirmed what Jews who have been paying attention already knew about the Continent.

Not 74 years since the Holocaust ended, a third of respondents said they knew only a little or nothing at all about it.

The poll, which surveyed more than 7,000 people across Austria, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden, didn’t only discover ignorance. It exposed bigotry.

Nearly a quarter of the respondents said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars. More than a quarter believe that Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in five believe that most anti-Semitism is a response to the behavior of Jews. Roughly a third say Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own goals. Just 54 percent say Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state.

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