Anti-Semitism Worldwide: It’s Getting Worse

 

The cancer of anti-Semitism hasn’t been cured; it’s only gone into remission. These days it’s making a notable re-entry worldwide. By looking at France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, we can get a pretty good idea of the reasons for the increase; we can also take a look at the problem in the United States. And we can’t fool ourselves into thinking that there’s going to be a quick or easy cure.

There are 500,000 Jews living in France:

In 2012 an Islamic fundamentalist in Toulouse shot dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school. In January 2015, four people were killed at a Jewish supermarket by an associate of the two brothers who had killed staff at Charlie Hebdo. Most recently a 85 year-old Jewish woman [Holocaust survivor] was stabbed to death and set on fire. Reports of anti-Semitic violence in France rose by 26 percent last year, which has led record numbers of Jews to immigrate to Israel.

Of particular note, a 65-year old Orthodox Jewish woman was thrown to her death out of her apartment window in April 2017; it was ruled only last month that the motive was anti-Semitic.

The leadership in France is reluctantly acknowledging that they have a Muslim anti-Semitic problem. More than that, both the Left and Right political party members are resorting to anti-Semitic slurs. It’s unclear precisely what steps to take to deal with this increasingly abhorrent occurrence:

The failure of addressing anti-Semitism in France is political, whether lack of political courage or of extreme political correctness. If leaders in Paris are unable to address the deep-rooted anti-Semitic beliefs in France, then acts like murder of this Holocaust survivor are bound to repeat.

Germany has an even worse situation:

The police registered 1,453 anti-Semitic incidents in Germany last year, more than in five of the previous seven years, and organizations including the American Jewish Congress say fewer than a third of such incidents get reported.

No matter who the primary perpetrators are, Levi Salomon, head of the Jewish Forum for Democracy against Anti-Semitism states that most violent incidents are caused by Muslims. He also points out that he doesn’t want to stigmatize a community, but to say the problem doesn’t lie with migrants makes the situation worse.

In addition:

Others paint a more nuanced picture, saying prejudice and stereotypes harbored by recent migrants from largely Muslim countries have added to an existing undercurrent of anti-Semitism among some Germans and older migrant communities from Eastern Europe, resulting in an increasingly threatening environment.

Some people in Germany have tried to rely on the education system to change students’ perceptions. Unfortunately, many of the Muslim students have been conditioned to anti-Semitism in their countries of origin, and are educated otherwise with difficulty, due to their ignorance of the language of their new country, and attitudes remain unchanged.

Finally, in Great Britain, an extensive study of 5,466 “observations” on anti-Semitism determined that although 30% of British society holds one anti-Semitic attitude, that doesn’t mean that 30% of the population is anti-Semitic. In fact, those same people agreed with one or more positive statements about Jews:

With this in mind, it is worth stressing a fact that runs the risk of being understated in a problem-centred report: levels of antisemitism in Great Britain are among the lowest in the world. British Jews constitute a religious and ethnic group that is seen overwhelmingly positively by an absolute majority of the British population: about 70% of the population of Great Britain have a favourable opinion of Jews and do not entertain any antisemitic ideas or views at all.

For those wondering about how the results from Muslims were evaluated, keep in mind that levels of anti-Semitism in Great Britain are the lowest in the world:

The prevalence of negativity towards Jews and Israel is, on average, twice as high among Muslims than the general population.

Regarding the US, I am somewhat reluctant to quote two recent studies; it’s unclear whether either or both of these organizations provide objective analyses, since both tend to be politically oriented. Here’s one organization from January 2018:

An internet survey conducted by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) on anti-Semitism in the US shows that 70% of respondents experienced an anti-Semitic incident over the past year.

WZO Vice Chairman Yaakov Hagoel said the recent upswing in anti-Semitism in the US is a result of US President Donald Trump’s support of Israel, and not from the people’s hate of the Jews around him. According to him, Trump’s policies are an important factor in the rise in anti-Semitism not just in the US but around the world.

Based on the comment about Trump, I think it would be reasonable to question the credibility of this organization’s comments.

The L.A. Times reported these study results:

Harassment, threats and vandalism cases targeting Jews in the United States surged to near-record levels in 2017, jumping 57% over the previous year, according to a new report by a prominent civil rights organization.

The Anti-Defamation League counted 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents — the second-highest number since the group began tracking them nearly four decades ago.

The figure represents the largest annual jump the organization has ever recorded. Physical attacks, which accounted for less than 1% of the incidents, was the only category that fell.

The overall count, based on data from law enforcement, victims and local Jewish organizations, includes an increase in bomb threats against Jewish centers, vandalism at synagogues and Jewish cemeteries and threats at schools.

The Anti-Defamation League has also been under severe criticism regarding its objectivity for documenting anti-Semitism. It’s therefore difficult to know how accurate the data are.

This raises a number of serious concerns regarding the increases in anti-Semitic acts, how they are being addressed, and the degree to which we should be concerned:

  • As shown in France, there seems to be a reluctance to identify actions as anti-Semitic. Those countries that are trying to bring in migrants are hesitant to criticize Muslim populations. This ambivalence could be costly.
  • A lack of political will or a commitment to political correctness may cause leaders to be indecisive, possibly putting their populations at great risk.
  • In Germany, efforts to change minds about anti-Semitism after World War II seem to have had limited success; trying to influence young people today through the education system doesn’t seem to be working.
  • Blaming unpopular politicians, such as Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Angela Merkel in Germany, or Donald Trump in the US for a rise in anti-Semitism only distorts the true issues.
  • Efforts to inflate the anti-Semitism numbers might be occurring due to a desire to engender support for the Jewish populations that are victimized.
  • Even stopping Muslim immigration may not help; too many potentially anti-Semitic Muslims are now residents all over the world.

If actions are not taken in the near future, the impact to Jews worldwide could ultimately be disastrous.

What do you think?

There are 77 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. True Conservative™ Inactive
    True Conservative™
    @hokiecon

    Solution, more immigration!

    • #61
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I was listening to the Three Martini Lunch podcast and they were speaking about Nikki Haley. I can’t celebrate her courage enough. To me, her support of Israel and rants against the bigotry of the UN is so inspiring. She is fearless and doesn’t mince words. Too bad our own aren’t just as inspired, instead of cozying up to people who actually despise them.

    • #62
  3. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    From today’s Gatestone: ”

    Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in London, recently published a report, “Europe’s Young Adults and Religion”:

    “Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years,” Bullivant said.

    According to Bullivant, many young Europeans “will have been baptised and then never darken the door of a church again. Cultural religious identities just aren’t being passed on from parents to children. It just washes straight off them… “And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

    Richard Dawkins, an atheist and the author of The God Delusion, responded to the study’s release by tweeting to his millions of Twitter followers:

    Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme:
    “Always keep a-hold of nurse
    For fear of finding something worse.”

    Dawkins is apparently concerned that that after the demise of Christianity in Europe, there will not be an atheistic utopia, but a rising Islam.”

    As of 2050, one in three Swedes will be Muslim. 

    Forget, for a moment, the particulars of Islam; can anyone who knows anything about human nature or human history feel optimistic about that?

    • #63
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I’m reminded of Reverend Martin Niemöller’s famous prose:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    These days, we should put the last line first, then substitute “Christians” for “Socialists” and “Caucasians” for “Trade Unionists”.  This is what the left has done . . .

    • #64
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    “And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

    Perhaps a minor point, but when Muslims come west, their birthrates also drop, although still higher than the rest of the population. We can hope.

    • #65
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    “. . . and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

    Of course they do.  In Islam, the penalty for apostasy is death.  I often wonder how many Muslims would convert to any other religion if the horrific corporal punishments involved in maintaining the faith were removed . . .

    I should have added there’s an old expression “Peace at the point of a sword.”  I believe for Islam, it should be “Faith at the point of a sword.”

    • #66
  7. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    “And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

    Perhaps a minor point, but when Muslims come west, their birthrates also drop, although still higher than the rest of the population. We can hope.

    Yes, but they’re younger to begin with. I don’t think the Pew study was anticipating that birthrates would remain as high as they would be in the country of origin. Heck, at this point, the newcomers only have to break even to “win” because Europeans aren’t replacing themselves.

    By which —before I’m accused—I do not mean “white people.”   

    I remember my grandmother calling Italians and Spaniards “swarthy”—so quaint—and telling her that swarthy people were actually better looking than the pasty, narrow-mouthed WASPS that littered her social set. I’m a fan of multi-colors and  love that my country and my own family (my grandmother’s descendants!) are rainbow-y. I like variety in accent, in looks, in fashion and style, in music and art, in viewpoint, in ways of living and being in the world. Indeed, it is diversity that I’d like to conserve. I don’t really see how the importation of large numbers of people who are homophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist, intolerant of variations in their own faith let alone the faiths of others, racist and adamantly opposed to freedom of speech is going to foster happy diversity in Europe. 

    Instead, I fear (perhaps excessively?) that the Jews will be forced to emigrate. Good for us and for Israel, catastrophic on so many levels for Europe. 

     

    • #67
  8. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Bring your food and your music, leave everything else at home.

    • #68
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Stad (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    “. . . and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

    Of course they do. In Islam, the penalty for apostasy is death. I often wonder how many Muslims would convert to any other religion if the horrific corporal punishments involved in maintaining the faith were removed . . .

    I doubt it would be that many.  Threats and violence alone can’t keep a social group together unless it consists of a lot of the people supporting that method of social cohesion.  

    • #69
  10. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Dawkins is apparently concerned that that after the demise of Christianity in Europe, there will not be an atheistic utopia, but a rising Islam.

    Dawkins is a bit late to that party. He’s a good biologist but a social and political infant. While it’s nice to see him waking up to reality, it’s too little too late. He’s a slow learner who will be leading from behind, to coin a phrase. Oops, somebody else already coined it.

    • #70
  11. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I certainly have Christian friends who are worried that I may not go to heaven if I don’t accept Jesus as my savior, and they don’t understand that view, but I take it that you think we are regarded as second-class citizens religiously.

    Second class at best. It doesn’t particularly bother me as long as it stays in the realm of belief. When that belief is articulated in law, it bothers me.

    I doubt it particularly bothers your Christian friends that Maimonides classified Christianity as idolatry based on some of its modes of worship (IIRC things like burning incense before religious images, venerating statues by kneeling or bowing (this was of course long before Luther.) He was a legal scholar, and categorized some acts as intrinsically being those of religious worship, others as being acts of worship for a particular deity.

    Or that we understand Christianity to be making wrong assumptions about the nature of G-d; Jews know better having been given the Torah both written and oral, so we are forbidden to make those assumptions. For non-Jews it’s wrong and ultimately undesirable, but not strictly forbidden.

    This in no way means that I get to be nasty or conduct myself dishonestly with non-Jews, and I am grateful to live in a country where agreeing to disagree is normative

    BTW, Judaism tightly limits intrinsic acts of worship to specific times, places and circumstances. For example, slaughtering animals for meat would be forbidden outside the place where animal sacrifices are to be brought (parts of certain categories of sacrifice were offered on the altar, parts eaten by the priests, the rest by the one bringing the sacrifice—not that they were required to eat the whole thing themselves, they could throw a barbecue for their friends and family if they wanted,) namely the Mishkan in the desert, or at Shiloh and then in the Temple in Jerusalem were it not for Deut 12:21 and the oral tradition that gives the practical details. 

    In the absence of the Temple, we not only don’t offer incense, we don’t even compound the formula for incense that was used in the Temple.

    • #71
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    Second class at best. It doesn’t particularly bother me as long as it stays in the realm of belief. When that belief is articulated in law, it bothers me.

    I think this assessment may be an unfair generalization. We all, consciously or not, elevate ourselves over others for any number of reasons, particularly in the material world. Often the things over which we elevate ourselves are petty, but not always. I wonder if a person who hopes that Jews will “catch up” or “deepen his or her belief” to accept Jesus can justly be accused of seeing Jews as “second class”? Or as a Jew, do I say I don’t need an intermediary to G-d, such as Jesus, because I can connect to G-d directly–do I see myself as more advanced? I don’t think I do. I see both perspectives as different, not one superior over the other. And that only one deepens my relationship to G-d.

    • #72
  13. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I think this assessment may be an unfair generalization.

    I’m not sure what you mean by that sentence. When I was in high school it bothered me to hear a kid from another school use “Jew the price down” in conversation, but I already didn’t like him and I was pretty sure if I made a big deal of it he could kick my [expletive,] not to mention it would have gotten me kicked out of the gym where we were. But basically I chickened out and let it go.

    There used to be places in the US where the law said “you can’t open your business on Sunday” and there are countries where kosher slaughter is forbidden.

    I do see the utility of regulating slaughter in urban settings… which is how government deals with killing chickens and goats in Candomble, or Muslims making their Eid slaughter. (Well, OK.  The first is likely to be ignored in Miami, the second in Dearborn.) But then we’re dealing with government by men, and not law, aren’t we?

     

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    We all, consciously or not, elevate ourselves over others for any number of reasons, particularly in the material world.

    When that’s just interpersonal, it’s different from when it’s done as an exercise of temporal power. Particularly when it’s systematic, or you really are a second class citizen and you have no recourse.

    • #73
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    When that’s just interpersonal, it’s different from when it’s done as an exercise of temporal power. Particularly when it’s systematic, or you really are a second class citizen and you have no recourse.

    I think I better understand your point–the difference between individual acts of anti-Semitism (such as the boy in your school) and government action. I’ve been called a “dirty Jew” twice in my life–both times as a child because I beat someone (volleyball, and I was chosen to be an emcee). But I just don’t know if that was representative of many people. As you say, maybe it’s irrelevant if it stays at the interpersonal level (even if it hurts). But when the government acts to limit the rights of any religious group, based on an increased perception that a religious group is a threat to the state, it can be deadly. Am I understanding you correctly?

    • #74
  15. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    Second class at best. It doesn’t particularly bother me as long as it stays in the realm of belief. When that belief is articulated in law, it bothers me.

    I think this assessment may be an unfair generalization. We all, consciously or not, elevate ourselves over others for any number of reasons, particularly in the material world. Often the things over which we elevate ourselves are petty, but not always. I wonder if a person who hopes that Jews will “catch up” or “deepen his or her belief” to accept Jesus can justly be accused of seeing Jews as “second class”? Or as a Jew, do I say I don’t need an intermediary to G-d, such as Jesus, because I can connect to G-d directly–do I see myself as more advanced? I don’t think I do. I see both perspectives as different, not one superior over the other. And that only one deepens my relationship to G-d.

    The way I see it—and I know I am not at all representative—is that I am a Christian for two reasons. One is, essentially, cultural; I was raised in a non-church-going, essentially secular household that nonetheless had a Bible on the bookshelf that contained an Old and New testament. We celebrated Christmas, and my mother read us the story from Luke every year on Christmas Eve. 

    The second reason is that Jesus is my Savior. That is to say, there would be no Old Testament on my family’s bookshelf were it not for Jesus; Jesus is who gave and gives me and everyone like me access to Judaism while the stories of Jesus are what defined my culture’s understanding of God and my own.

    Had Jesus never come along, Buddhists would still have Buddhism,  Jews would still have Judaism, and my relatives would be worshipping Wotan, possibly in a damp cave someplace. 

    Jesus’ Jewishness isn’t incidental, it’s essential. I like the “branch grafted onto a good tree” image; that’s what I am. 

    Jews don’t have to change a thing except—SIGH—maybe their address. “France is now, once more, a country where a citizen can be attacked simply for being Jewish.” That includes an elderly woman who survived the Holocaust, only to be murdered by a Muslim immigrant. It makes me sick to think of it.

     

    • #75
  16. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I wonder if a person who hopes that Jews will “catch up” or “deepen his or her belief” to accept Jesus can justly be accused of seeing Jews as “second class”? Or as a Jew, do I say I don’t need an intermediary to G-d, such as Jesus, because I can connect to G-d directly–do I see myself as more advanced? I don’t think I do. I see both perspectives as different, not one superior over the other. And that only one deepens my relationship to G-d.

    I’m late to the party here, but I would think that if a person believes that ‘his way’ (or for atheists ‘no way’) is even slightly more correct, it implies a kind of hierarchy – in this world or the next* – and that said view is the de facto advanced one either through evolution or not having taken a wrong turn. 

    This doesn’t apply to you; I do not believe that you see others’ perspectives as inferior. 

    Most religions do so intrinsically, though few modern ones do so with contempt or hatred. 
    ___________________
    *Whether the other guys go nowhere, go to hell, or go to Heaven Lite™ varies by religion (for atheists everyone goes nowhere, but true non-believers get to do so smugly – hey, maybe that’s why we can be so obnoxious; we’ll never be able to say ‘I told you so’). 

    • #76
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Late to respond, @katebraestrup and @TBA, but so appreciate your comments and insight. Thanks so much!

    • #77
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.