Anti-Semitism on the Rise–Everywhere

Anti-Semitism on the Rise–Everywhere

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It is past time for the international community to wake up to the fact that anti-Semitism is seriously on the rise. It is apparent in the so-called enlightened West as much as it is in Central and Eastern Europe as it is in the Middle East.  It is not only the blatantly anti-Semitic acts and statements, but it is also the almost universal absence of any concern voiced by world leaders. In fact, were it not for the Global Forum on anti-Semitism completing its sessions today in Jerusalem, there would be little if any attention focused on it.  

It is not surprising to observe incidents in Hungary, smear attacks in Russia and the Ukraine, a new right wing party in Austria, rumblings in the Czech Republic, as well as the Polish Government redefining its participation in the Holocaust.  It continues most recently in Italy with the resurgence of an extreme right-wing Party which is not only anti-immigrant, racist, and neo-fascist, but also anti-Semitic.  Similarly, the success of the right-wing AfD party in Germany posed a serious obstacle for Andrea Merkel’s ability finally to form a new Government.  

The leaders of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom have been pushing the anti-Semitic envelope the furthest with even greater impunity. Not only has the party leader Jeremy Corbyn himself been repeatedly marked, both in the past as well as contemporaneously, as willing to associate with anti-Semites but also so have many of his allies in the Labour Party. What is of most concern in Britain is that the May Government is not in a very secure position given its own internal leadership problems as well as the exit from Brexit over which it is presiding. It is alarming and strikingly apparent in England that the old Labour leaders who had such a strong relationship with Anglo Jewry have become silent as their party follows on its bigoted path.

Meanwhile the U.S. has seen its own anti-Semitic outburst last week when a Washington, D.C. City Councilor, Trayon White, suggested that the Rothschilds were responsible for the bad weather. White was implying that the Rothschilds—read Jews—would make money on climate change and irregular weather patterns. While White apologized for his characterization and offensive remarks, the problem is that nothing has changed. This is reminiscent of classic anti-Semitism. Once again one sees Jewish scapegoating in modern garb despite the fact that there was absolutely no basis for it.

Finally, there was an electoral footnote to this series of recent anti-Semitic manifestations. The results of the primary in Illinois for the 3rd Congressional District seat yesterday, produced the nomination of Republican Arthur Jones, a member of the American Nazi Party. Jones received 20,399 votes in the uncontested Republican primary.  According to local party leaders, they could find no one willing to challenge Jones for the nomination.

Party chiefs now have announced that they intend to seek an independent to run in the fall general election to challenge Jones and the Democratic incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski; despite the fact that they recognize that it will be almost impossible to swing this seat from the Democrats. It would have shown more courage if the GOP district leaders had tried to energize their voters to defeat Jones in the Republican primary. The Illinois Republican Party leadership now carries the stigma of having 20,399 registered party members who voted for an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier.

Once again there are no world leaders blowing the whistle!

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