Is the Increase in Anti-Semitism Controllable?

Is the Increase in Anti-Semitism Controllable?

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

There is a legitimate concern among Jews the world over that indeed the sky is falling yet the increased incidents of anti-Semitism do not appear all to be coming from the same place. This makes what was the fear of growing anti-Semitism in Europe or world-wide anti-Israel feeling that much significant. Yesterday’s repulsed attack at a café on Saturday afternoon in Copenhagen where a Swedish artist/cartoonist/satirist was speaking, was followed in the evening by the killing of a Jewish security guard outside a Synagogue where a Bar-Mitzvah celebration was being held.

These recent incidents only add credence to a genuine growing concern as to how to interpret this trend. The numbers of examples do not lend themselves to a very clear explanation, but they do suggest that the dislike of Jews is widespread, growing, and acceptable. It also demonstrates an insensibility to Jews in general.

  • *The British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, observed after his return from visiting Auschwitz on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the camp, that anti-Semitism is alive and well in Britain. Referring to the increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K., he stated, that, “These pernicious crimes have been accompanied by a creeping cultural acceptance of anti-Semitic attitudes and behavior.”
  • *The Germany Interior Ministry recently organized a commission to fight anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany, yet, incredulously, no one from the German Jewish community was included on the commission.
  • *President Obama recently cited the attack in Paris against the Kosher Jewish Market as perpetrated by a killer “randomly [killing] a bunch of folks in that deli.” As if this dismissive approach of a stark racially biased crime by the President was not bad sufficient, the White House press secretary as well as the State Department spokesperson– in trying to extract the President from his “slip-up”–suggested that there were people other than Jews in the deli.
  • *As if French Jews had not experienced enough, less than three weeks after the January attack on the Kosher Marketplace, a French soldier guarding a Jewish Community Center in Nice was knifed by an apparent African Muslim.
  • *Two weeks ago, a Parisian graphic-design studio posted a job-search advertisement on its website.  The third of the eight criteria cited for the position was “…if possible not Jewish.”

Into all of this ugliness there is one rather important silver lining—at least at the moment. Political leaders throughout the world, generally, are not bowing to the scary increase in anti-Semitism. In fact some of the leading, outspoken voices in opposition have come from some of the major political leaders. This is what creates the difference from the 1930’s; however, some Jewish and Israeli leaders believe that this may not be enough and will not be sustained. 

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