This must read, by Donald Snyder of The Forward, published recently in Haaretz, focuses on Muslim anti-Semitism in Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city. However, the piece focuses on the broader European phenomenon of increasing hostility towards Jews and, most frightening, included these passages:
A continent-wide study, conducted by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, released in December 2009, found that 45.7% of the Europeans surveyed agree somewhat or strongly with the following statement: “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” And 37.4% agreed with this statement: “Considering Israel’s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews.”
“[There is] quite a high level of anti-Semitism that is hidden beneath critics of Israel’s policies,” said Beate Kupper, one of the study’s principal researchers, in a telephone interview with the Forward, citing this data and a tendency to “blame Jews in general for Israel’s policies.”
Kupper said that in places where there is a strong taboo against expressions of anti-Semitism, such as Germany, “Criticism of Israel is a great way to express your anti-Semitism in an indirect way.”
The anti-Semitism, and extreme anti-Israel bias, at The Guardian – which this blog primarily focuses on – clearly is part of a much larger ideological trend spreading across the Continent. Those of us who consistently express alarm over what we perceive to be the increasing respectability of classic anti-Semitic tropes – and yet have to endure complaints that the Jewish community always “exaggerates” the extent of the problem – would (unfortunately) seem to be vindicated by the results of this study.
If we’ve learned anything from history it’s that Jewish safety – indeed, Jewish freedom – can not be taken for granted, not now, not ever.
Read the full essay, here.