Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Is European Anti-Semitism Back?

One in three European Jews has felt at some time or another recently that Europe has grown so hostile that they considered moving.

This comes from an online survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.  The same survey revealed that one in four Jews had suffered either harassment or direct attacks due to their faith.

Reason magazine reported these findings in a broader piece underscoring the growing problem of anti-Jewish intolerance in Europe.

Anti-Semitism was blamed on left wing politics and Islamic extremism.  Only 19 percent blamed "right wing" individuals or groups.  It should be noted, of course, that some neo Nazi groups have come together in Central Europe.  They, presumably, cling to the traditionally irrational hatreds.  Many misidentify Nazis as "right" when their traditions and ideology speak to a leftist origin.

A Norwegian academic even resurrected the old czarist hoax "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."  This was a tract concocted by the Russian secret police to discredit that country's Jews.  It distracted attention away from the tottering Czar and directed it toward the vulnerable Jewish community.  Treating it as legitimate reflects a horrifying tendency among European leftists to more brazenly unearth centuries old hatreds and stereotypes thought dead for decades.

This is no sign of the return of the nightmare of the Holocaust, but the dangers of prejudice and persecution are real.  European peoples do not enjoy the same constitutional protections taken for granted in the United States.  Rights and liberties are more easily infringed upon (for example, Britain is considering legislation that could seriously impact the right of the free press in that country.)

Americans in love with what they think is the superior European culture should look again at the dark underbelly of prejudice that lurks just beneath its urbane surface.

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