As the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz draws near, anti-Semitism has resurfaced in Europe. David Smith reports in the Observer:
Britain's powerful elite is still infected with a 'deep strain of anti-Semitism' and there is a growing hatred of Jews in the country at large, Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, warned last night.Peter Pulzer is reported by the Independent as saying that 'politicians and the media are responsible for reinforcing "pre-Holocaust stereotypes" when referring to the Arab-Israeli conflict':
Phillips gave a stark warning about rising anti-semitism: 'It's... going in the wrong direction. I think we're being infected by the right and anti-semitism in Europe, and some of it is about tension in the Middle East.
'But I think we ought not to kid ourselves that this is all about conflict between people who have a beef about Palestine and Israel. This is also about old-fashioned hatred of Jews and people who believe Jews are an international conspiracy.
'Let's not make any mistake about this. As well as on the streets, there is still within the British establishment a deep strain of anti-Semitism, that somehow regards Jews as not quite pukka, not quite "our kind of people".
"We are not back in the 1930s, but at a time when anti-Semitism should have been dispersed the trend has reversed direction. One now has to worry about it again in a way that 10 or 20 years ago you did not," said the Gladstone Professor of Government and Public Administration at the University of Oxford and fellow of All Souls College.Claude Lanzmann, interviewed by the Jerusalem Post:
Professor Pulzer, author of The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria, said he was concerned about the alarming rise in "soft" anti-Semitism since the 11 September 2001 terror attacks, with MPs and writers using "coded" language to express prejudiced views.
"Some of the coded allusions that you find in coverage of that particular issue and the sort of things public figures say do tend to reinforce traditional unfavourable images of Jews. It's not explicit or violent but it's subtle and it's coded[.]"
Why is anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe?Then read here about anti-Semitism in French schools and the efforts to counter it:
There is no way to do away once and for all with anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is something totally different than any other form of racism. It has been on the rise for a long time now because barriers against it have been shattered. Anti-Semitism uses many different masks and anti-Zionism can be seen as one of them. It is like an illness, with periods of remission and hope. Then hope is betrayed and the illness returns. But one should not exaggerate, anti-Semitism can be fought and governments are fighting against it.
In France, an inter-ministry meeting is immediately organized each time there is an anti-Semitic act. It's like a Pavlovian reflex, an automatic reaction. Governments are more alert against anti-Semitism than they've ever been, but paradoxically, anti-Semitism has become something totally commonplace. It doesn't shock people anymore.
I remember in the 1950s how shocked people were when the anti-Semitic French newspaper of the 1930s, Rivarol, was published again in the name of freedom of speech. There were taboos, but these taboos, these safety locks, have been crushed.
"Filthy Jew!" schoolchildren howl at a classmate. "Jews only want money and power," they tell their teachers. "Death to the Jews" graffiti appear on school walls outside Paris and other French cities.That's France. This is Britain (from the first two items above): in Stamford Hill there have been at least eight attacks against Jews recently; Jewish graves have been desecrated in a cemetery in Aldershot for the second time in three months.
These are not scenes from the wartime Nazi occupation or a fictional France where the far-right has taken control. Outright anti-Semitism like this is a fact of life these days in the poor suburbs where much of France's Muslim minority lives.
After a slow response when this "new anti-Semitism" flared four years ago, France has made fighting prejudice against Jews into a national priority. Holocaust education in state schools now starts with pupils as young as nine years old.
But even the best plans for teaching about the Nazi massacre of Jews can fall short when confronted with an Islamic identity spreading among a minority of France's five million Muslims.
"It works with those who are ready to listen," said Iannis Roder, a history teacher in the tough northern suburbs of Paris. "But it doesn't work with those who won't listen. They have their minds made up."