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A recent global study on anti-Semitism has indicated that when all the numbers and percentages are added up, there are over a billion anti-Semites in the world. One billion people filled with hatred and venom towards the Jewish people and their country, Israel. That number is unfathomable, significantly larger than world Jewry who constitute less than 0.2% of the global population. While this is evident around the world with the worst percentages in North Africa and the Middle East, our microscope is fixed on Europe.
Levels of anti-Semitism are as high as they were pre-World War 2. This is not surprising given that Europe is home to extremely large Muslim communities and election results in a variety of European countries are showing an alarming shift towards the right. This shift in European real politik has once again brought Europe’s Jews front and centre as the ubiquitous scapegoat for all the frustration that people may be feeling.
The incidents are frightening. Thousands of protesters in Paris screaming “Jews, France is not for you”, individual attacks against France’s Jewish citizens that included the beating up of a teacher and the carving of a swastika on his chest and various others, such as the murders at a Jewish day school in Toulouse that left four dead, have spurred the Israeli government to think seriously about encouraging French Aliya.
But France is not the only country seeing flagrant acts of anti-Semitism. According to the survey, Greece is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. Hardly surprising given the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in that country. Hungary boasts the far right Jobbik party, voted in by one in five Hungarians.
Newly minted European basketballs champions, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, had their victory greeted with anti-Semitic tweets from disappointed Real Madrid fans that included a post that read “they should all be killed in an oven”. While the Euroleague expressed its “shock and disappointment” and have promised to investigate, this kind of invective is nothing new in sports. Just ask all those footballs clubs from Amsterdam to London whose supporters have chanted “Jews to the gas” or salute with the inverted Nazi salute known as the quenelle.
Cut to yesterday’s brutal slaying of four people, including two Israeli tourists, who were gunned down in cold blood in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium. Belgians go to the polls today in a federal election. Dubbed “the mother of all elections” it will be an extremely tight race. It is also the final day in elections for the European Parliament elections. Twenty one EU member countries will go to the polls and 751 MEP’s will be elected to serve for five years.
Platitudes and indignant statements just aren’t enough. What more is it going to take until something substantial is done? How many bodies need to lie in school yards and museums before Europe realizes that it is fast becoming the graveyard it once was yet again?
The jig is up. Disguised as anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism has a new face. It is evil, it is vengeful and it is violent. One hopes that today’s EU parliamentary elections that take place just a day after the Brussels massacre will be a wake- up call for Europe’s leaders.
Since the end of the Holocaust which decimated two thirds of European Jewry we have chanted NEVER AGAIN. This is our rallying call to rise, fight against anti-Semitic invective and teach future generations. Sadly, NEVER AGAIN is becoming AGAIN and AGAIN. What more will it take?