The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the West

On Sunday, February 15, 2015, almost immediately after a Jew was murdered outside of a synagogue in Copenhagen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a Facebook message that amazed much of the world:

“Radical Islamic terror struck again in Europe, this time in Denmark. We send our condolences to the Danish people and the Jewish community in Denmark. Again in Europe Jews were murdered just because they are Jews in a wave of attacks that is expected to continue, including also murderous anti-Semitic attacks.

“The Jews are entitled to protection in each country and state, but we say to our brothers and sisters to Jews: Israel is your home. We are calling for the integration of immigrants from Europe. I would like to say to all European Jews, and Jews everywhere: Israel is the home of every Jew.”

This offended a number of Europeans leaders and several have come forward to say so, but few will fail to see the reasoning behind Netanyahu’s comment – not when even French President Hollande is standing in front of a cemetery with over 250 desecrated Jewish graves and asking “Must we put soldiers in front of cemeteries?”

Nor can many argue Netanyahu’s point while a viral video has emerged of an Israeli journalist, Zvika Klein, walking the streets of Paris wearing his yarmulke and being put upon with insults, spitting, and threats.

Statistical measurements of anti-Semitism are a bit fuzzy, as different countries measure anti-Semitic incidents differently (and I also suspect that many incidents such as the ones Klein encountered are too commonplace to report) but it is clear anti-Semitism is at a dangerously high level in the West. And I contend that this high level of anti-Semitism is linked to the West’s increasing Progressivism.

Today’s anti-Semitism is not quite the anti-Semitism of old. Today’s Jew-haters are not predominately people who think Jews killed Christ or Jews control the world economy. Nor are today’s anti-Semites all Islamists. Today’s anti-Semites in Western countries are primarily Progressives who in fact hate the West. And to much of the world Israel is a Western state as much as it is a Jewish one.

As activist Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency for Israel states, “There is a strengthening of the Islamist community and a growing hatred of Israel from the direction of the liberal community. The two things together make Europe a very uncomfortable place for Jews.”

It wasn’t always this way. Through much of Israel’s early decades, the Left embraced Israel. But as Joshua Maravchik wrote in his book “Making David Into Goliath: How The World Turned Against Israel” Israel displayed such power in defeating the combined might of the Arab world during the 1967 Six-Day War that Israel would never again be seen as a sympathetic sort of retirement home for Holocaust survivors. Israel instead was seen as it was, and is – a major force for Western values. From there it was easy for those who consider the United States an imperial super-powered oppressor of the world’s poor to start seeing Israel in this same light. And the world’s poor (the Davids) became the people who called themselves Palestinians.

This anti-Israeli sentiment by the Left is evident in America as well. We see it in books by Jimmy Carter, at Democratic National Conventions where recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is booed, and in the Obama White House, which is organizing a boycott of the Netanyahu speech to Congress.

But it is most evident where we are most Progressive,on our college campuses, and it takes the form of the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement.

Professor William Jacobson of LegalInsurrection.com explains the BDS movement here:

“[BDS] is mostly radical leftwing faculty who hate Western civilization, who hate Israel, and who are willing to tolerate just about anything to get at Israel. … They have taken what started as an anti-Jewish call at the Durban conference. It was based on Jew hatred. It goes back at least to the 1920s in what was then the British mandate of Palestine, and now they are pushing it forward.

They don’t boycott Syria. They don’t boycott Iran. They don’t boycott China. You can take any of the excuses they use for boycotting Israel and you can apply them to a dozen or two dozen or three dozen countries. But they don’t. They only do it to Israel, and that’s where I have the problem.

You have Islamists who outwardly hate Jews and Leftists who say they don’t but are willing to align themselves with the Islamists in order to get at Israel. And so it really is a clarifying moment of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the radical Left that have taken over our universities.

If there was just one black country in the world, and it were treated differently, and it was singled out for standards applied to no one else, and if it were punished based on standards applied to no one else, you would say its racism.

So why is it when they apply it to the only Jewish country in the world it’s not anti-Semitism? ”

One can, of course, be pro-Jewish and anti-Israel, or even anti-Jewish and pro-Israel. Facebook has no shortage of these sort of “Jews Against Zionism” pages. But Israel and the Jewish people are entwined, especially in the eyes of the Progressives who hate Israel. As Dr. Martin Luther King is quoted as saying, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”

– DK

About DarkKnight3565

A graduate of Rutgers University, DK enjoys music, movies, comic books, and political discourse. Follow him on Twitter at @DarkKnight3565.
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