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June 7, 2012 10:29 am

Anti-Semitism: Where Left Meets Right

avatar by Dovid Efune

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Swastika graffiti. Photo: wiki commons.

Among communal activists, there is widening concern that the clouds are darkening over Europe’s Jewish population.

On the street, in certain circles, economic turmoil and decline has prompted the rehashing of typical age old hateful stereotypes of Jewish wealth, control and market manipulation, typically the domain of the nationalist right, these accusations have  also recently found expression in liberal camps such us the ‘occupy’ crowd. This coupled with the rapid spread of political Islam and its illicit bedfellows and enablers on the left, takes on the form of rising boulders that threaten to crush between them Europe’s demographically small and relatively politically submissive Jewish institutions.

The recent unspeakable massacre in Toulouse France was one manifestation of this horrifying trend that captured headlines around the world. On Saturday night French and Jewish media outlets reported that a group of three Yarmulke bearing Jewish youths were set upon by an Islamist mob that beat them with hammers and metal rods. What many do not know, is that according to Ariel Goldman Vice President of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), speaking to Le Figaro columnist Gaetane Morin, “In the month following the Merah incident we have counted 140 similar (to the Lyon attack) acts.” 140 is an astronomical number.

On Tuesday the Jerusalem Post reported on an incident that starkly demonstrated just how the growing hatred of the right and of the left moves in a circular fashion, eventually meeting and joining forces forming a frightening mutation of a movement bubbling over with anti-Jewish sentiment. In Jena, Germany, “the local branch of the neo-Nazi party (NPD) expressed solidarity for the campaign calling for a boycott of Israeli products that is supported by the….Social Democratic Mayor Albrecht Schröter and the left-wing NGO Pax Christi.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center contemplated issuing a formal travel advisory to the Jewish Diaspora warning against travel to the city. This alliance of prejudice threatens to set a precedent for similar companionships in the future.

On Monday, I was invited to host a group of British Jewish bikers visiting New York for one day of their four week journey from Toronto to Miami discovering American Jewish life along the way. The trip is being filmed for a documentary that will be aired on Sky Atlantic and other channels entitled ‘Jews on Bikes.’ Regular guys, they weren’t observant, particularly learned or communally active, but they were impressionably genuine, sincere and fun loving. During the course of the day, we discussed many fundamental issues of Jewish interest and concern, among them the evolving threats to Europe’s Jews.

Participants in Sunday’s Israel Day Parade in New York, they remarked on how unique they found the Parade to be as an overt expression of Jewish pride. “Something like this just doesn’t exist in London,” they told me. One of the rugged Harley Davidson riders relayed how he had once attended a parade for Israel in Trafalgar Square and marched with a draped Israeli flag over his shoulders, “after it was over” he said, ” I folded it up and hid it in my pocket.”

Growing up as a ‘conspicuous Jew’ in England, I also experienced my fair share of verbal and other anti-Semitic assaults.

Over the coming months and years, whatever the future holds, it is our response to these challenges that will influence the future of Jewish life in Europe.

On one thing all agreed, and that is that there is no marked historical precedent to indicate that Jewish interests have been served by passivity, complacency, silence, patience or submission.

As Europe endures yet another bout of chronic moral scoliosis, our duty is to heed the words of Elie Wiesel writing for the Algemeiner in the wake of the Toulouse horror, “when we are persecuted, our response must be (to)…… do everything to become more Jewish.” I would add, that this Jewishness should be asserted in every which way.

The author is the editor of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

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  • Braham Finestone

    CST in the UK needs to wake up to the fact that institutional racism here, is in fact being reinforced by the same underhand methods used by the left and the right to manifest itself in exactly the same way as the author describes. People accept it, but choose to ignore it, ‘the it could never happen in our own backyard attitude’ as per in the 1930s.
    I myself was recently harangued on the street after being barged in the street near to our Shull on Shabbat 3 weeks ago, whether wearing my Kippa without a hat in a heatwave had anything to do with it am not too sure until I questioned the perpetrator only to be greeted by a verbal tirade of abuse unprintable in this column.
    On a more optimistic note we now do have Jewish boys joining the Police force and working in the local community and even in a multi-cultural environment such as Brighton & Hove, the influx of foreign students and ignorant people becoming more affluent, the mixture is lethal.
    Whilst the law abiding majority choose to bury their heads in the sand ( both Jews and gentiles alike ) extremes of both left and right emerge. The green Party fills a vacuum but is led by an Anti-semitic and Palestinian leaning green MP. Even our own MP will ignore her in public
    Just as 2 clear examples of anti semitism have emerged; slogans chalked on blackboards in Brighton pubs ‘Death to the Jews’ and ‘Jews killed Jesus for gain’ are typical examples of inate ignorance.
    Just for good measure I recently was in Portslade village only 3 miles from Central Hove and Scholboys aged 13-16 were asked about anti-semitism and the reply came that they had never heard of Jews – what are they?
    I rest my case.

  • kevobx

    Why is the world so concern with those on the right and those on the left? King david (Luke 20:42). The truth is whom ever believes the state of Israel is their god, belongs to spiritual darkness! What happen to Jesus Christ, he is the only salvation *John 1:17* The entire world will be exposed by grace and truth. (Luke 13:28).

  • Eddy Bear

    Dear Sirs,
    It seems you are discovering some thing what is very well known in Europe to any one who is a little bit involved in politics matters. Historically said, Mussolini,and many other fascists all over Europe were first socialists – what you call them “liberals” – or vice versa a lot of right wing leaders turned to socialism during and after WWII. An today still, it happend some times, ( see Mr. Kouchner, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, or Mr. Patrick Besson who was minister in 2 govt of Mr. Sarkozy)
    Nothing new under the sun!

    • Edward H

      The rollover into American Culture is new though