Anti-Semitism on the Rise in Europe

October 5, 2012 2:26 am 10 comments

A Swedish boycott Israel-poster. Photo: Jacob Rask.

Seven months ago, following the abhorrent anti-Semitic comments by Baroness Tonge, I wrote an Op-Ed for Progress about how Anti-Semitism is still alive in Europe. What I didn’t know back then is that we were going to witness a sharp rise in the number of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK and in Europe. While there are no official statistics in Europe, and the EU is now conducting a survey into anti-Semitism in 9 European countries, in the UK, the Community Security Trust (CST) recorded in 2011 a total of 586 anti-Semitic crimes in the UK.  But in the first six months of 2012, 513 potential incidents were reported, and 299 cases were deemed anti-Semitic so far.

While half of the incidents last year took place in Manchester, there is a significant rise of 48% in the number of events in London (148 incidents compared with 100 during the same period last year). A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine, Rabbi Yisroel Lew who heads the Bloomsbury Chabad was attacked verbally and physically in the West End.  Although he reported it to the Police and CST, the Rabbi hesitated to go to the press, but after I spoke to him personally and managed to convince him, I made contact with the Jewish Chronicle and they ran the story.  It was important to get the message out, that anti-Semitic attacks of any kind will not be tolerated, especially after Rabbis have recently been attacked in Vienna, Berlin and Lyon.

Anti-Semitism has deep roots in Europe and there are different sources and motivations for it. The sources are not important, the need for solutions and eradicating it is. There are three pillars in the fight against anti-Semitism: Legislation, Law-Enforcement and Education. From the legal aspect, a legal action can only be taken if there is a law and unfortunately in many EU countries there are limited hate laws, and anti-Semitic attacks can only be addressed through the criminal courts.  In terms of law-enforcement, the local authorities must show zero-tolerance towards anti-Semitic attacks of any kind and not turn a blind eye to incidents, like is being done in some European countries.  To give an example of how the situation in the UK has deteriorated, is that last year was the first time that the government gave funding for security in Jewish schools.

Education is also a very important element in the fight against anti-Semitism. European governments should make sure the holocaust is in the curriculum at schools, and schools should organize educational trips to visit the concentration and death camps. This is an addition to educating kids from a young age that any prejudice is unacceptable but in particular anti-Semitism. Tolerance and respect to minorities and different religious and ethnic groups are the fundamentals of every democracy and it is our role as a society to make sure that these values are protected.

It is not a slogan that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, it is a fact. We in the European Jewish Parliament will continue tirelessly to lobby local parliaments and politicians across Europe and work with the EU Institutions to make sure the fight against anti-Semitism is a priority. We witnessed the terrible massacre in Toulouse earlier this year, the bombing of a community center in Malmo and many other serious attacks against Jews across the continent. The future of Jews in Europe is under threat and being Jewish we shouldn’t ask ourselves ‘what will happen’ but ‘what we are going to do about it’.

Tal Ofer is a UK member of the European Jewish Parliament.

10 Comments

  • mariah Hanshaw

    The Jews are God’s chosen people and they are some of the greatest contributors to the advancement of society. Without Israel, all other nations will crumble. Israel will live forever as promised in the Bible. Get used to it and stop the hatred!

    The reason why the Jews are hated is because some people are jealous of their favor with God. Whoever hates Jews will be cursed and whoever supports them will be blessed. That’s also a promise in the Bible.

  • Why should the Jew of Malmo leave? Are they not Swedish citizens? Should not the Swedish govt protect their citizens?
    Thank the Founders for the Second Amendment .

  • WHEN WILL YOU LEARN ANTI-SEMITISM CAN NOT BE ERADICATED IN THE WEST.
    THE WEST IS SOAKED IN CHRISTIANITY, THIS RELIGION DOES NOT NEED ANY REASON FOR HATE IT IS AN AUTOMATIC REACTION
    TO OTHER PEOPLE CONSIDERED LESS WORTHY OF LIFE.

    • @Pim,
      I am a born again Christian. On the contrary real Christians do not hate Jews,rather we bless you. As The Lord said to Abraham I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you. The Lord bless you Pim.

  • John Zimmerman

    Excellent article.
    I do have one comment on “The sources are not important, the need for solutions and eradicating it is.”

    Obviously it is important to understand the sources – as a means of defense.

  • Henriette J. van Dijk

    Hopefully the EU starts within her own ranks. Through the ages anti-Semitism, was stirred up – out of self-interest- by the elite. A group of which Baroness Tonge is a participant. Nowadays it’s called ‘respectable anti-Semitism’. In May 2011 Moshe Kantor said it’s a new phenomenon. But to my opinion it has always been present among our influential prominent and respectable European leaders. In most cases they keep their views indoors.
    Kantor refers to Thilo Sarrazin, who is a member of the board of the German Bundesbank and the Belgian Karel de Gucht, chief commissioner of Trade. In ‘Die Welt am Sonntag’ Sarrazin made a few statements about genetic identity and the Jewish gene. In a radio interview Gucht spoke about the Jewish lobby in the US in a negative way and about the ‘irrational behavior’ of Jews concerning Israel and the Middle east.
    Another random selection from the smelly barrel:
    The General Secretary of the (Socialist) Education Trade Union in Belgium (ACOD), Hugo Deckers, threatened with actions against Jewish schools in Antwerpen due to the attitude of the Israel government upon the Middle East. To the editorial department of ‘Joods Actueel’ he wrote about his plans: ‘I fear that you guys still go scare’.
    Not to mention the fact that during the Fidela regime in Argentine thirteen times more Jews were killed than gojim.

    All blessings come from above:
    Humanism and the foundation of European Jewry is based on respecting the individual. A priori this means that Jews don’t have a ‘violence-monopoly’ and can’t defend themselves against physical violence. This is the reason why we need legislation based on humanism.
    To a Jew every live counts (save one, and you save the world). According to Islam only the group matters. This is a fundamental difference and the reason why they won’t assemble.

    The person who struggled the most with pacifism and physical violence was Albert Einstein. Known for his pacifism and Zionism, initially he supported in WWII the development of the nuclear bomb.

  • Thetruthisracist

    Probably because it’s full of Muslims who committing mass rapes against us. Look at prisons statistics.

  • There are 900 Jews in Malmo. Why don’t they leave? I think I must be dimwitted. Before Israel, Jews didn’t have a place to flee to in an immediate emergency. Varum sohl ich geyn (where can I go) was the poignant plea. Today there is a place. Why don’t they leave?

  • You forgot to mention what is happening in Malmö, Sweden. Most of the hate is from Moslems who also encourage their non-Jewish associates to participate.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.