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...

  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.