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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.


  • 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 .


    • @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.

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