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October 30, 2018 12:26 pm

The Disease of Antisemitism Infects Everyone

avatar by Fiamma Nirenstein /


Police stand at the entrance to Rodef Shalom Temple before funeral services for brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton – It was a gray and drizzly day in Pittsburgh in what is usually a beautiful place, green and fresh, when a synagogue was hit at 9:45am on Saturday, becoming yet another target of that inexhaustible strain that is homicidal antisemitism — one of history’s most flourishing plants.

As gunman Robert Bower opened fire on Jews who were participating in Shabbat-morning services on Saturday morning, he screamed, “All Jews must die.”

He was, it seems, a “lone wolf,” and they are attributing the actions of this monster to the extreme right. So many people right now underline the “radicalization” of the “climate” that characterizes American society and its hatred towards immigrants. And they point to Trump’s era. Many of those interviewed name it openly, while others just allude to it. This is the prevailing narrative, despite the fact that Bower had not only written murderous drivel against Jews and their organizations that assist immigration, but also direct words of disdain against President Donald Trump.

But it’s nothing more or less than pure antisemitism — in this case, Nazi-inspired antisemitism. The antisemitic hydra has so many heads, and they are showing up everywhere, all over the world.

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It’s awful to see the TV images of police armed to the teeth occupying a quiet neighborhood, but it is neither the first nor the last episode of this kind — whether it comes from the right or the left. We need to understand that this war must be fought from the north to the south, from the east to the west and upside down, in advanced and Third World countries, in wealthy neighborhoods in the United States, in the Parisian banlieues, in heavily populated areas where immigrants reside in Brussels and London, in bourgeois buildings where far-right movements are based, or in the rooms of the extreme left, which now paints Jews as monsters with missiles.

“All Jews must die” is antisemitism’s universal slogan. It is found in the hundreds of thousands of posts per second on social media and has been the driving force behind 1,986 antisemitic incidents in 2017 in the United States — a nearly 60 percent increase over the year before, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League.

And it’s happening across the globe.

The gunman who committed the massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh couldn’t have used a better banner for the growth of hatred against Jews, who from the right infects the left with Nazi stigmas, and from the left to the right with hatred of Israel, which pulsates among white supremacists and the bourgeoisie alike. It passes from the history of Nazism to the Arab world, which spreads lies about Israel, echoed inside the United Nations.

Schoolbooks in the Arab world are full of defamation of the Jews. Nations like Iran and Syria, and terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO, and Islamic Jihad all have as their explicit aim the genocide of the Jews.

During this time of urgency, attributing the fever to the “radicalization” of the Trump era is just an attempt to make the game so small, so narrow compared to this hydra with so many heads. Neo-Nazis are just one part of contemporary antisemitism.

Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies, served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including Israel Is Us (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Translation by Amy Rosenthal.

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