7 thoughts on “Anti-Semitism in Europe, take MXXVII

  1. “The chief rabbi of Great Britain is a well-known figure in his native country and the nations of the Commonwealth, including Australia, Canada, Gibraltar and New Zealand.

    “Yet ironically, the Orthodox rabbi’s work on radio, television and his column with the Times of London has made him extremely popular among the nation’s non-Jews. His harshest critics, it seems, come from within.

    “‘The hardest part of my job is trying to persuade Jews to admire Judaism as much as non-Jews do,’ said Sacks in an interview before he addressed the International Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics in Burlingame.” – from: http://www.jewishsf.com/bk010223/sfasacks.shtml

    Listening to Jonathan Sacks on the radio or reading his occasional journalism, it becomes easy to understand why he is so widely respected and liked. And he reciprocates that – he radiates humanity with intellectual buttresses. He wrote:

    “I never thought I would have to write about anti-semitism. Until recently I hadn’t experienced it. I might have done. I went to Christian schools, St Mary’s Primary, then Christ’s College Finchley. We Jews were different and a minority. Yet not once was I insulted for my faith. . .” – at:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,659149,00.html

    What seems to have occasioned his recent troubles with some in the Jewish community in Britain is this:

    “Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, today delivers an unprecedentedly strong warning to Israel, arguing that the country is adopting a stance ‘incompatible’ with the deepest ideals of Judaism, and that the current conflict with the Palestinians is ‘corrupting’ Israeli culture. . .” – from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,781113,00.html

  2. From Chris Bertram’s post:

    >This compares with a similar ADL survey in the
    >US in the same year which has 17 percent of
    >Americans espousing anti-Semitic views. Not a
    >great difference, and one brought further into
    >perspective when we learn that most anti-
    >Semitic Europeans are over 65 whereas age is
    >not a good predictor of such views among
    >Americans.

    I once saw a debunking of the ADL methodology in these surveys Chris quotes, that, alas, I could not find now. But for what they’re worth: He doesn’t say so in his post, but to say that Americans are obsessed with antisemitism in Europe in a way indicates that they are far too little concerned with what’s going on with respect to antisemitism in their own backyard. Maybe the media’s focus on constructing the impression of a pathologically antisemitst Europe facilitates disregarding America’s own shortcomings.

  3. Just to make Matt Yglesias’ hypothetical less so:

    I can’t help but wonder what Chris would think if I told him, “no, no, no all this talk about anti-[French] sentiment in the US is a bunch of garbage — about a quarter of Americans hate [French] people — you all should just stop worrying.”

    You could also substitute Muslim, or Gay, and to a lesser extent black, or Latino for Matt’s English versus Jew.

    We are not at a loss for hate in the U.S. of A.
    But for the most part, that’s not a cause for worry. Most of the haters would best be described as sore losers Impotent of anything but invective.

    It’s not worth it to try and change their opinions. But what is worrisome is when opinion-makers like high government officials, partisan activists, high religious personnae, late night television shows, cable ‘news’ shows, newspapers, etc. push public opinion towards contempt/hate/dehumanization of whatever convenient scapegoat.

  4. Patrick’s got a point. I have to wonder if a quarter of any population is willing to say somewhat negative things about any other. Do a quarter of Americans think gay people have too much power? Are a quarter afraid that black people or Hispanics will move into their neighbourhood? I suspect it wouldn’t be that different.

    Look at the comments on Yglesias’ blog or on Crooked Timber. There is simply no logic to this demonisation of Europe. Responding to any claim that Europe is a hotbed of anti-Semitism has become the same as answering the question “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

    Of all the problems in the world, of all of Europe’s problems, or Israel’s or Jews’, this one simply doesn’t merit the ink spent on it. It only carries weight in the minds of people who are already predisposed to thinking Europe is their enemy and Israel their ally.

  5. Mr. Chirac met with American Jewish leaders and assured them that there is not anti-Semitism in France. This was before we learned that France was the only country on the planet where anti-Jewish violence increase.

    It is not the anti-Semites that scare me, its the indifference and denial of anti-Semitism that disturbs me most.

    Jewish school children have been threatend by Muslim students, but their teachers and principles refuse to do anything. A French teacher was threatened by a Muslim student with a knife because she was teaching about the Holocaust.

    The French government is just beginning to respond. Although, I doubt if forbidding Muslim students from wearing the hijab will help.

  6. Mr. Chirac met with American Jewish leaders and assured them that there is not anti-Semitism in France. This was before we learned that France was the only country on the planet where anti-Jewish violence increase.

    It is not the anti-Semites that scare me, its the indifference and denial of anti-Semitism that disturbs me most.

    Jewish school children have been threatend by Muslim students, but their teachers and principles refuse to do anything. A French teacher was threatened by a Muslim student with a knife because she was teaching about the Holocaust.

    The French government is just beginning to respond. Although, I doubt if forbidding Muslim students from wearing the hijab will help.

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