What is Anti-Semitism?
Anti-Semitism is prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group.
Perhaps the worst example of anti-Semitism in recent years is denoted by the this yellow badge. It was a cloth patch that Jews were ordered by Nazis to sew on their outer garments in order to mark them as Jews in public, during the Holocaust.
Today, anti-Semitism may be rhetorical, physical, cyber-based, social action or political manoeuvring. It may be directed toward Jewish individuals, Jewish communities, Jewish religious facilities, Jewish property or even the whole nation of Israel. The existence of the State of Israel permits anti-Semitism to assume a political form, safe from challenge as intolerance or racism. So we hear “I have nothing against Jews, but I don’t like Israel”.
Hot Spots of Anti-Semitism
According to a comprehensive 2013/14 global survey, about 26% of the world’s adult population hold anti-Semitic views. Not surprisingly, it is worst in the Middle East with some 74% of the adult population expressing anti-Semitic views, growing to 93% in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, link.
Over 89% of the citizens of Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan have a ‘very unfavorable’ opinion of Jews. [‘The Devil That Never Dies’, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen]
By contrast, anti-Semitism is relatively low in Australia (14%), the USA (9%), the UK (8%) and Sweden (4%). That said, in 2015, the Swedish city of Malmo had a declining Jewish community of just 1,000 (compared to 50,000 Muslim immigrants) and Malmo’s rabbi, Shneur Kesselman has suffered some 150 anti-Semitic attacks in his 10 years in the city [Prophetic Witness, 2015].
The difference between the UK at just 8% and most of Europe is striking (Spain 29%, France 37%, Poland 45%, Greece 69%), due, in part, to extreme left and right political activists and the relative size of the Muslim populations. Jews across Europe are detecting increasing anti-Semitism, with shouts like “death to the Jews” from pro-Palestinian rallies in Belgium France (Paris suburbs) and Germany, link. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Berlin shout anti-Semitic slogans.
Anti-Semitism in France
Here there is now open hatred of Jews: synagogues have been vandalized and Jewish businesses have had their windows broken in acts reminiscent of Kristallnacht (Nazi attacks in 1938). Over the past decade France has suffered at least 400 anti-Semitic acts each year, link, and this has encouraged an annual migration of thousands of French Jews. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, Benjamin Netanyahu called for French Jews to come to Israel:
To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that … the state of Israel is your home. [Benjamin Netanyahu, Jan 2015]
Anti-Semitism in Italy
Here vandals defaced a Jewish memorial plaque that read: “The 16th of October 1943: whole families of Roman Jews dragged from their homes by the Nazis were concentrated in this building and deported to the extermination camps. Of 1,000 persons, only 16 survived”. They had scrawled “Dirty Jews”.
Anti-Semitism in the UN and the US
As of 2012, the UN had passed 79 resolutions directly critical of Israel, and 40% of UN Human Rights Council Resolutions have been against Israel. This is surprising since it is argued that Israel is the only vestige of democracy left in the Middle East. In 2015 Benjamin Netanyahu won a record fourth term as Israel’s Prime Minister, despite an international effort to topple him. Part of that effort came from the US administration which apparently went as far as to dispatch one of Obama’s campaign operatives to Israel in order to try and prevent Netanyahu from being re-elected. Such political bias against Israel can be seen as anti-Semitism. More …
Anti-Semitism in the Church – Chrislam
Controversy about the existence of the nation of Israel has been intensifying within Christianity. A political-religious campaign is gaining worldwide acceptance as church leaders, denominations, charities, missions, and humanitarian groups are uniting with Muslims and other world religions against Israel. This infectious anti-Semitism is called Christian Palestinianism, and it is far more than a concern over the plight of the so-called Palestinian people. In particular, it is anti-Israel and anti-Christian Zionism (the Christian movement that supports the State of Israel):
We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation … With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.
[The Jewish Declaration on Christian Zionism, 2006]
Christian Palestinianism questions the claim that the covenant God made with Abraham is still valid. It argues that since the Jews rejected their Messiah then they also deny themselves the promises of the covenant. Echoing the tenants of Replacement Theology, Christian Palestinianism claims that Christian believers are now the true ‘children of Abraham’ and therefore the inheritors of any unrealized benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant. But what does the Bible say?
I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants … for an everlasting covenant … also I give to you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God
The simple fact that the covenant is everlasting and unconditional itself destroys Christian Palestinianism. But for those who reject such scriptures, they only have to look at the Jewish aliyah to Israel over the last 100 years, and the modern State of Israel as proof that God’s promises are being realized today! More …
Anti-Semitism on the University Campus
Student groups seeking to isolate and delegitimize Israel, to stifle dialogue and control the message about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have organized activities on college and university campuses for several years. In the 2014-2015 academic year, there have been more than 90 anti-Israel events scheduled to take place on U.S. campuses, double the 45 events scheduled during the same period last year, link.
Anti-Semitism in Cyber Space – Online Hate
Recent conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians have caused an explosion of anti-Semitic hate speech on social media (facebook, twitter) and online videos (YouTube), link. In response to this, social networks monitor and sometimes close the accounts bearing hateful material, link.
Online anti-Semitism is rampant in France, with website moderators being forced to censor 95% of comments made by French users. France boasts the largest Jewish community in Western Europe, and such activity is encouraging Jews to emigrate to Israel, link.
The good news is that there are organisations working against anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is at the forefront, fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry worldwide through information, education, legislation and advocacy. ADL challenges world leaders and the UN to take action against anti-Jewish bigotry and violence. A recent ADL survey found that there are over 1 billion people in the world that harbour anti-Semitic views:
The stunning rise in anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry is a threat to the vitality of pluralism and democracy, and to fundamental freedoms across the region [ Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director ]
Combating Online Anti-Semitism
The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) aims to combat cyber hate crime, whatever the form. Its vision is to change online culture so hate in all its forms becomes as socially unacceptable online as it is “in real life”.