Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blog #6: Jewish leader warns that anti-Semitism in Europe is "like the 1930s"

The President of the World Jewish Congress, representing Jewish communities in 100 countries, Ronald Lauder has said that European Jews “live in fear” amid a surge of anti-Semitism once again. In reference to the 1930s, Lauder strongly believes history is beginning to repeat himself and stresses the importance for the Unite States to beware of this theme of anti-Semitism. With events such as the recent attacks in France and Copenhagen highlighting this issue, he states that there is an evident new and growing threat driven by radical Islam and terrorism sweeping across Europe. He States, “The United States can and must speak loudly and clearly to condemn this evil for what it is – the radical Islamic hatred of Jews. To defeat this new flame of radical Islamic terror and survive… the United States must lead.” However, many Jewish organizations in Britain have emphasized that the current situation for Jewish People in Europe is very different in comparison to the 1930s. Further, Jonathan Arkush,, the Vice President of The Board of Deputies of British Jews, an affiliate of the WJC, told The Independent that while Laudner was accurate in mentioning the significance of modern-day anti-Semitism, “it’s important to be clear that the fear currently experienced by Jews in some European countries, especially in France, is very different from the 1930s… In those dark days, anti-Semitism was actively fomented by the Nazi rulers and their helpers. Today, anti-Semitism is strongly opposed and condemned by governments across Europe.” According to studies, anti-Semitic attacks have more than doubled in the UK in the past year against the backdrop of Israel’s military action in Gaza. Overall it was found that 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents occurred n 2014 – a 118 percent increase on the previous year. Since the deadly attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and Jewish supermarket in Paris in January, France has prepared thousands of police troops and deployed them to possible sights of danger. As Lauder concludes, “While we welcome support from all quarters, including the United States, we Europeans have the responsibility of leading the fight against anti-Semitism and racism of every description in our continent, just as we are doing,” Lauder added.

It is evident that the theme of this article is very different compared to the other articles discussed. Further, it is mentioned that anti-Semitism is nearing the extreme that it once was in the early twentieth century. It is important to consider this current thematic difference in anti-Semitism, especially juxtaposed with terrorism, however it is also critical to understand it has always been around. Although this is no excuse for the continuation of these acts, and with globalization and modern technology it has very much changed, I believe something has to be done or enacted more than just putting up security in front of Synagogues. In addition, and in retrospect, I disagree with what the organizations and deputies within Britain were saying about how most governments condemn and oppose anti-Semitism. Although I believe this and hope for this to be true, I do not know how much they actually do about it. Moreover, although times were different, during the Holocaust, almost no countries would take Jews who were trying to leave before becoming exterminated by the Nazis, this including the UK and the US. In addition, although this may be of importance to governments, this idea shows the devaluing of genocide and extreme anti-Semitism once it becomes a political problem. So does the government truly condemn it and follow through with their beliefs, or is this a fallacy we hope to be true? As Rwandan genocides, Darfur, and many other mass murders go on, if this was true, would they not be placing their security guards there?

Jordanna Gisser
March 25, 2015
9:12 PM

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