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A French Turnabout
The current worldwide wave of anti-Semitism shows that expressions of anti-Semitism which in the past may have been restricted to extremists, have now permeated European mainstream society. In France it may be more pronounced than elsewhere in Europe where it is, however, not less dangerous. French sociologist Shmuel Trigano says that while French Muslims are a major force in anti-Semitism, “Anti-Semitism exists in France, which has nothing to do with the Islamists. The new anti-Semitism, disguised as anti-Zionism, is very present in the extreme left and right, each of which collected 20 percent of the votes in the first round of the French presidential elections of 2002.”74
There has been substantial denial of the existence of anti-Semitism by European leaders. In France – the country with the highest number of violent incidents – top politicians have maintained this position for a long time, trying to present the incidents as hooliganism. Only in November 2003, after yet another arson attack against a Jewish institution – a private school – did the official position change radically.
President Chirac announced extra measures of security in places of worship, severe punishment of anti-Semitic perpetrators and reinforced civic courses in French schools.75 He has repeated that statement a number of times since. Israeli President Moshe Katsav praised this commitment during a state visit to France in February 2004.76 French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged the true situation of anti-Semitism in France long before Chirac did, and has made substantial efforts to improve the security situation in France since he was appointed in June 2002. He told Katzav that nobody should have to hide his Jewish identity in France.77
What to Do?
Recommendations for combating anti-Semitism are outlined in the major study mentioned above, prepared for the EUMC, in which a multitude of combined activities are recommended. These include the development of sound data and information about anti-Semitic phenomena which can be achieved by having state institutions monitor anti-Semitism in the individual EU states. At the same time, the civil society should undertake dialogues, while the media have “to be addressed to report about ethnic and cultural groups in a responsible way.” In addition, a variety of actions on the political level are recommended, including legislation and educational steps.78
Other measures could also be added to this. Hate crimes should be severely punished and measures should be taken against pupils who make it impossible to teach the Holocaust in schools.
The central elements of Europe’s anti-Semitism are so major and so manifold that it is clear that Jewish organizations can no longer limit themselves to protesting against individual cases of anti-Semitism. A more systematic “Europewatch” to monitor extreme politicians, institutions, media and intellectuals has to be undertaken.
Attitudes toward the Jews have often been an indicator of the health of a society. European anti-Semitism must be watched closely as developments unfold. This is not only in the Jewish interest, but in the general interest of Western democracy. Making Europeans aware of this is a further important step in the battle against anti-Semitism.
Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the board of fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. His latest book is Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (JCPA, Yad Vashem, WJC, 2003).
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1. Jonathan Sacks, “The New Anti-Semitism,” Haaretz, September 8, 2002.
2. Simon Epstein, “Cyclical Patterns in Anti-Semitism: The Dynamics of Anti-Jewish Violence in Western Countries since the 1950s,” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, no. 2 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University), 1993, p. 1.
3. Richard Landes, “What Happens when Jesus Doesn’t Come: Jewish and Christian Relations in Apocalyptic Time,” Terrorism and Political Violence, volume 14, Spring 2002 (London: Frank Cass, 2002).
4. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, 2003).
5. For an overview see: Manfred Gerstenfeld, op. cit., Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism.
6. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Anti-Semitism and Terrorism on the Internet: New Threats, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 9, June 1, 2003.
8. “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the European Union,” drafted for the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) by the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZFA) at Berlin Technical University, p. 17, http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/FT.htm
9. Robert Fife, “UN Promotes Systemic Hatred of Jews, MP says,” National Post, April 2, 2002.
10. Yair Sheleg, “A World Cleansed of the Jewish State,” Haaretz, April 18, 2002.
12. “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the European Union,” op. cit., p. 17.
13. Le Nouvel Observateur, November 8, 2001. [French]
14. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Trevor Asserson, “What Went Wrong at the BBC: A Public Monopoly Abusing its Charter Through Bias Against Israel,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 511, January 15, 2004.
16. La Stampa, April 3, 2002. [Italian]
18. AFP/Expatica quoted in JCPA, Daily Alert, December 5, 2003.
19. Giles Foden and John Mullan, “When Authors Take Sides,” The Guardian, April 27, 2002.
20. AP, “Author compares Palestinian city to Nazi death camp,” The Miami Herald Tribune March 27, 2002.
21. Anti-Defamation League Press Release, “Portuguese Nobel Laureate’s Remarks on Jews and the Holocaust Are ‘Incendiary and Offensive,’” October 15, 2003.
22. Ethnos, April 7, 2002. [Greek]
23. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Irwin Cotler in Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism, op. cit., p. 220.
24. Manfred Gerstenfeld interview with Irwin Cotler, op. cit., p. 219.
25. Anne F. Bayefsky, “Terrorism and Racism: The Aftermath of Durban,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 468, December 16, 2001, JCPA.
26. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Irwin Cotler, in Gerstenfeld, Europe’s Crumbling Myths, op. cit., p. 219.
27. Alan Dershowitz, The Case For Israel (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003), p. 198.
28. Claude Meyer interview with Jean-Claude Milner, Actualité Juive Hebdo, no. 823, December 11, 2003. [French]
30. Richard Ingrams, “I’m still on the train,” The Observer, July 13, 2003.
31. Yair Sheleg, “Enemies, a Post-national Story,” Haaretz, March 7, 2003.
32. Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism: A New Frontier of Bigotry (New York: American Jewish Committee, 2003), p. 21.
33. Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, “Unsere Erneuerung,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 31, 2003. [German]
34. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Andrei S. Markovits, “European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism: Similarities and Differences,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 16, January 1, 2004.
36. Robert S. Wistrich, “Muslim Anti-Semitism,” American Jewish Committee, 2002.
37. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Georges-Elia Sarfati, “Language as a Tool against Jews and Israel,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 17, February 1, 2004.
38. Daniel Perdurant, “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, No. 7 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1995), p. 10.
39. Maurizio Molinari, La Sinistra E Gli Ebrei In Italia: 1967-1993, (Milan: Corbaccio, 1995), p. 115. [Italian]
40. “Israel-Kritik oder Antisemitismus?” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, April 26, 2002. [German]
41. Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Twenty Months of Antisemitic Invective in Greece: March 2002-October 2003,” October 14, 2003.
42. “Antisemitism Worldwide, 2002-3,” Tel Aviv University Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism.
43. Tom Happold, “Tonge sacked over bombing comments,” The Guardian, January 23, 2004.
44. “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the European Union” op. cit., p. 6.
45. Anti-Defamation League Press Release, “ADL Survey of Five European Countries Finds one in Five Hold Strong Anti-Semitic Sentiments; Majority Believes Canard of Jewish Disloyalty” (New York), October 31, 2002.
46. “European Attitudes Toward Jews: A Five Country Survey,” Anti-Defamation League, October 2002.
48. Renato Mannheimer, “E antisemita quasi un italiano su cinque,” Corriere de la Sera, November 10, 2003. [Italian]
49. Ruth E. Gruber, “Poll shows Italian teens harbor racist and anti-Semitic attitudes,” JTA, July 2, 2003.
50. European Commission, “Iraq and Peace in the World,” Eurobarometer Survey, No. 151, November 2003.
51. “European poll: 46% Say Jews are ‘Different,’” Haaretz, January 26, 2004.
52. Stephen Bates, “One in Seven Britons Say Holocaust is Exaggerated,” The Guardian, January 23, 2004.
53. Wolfgang Benz, Bilder vom Juden: Studien zum alltäglichen Antisemitismus (Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck, 2001) p. 105. [German]
54. Editorial, “L’Europe et Israël,” Le Monde, November 5, 2003. [French]
55. Julie Burchill, “Good, Bad and Ugly,” The Guardian, November 29, 2003.
56. Avirama Golan, “A Sprig of Hope on Europe’s Left,” Haaretz, February 3, 2004.
57. Ilka Schroeder, “Europe’s Crocodile Tears,” Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2004.
58. Reuters, “U.S. envoy: Anti-Semitism in Europe nearly as bad as in the 1930s,” www.Haaretzdaily.com, February 13, 2004.
59. Elaine Sciolino, “Europeans and Americans Seek Answer to Anti-Semitism,” The New York Times, February 20, 2004.
61. Richard Herzinger, “Konferenz der Gutwilligen,” Die Zeit, http://www.zeit.de/2004/09/konferenz. [German]
62. “Mainstream propaganda proof of anti-Semitism in EU: Israeli minister,” EUbusiness, February 19, 2004.
63. “Against Antisemitism, for a union of Diversity,” Press Information Simon Wiesenthal Center, February 19, 2004
64. Philip Carmel, “Proposals on yarmulkes, Yom Kippur given mixed reaction by French Jews,” JTA, December 14, 2003.
65. Simon Wiesenthal Center, Press Release, “SWC protests anti-Israel vote by France, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Belgium and Portugal at UN Commission on Human rights,” April 16, 2002.
66. Jacques Schuster, “In Europa gibt es Stimmen, die wir nicht mehr verstehen,” Die Welt, November 19, 2003. [German]
67. Efraim Zuroff, “Sweden’s Refusal to Prosecute Nazi War Criminals – 1986-2002,” Jewish Political Studies Review, Fall 2002, Vol. 14, Nos. 3 &4, pp. 85-119.
68. Mikael Tossavainen, “Det förnekade hatet – Antisemitism bland araber och muslimer i Sverige Författare,” (Stockholm: Svenska Kommittén Mot Antisemitism, 2003), pp. 43-44. [Swedish]
69. Yohanan Manor, Les manuels scolaires palestiniens: une génération sacrifiéé (Paris: Berg International Éditeurs, 2003), p. 130ff. [French]
70. Ruth Ellen Gruber, “Vienna meetings show another way for community to approach the state,” JTA, February 8, 2004.
71. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Israel Singer, “Restitution: the second round,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 14, November 2, 2003.
72. Interview with Marvin Hier to be published in Manfred Gerstenfeld’s forthcoming book: American Jewry’s Challenge: Addressing the New Century.
73. Joseph Fitchett, “In Paris, official Discord on the Syrian Transition”, International Herald Tribune, www.iht.com/HT/DIPLO/00/jf061300.html.
74. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism, op. cit., Interview with Shmuel Trigano, pp. 215-216.
75. John Tagliabue, “Chirac unveils policy against anti-Semitism,” International Herald Tribune November 18, 2003.
76. Philip Carmel, “In Israeli president’s Paris visit emotional symbols for French Jews,” JTA, February 19, 2004.
77. Greer Fay Cashman, Katsav’s France visit a ‘surprising’ success,” Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2004.
78. “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the European Union,” op. cit, pp. 11-13.
To read Part One of this article, please Click Here.