A ‘Bagelstein’ cafe in Paris targeted with antisemitic graffiti. Photo: Twitter.
2019 may only be two months old, but it’s already become painfully clear that antisemitism around the world will be the issue that dominates the Jewish media throughout this year. From Crown Heights to Buenos Aires, from Paris to Melbourne, antisemitic outrages of some sort are being reported on a near-daily basis.
The statistics tell an equally sobering story. In Germany, violent attacks on Jews rose by 60 percent in 2018. In France, there was an overall rise of 74 percent in the number of antisemitic actions. In the UK, the number of antisemitic incidents climbed to 1,652, the highest number recorded in more than three decades. In the US, murders committed by far-right extremists increased by 37 percent in 2018, incorporating in their number the eleven Jewish worshippers murdered by a neo-Nazi gunman at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27.
But as one of the more seasoned observers of antisemitism explained to The Algemeiner on Tuesday, this constant stream of disturbing images and rising numbers didn’t come out of nowhere. Rather, he said, the degree of intensity is reflective of society’s ability to control the latent antisemitism that always lies beneath its surface.
“To believe that we can eradicate antisemitism is a pipe dream,” said Abraham Foxman, the national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League and the head of an antisemitism study program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. “If we didn’t find a vaccine after Auschwitz, we’re not gonna find one now.”
FEBRUARY 26, 2019 5:51 PM
A national group that primarily represents African-American law enforcement executives has endorsed a Georgia-based exchange program with Israeli officers, which…
The persistence of antisemitism in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust led Jewish organizations to develop containment strategies, Foxman said. “Whether Jews are seen as a religion, or a race, or a nation, we’ve always been the target, regardless of the regime that’s in charge, regardless of the success of Jewish communities,” he argued. “But this is a virus that still remains latent for millions of people. What we have done in the last 50 years is build a firewall around this latency that more or less worked.”
The firewall, however, is no longer as secure. “Many of the elements of containment are disappearing,” Foxman said, citing as an example the role played by historical memory as an “antidote” to antisemitic beliefs. In addition, whereas previously there was a recognition that “there was a price to be paid for hatred and antisemitism,” in that antisemitic individuals or institutions could face a range of sanctions from profound social embarrassment to courtroom litigation, “the taboos now are coming down,” Foxman said.
The cause of this atmospheric change is complex, Foxman stressed.
“It’s chic to put the blame on [US President Donald] Trump,” Foxman said. “But Trump isn’t responsible for what’s going on in Europe.”
Moreover, nearly every country in Europe has a long-established tradition of antisemitism. “France was the place where the Dreyfus affair happened,” Foxman pointed out, referring to the 1894 conviction of the French Jewish army officer Capt. Alfred Dreyfus on false charges of treason, following an infamous trial that came to symbolize the antisemitic obsession with the supposed duplicity and disloyalty of “the Jews.”
“There was a national hysteria of antisemitism that took over France 125 years ago,” Foxman said, and the same basic elements remain in place. “In France now, you have political and economic instability, and that foments antisemitism,” he noted. “Look at the protests by the ‘yellow vest’ movement: what does the price of gas have to do with Jews? There’s no reason or rationale.”
Even if a clear majority of people remain unsympathetic to antisemitism and its claims, that does not necessarily translate into a decisive show of public support for Jewish communities. In Paris last week, 20,000 people out of a city of 2.2 million rallied in the Place de la Republique, in response to a call endorsed by 14 political parties for national rallies against antisemitism issued five days earlier. For Foxman, that was reminiscent of the French public mood in Jan. 2015, during a week of Islamist terror that began with a massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and ended with the murders of four Jewish hostages at a kosher market in eastern Paris. “One million people came out for Charlie Hebdo, 5,000 people came out for those Jewish victims,” Foxman said. “There is apathy and there is indifference.”
Still, Foxman does not deviate from the conviction he upheld at ADL that sustained education is the only serious response to antisemitism. In that regard, he pointed out that the shifting public perception of media reliability was a growing challenge. “The media was an important part of the firewall,” he said. “We used the media to expose antisemitism, to educate against it, to shame the antisemites themselves. Today, when the media has lost its credibility, we have lost one of those platforms.”
Other safeguards are more securely in place, Foxman said. “Today, unlike in previous periods, there is a strong awareness in Jewish community and a willingness to stand up,” he remarked. “The Christian world has moved from antagonist to an ally. Israel, the Jewish state, stands up for Jews and is a place of refuge.”
There was another important and relatively recent change, he added. “Governments are against antisemitism,” Foxman said. “In the past, law enforcement and governments were not our ally. They would instigate, they would use antisemitism for political advantage, or they would remain silent.”
Even here, though, there are no guarantees. Asked about the prospect of a government in Great Britain led by Jeremy Corbyn — the leader of the opposition Labour Party regarded who is seen by a clear majority of British Jews as a threat to their community — Foxman expressed disappointment that the widespread perception of Corbyn as an antisemite had not ended his leadership.
“The fact that he’s an antisemite does not negate him as the leader of his party — that’s what is scary here,” Foxman said. “Tolerance for bigots is what’s scary.” In the US, Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam had been similarly indulged, often by those whom Foxman called “good people,” and his bigotry became even more entrenched as a result.
Foxman has little time for those in Europe who argue that America’s free speech tradition is helping to spread antisemitism in Europe, on the grounds that internet companies can run their operations in this country while hiding behind the First Amendment. “That’s a cop-out,” Foxman asserted. US technology companies were “finally starting to take some responsibility” for content posted online, while more broadly, “we’ve done pretty well with our First Amendment” in the fight against hatred, he said.
“Let the Europeans deal with this problem using their own laws,” Foxman said. “They’ve got them.”
The University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Cape Town, the top-ranking academic institution in Africa, is set to consider enforcing an academic boycott against Israel later this month.
The UCT Senate, a decision-making body comprised primarily of professors and administrators, endorsed a proposal on March 15 to bar the university from entering into any formal relationship with Israeli academic institutions that operate “in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or otherwise enable “gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the university said in a statement.
The campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
JNS.org – Students at Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum held between Tuesday and Thursday, calling on the school to separate itself from companies that conduct business with the State of Israel.
The tally was 69 percent in favor and 31 percent against.
Members of the pro-Israel community nationally and locally condemned the outcome.
“For the sake of My servant Yaakov, Yisrael My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Many have seen similarities between the Biblical King Cyrus and President Donald Trump. (Breaking Israel News)
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
Many are claiming this was a pre-election gift to Trump’s friend, Netanyahu, but it others see a much larger significance that transcends politics and enters into the realm of the Biblical. One such belief was expressed by Breaking Israel News publisher Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who noted that the announcement came on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“The same days on which the Yehudim enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” Esther 9:22 (The Israel Bible™)
If there was ever a quintessentially Jewish holiday, it’s Purim, when the Jewish people were threatened by Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and saved by God’s hidden hand. Even so, we find examples of people from the Nations being inspired by the story of Purim and even gathering to mark the day alongside the Jewish people.
Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration in Amsterdam June 4, 2010. Israel’s raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which cal. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.
The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 49 people slain Friday by a far-right killer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hamas is now accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah of exploiting the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip to call on Palestinians to overthrow the Hamas regime. Fatah, for its part, is accusing the “dark forces” of Hamas of acting on orders from outside parties to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
The US administration says it will publish its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the “Deal of the Century,” after the general elections in Israel on April 9
There is a difference between an “honest broker” and a “neutral arbiter.” In advance of the rollout of its Middle East peace plan, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to ensure its role as the honest broker. The U.S. is not “neutral” between our ally, Israel, and the Palestinians who seek to replace it. But it won’t be easy to change presumptions that are deeply embedded in the
When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.
According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.
Every few weeks, some political or national figure demands a national conversation about race. (Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris insisted, “We have not had these honest discussions about race.”)
What does a conversation about race mean? Invariably, an indictment of the fundamental unfairness of our country, the historical roots of racism in white supremacy, and the national guilt of white people.
Or, to put it more simply, why Senator Kamala Harris deserves to be in the White House.
We don’t have national conversations about anti-Semitism because the problem can’t be narrowed down to an easily blamed demographic. The Democrats invariably try to blame anti-Semitism on the usual suspects, white male Republicans living more than two hundred miles from a Starbucks, but the largest toll of violent anti-Semitic attacks tend to fall on New York City’s black neighborhoods.