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May 22nd, 2015
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War on Terror

European Anti-Semitism 'Has Reached Critical Mass,' Expert Warns

European Anti-Semitism 'Has Reached Critical Mass,' Expert Warns

Anti-Semitism has reached "critical mass" in Europe, and stands at its worst levels globally since the 1930s, a senior anti-hate campaigner has warned.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva at the 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism last week,  ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said that although anti-Semitism was not yet at the same levels as it was immediately prior to the holocaust, Jews are certainly being subjected to the worst levels of hatred since then.

"It's not like the thirties, but it's the worst its been since the 30s," Foxman said.

Explaining his alarming analysis, Foxman noted the growing numbers of deadly attacks against Jews, particularly in Europe, which - combined with other violent attacks - represents a wave of Jew-hatred unprecedented since the end of the Second World War.

"We're living in an era where again anti-Semitism presents a clear and present danger to Jews in various communities.

"It's global in its nature, and it's endangering the lives of Jews - not just where they live or their livelihoods - and it has a dimension of terrorism, jihadism."

Foxman, a veteran campaigner who has been part of the struggle against anti-Semitism since the 1960s, said contemporary anti-Semitism is a combination of "both the old and the new," pointing to the confluence of the far-right, the far-left and political Islam.

That alliance is also greatly helped by the internet, he added, which enables anti-Semites to spread their message and reach previously unreachable audiences anonymously and with frightening effectiveness.

The subject of online anti-Semitism has figured prominently at the Forum this year, which is co-sponsored by the foreign ministry and ministry for diaspora affairs.

"Anti-Semitism has reached a critical mass. It's not a drip-drip anymore," Foxman warned.

"When Jews are killed in Europe today because they are Jews, for me that's a critical mass. If you can be killed in the streets of Europe if you're identifiably Jewish that's as critical as it can be."

He insisted that the key to battling contemporary anti-Semitism was to first "raise an awareness" of it and those behind it, something far too many policy-makers are hesitant to do.

"There is a reluctance to identify sometimes not even the perpetrators but also the victims," he lamented. "It's a sort of political correctness."

Foxman cited President Obama's notable reluctance to even describe the victims of the Hyper Cacher shooting in Paris as Jews, let alone their killer as an Islamist or Muslim extremist, as a powerful example of the failure of world leaders to face up to the challenge.

Obama provoked widespread outrage after referring to the four Jewish shoppers murderer by ISIS terrorist Amedy Coulibaly as "a bunch of folks," despite the fact Coulibaly made it clear in calls to the police that he was specifically targeting Jews.

"If we're to hesitant to describe the perpetrators and even the victims it holds back our hand from acting," warned Foxman.

Apart from awareness-raising, the "first and foremost" concern must be "providing physical safety and security" for Jewish communities in Europe and worldwide.

Foxman said he "understand(s) where (Prime Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu is coming from" with his recent calls for European Jews to move to Israel in the wake of rising anti-Semitism, but emphasized that ultimately Jews should be free to make that choice for themselves, rather than be forced to do so by anti-Semitism.

"I think that what Netanyahu said last night was appropriate: that Israel is there with open arms for any Jew who for whatever reason, good or bad, wants to come.

"Having said that, I think our responsibility is to do everything in our power to provide as safe an environment as possible" for Diaspora Jewry, he continued, including lobbying governments to live up to their obligations to protect their Jewish citizens.

"We learn in the United States that our goal is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Well, if you don't protect life you'll never get to liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Foxman remarked.

"In Europe what we need to focus on first and foremost is protection, so they can live as Jews if they want."

Foxman praised the actions of the French government in ordering an unprecedented mobilization of security forces in the wake of the January Paris attacks, but cautioned that such measures were merely temporary. As such, Jewish organizations need to ensure the security of their communities are still protected even after the dust has settled.

"It's great that the French government sent 10,000 troops. Now its 7,000; eventually it'll be 5,000, and then nothing.

"We have to address how we provide for our physical security - that's the only way we can have spiritual security as well."                 (INN)


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