We recently marked 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and yet, we are clearly still learning the lessons of the Holocaust with the growth of anti-Semitism worldwide. The recent attacks in Paris are truly emblematic of an intensifying global trend. Our colleague Richard Landes reminds us that the events in Paris are a result of, “a consistent stream of powerful evidence for all the trends that now, in this latest jihadi assault, [that] so rudely shocked all of France,” something we should all take note of.
The Los Angeles-based human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2014 top ten list of anti-Semitic/anti-Israel incidents named six European countries as transgressors. Moreover, the 2012 ADL report saw significant increase in anti-Semitism in Hungary, the United Kingdom and Spain. A year later, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights examined attitudes among 5,847 Jews from nine EU countries. The unsettling results: 29% of the respondents are contemplating emigrating and 76% say anti-Semitism increased over the last five years. In addition, the same study concluded that 24% of Europeans – 37% in France, 27% in Germany, 20% in Italy – experienced some kind of anti-Jewish attitude.
Positively, in a ground breaking ruling German Judge Gauri Sastry recently convicted a 24-year-old anti-Israel activist when he called for the killing of Zionists concluded his ruling saying that, “‘Zionist’ in the language of anti-Semites is a code for Jew.”
Furthermore, in a recent piece I co-authored with Benjamin Weinthal, we make the same observation where we state that, “hatred of Israel can no longer be separated from loathing of Jews. Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same.”
Finally, all of the above is directly impacting our universities something we witnessed at a recent BDS vote at UC Davis where anti-Israel activists heckled Jewish students shouting Allahu Akbar. It was after the vote that the AEPi brothers found their house spray-painted with swastikas these are clear reminders of the true nature of the BDS movement and its goals.
Real and honest discourse regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict is desperately needed while at the same time establishing clear guidelines for freedom of speech versus hate speech.
As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.
Asaf Romirowsky, PhD