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Sun Jun 22, 2014, 03:55 AM

Europe must face up to the new antisemites

The New York Met this week cancelled its planned global telecast of John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, the opera that portrays the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1985. While emphasising that the work itself is not antisemitic, the Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, said that he recognised concerns among Jews "at this time of rising antisemitism, particularly in Europe". Regardless of one's view of either the opera or the Met's decision, Gelb is unfortunately spot on about Europe.

A survey of global attitudes towards Jews conducted by the Anti-Defamation League recently found that 24% of people in western Europe (37% in France, 29% in Spain, 27% in Germany, 69% in Greece) and 34% in eastern Europe (41% in Hungary, 45% in Poland, 38% in Ukraine) harboured antisemitic views. By this it meant they agreed with six or more classical stereotypes about Jews from a list of 11 including "Jews have too much control over the US government", "Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars", and "People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave".

Such beliefs are translating to support at the ballot box. At last month's European elections, three countries – Greece, Hungary and Germany – elected neo-Nazi MEPs. Germany's NPD openly describes itself as national socialist. Antisemitism is also leading to violence against Jews. Four people were murdered at the Jewish Museum in Brussels just days before the European elections. Facing trial is Mehdi Nemmouche, a French Muslim radicalised in Syria with an expressly antisemitic agenda. In 2012, a rabbi and three children were murdered at a Jewish school in Toulouse by Mohammad Merah, another radicalised Muslim with similarly antisemitic views. There were 170 antisemitic acts reported to the Paris-based Jewish Community Protection Service and the French Ministry of the Interior in the first three months of 2014. Jews in Kiev, Bucharest and Stockholm have been attacked, the Jewish cemetery in Andrychów desecrated and the president of Rome's Jewish community was sent the head of a pig in a box.

When antisemitic attitudes are so widespread across Europe, these tragic and terrifying incidents are the real and disturbing consequences. No wonder Jews all over Europe are feeling increasingly worried. Over half of French Jews now think that "Jews have no future in France". As many as 75% of French Jews say they are considering emigrating. Many already have. One of my closest friends recently moved from France to Canada, because he felt "the situation there is no longer safe for my [Jewish] children".


more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/20/europe-must-face-new-antisemites?commentpage=1

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Fat chance.

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