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Anti-Semitism Rises in Europe

Graphic by: McKenna '14
Graphic by: McKenna ’14

Since the middle of the summer, both violent and nonviolent anti-Semitic episodes have broken out across Europe. Ongoing disputes between Israel and Palestine have led to a noticeable and damaging rise in anti- Israel sentiments in many European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Spain and the Netherlands. According to The Guardian, synagogues and Jewish communities in these countries have been attacked, looted and bombarded by pro-Palestine protesters, some of whom bear arms and many of whom carry signs with slogans including “Death to Jews,” “Slit Jews’ throats” and “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”

The Israeli Ambassador to France, Yossi Gal, explained how the Israel- Palestine issue translates into the anti-Semitism that manifests itself in pro- Palestine protests where supporters express their anti-Israel beliefs by harming Jews in Europe.

“It is those extremists that [guide] this new anti-Semitism, this anti-Israel. But this anti-Zionism, anti-Israel is the new anti-Semitism here,” Gal said to PBS.

In the same PBS story, a French Arab represented the opposing side: “I have nothing against the Jewish community because everyone has their religion, but what’s happened in Gaza is appalling,” he said. This man supports Palestine in the Gaza conflict and his political opinions emerge as anti-Semitism because that is a way he can express himself within his community in France.

As in this man’s case, the destructive outbreaks across Europe can be tied to negative sentiments about the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine.

According to The Guardian, “This is not unusual; police and Jewish civil rights organizations have long observed a noticeable spike in anti-Semitic incidents each time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares.”

As a result of the persecution, many Jewish families and communities have said that they feel unsafe, and some have fled their homes in Europe, particularly France, with large numbers moving to Israel.