The number of hate crimes against Jews living in the UK has doubled since the beginning of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. In Europe, where violence and violent rhetoric against Jews is much higher than the UK, anti-Semitic attacks have become so frequent, that they have inspired a new wave of Jewish emigration to Israel. It is estimated that in France, 5,000 Jews will emigrate to Israel this year alone. So serious is the threat to Europe’s Jewish population, that the French, German, and Italian governments have issued a joint statement saying that “hostility against Jews, attacks on people of Jewish belief and synagogues have no place in our societies,” and that, in regards to pro-Palestinian rallies, they will do everything possible to combat “acts and statements that cross the line into antisemitism, racism and xenophobia.” Responding to the toxic atmosphere for Jews in Europe, the President of France, François Hollande, vows that fighting anti-Semitism will become a “national cause.” What’s going on in Europe? Robert Singer, the chief executive officer of the World Jewish Congress, sums up the problem this way: “I think Jews in Europe are being seen as Israeli.”
Even if they were Israeli, I would add, the flattening of people, policy and state to a single homogenous entity is, in itself, hateful. A minority within the Pro-Palestinian movement wish to collectively punish Jews for the deeds of the Israeli state—a state with which many Jews find themselves in stark opposition regarding its treatment of its Palestinian neighbours. Despite such hatred tarnishing the reputation and moral credibility of the Palestinian solidarity movement, however, here in Ireland my experience has been that the Left generally considers anti-Semitism either a non-issue or, as our own Chris Donnelly said on Twitter, a “red herring charge by those seeking to give cover to Israeli Gov actions.” To be fair to Chris, he means that the Israeli government and its supporters have a history of manipulatively using charges of anti-Semitism to deflect criticism of zionism and the Israeli state’s murder of innocent Palestinian civilians and children, land grabbing, and its ongoing treatment of Arabs as second-class citizens. In the current context, with more than 1,000 Palestinians dead as a result of “Operation Protective Edge,” and Israel demonstrating no intention of lifting the blockade on Gaza or halting the settlements of the West Bank, it might seem tangential or distracting to focus on a minority within the larger protest movement. But the danger in leaving anti-Semitism within the pro-Palestinian camp unaddressed not only gives ammunition to the Israeli state and its right-wing supporters, but actually leaves vulnerable Jewish communities here in Europe at risk of further violence.
Read more at Slugger O’Toole: http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/07/31/why-is-the-left-so-nonchalant-about-anti-semitism/