The Three Faces of Anti-Semitism

Are we going to ever discuss the elephant in the room? The very strange reality that as Jews we are horrified by the increase in anti-Semitism hitting the streets of Europe, Canada, and America but simultaneously ignore the perpetrators of such crimes? How bazaar is it that the news media and Jews alike are decrying “European” anti-Semitism as though it is the anti-Semitism of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and their ilk? Why on earth is it that as Jews we are comfortable condemning a continent but not the people perpetrating the crime?

There is this fascinating trend happening right now where the news media and Jewish institutions write about signs in shops in Belgium, attacks on the streets of London, hate leaflets being left in Chicago without ever mentioning that the vast majority of these attacks and incidents are being committed by young men who practice Islam. By admitting to the fact that the majority of the perpetrators are Muslim, it doesn’t make us as Jews Islamaphobic but rather is a step in realizing how we need to combat the anti-Semitism that is rising up today.

We cannot and should not make the mistake of looking at this manifestation of anti-Semitism and say that this is just like the Nazis, these aren’t necessarily skin heads in the streets of France, although yes there are those too; just because one group hates us doesn’t mean another can’t as well. There isn’t a monopoly on who can practice anti-Semitism. In fact that gets to the heart of the matter that at this exact point in time there are actually three waves of anti-Semitism that are going to crash down on the Jewish people: conventional good old fashion European Jew hatred, Islamic anti-Semitism and progressive anti-Zionism. To ignore two and just focus on one is a disservice to protecting our people.

So what is really happening? Essentially you have two groups, native Europeans and Islamic transplants coming to blows in the heart of Europe. It isn’t anything new, in fact if you recall France went through a French intifada around 9 years ago, where young Muslim immigrants hit to the suburban streets with fire bombs, burning cars, and general mayhem. France in response has attempted to use legal protocols to diminish the immigrant community’s ability to effect French society, going so far as to ban head coverings. In Germany we see the German government also signing into law anti-Muslim policy, such as out-lawing circumcision in parts of the country, to curtail Muslim practice. In turn these, “young men” as they are typically called have acted in lawless fashion going so far to behead a British solider in public in England.

This is where things get complicated for the Jews, the Jews although neither Muslim (obviously) or of the majority Christian and atheist European society get caught in the middle. You might be wondering how this happens. Well look at it from the European point of view, fascists groups which are becoming afraid of immigrant populations are demonizing the other non-Europeans and groups that are not “indigenous” to Europe. Jews in their wandering fashion are not seen as “native” by these groups and thus are lumped in with the rest of the foreigners. Muslims (note I didn’t say all) on the other hand who proscribe to hate of the west naturally clump the Jews in with the westerners who maintain a culture and ideology counter to their own. But why attack the Jews? Simple in many ways, the Jews not only represent the vilified other of each group it is also an easy and obvious target. The Jews are relatively small in number and do not have a strong ability to protect themselves outside of Israel, nor are they historically well protected by their host societies. So if you want to attack a Jew, either as a European or a Muslim it isn’t that hard. In addition all you have to do is fall back on the regurgitated anti-Semitism that has grown for over 2000 years and you find anti-Semitism igniting the haystack that is ultimately going to be a fight for the nature of Europe.

Now of course we cannot forget one other group: the left which also has a hand in anti-Semitism today in Europe and around the world. The left quite frankly is open to anyone except itself, ie Europeans and Whites who they see as racist, imperialistic conquerors. So once again how do the Jews become the focus for their hate? Easy, Jews in the name of Israel represent the conqueror mentality of all of white supremacist western society, never mind that this isn’t true, it doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be believed.

So there you have it the merging of three groups, sometimes called an unholy alliance, with the only thing they have in common is the hatred of the Jews who represent for each of them “other”, something vile and horrible.

About the Author
Yael Weinstein joined the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education as a faculty member in 2009. Yael earned her M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, focusing on the topics of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Identity. At Brandeis, Yael worked as a teaching assistant for Dennis Ross, former U.S. Ambassador. Yael also works with the curriculum development team at the international Melton office at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.