Anti- Semitism, the-not-so-sleeping giant

It’s the year 2014, at this time in human history one would think that acceptance, tolerance and appreciating others differences would be commonplace. Sadly, it feels more like history is repeating itself. Across the globe, at this very moment the Jewish people are once again being demonized, swastikas are becoming ever present, and nationalistic fervor is soaring, once again creating a fear of the other. This narrative has one large difference from that of the past. Israel, the Jewish state, is in existence. However, even though this changes the story it sadly does not change the reality, that anti- Semitism is ever present, on the rise and continuously ignored by world leaders.

In the wake of a survey put out by the Anti Defamation League earlier this month, the results show that anti-Semitism is alive and well around the globe. What do these implications have on the global community? But more importantly, what affect does this have on Israel? Haim Fireberg, director of Research at the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, equates anti- Semitism to anti- Zionism. I believe rightfully so. Zionism is the nationalist movement specific to the Jewish people. In turn, by being anti- Zionist you are defacto anti- Semitic, however large the protest, they are one in the same. I argue that after the creation of the state of Israel anti- Zionism became the new and uglier face of anti- Semitism. This whole-heartedly affects the state of Israel and the Jewish people. Day after day, people and nations are delegitimizing Israel across the globe, with organizations growing intent on eradicating it all together. Just one example of this manifestation is the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, also known as BDS, which is currently sweeping across the United States on its university campuses. Though this movement states it is doing so on behalf of human rights, it causes more divisiveness than anything else, and it is being used as a vehicle to call for an end to Israel all together.

While this hatred is being manufactured and exported around the globe, some are still shocked that this is happening. For instance, in an article written in Arutz Sheva earlier this week, it discusses the shock European leaders are having in regards to the rise of anti – Semitism on their continent. Sadly, it isn’t shocking. Reports of anti Israel and anti- Semitic rallies and violence have increased in the “enlightened” capital of the world. So much so, that the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel is on the rise. France holds one of the largest populations of Jews in Europe currently, but who knows for how much longer? There has been an increase in attacks and violence towards European Jews over the past few years. Even as recent as yesterday, four Jews were murdered in cold blood in Brussels, while on a visit to the Jewish museum there and two French Jews were attacked coming back from synagogue. So wouldn’t such a learned and educated people see the signs that history is repeating itself and do something to ensure it stops? Switzerland’s top court a few days ago ruled that the Nazi salute isn’t illegal racial discrimination, as long as it is a personal statement. Yet, using such a gesture is much more weighty. It represents all the beliefs that go along with the ideology in which the salute stems from. This liberalist approach is a slippery slope. It allows complacency when it comes to hatred. Well, if the reaction of this court is any indicator about the world’s response to anti Semitism in this day and age, it proves history’s lessons were not learned.

There is a fine line between free speech and hate speech. This area has become filled with shades of grey and very few take a clear stance. Whole nations in the region of the Middle East, Israel’s neighbors, constantly use anti- Semitic and anti – Zionist language and theology to call for the end of the state of Israel. This is perhaps the biggest display of anti- Semitic hatred visible today. Sadly, this falls to the periphery because in the eyes of the liberal media Israel is the Goliath to the Palestinians David. I argue that the Jewish people and the state of Israel is the David to the raging, hating beast of the anti- Semitic machine Goliath which is palpable worldwide. Instead of politicians and those in power being shocked about this increase, how about they take some action to change the current reality? If any other minority group was being targeted, an army of activists would rush to their side and outrage would fill the headlines. Meanwhile, the world largely remains silent to anti- Semitism, even enabling it, the- not- so -sleeping giant that has been awakened, or better yet, that has never really slept at all.

About the Author
Hannah is currently an MA student in Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University. Graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Jewish Studies and History, where she started the first Pro Israel Christian organization on campus. Hannah is a proud voice for Israel wherever she goes.