If Anti-Semitism no longer matters

It is often repeated that Western Europe and the United States are undergoing a profound socio-political crisis due to the aftershock of the economic and financial earthquakes that shook them. These effects are clearly seen in waves of large scale demonstrations and the clear choice of populism over rationality during electoral periods.

The term cultural crisis is sparsely used to define our current predicament, yet it cannot be denied that the principles and values that have been at the base of Western societies are under siege by ideologies which and intellectual tendencies which leave little space to democratic dialogue. One among others indirect effects of this cultural crisis in the Western World is the irrelevance, for the great majority of the public opinion, to anything linked to anti-Semitism.

After decades of self-inflicted shame due to the central role played by Western societies in the Shoah, it seems as if European and Northern American crowds no longer cares about hate crimes committed against Jewish Communities, Jewish assets and Israeli representative.

Tourist shops on Rue de Rivoli, one the most famous and visited streets in Paris, have the habit of exposing international flags. Almost all countries are present but only the Israeli flag is time and again clearly and overtly desecrated with the Magen David crossed out or rendered equal to a Nazi swastika.

Always in France, in September 2012 flash bang grenades were thrown inside a Jewish store, while the violation of tombs and monuments is a recurrent incident.

If the goal is not to list an ensemble of crimes committed against the Jewish people in the Western World, it is necessary to see through a number of examples a tendency that is rapidly catching ground: anti-Semitism is no longer regarded by European and American crowds and official as a strong and valid argument influencing their perception of social interactions.

Numb or uninterested to these events and these discourses, political elites and intellectuals alike adopt a passive and a priori anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli stance.

It is no longer surprising to see that Jewish communities in Malmo, Sweden, undergo dozen of attacks per year, attacks which for the most part go unpunished by the local juridical system.

It is no longer surprising to see Swastika bearing flags placed in front of synagogues in Sweden or elsewhere, where the equation Zionism = National Socialism is commonly accepted.

It is no longer surprising to see that Israeli and Jewish professors undergo pressure and disruptions in European and Northern American universities, because of their faith, nationality or political tendencies.

It is no longer surprising to hear, in major universities or religious associations, talks about boycotting Israeli products.

It is no longer surprising to hear young students express their support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran in what is coined as a “Just” war.

It is no longer surprising to hear politicians such as Beppe Grillo in Italy using their party to diffuse anti-Semitic and pro-Iranian comments.

It may even not be surprising that the United States First Lady and the Department of State have decided to glorify an Egyptian woman who is open about her views in support of Hitler and the extermination of Jews and Israelis.

All the facts cited above are only a portion of the ongoing cultural earthquake which may be brought up about the implosion of Western values and principles.

When anti-Semitism is no longer regarded as the worst part of the Western History and when people no longer realize the irrationality which leads to such attacks and positions that is when real troubles begin.

The greatest percentage of Europeans and Northern Americans may still say things such as “I am not doing anything wrong” or “I didn’t know” and simply remain silent and neutral in regard to these events and incidents. Such stance is extremely dangerous as the silent and uninterested majority actually plays in the hand of those willing to take the offensive.

When looking at Western Europe and Northern America officials and decision makers, the Israeli government and the Israeli society should understand that it may find in them partners but very few friends.

For those who realize the gravity of the situation and see that attacks on Jewish communities and Israel have been on the rise, it is the moment to speak up and put anti-Semitism back into the public discourse.

If the West willingly decides to no longer consider anti-Semitism a matter to discuss and fight against, it will indirectly lose its soul and fall back in the hands of fanatics and fundamentalists. It is so because there is an historical correlation between anti-Semitism in Western Europe and the rise of radical and violent movements opposed to democracy.

In a period during which the Middle East is changing and in which the search for identity by Western societies is at the center of the political discourse, the fight against the anti-Semitic ethos, the development and the maintaining of a true and sincere friendship with the Jewish State is essential in defending the humanist, democratic and liberal principles for which the West stands for.

Recognizing the threat posed by anti-Semitism and countering it, is a clear statement against those who do not share the core values for which Western Europe and Northern American used to stand for and should still represent today.

Recognizing the threat posed by terrorist, subversive and irrational attacks against Israel is a clear statement that justice and democracy can and shall prevail.

In societies crippled by cultural relativism and the loss of fundamental values, good willed people should see in the fight against anti-Semitism and the friendship with Israel a core base of morality.



About the Author
Riccardo Dugulin is an independant international affairs analyst. He holds a Master in International Security from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and has worked in leading think tanks in Washington DC, Beirut and Dubai and has held the position of security coordinator for a security assistance firm.