Multiculturalism is dead, Anti-Semitism is alive!

Moria Haddad-Rodrig is the young woman featured on the Newsweek cover, on its August 8, 2014, edition, entitled: “Exodus: Why Europe’s Jews Are Fleeing Once Again.” Standing with a suitcase, reminiscent of the Jews escaping Europe following the rise of Nazism, Moria has become an international symbol to the rise of violent anti-Semitism in today’s Europe. Moria lives in Israel, for a while, as a new immigrant from Belgium. As she told Israeli TV, her picture was made and planned at the request of Newsweek quite before the July 8th Protective Edge operation of the IDF in Gaza. The coincidence of the publication with the war in Gaza made her story even timelier but could give the wrong impression on the links between Israel’s behavior and the roots of anti-Semitism in Europe.

The unholy alliance of anti-Semitism is functioning in Europe for several decades, bringing together opposing sectors and ideologies such as neo-Nazis, radical left groups, Islamists and Christian churches activists. It is only in their organized media campaigns that these groups maintain the guise of political correctness and explain that they are anti-Israel but not anti-Semites. All these groups march together in demonstrations which not only burn Israeli flag but repeatedly chanting “Death to the Jews” or a more “pro-Palestinian” slogan: “Hamas, Hamas, Jews into the gaz”. The attempt to camouflage this direct act of anti-Semitism by using the term “new anti-Semitism”, namely just hatred toward Israel, is another tactic to avoid the reality. This is not criticism or even condemnation of the use of force by Israel but rather a demonization of Jews using the traditional stereotypes and conspiracy blood libels in a modern fashion.

Some commentators explain that the anti-Semitic nature of these demonstrations and violent attacks against Jews are a cynical instrument used by European governments and societies “to let off some steam,” among their immigrant population. By concentrating on Israel and the Jews these Islamic groups can get rid of some of their strong feelings of anger and frustration toward what they view as rejection and resentment by the majority of Europeans. The role of anti-Semitism as an instrument of scapegoating is old almost as the hatred toward the Jews.
It is evident, for instance, that the Turkish Prime Minister regards his hatred for Israel and its anti-Semitic characteristics as an important tool in his campaign for the presidency. Erdogan reiterates time and again comparisons between the IDF and the Nazis or between Israeli leaders and Hitler’s barbarism and points regularly on the excessive control which Jews maintain over the international media and its economy. Europeans, without using these comparisons, are falling in the same trap by avoiding a more aggressive fight against the demonization of the Jewish state and by their soft attitude to anti-Semitic slogans from Muslims or their collaborators from the extreme right.
Only momentarily, following the deadly riots in Europe and in Muslim countries after the publication of the anti-Muhammad cartoons in Denmark, there was a sudden expression of truth when a Danish daily newspaper declared on his headline: “Today we are all Israelis” (October 2005). This courageous statement was soon buried in the European mixture of fear, old anti-Semitic roots and considerations of political expediency. Basically, many European liberals are hiding today behind the false equation of political correctness which objects both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

The three major leaders of Europe, Angela Merkel, David Cameron and former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made strong statements on the failure of multiculturalism. These statements, which received widespread public support, were not translated into a political action. Just to the contrary, fearing from their own Muslim population Europeans reacted in some worry signs in national and all-European elections which gave rise to extreme right parties. Anti-Semitism in Europe is becoming again the barometer of multiculturalism and political tolerance. However, while declaring the failure of multiculturalism European leaders do very little to fight anti-Semitism.

About the Author
Dr. Avi Beker teaches diplomacy and international law at Tel Aviv University and Ono Academic Center. He was the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University.