There is a new strong wave of anti-Semitism in the world, and in Italy too unfortunately; much prejudice against Israel is driven by such anti-Semitism, from time to time that process is even unconscious.
It is out of question that if you somehow get rid of anti-Semitism, you will get rid of anti-Israelism, reducing the problems of prejudice against Israel to very low rates, the same level of criticism and disagreement we can have for the policies of other countries: who is in favour of death penalty carried out in USA? Who is in favour of female genital mutilation of some Arab countries? Who is on favour of reduced labour rights in China? We can strongly disagree with the different policies of the different countries but without hating, boycotting or disinvesting in those countries! We still continue to love Americans, Arabs, Chinese as persons even if we do not agree with their governmental policies. Indeed, the prejudice against Israel is a serious breach of morality and good sense and it drives in a way or another to anti-Semitism, even if it distinguishes from anti-Semitism as such in the early stage. It is a sort of growing process that starts with prejudice against Israel, goes through anti-Zionism and inevitably arrives to anti-Semitism.
There is no doubt that recent anti-Semitism is linked to the last summer Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And it is equally without doubt that Israeli policies sometimes deserve criticism, there is nothing wrong with that! You can feel free to criticise every single governmental decision, but why do you have to repeat the traditional anti-Semitic themes under the anti-Israel banner? The Jewish conspiracy to rule the world…linking Jews with money and media…the stingy Jew…the blood libel…disparaging use of Jewish symbols…to have killed Jesus…yada yada… Is that necessary to evoke the Jewish conspiracy or depict Israelis as Christ-killers to denounce Israeli policies?Really?
In September 2004, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, a part of the Council of Europe, called on its member nations to ensure that anti-racist criminal law covers anti-Semitism, and in 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) offered a working definition in an attempt to enable a standard definition to be used for data collection: It defined anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jews and non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. The paper included examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
• Denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour;
• Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation;
• Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis;
• Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
• Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.
So if you think like this, if you use that words, if you recognize yourself into one or more of those examples, you are an anti-Semite!
During last summer Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a new raise of anti-semitism has taken over in Italy. During that period, someone tried to remove the October 16, 1943 plaque from the so called Jewish ghetto in Rome; many hate messages were scrawled with black and red paint on Jewish businesses with phrases like “Dirty Jews,” “Jews your end is near,” and “Israel executioner”, with Celtic crosses and rows of swastikas. Those are the most evident forms of anti-Semitism but, even more disturbing, there has also been an exponential proliferation of anti-Semitic Internet websites and social networks.
From my personal observation, I have depicted some categories of anti-Semites:
1. Old fashion Nazis. Typical and traditional! For those, Jews are racially inferior and protagonists of the great conspiracy to conquer the world; they mostly like to draw swastikas on the wall of Jewish quarters and yelling that Anna Frank was a liar.
2. Go Right Go. They are mostly nationalists. They feel as Europeans to be ethnically and religiously homogeneous, so they are disturbed by minority groups as Roma, Muslims—and, of course, Jews.
3. Palestine mon amour. They are nostalgic communists and left party intellighenzia; they claim to be universalist and in favour of the poor and oppressed (in their mind pro-Palestinian); so Jews find disfavour following this attitude because they maintain a separate ethnic and cultural identity and also tend to achieve economic success and technological progress.
4. Muslim Extremists. Segments of those immigrants who have entered Europe from Muslim countries—and their descendants— are full of anti-Jewish prejudice based on select Islamic sources, reinforced by resentment that Jews today have a sovereign state in a region Islam teaches should be under its rule.
So which anti-Semite are you?