The Israeli National News Agency reported that Germany’s Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, promised on Sunday that his country would never stop fighting anti-Semitism, which he said was the “root of all evil.” Friedrich, speaking at a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht argued, “We must not cease to remember and remind of these events, it is our responsibility and our obligation toward the victims.”
Yesterday, I spotted two other articles which I would highly recommend.
The research by the FRA included a pan-European online survey of 5,847 self-selected individuals who identified as Jewish in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the UK; these are the states in which an estimated 90 percent of European Jews live. The report confirms that anti-Semitism is still widespread and comes from across the political and social divide, not just the extreme right and extreme left. Looking at the incidence of anti-Semitism, it’s more widespread in certain countries, notably Hungary and France. However, as Spiegel highlights, the impact of anti-Semitism in Germany is more serious.
If you have the time, read the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report entitled “Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism” which is highly recommended reading.
For another more passionate perspective, I would strongly recommend the following article by Jonathan Sacerdoti who is a political analyst, broadcaster and writer based in the UK.
Sacerdoti takes a historical look at anti-Semitism arguing strongly and passionately that seventy-five years after Germany’s Kristallnacht that anti-Semitism is still thriving in Europe.
This prompted me to use Storify to see what was trending on anti-semitism. Here is the result:
Being Jewish, albeit not particularly religious and fairly cosmopolitan in my views, I have always struggled to understand anti-Semitism. Let me share two short stories which changed me fundamentally.
Firstly, when I visited Prague last year, my Jewish guide introduced me to the term political anti-Semitism. He argued that anti-Semitism had been round centuries since Roman times and that whenever there were periods of relative economic or social hardship, there was a need for a popular scapegoat and the Jews were a handy target. However, he explained that political anti-Semitism manifested itself in Nazi Germany and he volunteered “God help us if it ever returns”.
My second experience was, last week, visiting the Yad Vashem Holacaust Memorial, in Jeruselem. I cannot fully describe my emotions after that visit. I am still deeply depressed. It was probably the most moving experience in my whole life. Whilst in Israel, I talked to Israelis who argued that it was time to move on from the Holocaust but no doubt today many Jews in Europe are reflecting on the Holocaust given the latest evidence of anti-Semitism.