Friday, December 05, 2003

Europe and the Jews

Europeans tacitly claim to be more sophisticated, more culturally advanced than Americans. This may be true, but if cultural progress means a Euro-style tolerance for medieval anti-Semitism, give me Disneyworld and NASCAR any day.

According to an EU study on anti-Semitism -- a study that was considered a bit too blunt for public distribution by the way -- reveals that Jew hatred is acceptable to both the right and left wings of European political discourse especially when expressed under the cover of criticizing Israel.

Unlike most racism which usually portrays the targeted minority as inferior socially, mentally, or physically, anti-Semitism assigns superior intelligence and superior social skills to Jews. This unique upside-down racism resonates not only with the stagnating Europeans but with the out and out backward Islamic world.

In recent years this resonance has blossomed into a mainstream sort of anti-Semitism in Europe that is totally alien and unacceptable in the United States. These latent prejudices are frequently expressed in Europe as part of pro-Palestinian or anti-American political stances.

These stances, by the way, are about the only things the Greens and the National Front types ever seem to agree on. According to the C.R.I.F : Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France:

In the extreme left-wing scene anti-Semitic remarks were to be found mainly in the context of pro-Palestinian and anti-globalisation rallies and in newspaper articles using anti-Semitic stereotypes in their criticism of Israel.

Often this generated a combination of anti-Zionist and anti-American views that formed an important element in the emergence of an anti-Semitic mood in Europe.

Israel, seen as a capitalistic, imperialistic power, the “Zionist lobby”, and the United States are depicted as the evildoers in the Middle East conflict as well as exerting negative influence on global affairs.

The convergence of these motives served both critics of colonialism and globalisation from the extreme left and the traditional anti-Semitic right-wing extremism as well as parts of the radical Islamists in some European countries.

Is it surprising then that Europe’s rather large Islamic community takes its cues from the European mainstream and translates latent hatred into physical violence?

Physical attacks on Jews and the desecration and destruction of synagogues were acts often committed by young Muslim perpetrators in the monitoring period.

Many of these attacks occurred either during or after pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which were also used by radical Islamists for hurling verbal abuse.

In addition, radical Islamist circles were responsible for placing anti-Semitic propaganda on the Internet and in Arab-language media.

European culture has much going for it . . . much to admire and much Americans can learn from and emulate.

But the stain on the European character is an unreasoning hatred of Jews. And Europeans have successfully exported that hatred to less developed cultures where it has found fertile ground.

If Europeans want to play a central role in world affairs they can begin by confronting anti-Semitism and demonstrating to the rest of the world that civilized nations do not condone or accept hatred and violence against Jews.

No qualifiers about how other minorities are similarly oppressed. The truth is there are no other minority groups that are hated for their superior skills.

And while you can dismiss people you feel are inferior to you, they only recourse to the perception of intrinsic mental superiority is to counter it with superior physical violence.

Hence the Holocaust.

I can understand why blaming the United States for the troubles of the Middle East and Israel for the emergence of Islamic radicalism are easy for Europeans . . . it’s a painless alternative to examining European soul.

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