Europe's Alarming New Anti-Semitism - Jonathan Sacks (Wall Street Journal)
- Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe within living memory of the Holocaust. Never again has become ever again. In France, worshipers in a synagogue were surrounded by a howling mob claiming to protest Israeli policy. In Brussels, four people were murdered in the Jewish museum, and a synagogue was firebombed. In London, a major supermarket said that it felt forced to remove kosher food from its shelves for fear that it would incite a riot.
- More than once during the summer, I heard well-established British Jews saying, "For the first time in my life, I feel afraid." A survey in 2013 by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe's Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism.
- Europe today isn't Germany in the 1930s. Hatred of the Jews isn't being incited or even condoned by European governments.
- The politics of hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Ultimately, this campaign amounts to an attack on Western democratic freedoms as a whole. Anti-Semitism has always been, historically, the inability to make space for differences among people, which is the essential foundation of a free society.
- Today's anti-Semitism differs from the old. Today, Jews are hated for their nation state. Israel is the only country among the 193 in the UN whose right to exist is routinely challenged. There are 102 nations in the world where Christians predominate, and there are 56 Islamic states. But a single Jewish state is deemed one too many.
- The anti-Semitism that has taken hold in the Middle East isn't endemic to Islam. Coptic and Maronite Christians introduced the blood libel - the slander that Jews use the blood of gentiles in religious rituals - into Egypt and Syria in the 19th century.
Lord Sacks is the emeritus chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth.
The assault on Israel and Jews world-wide is part of a larger pattern that includes attacks on Christians and other minority faiths in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia—a religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. Ultimately, this campaign amounts to an attack on Western democratic freedoms as a whole. If not halted now, it will be Europe itself that will be pushed back toward the Dark Ages.....
Anti-Semitism has always been, historically, the inability to make space for differences among people, which is the essential foundation of a free society. That is why the politics of hate now assaults Christians, Bahai, Yazidis and many others, including Muslims on the wrong side of the Sunni/Shia divide, as well as Jews. To fight it, we must stand together, people of all faiths and of none. The future of freedom is at stake, and it will be the defining battle of the 21st century.