Anti-Semitism Is Alive And Well
I am tired of pretending that it isn’t.
Maybe because I wrote last week about Kristallnacht and recounted the chilling history of Nazi Germany. Maybe because this week I investigated Greek anti-Semitism and the way anti-Jewish sentiment is strikingly ingrained in the Greek community.
Maybe that is why this topic seems powerful to me — a topic that doesn’t seem to get a lot of buzz in the general media.
I am afraid because no one wants to talk about the fact that anti-Semitism, which we think belongs to the past, has somehow survived. (Sometimes it now takes the form of anti-Israel sentiment.)
Anti-Semitism is alive and well. It’s covert in America. It’s becoming increasingly less covert throughout the rest of the world.
In Manchester, England, I am told, Jewish day schools are surrounded by razor wire, with bomb-proof windows and security bars and iron gates. Is this really how Jews need to protect their schools in modern Britain?
There is no choice.
Remember the horrific events of the Toulouse shooting in France in 2012 that resulted in the killing of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school?
A friend from France recently told me he takes his yarmulke off and puts it in his pocket when he goes out for a walk.
When the Pew Survey of American Jews was published, one obvious revelation (if you could call it that) was that young Jews are increasingly trying to integrate and assimilate into American culture. I believe that the more we do that, the more we try to be liked, the more we forget who we are or hide who we are, the more likely we will be targets of anti-Semitism; no one fears a Jewish reprisal.
And what I am seeing reported as one-off anti-Semitic or isolated incidents are becoming increasingly consistent, with uncomfortable echoes of 1930s Germany.
In this week’s JT, we feature an unsettling story about longtime math teacher Dr. Bert Miller who allegedly was called a ‘dirty, smelly Jew’ by a colleague at his Baltimore County school. We also include a New York Times report about a Russian Jewish immigrant food service employee who won in court after being the target of anti-Semitic slurs for years.
Anti-Semitism is the driving force in the call for the destruction of the Jewish state and the killing of Jews. We need to recognize that, to learn from the past.
In America, we are fortunate not to have experienced (or even presently experience) the kind of threats that Jews in Europe and the Middle East have faced and are facing. But we have to recognize what is happening in some parts of the world and stand up and speak out against it. We have to be waztchful even in the United States. We have to gain a better sense of the magnitude of the problem, and we have to be willing — eager, almost — to fight it.
No problem is solved by ignoring it.
If the safeness of America fools us into believing that a Holocaust couldn’t happen again, I am scared. And I don’t think admitting that fear makes me reactionary or alarmist.
Just Google “Jews are evil.” There are about 28,300,000 hits.
In all of Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise. If people don’t notice, it is because they don’t want to. If the media doesn’t report it, it is because it thinks no one cares.
Chanukah, which starts this year on Nov. 27, celebrates the triumph of faith and courage when a band of Israelites stood up for its right to be Jewish.
Remember. Do not forget.
Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief