The past year has seen a marked rise of anti-Semitism, increasing over 100 percent throughout the world, the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism of Tel-Aviv University outlined on Sunday, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.
According to the institute, violent anti-Semitic attacks, ranging from vandalism and arson against Jewish targets to beatings of Jews, increased in 2009 by a startling percentage. The report underlined the severe increase in anti-Semitic attacks, specifying that 2009 displayed the highest amount of attacks recorded in over 20 years…
The report illustrated that that this year was particularly charged due to international reactions to Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in anti-Jewish demonstrations around the world.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress — which sponsored the report — said that the rise of anti-Semitic sentiment in Western Europe can be blamed on forces outside the region.
“This new phenomenon is financed and organized by pro-Islamic, pro-terrorist organizations and states,” Kantor said. [my emphasis]
I was present at a local demonstration at the time of Operation Cast Lead, which illustrated this (on a smaller scale, of course):
- The participants in the demonstration expressed themselves in strongly antisemitic — not just anti-Zionist — ways.
- Although there was no actual violence — it was close at times, but local organizers prevented it — the intent was clearly to frighten and intimidate the small group of counter demonstrators.
- A massive number of demonstrators, who appeared to be mostly high school and college age and of Middle Eastern origin, were brought in from out of town by the organizers.
- This occurred shortly after the start of the operation, and long before the various ‘human rights’ groups and Goldstone produced their tendentious reports.
This demonstration was significantly larger and more confrontational than a similar one held in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War. I expect this trend to continue.
The degree of organization involved in anti-Israel ‘happenings’ of all kinds seems to be increasing. It’s instructive to look at the way the disruption of Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech at UC Irvine was carefully planned and orchestrated by the Muslim Student Union there (and also to note their baldfaced lie that it was ‘spontaneous’). If you haven’t seen the evidence, look at the link above; it’s fascinating.
These organized activities have several purposes:
- In time of war, to generate immediate pressure on the US administration to step in to protect Israel’s opponents, even if they are terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah;
- In time of peace to erode support for Israel’s self-defense by portraying it as illegitimate;
- All the time to silence those — like Oren — who can effectively present Israel’s case (absurdly, the Israel-haters insist that it is we who try to silence them!).
I don’t recall where I saw this, but someone recently said that the extreme Left and the extreme Right have actually gotten to the point of coordinating their activities on the one issue that they can agree about — Jews and Israel.
While the more sophisticated Western anti-Zionists have usually been careful to try to express themselves in a way which is not overtly antisemitic — after all, so many of them are Jews — this is not the case among immigrants and students from the Middle East. As a result, antisemites of various stripes are encouraged to join in. As this kind of expression becomes more common, it becomes more mainstream.
Especially in academic environments and among young people, there is a sort of competition for who can express themselves in the most extreme way. This, I think, is because in these cases there are no negative consequences for being an extremist — while it attracts the attention of peers.
There is also the encouragement US anti-Zionists draw from the perception that the US administration is on their side. When the Obama administration treats Israel’s PM like the leader of an enemy, and when suggestions like “Israeli intransigence … was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region” are made by those close to the administration, the uglier players respond more strongly in their own way.
Here’s my prediction: when the next armed conflict with Hamas or Hizballah occurs — and it is inevitable — we will see a big increase in antisemitism in the US, even outside of traditional hot spots, like universities and cities like San Francisco. I expect that even the local demonstrations here will be more unpleasant.
I expect those American Jews who insist that there is no connection between Jews and Israel — or even blame Israel for antisemitism — to be outraged. I’d like to think that it will be a lesson for them, but probably they’ll draw the wrong conclusions.