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Kantor Centere: normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitism

Europe’s largest Jewish communities are experiencing a normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitism not seen since the Second World War, the European Jewish Congress said on Wednesday. Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center 2017 Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide, released in cooperation with the EJC, flagged a prevalent feeling of insecurity among Jews in Central and Western Europe, as well as in the US.

“A major factor that raises this level of anxiety is the recent strengthening of the extreme Right in a number of European countries, accompanied by slogans and symbols reminiscent of the 1930s that may signal a new rise of fascism and of history repeating itself,” the report said. “The result is of a Jewish community in many places around the world living in fear,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said.

EJC made particular note of antisemitism in France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, where a Holocaust survivor was recently murdered in her home, a year after another Jewish woman was thrown to her death from her apartment window. Both were hate crimes.

“Neither the public nor the private space are perceived as safe for Jews, as was seen by the recent horrific and brutal murder of Mireille Knoll, who survived the Holocaust to be stabbed and burnt in her home. The general feeling shared by Jews, as individuals and as a community, is that antisemitism has entered a new phase, and is widespread in most parts of the world,” Kantor said.

He also mentioned the antisemitism crisis surrounding the UK’s Labour Party. “Jeremy Corbyn’s ascendancy in the British Labour Party means that he is a possible future prime minister,” Kantor said. “His followers and supporters openly share on social media some of the most malevolent Holocaust denial and international Jewish banking conspiracies reminiscent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, some of this is sometimes even condoned by Corbyn himself. It leads us to believe that this normalization of Jew-hatred has reached the highest levels.”

While 2017 saw a worldwide decrease in violent antisemitic incidents of about 9%, some of the recent violent cases have been perpetrated more brutally, causing more harm. Moreover, the report said that this decrease is overshadowed by what is seen by the Jewish communities as a dramatic increase in all other forms of antisemitic manifestations, many of which are not even reported, most notably harassment in schools and on social media.

A certain corrosion of Jewish communal life was observed, and according to the study, Jews believe that antisemitism has entered a new phase, with expressions of classic traditional antisemitism used increasingly. This corrosion was especially noticed in schools, when “some Jewish pupils moved to Catholic schools, where the fees are lower and there are no Muslims,” the report said.

“If in previous years we saw different types of antisemitism – antisemitism of the far Right, antisemitism of the far Left, and an antisemitism masked as anti-Israel – now it has transformed more openly into classic antisemitism,” Kantor said. “There has been an increase in open, unashamed and explicit hatred directed against Jews. The Jew as exploiter, the Jew as killer, the Jew as banker. It is like we have regressed 100 years.”

Tamara Zieve