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Reader Post: Anti-Semitism And The Oblivious Left

holocaust bearHolocaust Memorial Day. The day where the words “never again” couldn’t be more relevant. We vowed to end prejudice. To end targeting of one group of people. To end the hatred of the Jews, once and for all.

Yet here we are today. Anti-Semitism is still widespread. While Israel provided many Jews with a safe haven and knowledge of the Holocaust made mankind aware of the dangers of such a prejudice on a large scale, this awareness eventually dissolved to an extent.

Over the last few years in Europe, anti-Semitism has drastically shot up. Naftali Bennett delivered a speech on this recently; about the perilous situation that European Jewry finds itself in yet again. He spoke of French Jewry especially – the largest Jewish community in the continent, and where hate crimes rose by 84% in the first quarter of 2015. Yet as suggested, it extends to much further afield than France. In Britain, the country I reside in, the volume of anti-Semitic attacks shot up by 93%, from summer 2014, to the summer of last year. According to a study by Tel Aviv University, global anti-Semitism had surged by 46% globally in the same period.

In fact, one report shows that the majority of Jews in Europe now hide their religion.

Social Justice activism is more prominent than ever in the West. In terms of dealing with prejudice, this is a good thing. Since the cultural revolution, and social activism from the likes of Martin Luther King jr,  an awareness of prejudice has led to the formation of numerous organisations (mainly on the left) to tackle Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Racism, Sexism – you name it. Yet anti-Semitism, more often than not, goes unchecked. You’d expect those who are more left-wing/pro-equality oriented to be the first to condemn such acts.

So why is such a hatred not addressed as much? Wait, is it even that obvious to many people that it occurs?

Speaking to a friend of mine, who is very much left-wing oriented, we discussed prejudices in the UK, and what was perhaps the worst of them all. He suggested Islamophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia, but when I raised the issue of anti-Semitism, he seemed oblivious that it even really occurred. Another friend, when mentioning the extent to which anti-Semitism has occurred in Paris (making up 51% of all attacks in 2014), seemed completely taken aback by this.

For centuries, the Jews were often an easy target of prejudice and scapegoating, not being able to assimilate easily in society, due to their staunch religious practices. Now that awareness of anti-Semitism has seemingly eroded, this long-standing prejudice has re-ignited.

Clearly, a lack of awareness adds fuel the fire of anti-Semitism. As Edmund Burke said: “All that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing”.

The issue of ‘Islamophobia’ is addressed sternly by many social justice advocates. Islam is largely culturally different than Europe, and Muslims have only lived in large communities in Europe within the last few decades. As Muslims are largely from a different continent, many would feel that they are speaking out against racism, when speaking out against anti-Islam prejudice. Clearly, it’s also in the left’s interests to help Muslims assimilate as part of a pluralistic, multicultural society.

And of course, Jewish communities are thinning away in comparison. In Britain, there are over three million Muslims. There are around 250,000 Jews. In France, there are six million Muslims, while 475,000 Jews currently reside in what is Europe’s biggest Jewish community.

Jews are becoming sidelined. They have remained quiet about the prejudice. After centuries of vilification, and being part of communities where they feel vulnerable to prejudice, they have evidently withdrawn to the shadows.

To make it worse, many of those on the hard-left, who operate under the banner of “anti-Zionism”, tend to harbor anti-Semitic views themselves. A notorious suspect for this is George Galloway, leader of the Respect Party in the UK and former MP of Bradford; he declared once that his constituency would be an Israel-free zone. Otherwise, many on the left will simply be indifferent to it; believing that anti-Semitism is overused to divert criticism of the state of Israel.

Clearly, Jews have lost their voice yet again. Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates the suffering of millions. In Nazi Germany, hatred of Jews was allowed to go on because no one spoke out. Many were too scared to do so, or they were simply indifferent. While more and more advocates of Jews are speaking it, it needs to continue. I ask the reader to share this article: get the word out; share the work of other advocates and movements such as the ADL, and make people aware of this plague, which needs to be eradicated once and for all.

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