- Much was revealed by the study of anti-Semitism in Europe
that caused such a controversy when the European Center for Monitoring
Racism decided to shelve the results.
- It showed a growing distancing from Israel and from European
Jews, the ostensible representatives of the Jewish state. It exposed the
failure of the immigrant absorption and integration policies adopted by
European countries toward their Muslim minorities. And finally, the attitude
to the report, whose data was not always well-grounded, showed how much
hostility there is to Europe, particularly among members of the coalition
parties in Israel, and the disproportionate manner in which they use the
ghosts of anti-Semitism to distract themselves and Israeli public opinion
in general from their own domestic problems.
- First to the matter of anti-Semitism. Since September
11, it is being felt the way anger toward America is felt. But this is
not the old style of race hatred against Jews; rather, it is more a general
rejection of everything Israeli. Jews are identified with Israelis, just
as the Israeli public is identified with its government. That first identification
is more grave - it shows that hundreds of years of life in Europe and the
memory of the genocide of the Jews has not been enough for the Jews to
be recognized as citizens of their countries.
- Add to that the criticism of Israeli policy. It can be
justified, but the intensity with which it is expressed discloses not only
the extent to which Germans are unable to put themselves in the place of
a people suffering from constant terror; it also reveals a desire to disconnect,
to get rid of decades' worth of complexes.
- There is a lot to say about the Sharon government. However,
the talk about an "Israeli war of destruction" and the frequently
expressed sympathy for suicide bombers exposes a desire to get rid of the
burden of guilt and to blame it on those who bother them with finger-pointing
at the past. This is indeed a new phenomenon and unpleasant, but it is
- The real danger comes from the Muslims who have turned
extremist. The torching by Islamic extremists of synagogues and Jewish
schools in France is indicative of this. Europe prefers to ignore this.
If it did not, its governments would have to admit that their multicultural
policies have failed. They did not achieve the integration and absorption
they meant to achieve. They created ghettoes in which powerful Muslim minorities
openly fight against the Western world's values. Moderate Muslims have
long been warning about such groups, which believe that they can bring
the Middle East conflict to Europe. These groups operate according to the
crude simplistic precepts of Arab dictators. Without the frightening ghosts
of America and Israel, many Islamic intellectuals and clergymen would find
it difficult to explain to their people why their situation is so much
worse than that of other countries in the world. The Islamists adopted
strategies of vagueness and blurred reality and then added a suspicious
paranoia of modern civilization that should be opposed not only in Europe
but everywhere in the world.
- Israelis will hurry to agree with this analysis, but
many of them instinctively regard Europe as the source of the problem.
The news from the continent where anti-Semitism flourished can still inspire
fears that are not proportionate to reality. As in the past, Israel feels
itself to be "the Jew of the nations" - shoved aside, isolated
and threatened. This is why Israeli responses often appear so exaggerated,
especially when compounded by the tendency, especially among Likud politicians,
to denounce as anti-Semitic statements and expressions that are frequently
only criticisms of their policies. The minute something is described as
hostile to Jews, it can be shoved aside without having to deal with the
- But all this has practically nothing to do with the European
reality, which is less threatening than the Israelis believe but more worrisome
than the Europeans want to think. Those who want to see only anti-Semites
in Europe should remember the days of Yitzhak Rabin. Practically never
in its history was Israel so beloved on the continent as it was in that
- - The writer is foreign editor of Die Welt, where this
article originally appeared.
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