GP Insights

GP Insights # 53, 31 May 2019

Beyond the Kippa March in Berlin: Anti-Semitism in Europe
Raakhavee Ramesh

What happened?

In the past week, a significant rise in anti-Semitic instances in Germany and France stimulated a government official to urge Jews not to wear kippahs in public. The series of attacks has alarmed politicians and provoked pleas for action against the new form of anti-Semitism. But anti-Semitic attacks continue to remain common in Europe though it is home to lakhs of Jews, where they united to condemn anti-Semitic acts with one common slogan: "Enough!"

What is the background?

The storm of anti-Semitic violence spread by Nazi Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945 not only got an alarming intensity in Germany itself but also inspired anti-Jewish movements elsewhere. Until recently, there was a national consensus on how to deal with the memory of the Holocaust and the fight against anti-Semitism. In Germany, one of the reasons behind the current anti-Semitic acts is the rising popularity of the far-right AFD party. Since the 2015 migration crisis, Germany has seen the revival of far-right sentiment stained with anti-Semitism. The far-right's political strategy has been to blame migrants, which comes primarily from Muslim countries, for the resurgence of anti-Jewish hatred in Germany to an extent.

What does it mean?

Anti-Semitism is diffusing like poison, which leaves a question unanswered -Why are some groups (such as homeless people)  neglected in a relatively steady stream of scorn, while other groups (such as Jewish people) are subjected to sudden waves of virulent attacks? In the wake of Germany’s defeat in World War I and the later economic crisis, Jewish people were cast as powerful, manipulative agents of disaster, so because of its positive element it can become a dangerous weapon of discrimination and destruction. They are also labelled as competent but cold. Elements of hate and racism had to be connected to a perception that the Jew was a possible political, economic, and social threat. It is also a form of prejudice deep-rooted in a conspiracy. Although anti-Semitism has been an issue for almost all of documented history, it is now "coming out". It is an epidemic that endangers everyone.

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