The New Wave of Anti-Semitism

I attended a panel discussion on the topic of the title organized by the Emunah chapter in Netanya with moderator Elkan Levy and panelists Janet Elkoubi, Anthony Felix and Barry Shaw.  This is my abbreviated summary.

Janet Elkoubi who was a British teacher of English living in Paris for 30 years told how she had lived a wonderful life in Paris for many years, until things began to change in 2004, with the murder of  Ilan Halimi.  This was a horrendous anti-Semitic murder where the poor Jewish boy was kidnapped and tortured over several days by a group of African Muslims. They were caught, but the murder shocked France and especially the Jewish community.  After that things began to deteriorate, with the murders in Toulouse in 2012 by Mohammed Mehra, an al Qaeda supporter, who shot 5 people dead, including a Rabbi and his son and another Jewish child.

During the Gaza war in 2014 there were violent anti-Semitic demonstrations in Paris that were carried out by a coalition of Muslims and leftists.   Recently a Jewish couple in Creuilly were terrorized by Muslim intruders.  Janet described several personal experiences where people had made anti-Semitic remarks in public and she felt that the time had come to leave France and she and her husband made aliyah recently. However, she pointed out that the Jewish community in France is not passive and also that it is very Zionistic, so the decision to move to Israel is not a difficult one for many Jews.  She also pointed out that many French non-Jews are sympathetic to the situation of the Jews, but they are also often anti-Israel and it is too late now to ensure the protection of the Jewish community in France.

Anthony Felix is a former publisher from England who analyzed the causes of anti-Semitism in an objective manner.  Of course, they vary from the basic simple hatred of Jews, to the more complex political causes, such as  leftist political views that regard Israel as an imperialist, colonialist power, to the influence of Muslim anti-Israel and anti-Jewish views based on the rising number of Muslims in Europe and their greater electoral influence.  The role of pro-Palestinian propaganda in increasing anti-Semitism cannot be ignored.  However, the counter- reaction from the Jewish communities and the Israeli Government have been sadly lacking.

Barry Shaw, an author and advocate against the BDS movement, warned that there is a tsunami of anti-Semitism coming following an earthquake of anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian rhetoric throughout Europe.  He pointed out that the European Commission that defines racism had removed anti-Israel activities from their definition of anti-Semitism, and he quoted from non-Jewish sources going back 40 years predicting that a wave of anti-Israel delegitimization would lead to a wave of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.

Barry pointed out what he called the Malmo syndrome, as opposed to the Stockholm syndrome, where hostages tend to identify with their kidnappers.  The Malmo syndrome results from a large Muslim population in Malmo, Sweden, that led the Mayor to not only criticize Jews, but state publicly that if Jews did not stop supporting Israel he could not guarantee their safety.  Further evidence of this attempt to force Jews to give up support for Israel has surfaced in Ireland and the UK, where the Jewish Film Festival in London was moved from a specific theater because the owners would not allow it if there was any Israeli financial support.

Elkan Levy, former President of the United Synagogue of the UK and Director of their Small Communities Programs, helped to keep the discussion in order and fielded questions with aplomb.  He stated  in summary, that things may not be as bad as they appear and pointed out that many other theaters in London offered to host the Jewish Film Festival, even though it would interfere with their previous schedules, and this is a positive outcome.   The panelists agreed that more needs to be done to counteract this new wave of anti-Semitism, often masquerading as anti-Israelism.


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