Governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check

While in Europe voices are heard against Jewish traditions and campaigns are hold to make kosher slaughter and even circumcision illegal and Jews do find that one decision is taken after another by governments taking away their religious freedoms and driving them out of the country, in Australia it does not seem so bad yet.

English: "Anti-Semitic Jewish Postcard"

“Anti-Semitic Jewish Postcard” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile in Israel the rabbis look with fear to the growing debate around ritual male circumcision elsewhere in the world, and voiced their fear of the precedent that could be created by a Jewish Israeli woman allowed not to circumcise her son. The rabbis opposed Israeli Jews to freely decide on the ritual circumcision of their own children because it goes against God His Law and might have a bad impact on the global debate over the issue.

“We have witnessed for some time now public and legal struggles against the brit milah in many countries in Europe and in the United States,”

the judges wrote.

“The public in Israel has stood as one man [sic] against these trends, seeing them as yet another aspect of displays of anti-Semitism that must be combatted. How will the world react if even here the issue of circumcision is given to the discretion of any person, according to their own beliefs?”

Religious courts in Israel hold complete sway over all matrimonial issues, including divorce. An appeal to the Haifa District Court by the woman was turned down, and the woman said the only resort left now is an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Europe’s Jews feel increasingly threatened and abused, fearing antisemitic abuse from Muslim extremists, the extreme right-wing, and left-wing radicals. With few European member states taking any serious action, and the failure of the authorities to tackle this growing problem, the human rights of Jewish Europeans are under threat.

75 years after Kristallnacht, has Europe failed to learn from history?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week described Kristallnacht when the savage attacks of 9th November 1938 saw Jewish businesses attacked, hundreds of synagogues torched and around 30,000 Jewish men rounded up for deportation to concentration camps, as

“one of the darkest moments in German history,” urging “all the people in this country to show their civil courage and ensure that no form of anti-Semitism is tolerated.”

But 75 years on, where do German Jews stand? Merkel herself went on to observe that today it is “almost inexplicable but also the reality that no Jewish institution can be left without police protection.”

Image of New Statesman Cover from wikipedia co...

Image of New Statesman Cover from wikipedia commons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite the increasingly distressing amount of anecdotal evidence appearing in the news, it has been hard to gauge the extent of Europe’s antisemitism problem. Stories of individuals suffering antisemitic discrimination and even violence are, of course, unacceptable. But they cannot alone provide a clear picture of a trend. Some argue that ‘legitimate’ criticism of Israel is erroneously labeled as antisemitism (it rarely is). Academics and commentators are unable to agree what it all means. Manfred Gerstenfeld writes in his recent book, Demonizing Israel and the Jews, that

polls show that well over 100 million Europeans embrace a satanic view of the State of Israel… [this] view is obviously a new mutation of the diabolical beliefs about Jews which many held in the Middle Ages, and those more recently promoted by the Nazis and their allies.

But others warn that comparisons with German National Socialism of the early 20th century are alarmist and overblown. It is true that the cracks on German shop windows this week will be nothing more than stickers, applied as a part of a peculiar campaign of remembrance and solidarity with the murdered Jews of Kristallnacht. One British Jewish community leader once challenged me, asking, “surely you don’t think it’s as bad here as it was in Nazi Germany?”, as if Europe’s Jews ought to wait for a full-scale repeat of such extreme levels of Jew-hatred before we allow ourselves to say “enough.”

Australia also faces anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 being the highest ever on record, though the number of serious physical attacks was the lowest since 2005. After eight young men attacked families who were walking home from a synagogue in Bondi last month Australia’s peak Jewish body  called for the national anti-racism strategy to be strengthened following an alleged anti-Semitic attack in Sydney’s east.

The council’s Peter Wertheim says governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check.

He says the national anti-racism strategy needs to be strengthened and included in the education curriculum.

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Preceding articles:

Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe

Holocaust remembrance statue not desired

More on the circumcision debate:

  1. Stand up for your son: Say ‘no’ to ritual circumcision
  2. My (inadequate) justification for circumcision
  3. Outlawing circumcision: Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic

On the ongoing Anti-Semitism:

  1. Did France ignore the Islamic radical threat?
  2. New attacks target Jews in France
  3. Chief rabbi fears anti-semitism
  4. Increasing attacks in Germany
  5. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record

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  • Woman fined $140 a day for refusing to circumcise son (972mag.com)
    An Israeli woman is being fined NIS 500 ($140) every day for refusing to circumcise her one-year-old-son, Israel’s Channel 2 reported today. There is no sweeping legal requirement for Jews in Israel to circumcise their children, but the woman is undergoing a divorce process at the Haifa Rabbinical Court, and her husband has appealed to the court to pressure the woman into circumcising the son.
  • Antisemitism In Europe: The New Jewish Exodus. Anti-semitism is reaching terrifyingly high level… (pjmedia.com)
    This is something that InstaPundit has been covering since the beginning. It’s only gotten worse. If I were Jewish, I’d be buying property in the U.S., or somewhere safe. Related archive item here.
  • The double-pronged threat to European Jewry (blogs.timesofisrael.com)
    In his 1996 book Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews in Europe since 1945, historian Bernard Wasserstein predicted the imminent disappearance of European Jewry. This was not, he wrote, due to anti-Semitism, which he did not consider a serious danger. The problem was rather the “very beneficence of the surrounding environment” which “tends to diminish the Jews’ attachment to specific Jewish practices, languages, traditions and values.”
  • Israeli court orders mother to circumcise her son (telegraph.co.uk)

    An Israeli mother has been ordered by a rabbinical court to circumcise her son in a ruling that could set a legal precedent

  • Anti-Semitism is Rife Among America’s Far Left (Review) (algemeiner.com)
    If you’ve ever wondered why “do-gooder” is a pejorative label, Stephen Norwood’s book on “Antisemitism and the American Far Left” will enlighten you. Rarely has there been a group of Americans so prone to mistake feeling good about what they are doing for actually doing good as “far leftists.”

    They comprise Stalinists, Trotskyists, Old Leftists, New Leftists, loyal readers of The Daily Worker, New International, PM, Labor Action, The Nation, Ramparts, Tikkun; members of the CP, SP, SWP, SDS, SNCC, and indeed the whole alphabet soup cooked up by the dissidence of dissent.

  • Jewish Court Tries to Force Mother to Circumcise Her Young Son, on Penalty of Daily Fines (patheos.com)
    The rabbinical judges in the case said in their decision the woman was opposing the circumcision as a means to bringing her husband back to her. They also referred explicitly to the growing debate around ritual male circumcision elsewhere in the world, and voiced their fear of the precedent that could be created by a Jewish Israeli woman allowed not to circumcise her son.
  • Anti-Semitism lives on 75 years after Germany’s Kristallnacht (dralfoldman.com)
    Being Jewish, albeit not particularly religious and fairly cosmopolitan in my views, I have always struggled to understand anti-Semitism. Let me share two short stories which changed me fundamentally.
  • French Jewish leader: Majority of Jews too afraid to put kids in public school (jta.org)
    Perceptions of increasing anti-Semitism over the past five years were most widespread among French Jews, with 74 percent of respondents saying it has “increased a lot” compared to 27 percent in Britain. Among French respondents, 46 percent said they have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism compared to 18 percent in Sweden, Latvia and Britain.
  • French Jews too afraid to put kids in public school (timesofisrael.com)
    French Jews are not leaving France in large numbers, according to Cukierman, who downplayed the significance of figures that show a 49 percent increase in Jewish immigration from France to Israel in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the same time frame last year.

    “These figures fluctuate between 1,500 and 3000 every year, and at their highest represent half a percent of French Jewry. So this is not such a big figure,” he said.

  • Holocaust remembrance statue not desired (steppingtoes.wordpress.com)
    In Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe we can see that about two-thirds of the respondents for the survey considered anti-Semitism in Europe a problem and three-quarters said it was worsening.
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