Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes Out of the Shadows

SARCELLES, France — From the immigrant enclaves of the Parisian suburbs to the drizzly bureaucratic city of Brussels to the industrial heartland of Germany, Europe’s old demon returned this summer. “Death to the Jews!” shouted protesters at pro-Palestinian rallies in Belgium and France. “Gas the Jews!” yelled marchers at a similar protest in Germany.

The ugly threats were surpassed by uglier violence. Four people were fatally shot in May at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. A Jewish-owned pharmacy in this Paris suburb was destroyed in July by youths protesting Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. A synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany, was attacked with firebombs. A Swedish Jew was beaten with iron pipes. The list goes on.

Protesters in support of Palestinians in Gaza last weekend displayed a swastika at a Paris rally. The demonstration had been banned by the government and prompted deployment of police.Anti-Semitism Rises in Europe Amid Israel-Gaza ConflictAUG. 1, 2014

The scattered attacks have raised alarm about how Europe is changing and whether it remains a safe place for Jews. An increasing number of Jews, if still relatively modest in total, are now migrating to Israel. Others describe “no go” zones in Muslim districts of many European cities where Jews dare not travel.

Are there secularists and Christians engaged in this emerging antisemitism, or has antisemitism in Europe now morphed into a more exclusively Muslim phenomena?

This seems to be an entirely Muslim phenomenon. The news media fear being branded “Islamophobic” if they say as much, which doesn’t really help people address the problem.

My take is that it is about 80% Muslim, but that there are native European secularists/Christians also joining them - I am talking about France and Germany specifically.

Many are too young to remember this but until Vatican 2, the Catholic church preached about the perfidious Jews on a weekly basis. It was part of the liturgy. The Holocaust could not have taken place without the hatred spread by the Catholic Church. I agree that now it is mostly Muslims spreading the hate, but anti-semitism is just below the surface for many Christians. It is only fairly recently in the history of the Church that people speak openly that Jesus was a practicing Jew.

Those are some lofty claims, friend. You have any evidence to support any of them?

Amen, I don’t remember any of that, draws a blank.

I welcome you to cite a single credible source for this assertion. When you find that you are unable to, I will then invite you to reconsider your horrendously inappropriate and incorrect assertions.

This is excessive - and that is putting it kindly. The Catholic Church could have done more on behalf of the Jews in World War II to be certain. There were Nazi sympathizers in the Church, but there also laity and clergy who gave their lives to resist the Nazis and help Jewish victims. To assert that in the 20th century it was commonplace for the Catholic Church to attack Judaism is lunacy.

“perfidious” is, in fact, a word formerly used in old liturgy somewhere in the Triduum. That’s once per YEAR, not week.

The word in context means “treacherous and unfaithful” and if I recall correctly, it referred specifically to the actions of the Jewish leadership at the time of Christ that conspired to manipulate the Roman authorities into executing Him. I do not believe that in context it was ever an adjective used to describe Jews generally throughout space and time. Except by anti-catholics, of course (except when said anti-catholics were themselves also anti-semetic. Hate gets messy rather quickly!).

Oh the irony…

At least it was only weekly, and not at daily Mass. :rolleyes:

All these anti-Semitic European Muslims are only a fraction of all muslims and they do not represent true Islam. True Islam is very passive and timid.

Europe has a problem with everyone (as it always has done)…including itself…it’s like an angry, hateful teenager.

Jewish people are simply incredibly easy to hate on. Muslims get tremendous flak too :frowning:

I don’t understand why Jewish people are so easy to hate on. I simply just don’t get it. I never have.

I haven’t noticed that of late. Nor, in reading of the Islamic invasion of the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Europe have I noticed any great degree of timidity, historically.

But whatever.

I am old enough to remember “pre Vatican II” days and Jews were not vilified in the Mass nor in Catholic school teaching. We were taught that, indeed, some Jews called for the death of Jesus, but that this did not make any other Jews guilty of anything, then or now. And we were most assuredly made aware that Jesus was a Jew, as was his Mother, the apostles, and lots of saints.

Lots of myths about pre VII days.

Now, it was taught that Jews ought to convert to Catholicism. But then, it was taught that everyone should; protestants, muslims, shintoists, buddhists, everyone. That kind of thing has been toned down, perhaps being perceived as giving offense. But it’s still the Church’s teaching.

If the Church had never had a problem with Jewish relations, Nostra Aetate would have been unnecessary. Clearly, whether it was present in each parish or not and whether it was decreed by the Vatican or not, there was in fact a history of less than favorable attitudes toward Jews. This is true of other Christian denominations, as well (Martin Luther’s writings are a true horror in this respect). In the long history of the Church, there were the installments of the Inquisition (which offered forced conversion for Jews), papal decrees requiring identifying badges as required dress for Jews of the Middle Ages (which one can see being resurrected by the Nazis), and the Crusades (which were disastrous for Jews and led to unbelievably graphic horrors for them). It was not uncommon for Christians to blame Jews for the death of Christ – and lest we think this thinking has vanished, it was just a few years back that a parish in my community placed a reminder in its bulletin that Jews should not and cannot be blamed for Christ’s death. If there were no need for this reminder, it wouldn’t have been printed. Like it or not, there is a long tradition of Christian antisemitism. See sources like Franklin Littell’s The Crucifixion of the Jews or the PBS documentary The Longest Hatred for a wealth of historical support for this claim.

Antisemitism shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, given the groundbreaking report put out by the ADL earlier this year:

All of this may be true, particularly the further back one goes in history, but today in Europe, it is Muslim antisemitism that is most feared. Yet I’m not naive enough to think that Christian antisemitism has totally disappeared. There are still people calling themselves Christian who belong to hate groups; however, this form of antisemitism is no longer the same kind of major threat it was in the Middle Ages up until the last century. Why Jews seem to be a perpetual target of bigotry and worse is another issue that most Jews, at one time or another in their lives, probably ask themselves.

I was hoping you’d share your thoughts, meltzerboy. Agreed. Antisemitism’s history may have Christian roots, in part, but I also don’t see this as the major cause of antisemitism today. The ADL’s study seems to support this, as well – it’s no accident, I’m assuming, that 74% of respondents in the Middle East & North Africa are flagged as being antisemitic. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the 24% of Western Europe and the 34% of Eastern Europe that are antisemitic are mostly Muslim.

As for why Jews have been and are perpetually targeted, agreed again. A great thread topic, perhaps, but one likely with no satisfactory answers. :frowning:

Prominent leaders of the Church were, let us say, less than hospitable to Jews in ages past and even into the modern era. This may have provided some of the underpinning of antisemitism that fueled the allegiance of many of the German people to Nazism, as well as the antisemitism found throughout most of Europe for several centuries. However, with regard to the specific role of the Church during the Holocaust, there is mounting historical evidence that, contrary to prior belief, the Church was instrumental in saving thousands of Jews from the gas chambers. We have also known for a long time that individual Christians risked their lives and those of their families to help Jews escape Nazi persecution.

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