Hard to get rid of that which is passed down from generation to generation, and now Europe has received new milk to feed old bigotries.
Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism: Integral to European Culture
By Manfred Gerstenfeld
The resurgence of European anti-Semitism after the Holocaust suggests that it is integral to European culture.
The European Union’s attitude toward anti-Semitism is double-handed. With one hand, by its discriminatory anti-Israeli declarations, the EU plays the role of arsonist, fanning the flames of anti-Semitism. With the other, it also serves as fireman by trying, at the same time, to quench the flames of classic religious and ethnic anti-Semitism. France is paradigmatic of this attitude.
New European anti-Semitism often originates from youth, which indicates that rather than an anti-Semitism of the past it is one of the future.
A major change in EU policies is required to combat European anti-Semitism more effectively.
Integral to European Culture
The regular resurgence of European anti-Semitism after the Holocaust suggests that it is integral to European culture. This should not be construed falsely to mean that all Europeans are anti-Semites. In a similar manner, classical ballet is an expression of European culture, yet many Europeans find it boring, decadent or disgusting. This does not negate, however, that ballet is integral to European culture and has been practiced as a performing art for a long time. It originated in Europe, developed over many years, and is widely taught as well as frequently discussed by the cultural elites and the major media.
European anti-Semitism can be said to have many similar characteristics. That many Europeans condemn, dislike or are indifferent to anti-Semitism does not contradict its role in European culture, as statements of European politicians, the media and leading intellectuals prove. Also, varying types of anti-Semitic feelings are expressed in polls. If one analyzed the statistics, the number of European anti-Semites would probably far exceed those who like classical ballet.
A phenomenon which develops intensely over a period of many centuries becomes deeply embedded in the societal mindset and behavior. The anti-Semitic wave of the last few years seems to prove that it is impossible to eradicate such a deep-seated irrational attitude.
In the words of UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “Let me state the point as simply as I can: anti-Semitism is alive, active and virulent in the year 2002, after more than half a century of Holocaust education, interfaith dialogue, United Nations’ declarations, dozens of museums and memorials, hundreds of films, thousands of courses, and tens of thousands of books dedicated to exposing its evils; after the Stockholm Conference, after the creation of a National Holocaust Memorial Day, after 2,000 religious leaders came together in the United Nations in August 2000 to commit themselves to fight hatred and engender mutual respect….What more could have been done? What more could and can we do to fight anti-Semitism?”1
The oft-heard argument that post-war European anti-Semitism parallels developments in the Mid-East conflict is false. It appears in waves which do not necessarily correspond with developments in the Israeli-Arab conflict, and each wave is higher than the previous one.2 In the Arab world, anti-Jewish incitement continued in parallel with the Oslo process.
NOTE: This is from Dr.Gerstenfeld’s 2004 essay on the subject, and sadly, it is just relevant today as when it was first published, for the situation has aggravated since.