Though it’s clear this is not Europe pre-WWII, there appears to be a growing acceptance of anti-Semitism in modern day Europe and many are concerned that it will continue to spread throughout society.
This concern grew over the summer when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated and anti-Israel protests began to take place in various cities throughout Europe. There were protests that turned aggressive as well as individual acts of violence towards the Jewish community that took place on their own; phrases such as “Gas the Jews!” and “Death to Jews!” are being shouted at rallies and spray painted on Jewish property.
Even among those inclined to condemn racism in any form, fighting anti-Semitism is no longer seen as a priority, with Jews often perceived as privileged compared with Muslims and other minorities confronted with discrimination.
To some, it appears the line between anti-Israel and anti-Jew seemed to disappear and caused many Jews to fear for their lives. In Brussels particularly there were multiple incidents of escalated violence targeting Jews, one of which ended with four people being killed, two of which were Israelis, outside the Jewish Museum. The fear that the Jewish community has for its safety has caused some Jews to no longer wear jewelry with the Star of David on it or allow their children to wear any clothing from Jewish summer camps or activities. According to report from two different Jewish organizations, 40% of Jews in Europe hide their Jewishness both religiously and socially.
Although governments have been very open about their disapproval of the anti-Semitism that has been taking place in their own countries, many Jews still do not feel politically protected. It’s not only difficult for them to find ideological parties that don’t have anti-Semitic undertones, but they feel that the political parties are catering more towards the Muslin communities because of their growing population causing the idea of relocating to Israel to become more and more appealing for Jewish individuals.
With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict still on so much of the world’s mind, anti-Semitism isn’t likely to dissipate in the near future, unfortunately. Governments needs to do more to really make discrimination and violence toward minorities, including Jews, a priority and show what will not be tolerated. If it starts becoming acceptable to persecute one minority group, what prevents anyone to start persecuting others? For the safety and peace of all groups, there needs to be no tolerance line drawn and I hope for the sake of the sake of the Jewish community in Europe, as well as other minority groups, that this happens soon.