Can Anti-Semitism Around the World be Combated?
Anti-Semitism in Europe has been discussed in the media a good deal recently. Arutz Sheva is running a series of op-eds called "Europe's Jews" and its noted columnist Giulio Meotti has just written an article that has gone viral, telling Europe's Jews to leave before it is too late.
From legislation that aims to restrict basic Jewish rites such as circumcision and kosher slaughtering to Jewish centers and Jewish neighborhoods being targetted by terrorists, Europe for many has become a place where showing the smallest signs of Jewish pride, such as wearing a kippah, is often met with a feeling of fear or discomfort.
Sentiments abound that current anti-Semitism in Europe is back to the infamous 1930's and that it is rising fast and spreading quickly. But what, if anything, can be done to stop it?
For Eitan Ori Behar, the director of the WZO's Center for Diaspora Communications & Countering anti-Semitism, it is a question he's been asked often, but the answer is never simple.
At the center, which is a part of the World Zionist Organization, Behar and a group of employees and volunteers scour the internet in an attempt to monitor anti-Semitism that is being spread online, and then rush to act, with the help of a "huge database of Zionist activists worldwide" when particularly ignorant, inciteful or hateful remarks are made.
"You can't even imagine the things we see online," said Behar, as he pulled up various Facebook pages linked to Israel, such as Magen David Adom. On the pages, hateful words, images and videos were posted from people residing around the world. With so many new inciteful comments flooding in each day, monitoring the hate that is being spread seems an impossible task. "This is anti-Semitism," said Behar, pointing to a page promoting the anti-Zionist party in France, which received 100,000 likes. "But how can you effectively deal with it?"
For Behar and the many who share his opinion, the sentiment that the rise of anti-Semitism is most closely linked with the rise of Muslim immigration in Europe is one hundred percent correct.
Muslims have been called a demographic time bomb transforming the European continent, a group who according to the Pew Forum currently numbers more than 44 million in Europe, or six percent of the population, and are expected to exceed 58 million by 2030, which would make them eight percent.
"There's a much greater impact in terms of anti-Semitism because of the increase of the Muslim population within the borders of Europe," said Behar. "Europe is filled with Arabs and Muslims, many of whom are extremists, and they have a definite agenda of following the Sharia law."
Even though halting anti-Semitism seems to be an insurmountable task, places like the WZO's Center for Countering Anti-Smitism exist to chip away the spread of ignorant hate.
"Type 'Jew' into Google," Behar pointed out. "Five months ago, Jewwatch.com (an anti-Semitic website) would have been the first result." However, type that word into the search engine today and the first thing you'll see is an explanation from Google as to why your search might turn up offensive results." And Jewwatch.com? Behar and the others couldn't get the site removed, but they did manage to move it to the bottom of the search page.
"We're just a drop in the ocean," said Behar, "but at least we're doing something."
For a past interview with Eitan Ori Behar click here.