Daily Israel Report

Expert Says Anti-Semitism 'Part and Parcel of European Culture'

Europe 2014 might as well be Europe 1914, or 1414, as far as Jews are concerned, says an expert on anti-Semitism
By Moshe Cohen
First Publish: 3/23/2014, 10:59 AM

Anti-Semites in Europe (file)
Anti-Semites in Europe (file)
Reuters

Europe hasn't changed all that much, at least in regards to its feelings about Jews, according to Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, former head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

“They don't like to hear that,” Gersetenfeld told a Haifa audience last week. “But it's clear that anti-Semitism is a part and parcel of the culture of Europe, not just historically, but currently.” 

Gerstenfeld, a historian with an expertise in European Jewish history and world anti-Semitism, and a regular columnist for Arutz Sheva, along with Itay Reuveni of NGO Monitor, was discussing the issue of anti-Semitism at the Midrasha Leumit in Haifa. That Europe hates Jews even now, decades after the Holocaust, he said, as is clear from the many anti-Semitic caricatures appearing in European newspapers, the ongoing anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish institutions and individual Jews, and the onslaught of legislation against Jewish lifestyle issues, such as ritual slaughter and circumcision.

Despite a secular front, Europe is still a very religious continent – at least when it comes to long-held Christian religious attitudes to Jews, said Gerstenfeld.

“They still blame us for murdering their 'savior', and they still see us as evil, Nazi-like 'others' who just don't fit in with the 'culture' of Europe. The Church, for thousands of years, did its job very faithfully, preparing the groundwork for the Nazi Holocaust.

“The current denunciations of the Jewish state are preparing the groundwork for future attempts to destroy the Jews,” he added.

According to Reuveni, this anti-Semitism can be clearly seen in the funding outlays given to anti-Israeli groups. NGOs whose declared purpose is to denigrate Israel, lobby for boycotts, etc., receive huge amounts of funding, much more than organizations dedicated to other causes. The best way to fight these groups, he said, was to publicly announce where they are getting their money from – including the corporations and governments that are funding them.

The evening was organized by the Hazon Leumi student group, a new organization that is working to increase the values of Zionism among Haifa-area students.