'There's a worrying trend of anti-Semitism in Europe'

The Chief Rabbi of Holland, Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, says there's no difference today between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Hezki Baruch, Romania,

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs
Arutz Sheva

The Chief Rabbi of the Inter-Provincial Chief Rabbinate of the Netherlands and Director of Holland’s Vaad Harabbanim, Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, spoke to Arutz Sheva at a conference of the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) which took place in Bucharest, Romania.

Rabbi Jacobs said he welcomed the conference because “each rabbi is sitting in his own place and is alone and has a lot of problems with anti-Semitism and assimilation. So if you get together, you can hear from other rabbis how they are dealing with [these issues], what are the problems they’ve got and we can help each other.”

“For me, the lectures are great and the friendship is great, but what I got the most from this conference is that afterwards, when I go back to my [country] and other rabbis go back to their [countries], we will know where to turn to in case of problems,” he continued.

Rabbi Jacobs noted how in the past “you could say someone was an anti-Zionist but it doesn’t mean he’s anti-Semitic, but today it’s the same. In theory, you can differentiate between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, but today they’re the same.”

“For a lot of non-Jewish people, being Jewish and being born in Israel is the same,” he noted. “If I want to know whether there are any problems in Israel, I just have to look at how often police are surrounding my house. My house, in Europe, is surrounded by cameras and police, and if there’s a threat of war – G-d forbid – in Israel, I see more often police coming to my house.”

“In Holland, the Jewish schools are surrounded by a fence, security cameras, security guards and soldiers. 43 years ago such a scene was unthinkable. It was unthinkable that people would call me ‘dirty Jew’ in the street. Today’s it’s normal, and the very fact that it’s normal is a very very negative issue,” said Rabbi Jacobs.

“We see a growing anti-Semitism, a growing intolerance towards Jewish communities and Jews in general. That’s worrying, but nevertheless here at the conference we give each other strength and power to continue our work.”