Friday, June 26, 2015

Why anti-Semitism is part of European culture

From the Jerusalem Post

AEK Athens' Giorgos Katidis (C) celebrates a goal during a Super League soccer match by making a Nazi salute

Anti-Semitism is not only part of European history but also an ingredient of its culture. The lengthy anti-Semitic history of Europe is rife with defamation, discrimination, double standards, pogroms, expulsions and other persecutions. It reached its profoundly low point with the Holocaust. The genocide was implemented not only by Germans and Austrians, but also by many of their collaborators, not necessarily all pro-Nazi, in the occupied countries.

As far as Holocaust history is concerned, almost all occupied countries eventually admitted the truth of their failure and of their varying degrees of collaboration with the Nazis. Most of them apologized. A few weeks ago, Luxemburg became the most recent country to do so. The one major exception is the Netherlands. The current prime minister, Mark Rutte (Liberal Party), recently gave, for the second time, a non-relevant answer to parliamentary questions in order to avoid admitting the scandalous failure of the wartime Dutch government. While in exile in London, it showed no interest in the mass murder taking place – the annihilation of three-quarters of the Netherlands’ 140,000 Jews by the German occupiers. The Jewish community had been present in the Netherlands for centuries.

While there is little debate about the anti-Semitic history of Europe, a more detailed explanation is required regarding anti-Semitism being an ingredient of European culture, and arguably a dominant part in regard to its Jews. To avoid any misunderstanding, this does not mean that nowadays most Europeans are anti-Semites.

The recently deceased leading academic scholar of anti-Semitism, Robert Wistrich, has provided much of the infrastructure for understanding and proving that anti-Semitism is an integral part of European culture.  more

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