One of Europe’s most distinguished anti-Semitism researchers, Monika Schwarz-Friesel, has an alarming message: Scientific measures indicate a massive upsurge of Jew-hatred on the internet, as anti-Semitism reestablishes itself as an increasingly visible element in European mainstream discourse.
A psychologist, linguist and professor of cognitive science at the Technical University of Berlin, Schwarz-Friesel is one of the most quoted experts on anti-Semitism in both international academic literature and the German media.
In her numerous publications she analyzes and exposes new manifestations of old anti-Semitic sentiments — disguised though they might be — employing much of the same Jew-hatred that has been shaping European discourse throughout the years, even when officially outlawed.These analyses are evidence that recent anti-Israeli tropes demonizing the Jewish state are actually work-arounds of old anti-Semitic sentiments that have been with us for two millennia. [...]
Currently, Schwarz-Friesel, is spending the last part of her sabbatical in Jerusalem, where she met with The Times of Israel on Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus Campus to share some insight into the truly disturbing results of her research.
Your book “Inside the anti-Semitic Mind” reviews over 15,000 letters, emails and other correspondence that have been addressed to Israeli embassies and Jewish institutions all over Europe. What do these correspondences reveal?
Many of these letters employ classical anti-Semitic stereotypes in order to abuse their addressees, while demonizing the state of Israel and Jews. Jews in general are blamed for alleged crimes by the State of Israel that is slurred as “a hypocritical terror regime, living of the blood of Palestinians,” or a nation of “child-eaters.” Zionism is being equated with racism and Israel is being called an “apartheid regime,” posing the greatest danger to world peace. Such ideas have nothing to do with the reality on the ground. Instead they reflect classic anti-Semitic stereotypes that have been with us for 2,000 years and that brand Jews as murderers and an omnipresent evil force in the world.
It is hard to believe that such views are prevalent in contemporary European mainstream discourse. Aren’t they just characteristic of uneducated, radical subgroups?Unfortunately, no. The authors of the anti-Semitic letters that we reviewed included students, lawyers, journalists, doctors, priests, self-employed entrepreneurs, politicians and even university professors. [...]
read more[...] anti-Semitism has resurfaced as an evident element in mainstream European discourse. Just think about the utterances of writer Günter Grass or of the journalist Jakob Augstein that portray Israel in terms of classic anti-Semitic clichés, according to which Jews are a menace to mankind and control world politics.
In addition, there is less and less resistance to anti-Semitic utterances. A case in point is the lack of objection upon the conclusion of the speech by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to the European Parliament last June, which raised the false accusation that rabbis asked the Israeli government to poison the water of Palestinians. Abbas even received standing ovations after this speech, which promoted the classic anti-Semitic slur that Jews are well-poisoners.