Friday, February 3, 2017

Europe: 71 years after liberation from Hitler, Jews face a rising anti-Semitism across European societies

Via Deseret News (by Clifford D. May and Tenzin Dorjee, commissioners at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom):
As the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp 71 years ago, European Jews no longer face a single, continent-wide regime seeking their destruction. Nonetheless, today, 71 years after liberation from Hitler, they face a rising anti-Semitism across European societies. From denying the Holocaust to threatening another Shoah, from painting Nazi swastikas and scrawling death threats on synagogues and graves, to taunting, accosting and assaulting Jews in religious garb, Jew haters are revealing themselves through word and deed. (...)  
(...) when haters attack Jews, criminal justice systems in Europe often fail to deem the perpetrators anti-Semitic.  
Earlier this month, a court in Wuppertal, Germany, upheld a lower court’s ruling in the 2015 sentencing of three Germans of Palestinian descent to probation for setting fire to a synagogue in July 2014, the same synagogue the Nazis had burned in 1938 during the Kristallnacht pogroms. The court concurred that since they were incensed about Israel’s actions in the Middle East, their act of arson did not constitute anti-Semitism.  
Similarly, in a speech titled, “Combating Global Anti-Semitism in 2016,” Ira Forman, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, noted that, according to Jewish leaders in Sweden, police in Stockholm classified recent graffiti with swastikas as “actions against Israel,” not anti-Semitism. He quoted a leader as saying, “If you are hurt wearing a kippa [yarmulke], it is classified as anti-Zionism. …”  
In these instances, criminal justice systems were confronting two phenomena — anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. While rightly affirming one can oppose Israeli policies without automatically being anti-Semitic, they wrongly denied the obvious:
- Deliberately targeting Jewish property, or demonizing or attacking people simply for being Jewish inescapably is anti-Semitic. These actions should neither be excused nor minimized, rationalized nor redefined, but called out and condemned. 
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German courts expose the mechanism by which opposition to Israel is indistinguishable from opposition to Jews

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