Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Op-Ed: In Europe, Elites Create the Atmosphere That Allows Popular Anti-Semitism to Grow

It is not the connection with sporting events that links these two manifestations of anti-Semitism. There is something far more ominous about them. I live in the American South, a region with a long history of terrible racism, lynchings, murders, beatings, bombings, and all forms of discrimination and humiliation. None of it would have been possible without an alliance between two very different segments of society. At one end were the powerful communal elites—bankers, lawyers, wealthy storeowners, and members of the country clubs—who composed the White Citizens’ Councils. At the other end were those from the “lower” realm of the economic and educational spectrum—think good old boys.  
One group cloaks its prejudice in high minded rationalizations. The other openly appeals to people’s most base hatreds. The elites might never personally assault anyone or espouse violence. However, they create an atmosphere that allows others to more freely engage in anti-Semitic actions. It is not a matter of one group being worse than the other. It is that both are necessary for the perfect storm. This storm might take a very long time to gather to gale force—but the atmospheric elements increasingly seem to be falling into place.

More: Tablet Magazine

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