Thursday, March 12, 2020

Europe: Like schnitzel, anti-Semitism has become part of the cultural fabric of Europe

Ben Cohen @ JNS:
The three most common stereotypes neatly encapsulate the triangular denunciation of the Jews: They dominate the economy and financial markets; they are more loyal to the State of Israel than they are to the continent; and they talk endlessly of their suffering during the Holocaust.  
The following quotes are from Jewish citizens of various European countries, gathered during a survey earlier this year on Jewish perceptions of anti-Semitism that was carried out by the European Union.  
“Anti-Semitism and racism are like the Wiener Schnitzel. They are part of the Austrian cultural heritage, just as xenophobia and ‘we are different.’ There is nothing to fight against, just suppressing the consequences has to suffice.”

“The way things are now, I experience, for example, that ‘Jew’ is a widespread cuss word in Copenhagen. As a Jew who has grown up in Denmark, I have always avoided showing/telling people I am a Jew.”

“For the past 12 years, anti-Semitism has no longer been a taboo in Germany, and so it occurs more often—verbally and physically, on German streets and in social media.”

“I can’t be discriminated against [here in Poland]if no one knows that I am a Jewish. I answer a direct question about my nationality with a lie.”

“At work and in the media and social media, anti-Semitism [in France]is a daily and unrepressed occurrence.”
There is an air of resignation that hangs over these comments - a sense that hostility towards Jews is something that must be managed, rather than defeated. The Austrian respondent quoted above wittily described anti-Semitism in his country as akin to a schnitzel, an indelible part of that country’s social and cultural fabric that can produce deadly consequences if we are not sufficiently careful. The respondents in Denmark and Poland adopted a similar stance, effectively arguing that the most efficient way of avoiding anti-Semitic harassment was not to admit to being Jewish in the first place.

As difficult as these quotes are to read, they are nonetheless in keeping with the statistical data presented in the E.U. survey of European Jews. A full of 85 percent of respondents across the continent agreed that anti-Semitism was a “problem,” with a plurality describing it as a “big problem.” As the European Union observed in the summary accompanying the report, “hundreds of respondents personally experienced an anti-Semitic physical attack in the 12 months preceding the survey. More than one in four (28%) of all respondents experienced anti-Semitic harassment at least once during that period. Those who wear, carry or display items in public that could identify them as Jewish are subject to more anti-Semitic harassment (37%) than those who do not (21%).”
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