The survey results published by Dahaf Institute in Israel have demonstrated that most Israelis would like to see their country as the EU member, but believe that Europeans are anti-Semites.
997 Israeli citizens (both Jews and Arabs) participated in the survey in December 2003. 60 percent of the respondents approve the idea of Israel joining to the EU and believe this will bring Israel political and economic benefits. 74 percent of the surveyed said that European countries had been taking anti-Israel stand in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and 64 percent called the attitude of Europeans to Israel as “anti-Semitism masked by moral principles”.
The survey was organized by the EU. European governments are concerned about the growth of anti-Semitism in the continent. In the end of February European Commission Chairman Romano Prodi organized Conference on Problems of anti-Semitism in Europe. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Israeli Minister Natan Sharansky responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs, Nobel laureate Elly Vizel arrived in Brussels for the conference. The conference was caused by the scandal results of the survey organized by Eurobarometer Service in November 2003. 59 percent of the survey respondents consider that Israel poses the biggest threat to the piece.
Anti-Semitism is growing all over Europe – from the English Channel to the Baltic States. There are frequent reports of attacking synagogues and acts of vandalism at the cemeteries. Such incidents happened in the past as well, but European leaders used to blaming neo-Nazis and hooligans for them. However, the recent survey revealed that the bulk of the European countries population is exposing negative attitude to Jews….
Politicians were quick to catch up with the mood of people. Last year there was a scandal in German Bundestag caused by the statement of Martin Khokhmann, the deputy of Christian-Democratic Party that “majority of (Russian) firing squads personnel and command were Jews. Therefore Jews can be called a criminal race”.
Brigade General of German KSK Special Forces Reinkhard Gyuntsel expressed support to Martin Khokhmann. The Party leaders condemned Khokhman’s statement, made him apologize and dismissed General Gyuntsel. However, until recently similar statements were impossible in the German Parliament. Most Germans do not sympathize with Nazis and are irritated with reminding the crimes of the World War II.
There are several factors for growing anti-Semitism in Europe.
The first factor is sharp growth of Moslem population in many European countries. The attitude of Moslems to Jews is well-known. In addition, European politicians take into account the increasing number of Moslem voters and borrow some of their ides. The number of Jewish population in Europe is much smaller, less than 1.2 million, meanwhile France alone has 5 million Moslems.
The second factor is negative attitude of many European politicians to the Israel’s position in its conflict with Palestine. Israelis have criticized this attitude many times and considered it prejudiced and provoking the growth of anti-Semitism.
One more factor is the support provided to Israel by the USA. Many Europeans think that the conflict between Israel and Palestine could be quickly settled if the USA did not back Israel so much. Israel is applying tough policy to Palestinians because of feeling encouraged by the US support.
Summing up the Brussels’ conference results, the EU leaders intend to undertake tough measures to stop growing anti-Semitism. Judicial institutions are required to deal with this issue. Some states have already had special laws against racism and anti-Semitism.
However, tough measures alone will not solve the problem. Some Europeans feel extremely pessimistic. Swiss newspaper “Tan” wrote about the Brussels’ conference, “taboos such as connecting anti-Semitism and Stalinism with evil, united European nations. <…>The anti-war period has started, and it may turn into Barbaric era”.
Israel is also responsible for anti-Semitism, said President of European Jew Congress Kobi Bentoff in a Israeli newspaper “Ediot Akhronot” interview in December 2003. According to Kobi Bentoff, Israel does not explain its position to the global community and ignores public opinion because Israelis consider Europeans as anti-Semites. “Israel easily applies this term to everybody who does not support its position, and this creates many problems to Israeli Jews”.
Photo from BBC Archive