Anti-Semitism Is Back, From the Left, Right and Islamist Extremes. Why?

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/04/world/europe/antisemitism-europe-united-states.html

By Patrick Kingsley
April 4, 2019

BERLIN — Swastikas daubed on a Jewish cemetery in France. An anti-Semitic political campaign by Hungary’s far-right government. Labour lawmakers in Britain quitting their party and citing ingrained anti-Semitism. A Belgian carnival float caricaturing Orthodox Jews sitting on bags of money.

And that was just the past few months.

The accumulated incidents in Europe and the United States have highlighted how an ancient prejudice is surging in the 21st century in both familiar and mutant ways, fusing ideologies that otherwise would have little overlap.

The spike is taking place in a context of rising global economic uncertainty, an emphasis on race and national identity, and a deepening polarization between the political left and right in Europe and the United States over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

“There’s an ideological pattern that is common,” said Günther Jikeli, an expert on European anti-Semitism at Indiana University. “The world is seen as in a bad shape, and what hinders it becoming a better place are the Jews.”

Anti-Semitism has become a section of today’s political Venn diagram where the far right can intersect with parts of the far left, Europe’s radical Islamist fringe, and even politicians from America’s two main parties.

That confluence is new, experts say, as is the emergence of an Israeli government that has sidled up to far-right allies who praise Israel even as they peddle anti-Semitic prejudice at home.

“It creates a landscape that is very confusing and where things are more blurry than in the past,” said Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac, an expert on Jewish history at the Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent, a government-funded research group in France.

Polling suggests that anti-Semitic attitudes may be no more widespread than in the past, particularly in Western Europe, where Holocaust remembrance has become a ritual for most governments.

Despite this, bigots have seemingly become more brazen, creating a climate that has made anti-Semitism far more permissible and dangerous.

In recent decades, Western anti-Semitism has tended to trace the contours of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, spiking and ebbing in correlation with spasms of violence between the two sides. But since the 2014 war in Gaza, researchers say, anti-Semitic incidents have remained at high levels.

“And that’s kind of worrying because it means it has become normal to act in anti-Semitic ways,” Mr. Jikeli said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/04/world/europe/antisemitism-europe-united-states.html

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