Friday, January 29, 2010

European Antisemitism Soars

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


The Jews of Europe must be having the same apprehensive feelings these days as did their grandparents as the Holocaust approached. Though, according to a Catholic bishop, I must be saying this as a propaganda tool. If you believe that, read no further.

I hardly know where to start. A report, released on Sunday, shows that antisemitism in Europe has reached the highest level since the Holocaust.

Of course, we Jews are not permitted to say this. For fear that we may be criticized by the likes of a Polish bishop, who this week said that Jews use the Holocaust as a propaganda tool. The truth is, propaganda led to the Holocaust. The Holocaust itself became a sad reality. But join Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad as a denier if you wish. I'm sure, Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, you'll find yourself in more comfortable company than with the likes of me.

Then there's the new Exodus from Sweden. Malmo, Sweden's Jewish population is so under assault that Jews are fleeing in droves. How does the mayor address this? Ilmar Reepalu's response is to blame Israel's policies for the antisemitism in his town.

Excuse me?

You're justifying attacks on Jews in Sweden because you disagree with how the Israel government treats the Palestinians? Are you kidding me?

His honor was quick to add that he deplores antisemitism. Ah yes, condemn it even as you justify it Mr. Mayor. Then he equates antisemitism to Zionism. Which, in and of itself, is an antisemitic remark.

That an elected public official and a bishop of the church can feel so comfortable making these kinds of comments in 2010 is scary. No wonder European Jews are apprehensive.

Perhaps the Jews of Malmo will feel more comfortable - and safer - by going - as their forefathers did to escape the Nazis and following the Holocaust - to Israel. But for people like Reepalu, Pieronek and Ahmadinejad, the mere purging of Jews from their midst isn't enough. They need to demonize the very country created as their safe haven.

This is not to say that Israel isn't fair game for criticism. Of course it is. But the Jews of Poland and Sweden - and the Jews who no longer live in Iran - can read the subtext. And what they read isn't pretty.

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