Jews Feel Safer in “Right-Wing” Eastern Europe Than in the “Liberal” West

Nov. 30 2018

In a survey published last week, European Jewish leaders and professionals were questioned about their own experiences with anti-Semitism and asked to gauge its extent in their countries. By a margin of about 20 percent, respondents in Western Europe were more likely to feel unsafe than those in the east; the former were also more likely to consider anti-Semitism a threat. Evelyn Gordon comments that this upends current assumptions about the resurgence of right-wing nationalism in Eastern Europe:

There are two reasons for these . . . results. . . . The first is the politically incorrect fact that violence against Jews in Europe comes mainly from Muslim anti-Semites rather than from either the right or the left. (See, for instance, the shootings at a Jewish museum in Brussels, a Jewish school in Toulouse, and a kosher supermarket in Paris.) And in Western Europe, liberal governments spent decades implementing liberal immigration policies that have produced large Muslim populations. Eastern Europe has very few Muslims, initially because decades of Communist rule made these countries economically uninviting and more recently because rightist governments have imposed restrictive immigration policies.

The second reason is more speculative, since correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causality. Nevertheless, as the report noted, the findings are suggestive: “Hostility toward Israel in the general society is perceived to be fiercer in Western Europe.” . . . [O]bjective data seem to support this hypothesis: whenever Israel launches a major counterterrorism operation, anti-Israel sentiment spikes, and so do anti-Semitic attacks, [perhaps because] rampant anti-Israel sentiment often makes anti-Semites believe that society will tolerate such attacks so long as they can be portrayed as “anti-Israel.” And this belief is hardly unfounded. . . .

[Moreover], since hostility toward Israel emanates primarily from the left these days, it’s no surprise that such hostility is higher in liberal Western Europe than in conservative Eastern Europe. Thus, both of the main contributors to anti-Semitism in Europe today—Islamic anti-Semitism and left-wing hostility toward Israel—are more prevalent in the liberal West than in the allegedly “fascist, anti-Semitic” countries of Eastern Europe.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, East European Jewry, European Jewry, Jewish World

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey