What Europeans Don’t Understand about Anti-Semitism

In Europe, and to a lesser extent in America, two propositions about anti-Semitism are taken as articles of faith: first, that remembrance of and education about the Holocaust can guard against the proliferation of anti-Semitism, and second that the main danger to Jews comes from the extreme right and neo-Nazi groups. Fiamma Nirenstein, without downplaying either the importance of Holocaust education or the perils of the extreme right, argues that both propositions are fundamentally flawed:

[In a recent survey], almost all European Jews rated anti-Semitism as the biggest social problem in their countries. For 85 percent of respondents, the most common anti-Semitic statements they come across involve comparisons between what the Nazis did to the Jews with what the Israelis [allegedly] do to the Palestinians. Alongside this, there is the accusation that the Jews exploit the Holocaust for their own purposes, and therefore to Israel’s advantage.

Almost 90 percent of the European Jews polled declared they had suffered some violence (including threatening and offensive online messages, . . . phone calls, comments, and gestures, along with actual physical assaults). Thirty percent identified the perpetrator as “someone with an extremist Muslim view,” 21 percent as someone with left-wing political views, and 13 percent as someone with right-wing politics. . . . Those who . . . insist upon tying the new racist danger to the new “nationalist” political parties and their “populist” derivatives should inspect whom or what is responsible for this.

The Jews who have felt the rise of anti-Semitism the most (70 percent) live in France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands; . . . British Jews—at 84 percent—expressed the highest level of concern about anti-Semitism in political life today. Together with Germany and Sweden, the United Kingdom has also seen the highest increase in the number of Jews considering emigrating over the past five years due to safety concerns. [In none of these countries does the far right dominate.] . . .

In Poland and Hungary, [by contrast], fewer than half of their Jewish populations are worried. . . . In Hungary, where Viktor Orban’s right-wing government is suspected of racism, the number of Hungarian Jews saying anti-Semitism is a problem has significantly dropped. . . . . Analyzing the rest of the data in this survey, we reach the conclusion that anti-Semitism must not be solely fought through Holocaust commemorations or promoting school courses and pilgrimages (which are always welcome, in any case), but above all by demanding the dismantling of the horrible construction of lies about Israel inside the European Union.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Anti-Semitism, East European Jewry, Holocaust remembrance, Israel & Zionism

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy