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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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

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

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy