Jews Feel Safer in “Right-Wing” Eastern Europe Than in the “Liberal” West https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/jewish-world/2018/11/jews-feel-safer-in-right-wing-eastern-europe-than-in-the-liberal-west/

November 30, 2018 | Evelyn Gordon

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.

Read more on Evelyn Gordon: http://evelyncgordon.com/jews-feel-safer-in-europes-conservative-east-than-its-liberal-west/