The Dangers of Ignoring Anti-Semitism

Surveying recent physical and political assaults on Jews from across Europe and America, Bari Weiss notes a perhaps even more disturbing tendency to ignore or downplay them: from the media’s indifference to violence against the ultra-Orthodox, to a French court dropping charges against an anti-Semitic murderer, to the invective directed at Jews with the temerity to criticize Jeremy Corbyn’s hostility toward them. And often the desire to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism comes from those who consider themselves greatly sensitive to every other kind of bigotry:

If hatred of Jews can be justified as a misunderstanding or ignored as a mistake or played down as a slip of the tongue or waved away as “just anti-Zionism,” you can all but guarantee it will be.

Jordyn Wright is a Jewish sophomore who sits on the board of the Students’ Society of McGill University. Over winter break, she is planning, like hundreds of other North American Jewish college students, to go to Israel [in a trip organized by her campus’s] Hillel society. As a result of that trip, the student government voted to call for her resignation. . . . Never mind that another student-government leader is also going; apparently because that student is not a Jew, no resignation was required.

Jew-hatred is surging and yet . . . does not command attention or inspire popular outrage. Unless Jews are murdered by neo-Nazis, the one group everyone of conscience recognizes as evil, Jews’ inconvenient murders, their beatings, discrimination against them, the singling out of their state for demonization will be explained away.

When you look at each of these incidents, perhaps it is possible still to pretend that they are random bursts of bigotry perpetrated by hooligans lacking any real organization or power behind them. But Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral prospects in Britain tell a different, far more distressing story—that a person with some of the same impulses as those hooligans can stand within spitting distance of the office of prime minister.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Jeremy Corbyn

Europe-Israel Relations Have Been Transformed

On Monday, Israel and the EU held their first “association council” meeting since 2012, resuming what was once an annual event, equivalent to the meetings Brussels conducts with many other countries. Although the summit didn’t produce any major agreements or diplomatic breakthroughs, writes Shany Mor, it is a sign of a dramatic change that has occurred over the past decade. The very fact that the discussion focused on energy, counterterrorism, military technology, and the situation in Ukraine—rather than on the Israel-Palestinian conflict—is evidence of this change:

Israel is no longer the isolated and boycotted outpost in the Middle East that it was for most of its history. It has peace treaties with six Arab states now, four of which were signed since the last association council meeting. There are direct flights from Tel Aviv to major cities in the region and a burgeoning trade between Israel and Gulf monarchies, including those without official relations.

It is a player in the regional alliance systems of both the Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean, just as it has also become a net energy exporter due to the discovery of large gas deposits of its shoreline. None of this was the case at the last council meeting in 2012. [Moreover], Israel has cultivated deep ties with a number of new member states in the EU from Central and Eastern Europe, whose presence in Brussels bridges cultural ideological gaps that were once much wider.

Beyond the diplomatic shifts, however, is an even larger change that has happened in European-Israeli relations. The tiny Israel defined by its conflict with the Arabs that Europeans once knew is no more. When the first Cooperation Agreement [between Israel and the EU’s precursor] was signed in 1975, Israel, with its three million people, was smaller than all the European member states save Luxembourg. Sometime in the next two years, the Israeli population will cross the 10 million mark, making it significantly larger than Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and Austria (among others), and roughly equal in population to Greece, Portugal, and Sweden.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israeli gas