Friday, October 31, 2014

  • Friday, October 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
A guest post from "Jewish Peoplehood:"

Summer 2014 marked a dramatic increase of anti-Semitic incidents is Europe. In July alone, anti-Semitic attacks rose by 400% in the UK and doubled in France. The atmosphere in Europe could be likened to those of the 1930s. Thousands marched the streets yelling "Hitler was right! Jews to the gas!" Synagogues and Jewish schools were firebombed. Those who appeared to be Jewish were physically assaulted, including rabbis and elder women.

(SOURCE)

Throughout all of these escalating attacks, I was struck by the silence and inaction of European Jewish organizations, the various groups sworn to protect, support, and represent European Jewry. Groups whose primary tasks include combating anti-Semitism, an issue that after thousands of years, prompts a need for preemptive measures.

But the groups' response to anti-Semitism could only be described as lackluster. In a time when the European Jewish community must call on their elected leaders and institutions, little was done in response. Which did in fact lead to grassroots action from younger generations of Jews, but also highlights the shortcomings of diplomatic Jewish groups.

A few examples would be the European Jewish Congress, Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB), and the Board of Deputies in the UK.

The European Jewish Congress did little more than release very occasional statements of condemnation in response to anti-Semitic attacks, despite their diplomatic status. Although it seems that recently they have been more in touch with their communities.

In Belgium, as Jews were attacked and refused basic services, the primary group CCOJB were either unable or reluctant to become involved in the struggle.

In the UK, which had an extremely high rate of anti-Semitic attacks, the Board of Deputies was able to do little to combat the steady tide of hate. Perhaps they were simply ill prepared, but anti-Semitism is not a novel issue in the UK, preventive planning is expected. The Jewish community took to the internet to speak out against the Board, claiming them to be impotent.

Even people from outside of Europe and heads of Muslim communities came to these events! That's a serious absence on the part of the EJC. They seem to be missing the mark on many fronts,

The scope of Jewish groups' impotency can also be seen on Twitter, where they have few followers and post very occasional tweets that seem quite abstracted from the real world fight Jews are going through.

Twitter is known to be the social media front-line of the anti-Semitic battle. Any engagement referring to Jews or Israel is immediately hijacked into an anti-Semitic rant, and that’s not to mention the countless original posts stating that Jews drink children’s blood…or calling for the gassing of Jews.

It is of grave importance that Jewish groups have a strong presence, and use that presence to combat the ever-present tide of anti-Semitic hate.

Now, on a positive note, we can and should expect these groups to rise to action. Their lack of preparedness this summer serves as a wake-up call. If they don't heed it, they will become obsolete.

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