Anti-Semitic feelings is not a new phenomenon, Jewish persecution has been around since the days of the Egyptians, Nebuchadnezzar II of Assyria, and the Romans. However, it does seem that during the 20th century and into the 21st century it seems even more pronounced. Leading up to World War II, the Nazis used the Jewish people as scapegoats and targets. “The SA used the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Polish Jew as a pretext for a night that included beatings, rapes, killings, the torching of synagogues, and the breaking of Jewish shop windows (hence the “Night of Broken Glass”).
The event is often seen as marking the beginning of the Holocaust” (1) George Orwell in his “Down and Out in Paris and London” frequently commented on how Jews were perceived by the general public. In one instance, he wrote, “After knowing him I saw the force of the proverb “Trust a snake before a Jew and a Jew before a Greek, but never trust an Armenian”(2) In this case he was also making note of prejudices against other ethnic groups, regardless, the disdain for a person of Jewish descent is evident.
Today as the world sits in 2019, the issue actually seems to be getting worse. Recently there was a shooting in a synagogue in California, and a previous one in Pittsburgh. Across the pond, the issue is also volatile, for example in France, “Anti-Semitic incidents have risen sharply in France. Such episodes jumped by 74 percent in 2018, to 541, up from 311 in 2017, the interior ministry reported.”(3) France is not alone, in fact a 2019 report issued by the European Union states that Anti-Semitic actions are now considered normal. “People face so much antisemitic abuse that some of the incidents they experience appear trivial to them. The normalisation of antisemitism is also evidenced by the wide range of perpetrators, which spans the entire social and political spectrum.”(4)
Anti-Semitic rhetoric seems to be ramping up, with no end in sight. “What do you think is the root cause of these Anti-Semitic feelings”? “Can you think of a way to ease some of the tension that is seen?” “Is there a way to tone down the rhetoric of the politicians and hate groups?” “What should be the punishment for a person who commits a crime against a member of ANY religion?”
1. Richards, Michael D.. Twentieth-Century Europe: A Brief History, 1900 to the Present (p. 195). Wiley. Kindle Edition.
2. Orwell, George. Down and Out in Paris and London (p. 62). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.
3. Peltier, Elian. “Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Acts in France Stokes Old Fears.” The New York Times. February 12, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/world/europe/paris-anti-semitic-attacks.html.
4. “Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism – Second Survey on Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in the EU.” European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. March 04, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2019. https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2018/2nd-survey-discrimination-hate-crime-against-jews./.