For the average European opposing the State of Israel has become the standard framework through which one can analyze the Middle East and its current evolutions.
For the average European,Zionism can only be defined as a devastating ideology which cannot be conceived as having brought forward any positive result.
For the average European, anti-Semitism, as the deadliest and most irrational form of hatred known in the continent, is a threat extinguished long time ago, a threat whose details only find their way through the pages of history books.
All this, the new anti-Semites understand it well and know how to use this common European pathology to wage a modern war against the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Modern anti-Semitism should be considered as a true threat to Europe’s stability as it undermines the basic tenets of a functioning democracy: individual critical thinking and a social thrive for tolerance. They no longer wear brown shirts or build ghettos and, just for that reason, modern anti-Semites are even more dangerous. Behind the mask of cultural relativism, behind the support of the Palestinians and their anti-Zionism, a movement is arising which aims at the same time at destroying the European social fabric, marginalizing the Jewish communities and delegitimizing the State of Israel.
As it has been the case in the end of the 19th century, France and Italy offer an excellent case study to analyze the dark clouds that are gathering over Europe. As it happened in the 20th century, anti-Semitism is built upon three pillars: The destruction of Jewish legitimacy, the acceptance of a radical discourse and the demonization of public figures opposing the trend. Modern anti-Semites understand that their supposed human right-inspired opposition to the State of Israel can be used as a Trojan Horse to condition the European mind into a modern kind of hate toward the Jewish people.
On August 14th, a French court in Perpignan certified the innocence of three members of the BDS movement (Boycott Disinvest and Sanction). While it isn’t necessary to enter into the specifics of this fanatic organization, it is essential to understand that behind the facade of a pro-Palestinian group, a radically anti-Semitic message can flourish. With its managing members defining anybody who opposes their techniques as “Jew Lover” and vilifying time and again the Jewish people, the supposed anti-Zionism of these campaigns is hardly hiding their true message: a relentless campaign against the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The tragedy is that the EU official boycott of Israeli businesses and companies operating in the West Bank comes as an implicit blessing to these organizations, thus providing an institutional backing to a mob-like anti-Semitism.
As it was the case in the 1930s, Western Europe in undergoing a deep cultural crisis stemming from the downturns of its economic downfall and from the ravages of cultural relativism. This enables fundamentalist figures to appear as mainstream public personalities. The end of Ramadan in the Italian hub of Milan was marked by a speech by well-known Jihadist Imam, who got the official authorization to address tens of thousands of people. Infamous for praising child suicide attacks, hatred against Jews and the virtues found in Islamic Jihad, this man shared the stage with members of the Italian Parliament who by their presence implicitly showed their support to this person’s ideas, thus encouraging Muslims and others to take him as an example. Radical Imams are free to pollute the social sphere with their speeches filled by hate throughout French Mosques while public prayers highly disrupting everyday life are a current show of force of these groups.
The third pillar of Western European modern anti-Semitism is the less visible one but the most efficient and certainly the most ancient form of crowd manipulation. Crowds are pushed to accept the boycott of Israeli products and to listen to the outbursts of radical Islamists because the overall media condition them to interiorize and consent to a certain dose of anti-Semitism. When on June 26th French courts condemned Philippe Karsenty in his lone fight for truth in the al-Dura affair, any person interested in unfolding the media orchestrated lie should not only have been shocked by the court’s decision but also by the little attention this affair is obtaining among French citizens. Viewed as a ‘Jewish Affair’, people simply don’t care about the truth especially if this truth upsets them in their preconceived ideas in regard to the State of Israel.
They may no longer impose yellow stars and talk about racial purity but the modern anti-Semites pose a real problem to the future of Europe as well as to its relations with Israel. By distorting the truth, controlling crowds and crafting a well-structured fundamentalist propaganda, these groups come in the perfect line of the religious extremism that blocked Europe in the Middle Ages and the nationalistic rage that burnt the continent in the 1930s and 1940s. Hitler wasn’t a particularly bright individual; he just came at the perfect moment, when the crowds were implicitly begging for a figure like his. The modern anti-Semites in the comfort of their university halls, their street protests and their mosques are preparing a devastating groundwork which could potentially result in millions of people to be accepting a new form of destructive mentality.
Riccardo Dugulin holds a Master degree from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and is specialized in International Security. He is currently working in Paris for a Medical and Security Assistance Company. He has worked for a number of leading think tanks in Washington DC, Dubai and Beirut.
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