Holocaust survivors at Auschwitz on International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, 2019
Sever Plocker
The old-new anti-Semitism
Opinion: The images of neo-Nazis protesting the 'occupation of the Jews' outside Auschwitz on International Holocaust Remembrance Day indicates that populist anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head. Not only among the right-wing extremists but as part of left-wing discourse as well.
On Sunday, the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Some 50 Holocaust survivors, accompanied by Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Israeli Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari, gathered outside the former concentration camp of Auschwitz in honor of the occasion. Not far from where the ceremony was taking place, scores of neo-Nazis demonstrated against what they described “the occupation of Poland by the Jews."



This protest was led by Piotr Rybak, a nationalist who in 2015 was sentenced to ten months in prison for burning a Jewish effigy at a nationalist rally in the city of Wrocław. Key opinion leaders in Poland as well as in the rest of Europe, condemned the controversial demonstration, while the local police said that they are investigating the "chain of events." The next day, however, the homes of some Jewish residents in the city of Poznań were vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans, such as "Down with the Jews!" and "Nazi Zone."


Holocaust survivors and their relatives carry candles at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, 2019 (Photo: DPA) (Photo: AP)
Holocaust survivors and their relatives carry candles at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, 2019 (Photo: DPA)


The wave of anti-Semitism, incited by various neo-Nazi groups, is sweeping not only Poland (although in Poland for historical reasons it causes the most outrage), but in the rest of Eastern and some parts of the Western Europe. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his remembrance day speech, emphasized the anti-Semitic views exhibited by those on the Left, the Jewish lives are threatened mainly by those on the right—far-right activists and neo-Nazis. Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh shared their extreme ideology and so do those who harass Jews in Hungary, eastern Ukraine and areas that once were part of East Germany.


It’s true that anti-Semitism is taking root in left-wing discourse, being disguised as anti-Zionism. For instance, the American feminist movement has split into two factions because of this issue. Recently in New York the movement held two separate demonstrations. The first—attended by hundreds of people—led by progressive liberals, while the second—participated by very few—was saturated with anti-J

Jewish propaganda presented as anti-Zionism.


Anti-Semitic views with the Muslim community are undeniably prevalent, and the same is true for some elements in the British Labor Party, left-wing parties in Ireland, Spain and Italy. The leaders of these parties and left-wing movements, however, are quick to condemn these views. Unlike those on the Right, who proudly display swastikas and chant songs praising Hitler, urging to "settle scores with the Jews."


Generally, it’s safe to say that the less liberal and democratic the West becomes, the more open and receptive it becomes to anti-Semitism. Populist anti-Semitism is spreading, especially among young people, along with the spread of populism itself. It’s happening just as fast today as it had in the past.


פרסום ראשון: 01.29.19, 22:25
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