New incarnations of an ancient hatred

Israel must recognize that even in post-Christian Europe, replacement theology remains influential.

October 15, 2013 18:03

Anti Semitism 390. (photo credit: Reuters)

The recommendation by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly that its 47 member states impose unspecified restrictions on circumcision is just the latest onslaught against Jewish life in Europe. Other recent examples include Poland’s ban on kosher slaughter, which joins existing bans Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden (though the latter, bizarrely, permits the Muslim equivalent, halal slaughter); the near-passage of similar legislation in Holland; and a German court’s ruling that circumcision is illegal (though Berlin, to its credit, subsequently passed legislation reasserting circumcision’s legality).

Nowadays, attempts to ban Jewish praxis are usually justified in the name of human rights: Circumcision “violates the child’s bodily integrity;” kosher slaughter “is cruel to animals.” Yet while the pretext has changed, the targets have remained eerily constant for over 2,000 years: In previous centuries, Jewish praxis was targeted in the name of Christianity, and earlier still, under the Greeks and Romans, in the name of pagan religions. As far back as 167 BCE, Greek efforts to outlaw distinctive Jewish practices like the prohibitions on idol worship and eating pork sparked the Maccabean revolt.


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