Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe

Over the years it has become clear that while far from all Muslims are anti-Semites, a large percentage are, and from a young age.

February 19, 2013 23:30
3 minute read.
French special police in Toulouse [file photo]

French special intervention police in Toulouse 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Detailed data on Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe is very limited. The few existing studies all point in one direction.

In 2011 Mark Elchardus, a Belgian sociologist, published a report on Dutch-language elementary schools in Brussels. He found that about 50 percent of Muslim students in second and third grade could be considered anti-Semites, versus 10% of others. It is logical to assume, in view of the age of these children, that their parents have imbued them with Jew-hatred.

In the same year Günther Jikeli published his findings from the 117 interviews he conducted with Muslim male youngsters (average age 19) in Berlin, Paris and London. The differences in attitudes between the cities were minor. The majority of the interviewees voiced some, or strong anti-Semitic feelings. They expressed them openly and often aggressively.

In 13 Amsterdam trade schools a pilot project with Moroccan students was carried out about the Second World War and the Middle East conflict.

The purpose was to fight discriminatory attitudes and in particular, anti-Semitic expressions.

The findings showed a decrease in such attitudes after the project. Before, 32% of the Moroccans thought Jews were “as nice as other people.” Afterwards this increased to 50%.

A study in France in 2005 showed that anti- Jewish prejudice was prevalent particularly among religious Muslims. Forty-six percent held such sentiments compared to 30% of non-practicing Muslims. Only 28% of religious Muslims in France were found to be totally without such prejudice.

These projects and much anecdotal information reveal that anti-Semitism among substantial parts of European Muslim communities is much higher than in autochthonous populations.

As it manifests itself from a very young age, only the extremely gullible can believe it will disappear in coming decades.

A second important aspect is that some Muslims stand out compared to autochthonous anti- Semites in committing extreme anti-Semitic acts. This is particularly clear in France. The 1982 attack on the Jewish Goldenberg restaurant in Paris was carried out by Arab terrorists from abroad. Six people were killed.

In 2003, Sebastian Selam, a Jewish disc jockey, was killed by his neighbor Adel Amastaibou. In 2006, a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, was kidnapped and tortured for 24 days before being murdered by a Muslim gang. Its leader Youssouf Fofana shouted “Allahu Akbar,” “God is Great,” when the court trial began in 2009. Last year, Mohammed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, killed a teacher and three children in front of their Jewish school.

In 2009, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the largest anti-Semitic riots in Norway’s history took place in Oslo. All participants were Muslim. Attackers wounded a Christian who attended a pro-Israel demonstration. Lifethreatening projectiles were thrown at demonstrators.

Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, is often mentioned as “the capital of European anti- Semitism.” The perpetrators of many physical and verbal attacks there are all, or almost all, Muslims. A record number of complaints about hate crimes in this city in 2010 and 2011 did not lead to any convictions.

In Copenhagen, all main assaults on Jews were perpetrated by Arabs. The Jewish community complained in vain about the inaction of the authorities. In 2012, Stephan J. Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said that the “willingness to be violent in the Muslim camp is comparable with that in the extreme right-wing camp.”

Many European authorities must be blamed two-fold for their attitudes on this matter. Firstly, they allowed immigrants into their countries in a non-selective way without taking into account the cultural differences, or considering how these people would be integrated into their societies. They should have known that actively promoting anti-Semitism was part and parcel of the cultures these people came from. Allowing them in unselectively can thus be considered an indirect type of state-promoted anti-Semitism.

Secondly, over the years it has become clear that while far from all Muslims are anti-Semites, a large percentage are, and from a young age.

Some of them openly admit that they are willing to commit violent acts. Authorities in European countries have intentionally neglected to investigate this matter in depth. The non-selective immigration of Muslims has been the most troubling development for European Jewry in the past 50 years. This is not only the fault of part of the immigrants, but also of European authorities.

The writer is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

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