The current major postwar explosion of European antisemitism started 20 years ago. France was the first country to have a major increase of incidents.
One would have expected that various Jewish organizations would since have developed teaching packages. These would have been used to educate people to understand the essence of antisemitism as a precondition for action. I have never seen efficient packages.
A few issues that should be part of such a teaching program follow below.
It is crucial for pupils to understand that the main antisemitic incitement comes out of parts of the huge world of Islam. This can be illustrated by a short fragment taken from the text of Malaysian President Muhammad Mahathir’s speech at the Islamic Conference summit in October 2002.
Leaders of 57 countries were present. Mahathir, the conference host, represented relations between Muslims and Jews as a worldwide frontal confrontation offering some new examples of a “Jewish conspiracy.” He was applauded by the participants.
That claim could be further illustrated in data from an ADL global study. It shows that 49% of the world’s Muslims are antisemites, as opposed to 24% of Christians and 21% of atheists. The 2018 FRA study found that European Jews see Muslim antisemitism as the largest threat.
A list of murders of Jews in Europe for ideological reasons in the current century should also be part of the information. All of them were committed by Muslims. Yet it is also important to avoid stereotyping all Muslims as antisemitic.
Another key element of the teaching package should be the demonization of Israel in Europe and the Arab world. This could be shown through cartoons of former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert as Nazis, which appeared in the Norwegian progressive daily Dagbladet.
Together with these there would be cartoons of former prime minister Ehud Barak as a Nazi from Arab papers. The link between antisemitic members of Europe’s progressive Left and inciting Arabs could thus be explained.
This element of the package would be backed up with statistics on the many tens of millions of Europeans who consider Israelis to be Nazis. The data from the studies of the University of Bielefeld in 2011 and of the Hungarian Inspira organization in 2019 would provide the main information.
It would also be pointed out that study data show that Muslims in Europe support these demonizing ideas more than the native population does.
The next part of the package is again easy to understand. This is demonstrating that the extreme Right - neo-Nazi or not - also plays a major role in contemporary antisemitism. It would have pictures from the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting on October 27, 2018, which claimed 11 lives; the worst act of antisemitic violence in American history. The Poway synagogue shooting on April 27, 2019, the last day of Passover, claimed one dead. A description of the failed attack on the synagogue in the German town Halle on Yom Kippur 2019 would also be part of this package.
It is also important to stress that antisemitism is not limited to extreme-right white people and Muslims. Pictures of the lethal attack on a kosher store in Jersey City earlier this year should be added to the teaching material. Some quotes from America's leading antisemite, Louis Farrakhan, can illustrate this further.
The package would also contain a picture of Farrakhan with Barack Obama before Obama decided to run for president. This illustrates that the country’s leading antisemitic hate-monger is not avoided by important Americans. Obama succeeded in suppressing the picture during his entire presidency.
ANTISEMITIC MOTIFS such as the blood libel recur through the centuries. One can start with the cartoon by Dave Brown of then-prime minister Sharon eating a baby. It was published in the 2003 British progressive daily The Independent.
Even more important is that it was chosen by the organization of British cartoonists as the best cartoon of the year. The award was presented to the cartoonist by former Labour Party minister Clare Short. The venue where the award took place was the office of the highly reputed British weekly Economist.
Next to the Sharon cartoon, one can put the 2020 picture by the Italian painter Giovanni Gasparro showing the medieval blood libel of Simon of Trent.
Also important is to explain the role of Jewish masochists in helping antisemites. The world’s leading Jewish masochist organization is J Street. Including the 2020 J Street Passover Haggadah among the teaching materials enables exposure of such masochistic ideas in detail.
One quote among many in this publication is: “As a Jew, as someone connected to Israel, how do I reckon with the terrible price paid by the Palestinian people for the creation of the Jewish state?”
The truth is that the Palestinians pay a terrible price for opposing all Israeli peace projects. The J Street Haggadah does not even mention the genocidal aim of the leading Palestinian party, Hamas.
As another example of Jewish masochism, the open letter of 240 Jewish and Israeli academics in 2019 could be enclosed. They asked the German government to reject a law passed by parliament defining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as antisemitic.
These are just some important examples of a larger, more detailed teaching package about antisemitism that is needed. All that is required is for one Jewish organization that values the truth more than political correctness to hire some experts to turn this and a number of other items into a usable package. It will not even require much money.
The writer is the emeritus chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He received the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s International Leadership Award and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s International Lion of Judah Award.