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    Political Past, Muslim Migration – Roots of European Antisemitism EXPLAINED

    © AFP 2019/ Tobias Schwarz
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    French and German politicians have been raising the alarm over the sharp rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the European Union, with French President Emmanuel Macron proposing a ban on racist and anti-Semitic groups, as well as German EU parliamentary candidate Manfred Weber calling for a Europe-wide effort to counter the dangerous trend.

    There are multiple sources contributing to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, according to experts interviewed by Sputnik. German lawmaker Markus Frohnmaier believes that one of the main reasons for the rising anti-Semitism in the EU is the "Islamic migration" from the Middle East and Africa, which grew in significance with the introduction of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open door policy.

    "Alongside the humans an import of their culture and their world view was imported. The Middle East is shaped by the old Islamic anti-Semitism and the new anti-Semitism, rooted in anti-Zionism", Frohnmaier said.

    The lawmaker brings up several infamous cases of anti-Semitism that have taken place since the beginning of the migrant influx to Europe: the terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015, a demonstration in Malmö, Sweden against the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem in December 2017, where protesters shouted "we will shoot the Jews", and an attack on an Israeli citizen wearing kippa in Berlin by a Syrian migrant in April 2017.

    Frohnmaier noted that many cases go unreported and that real figures are likely much higher than presented in official statistics.

    His colleague at Bundestag, Dr Anton Friesen, agrees with Frohnmaier on the source of the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe.

    "The  migration crisis has led to a large influx of Muslim anti-Semites from the Near and Middle East and it is a bitter irony, or better sarcasm of history, that Germany has done a lot to foster it", he said.

    Both lawmakers agree that nominal solutions, such as resolutions and special representatives, won't solve the problem. What is needed, in their opinion, is to close the borders to illegal immigration from the Middle East. Frohnmaier added that the illegal migrants who have already made it to the EU must be deported and that foreign funding of mosques that radicalise Muslims must be stopped.

    A recent study by the think-tank GLOBSEC has shown that up to 52% of the population in Central European countries are prone to believe anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, with the highest number of "believers" living in Slovakia and Hungary, and the lowest proportion being in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    READ MORE: Another UK Lawmaker Leaves Labour Party Amid 'Anti-Semitism' Scandal

    Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a prominent official at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a leading Jewish human rights organization, told Sputnik about the sources of anti-Semitism in Eastern and Central Europe. According to Cooper, it dates back to the 1800s and "an era of great economic crisis, ethnic and political upheaval and reaction to the emancipation of Jews". This era resulted in the formation of anti-Semitic movements and even parties in Hungary and Slovakia. Some of these collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War.

    "Between World War I and WWII there were anti-Semitic parties operating in Slovakia and the Slovak Catholic Church favoured politicians supporting nationalism and anti-Semitism. Theologian Jozef Tiso promoted xenophobic nationalism. The fascist militia set up by this party actively participated in the deportation of Slovak Jews to death camps during the Nazi Holocaust", Cooper said.

    The human rights advocate noted that the historical political background has determined the difference between Slovakia, where a significant part of the population in their 40s and 50s believe in anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, and the Czech Republic, where such theories have few supporters. In general, youth in Eastern and Central Europe hold little to no anti-Semitic views, as the political past of these countries is not as meaningful or relevant to the younger generation, "many of whom never met a Jew", he added.

    Cooper believes that the roots of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories lie with a book called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, written in Tsarist Russia in 1905 and claims to be a historic study on alleged attempts by Jewish leaders to achieve global domination.

    "The Protocols is widely viewed as a legitimate historic work in the Arab and Muslim worlds and it is available in multiple languages on the Internet. The Protocols still has had outsized influence in Asia, where it was first brought to China and Japan by White Russians fleeing the Communist Revolution", the human rights advocate said.

    Abraham Cooper thinks that the only way to break such beliefs is "through education and personal experience", suggesting that Jews should invite neighbours to visit their synagogues and explain the issues that "motivate and propel Jewish destiny".


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