Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned about the new breed of anti-Semitism now emerging in Europe.
Speaking during a major drill by Israel’s elite Commando Formation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu described the country’s military skills as the Jews’ ‘best answer’ to anti-Semitism, The Times of Israel wrote.
Netanyahu’s comments were apparently his response to the publication of a CNN poll where more than 20 percent of European respondents spoke about the ‘too much’ influence Jews allegedly have in the world.
‘The best answer to anti-Semitism is the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces’, Netanyahu, who has also been doubling as defence minister since Avigdor Lieberman stepped down earlier this month, told the soldiers.
‘Once we were a leaf driven by the wind; they could slaughter us. Today, we have the power to respond’, he emphasised.
In an earlier interview with CNN, Benjamin Netanyahu accused the extreme left and radical Islam of keeping alive the world’s age-old hatred of Jews.
Netanyahu lauded ‘most of the European countries’ governments’ for their effort to combat anti-Semitism, reserving special praise for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
He still voiced serious concern about what he dubbed as the ‘new anti-Semitism’ in Europe which he said differs from the ‘old anti-Semitism in Europe that came from the extreme right’.
‘There’s also new anti-Semitism that comes from the extreme left and also the radical Islamic pockets in Europe that spew forth these slanders and lies about Israel, the only democracy in this entire region, the only one that has the courts, human rights, rights for all religions, gays, everything, I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous’, Netanyahu stated.
According to a recent Survey of European Jewish Community Leaders and Professionals, conducted every three years by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) European research division, Western European respondents were more likely to consider anti-Semitism as a threat than Eastern Europeans were.
Still, when asked how safe they felt to live and practice as Jews in their countries, over 80 percent of respondents said that felt very or rather safe, while 13 percent said they felt rather unsafe and 4 percent said they did not feel safe at all.