The following is based on some thoughts I posted on Facebook on February 21, 2019. It comes in the wake of numerous antisemitic attacks across Europe and the US and amid other controversies, including antisemitism in political parties and among well known authors and politicians.
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
We ask the wrong question about antisemitism which we are told is rising in Europe and in the US. Every time a graveyard is vandalized, or a synagogue burned, or a person attacked, we say it is a “rise.”
But that’s the wrong reaction. The reaction should be, why is there any anti-semitic racism at all?
No other group is subjected to such a level of systematic attacks. No one routinely destroys the graves of Bahais across Europe. There are numerous other small minority groups in Europe, and no one targets them.
Whenever people try to compare antisemitism to other hate crimes they inevitably will try to make it seem like there is some commonality. But consider the other groups that they compare antisemitic racism to, it is often groups that are far larger than the Jewish population, and yet the number of antisemitic crimes is usually equal or exceeding those other crimes, meaning antisemitism might be 10 to 100 times more likely than other forms of attacks per capita.
Attacks on graveyards for instance, is there even any comparison? Are any other faith group graveyards routinely attacked? Ever. There are other religious groups wherein 100 years there are less attacks on their graves than in just one year of attacks on Jewish graves in a place like France. Again the incidents might be 100 to 1.
It’s like if Amish people in the US were routinely victims of attacks, physically, their churches targeted and graves desecrated. But that doesn’t happen. It happens infrequently, if at all.
SO THE real question when it comes to antisemitic racism, is why is there any? Why are there so many European and European-origin authors who are known primarily for “antisemitic conspiracies”…why is it even in countries with few Jews, that surveys will show 5 or 10% of people respond that they have hate towards a group they could never conceivably even meet? Why does Malaysia’s Prime Minister go to Oxford to spout antisemitism…it would be as irrational as the Canadian Prime Minister suddenly launching into an anti-Malay speech for no reason.
We’ve been conditioned to accept that there is “rising” antisemitism, when there should be zero antisemitic racism. Not some…zero.
There are about four time the number of Jews in the world as there are Jains. And yet…you don’t see people attacking Jains, attacking Jain cemeteries or the leader of Malaysia spreading conspiracies about Jains. Because no one even would think to do such a thing.
SO when we hear about these European countries with their antisemitic racism it is a widespread indictment of these places. There should be zero racism against Jews, zero attacks on cemetaries, zero groups online of people denying the Shoah, zero famous authors spreading conspiracy theories, zero. That is the only goalpost to measure antisemitism from. Zero. Why is there any? In countries with 50,000 members of one minority out of 50 million…why are there attacks on the cemetaries of the 50,000? Why does the place of worship of the 50,000 need armed guards? Really…why? Why can’t they be left alone, like Jains or Bahai or some other small religion.