Gaza Crisis Could Lead to European Mistrust of Jews

02 August 2014 | 02:01 Code : 1936581 Interview General category
An interview with Dr. Mehdi Fakheri, an expert on European affairs
Gaza Crisis Could Lead to European Mistrust of Jews

Published reports indicate an increasing wave of anti-Semitism in countries like Germany, France and Italy. On one hand, the government of France attempts to stand against this wave to the extent that it has prevented protests against Israel from being held during the past few days. Are there other reasons beyond the events of the Middle East, particularly Israel’s attack against Gaza, behind this new wave of anti-Semitism?

A study of anti-Semitism shows that the issue is deeper than the recent conflicts. But due to Israel’s recent attacks and crackdowns against the people of Palestine, this issue has been highlighted more during the past few days. Nonetheless, usually in Europe, the leftist parties have closer relationships with Israel especially when the Israeli Labor Party was in power, but at the same time it was faced with people’s reactions. Governments made attempts to exaggerate issues like the Holocaust in order to create an atmosphere wherein European governments would change the anti-Semitist atmosphere through making repeated apologies and proposing new issues. But the fact is that the anti-Semitist atmosphere has existed in Europe’s social layers and, in proportion with the closeness of their governments with Israel, the reactions have grown. Nevertheless, beside ideological, religious and ethnic inclinations, the suppression of the women and children in Gaza has led to reactions from the human conscience which may not be desirable for the European governments.

Despite Israel’s extended lobbying in Europe, why is anti-Semitism still growing in Europe, especially in France?

This issue may be caused by two reasons. The first reason is the religious root of anti-Semitism which is mentioned in both the Bible and the Quran. In both books, the breaking of their commitments has been mentioned. The other point is the lifestyle of the Jewish community and their reaction to their surrounding atmosphere wherein they marry and establish relations within their own community. This matter would naturally bring about the reactions of the societies where they live. The other reason is the economic issue because the Jews are behind all financial institutions and the deprived classes of society react to that. Their mentality of occupation during the past 60 to 70 years should not be forgotten either. Furthermore, political issues and their influence have enabled them to overshadow global issues and control the policies of different governments. This has also been faced with negative reactions. Besides, international issues are linked to each other as the links of a chain. The world is a world of give-and-takes and the lobbies impact the national interests of the countries wherein they are active. We remember that, in his meeting with Sarkozy, Obama called the Israelis liars. This shows that even the leaders of countries have negative feelings with regard to the Israeli leaders but since their national interests are tied with the interests of the Jews, they cannot make statements which are similar to public opinion. Usually, Israel’s hands for suppression are open during the first days of wars but as soon as groups like the Resistance, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad make retaliatory measures and the number of Israeli casualties increases, they begin to react. Therefore, it is the issue of the national interests of the western countries which prevents them from expressing support for the people.

What effects would the recent presence of the rightist parties in the European Parliament have on the wave of anti-Semitism?

The rightist parties have an anti-Zionist inclination and that could affect pubic mobilization. But it must not be ignored that the European governments are sensitive towards rightist movements. For example, following Haider’s victory in Austria and his death in a car accident, Austria was boycotted by the European Union. This issue had impacts on the recent victories of France’s National Front and other rightist parties. They even expressed their concerns in the European Parliament and Commission. On one hand, Europe is not interested in the presence of the rightist parties so that anti-Semitist sentiments do not grow. On the other hand, their national interests from the economic and security aspects are linked with those of Israel. Nonetheless, public opinion finds a channel to express its opinion. Of course, it should not be forgotten that free public opinion in Europe and the radical rightists’ public opinion are different from each other. The people of the Middle East do not like to be supported by the public opinion of the radical rightists and neo-fascists of Italy, Germany and France. They want the people of the world to support them.

Reports indicate that the number of Jewish immigrants from European countries is growing. This is while the Jews considered Europe as their safe haven. What is the reason behind this growing migration?

This issue can be studied from two angles. First is that the Jews believe that their country has become bigger, more powerful and richer and that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. This issue attracts the Jews. The second point is the financial crisis in Europe since 2007 which has damaged countries of this region particularly Italy, Spain, France and even Germany. Based on the nature of the Jews, who pursue their economic interests, they migrate to places wherein their financial interests are provided. Now, Europe is threatened from an economic aspect. That is why they now search for a land wherein their financial interests would be provided. Therefore, the growing population has an economic motivation as well. Of course, considering the growing population of Muslims in Europe, the increasing wave of anti-Semitism should not be ignored as a reason behind the migration of the Jews.

tags: anti-semitism europe israel Palestine

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