The European Coalition for Israel (ECI) sent an urgent letter on Thursday to the European Commission calling for partnership in order to tackle spiking anti-Semitism across the continent – as well as the lack of outcry against it.
“Silence is not an option. A new Crisis Summit is needed as a matter of urgency to step up the fight against anti-Semitism,” said the letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “This must now be a top priority for the European Commission, for only by doing so will the soul of Europe be preserved.”
Alarming anti-Semitic attacks and anti-Israel demonstrations – many of which have turned violent – have exploded on the streets of European cities in recent weeks, sparked by the latest war between Israel and Hamas which ended with a ceasefire last Friday.
In a press release, the ECI said nothing much seems to have changed on the streets of Europe since the EU Crisis Summit in 2004, which was held in order to counter a spike in anti-Semitism at the time.
Elie Wiesel, the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, noted that only Jewish leaders in Europe reacted to anti-Semitism. “Where are all the others?” he asked.
The ECI said it is asking the same question – 17 years later.
“During a tumultuous year marked by large scale demonstrations against what is seen as structural racism, it is remarkable but tragic that there are still no mass demonstrations to fill our streets in protest against this oldest of hatreds – anti-Semitism,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said on Thursday.
In the letter to the European Commission president, ECI noted that it is the only non-Jewish organization accredited to the EU that works to combat anti-Semitism and to promote good relations between Europe and Israel.
The ECI said there is an urgent need now to mobilize social media influencers, journalists, public relations agencies, thought leaders and community organizers to stem the current tide of anti-Semitism.
The ECI said that “today’s anti-Semitism is a transnational spontaneous grassroots movement and all-the-more insidious and harder-to-tackle as a result.”
”Despite all efforts to combat this new wave of anti-Semitism it is only growing stronger,” the press release said. ”In the last two weeks, ignited by the recent conflict between Israel and terrorist organization Hamas, we have seen a dramatic rise in violence against Jews spreading fear in Jewish communities around the world, from the burning of a synagogue in Israel to physical attacks in major cities in Europe and the U.S. In London, a caravan of cars drove through a Jewish neighborhood last week chanting 'F***k the Jews, rape their daughters.' Four people were later arrested and the incident was strongly condemned by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.”
Sandell observed that perhaps more shocking than the “climate of hatred” and violence is “the fact that there is still no public outcry, neither on social media nor any mass demonstration on our streets. Why is it that Jewish lives still do not matter?”
The press release then goes on to cite examples of some of the most egregious – and some positive – developments:
And while some European government leaders have spoken out against this new wave of Jew hatred, others have stood silent and some have even fueled the hate, unintentionally or otherwise. On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned against Israeli apartheid if there is no breakthrough in the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in a near future, hence amplifying the baseless chants in the anti-Israeli demonstrations calling Israel a racist state.
The Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin on the other hand has banned demonstrations against Israel in fear of uncontrollable violence similar to what happened in Jewish quarters of Paris in 2014 when angry mobs ransacked Jewish businesses and properties.
Still in other parts of Europe mass demonstrations are allowed, despite the current social distancing regulations, where Jews are openly compared to Nazis and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state are heard while those openly expressing solidarity with the Jewish state are being contained and even taken away by the police as a “safety measure.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.