From My Trip to Europe: Engaging With Our Partners To Address Anti-Semitism in Western Europe

I recently returned from a trip to Europe where my colleagues and I attempted to assess the mood of western European Jewish communities and the efficacy of governmental actions in the wake of the uptick in violent actions against Jewish communities in the past year. 

Last month, the world witnessed the massacre of four French Jews at the Hyper Cache Market in Paris.  These four human beings were gunned down merely because they were Jewish.  This act shocked the French Jewish community and prompted President Obama to declare in a speech at the United Nations in January that “anti-Semitic attacks like the recent terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris pose a threat that extends beyond the Jewish community."

The Hyper Cache Killings were just the latest in a string of anti-Semitic moments over the course of the last 12 months that included:

  • The massacre of four innocents at the Jewish Museum in Brussels;
  • The riots and physical attacks on Jews, particularly in western Europe during the summer 2014 conflict in Gaza;
  • The rape of a Jewish woman and home invasion in a Paris suburb by assailants who declared “because you are Jewish;” and
  • The anti-Semitic signs posted in a Buenos Aires neighborhood after the death of Argentinian prosecutor Nisman which read, “The Only Good Jew is a Dead Jew.  Nisman is a good Jew.”

The leadership of the French Jewish community, the third largest Jewish community in the world and the largest in Europe, is working closely with the French government.  Government officials are mobilized to both provide security to Jewish institutions and to develop longer-term strategies to address anti-Semitism in French society­.  This is a formidable task where multiple forms of virulent anti-Semitism infect different portions of French society.  But Jewish communal leadership calls the most dangerous form at present the violence perpetrated by a relatively small group of French Muslims.  While Jewish leaders are gratified by the government’s response to the anti-Semitism of the past year, they express profound concern about the future of the French Jewry. 

There are no easy answers to this problem but, starting with Secretary Kerry and including numerous offices and embassies, the Department is deeply engaged.  We are working with Jewish communities and European governments to enhance security, identify effective educational initiatives to counter anti-Semitism, explore ways to counter anti-Semitic speech with positive speech, and encourage interfaith efforts, including cooperation between Muslim and Jewish communities.

About the author: Ira Forman serves as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State.

Comments

Comments

Patrick W.
|
Maryland, USA
February 25, 2015
It sounds more like Anti-Tolerance of Religious Believes, or a person that hates some one because of their religion. It's not that they speak a language people don't like, it's their religion they don't like, because their are many Americans that are part Jewish that can't speak Jewish. So, they can be from any race and practice the Jewish Religion, and the same race of people wouldn't like them because of it. Other wise, you would have to call them Racist , and not anti - Semitic.
Monica Q.
|
United States
February 25, 2015
The conduct of people against Jewish communities around the world is intolerable. We shall continue to support to the Jewish people. We shall engage in educational initiatives to teach the people about our different faith.
Patrick W.
|
Maryland, USA
February 25, 2015
This is a religious matter. It's about the Torah which is: The first five books of the Bible written on a scroll know as the Torah. It's kind of funny since Muslims, Catholics and Jews have the same God/Allah , and their religions all have the same beginning. It stupid to hate people that have some of the same religious believes, and the same Allah/God. Allah is just God in a different language.
Bob T.
|
California, USA
February 26, 2015
Ira, Great to see that you continue to pursue justice and a better world. Yasher Koach, Bob
Lutz B.
|
Australia
February 26, 2015
it is sad that people go nuts because of a self proclaimed religious sect [that is not Semitic though falsely identified as such]. Why mainly Islamists go belly up defies reason. However Amerikan support for the -as Islamists would have it- the Crusader State of Israel doesn't help pacify the global situation. And just as Islamists don't condemn Islamic atrocities neither do Jews when Israel bombs Gaza back to something that looks like Berlin 1945. Why Amerika supports such aggression by giving this state billions is bordering on the irrational
dit s.
|
California, USA
February 26, 2015

Stop selling weapons and F-35 aircraft to Israel. Because the Israelites were to Isis. Jews killed when the French Games fraud. Stop Add to deliver weapons to the Jews. And they will help Isis.

Candle Placed in Memoriam Outside Kosher Grocery Store in Paris
Posted by Ira Forman
February 24, 2015

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