by Dr. Theresa Newell, Chairman of CMJ-USA Board of Directors
Recently I attended a meeting at the local Jewish Community Center where a senior State Department official said that rising hostility and prejudice against Jews is reaching levels not seen in decades, particularly in Europe. The speaker Ira Forman is the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
In his report Forman cited data from the end of last year showing that 29% of European Jews polled said they had considered leaving their countries because of perceived anti-Semitism. The countries with the highest percentage thinking of leaving were Belgium (40%), France (46%), and Hungary (48%). It was noted that France has the largest population of Jews in Europe, about 400,000. Muslims make up 7.5% of France’s population, the largest in a European country.
In the September 29th issue of The Wall Street Journal’s front page, a headline read “In Struggle Against Mideast Jihadist, Europe Puts Its Own on Trial.” The story’s dateline was Antwerp, Belgium, where members of a group named Sharia4Belgium will go on trial for recruiting for and fighting with jihadists in Syria and Iraq. The article noted: “Belgian authorities say roughly 300 Belgians . . . have traveled to Syria, a disproportionate number for a country of 11 million.”
In an Associated Press story the day before, Iyad Mandani of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said he agrees with Mahmoud Abbas’ statement to the U.N. General Assembly’s ministerial meeting that week that war crimes against humanity and genocide were committed in Gaza by Israel in this past summer’s fighting. Nothing is mentioned about the thousands of rockets from Gaza that were sent against civilians in Israel, which precipitated the action against Gaza. Today anti-Zionism has become the new anti-Semitism.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor and martyr under Nazism, wrote:
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil:
God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak.
Not to act is to act.
Believers in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, are being challenged again to stand with the Jewish people in their time of need. Will we speak? Will we act?
CMJ USA will focus on the rise of anti-Semitism in the November issue of its newsletter Heart’s Cry. Watch for it!