European Jews increasingly see anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism according to a report released earlier this week by the European Union, Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, wrote in an op-ed published on Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.
The survey of 16,500 Jews living in 12 European Union nations found that 90 percent of the respondents said that anti-Semitism has worsened in their countries over the past five years.
When asked about their experiences, a majority of those polled, 51 percent, said that the anti-Semitic comment they hear “frequently” or “all the time,” is that “Israelis behave “like Nazis’ towards the Palestinians.” Schwammenthal observed that this assertion “demonizes the Jewish state while diminishing the crimes of real Nazis.”
Looking into the data included in the E.U. report, Ben Cohen reported in The Algemeiner on other particulars that showed how the lines between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are increasingly blurred.
“Particularly salient,” Cohen observed, “were the report’s findings on the intersection between commonly expressed anti-Zionist views and activities—boycotting Israeli goods and institutions, publicly opposing Israel’s right to exist, comparing Israel’s military actions to the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews—and anti-Semitism as experienced by the vast majority of the survey’s respondents.”
Cohen noted, for example, that, according to the survey, 80 percent of Jews had heard statements comparing Israel to Nazi Germany during the past year. Another 60 percent had heard the sentiment that “the world would be a better place without Israel” in the same time period.
European Jews also took exception to the assertion that the BDS movement is not anti-Semitic.
An average of 82 percent of the Jews surveyed in all 12 countries believed that boycotts that single out Israel are anti-Semitic. In contrast, Cohen noted, that 62 percent of those polled said that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.
In response to the argument that anti-Zionism is a “legitimate political position” divorced from anti-Semitism, Schwammenthal observed, “anti-Zionists discriminate against the Jews alone among the peoples of the world, and call for the Jewish state’s economic, cultural and academic boycott.”
Schwammenthal noted that last week the E.U.’s justice and home-affairs ministers unanimously endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism in the fields of law enforcement and training.
These definitions, he observed, include “denying Israel’s right to exist or holding Jews responsible for Israel’s actions, real or imagined.”
The E.U. survey was released just two weeks after CNN reported on the “frightening” increase of anti-Semitic incidents across Europe.