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That many Europeans condemn, dislike, or are indifferent to anti-Semitism does not contradict its role in European culture, as statements of European politicians, the mainstream media, and leading intellectuals prove.
Also, various types of anti-Semitic sentiments are expressed in polls.
The widespread resurgence of European anti-Semitism after the Holocaust suggests it is inherent in European culture and values.
This does not imply that all or most Europeans are anti-Semites.
In the immediate postwar period, democratic societies such as Norway, the Netherlands, and others discriminated in various ways against the Jews in many domains. Norwegian historian Bjarte Bruland, who played a key role in the national restitution negotiations of the mid-1990s, says that among the survivors of the small prewar Norwegian Jewish community there were many "stateless Jews who had fled to Sweden, some of whom had lived in Norway for as long as 50 years, prior to the war.
The Norwegian government initially refused to allow them to return to the country, a position which only later changed." Postwar legislation and its implementation in many countries frequently favored those who possessed the Jews' stolen property while, at the same time, liberated countries embellished their war history.
The anti-Semitic wave of the past few years seems to prove that it is impossible to eradicate such a deep-seated irrational attitude. He added that what should have been learned from the Holocaust is: "one, that bad things are preceded by demonization - and right now Israelis are being demonized - and, two, the early warning sign in culture is when words lose their meaning." The often-heard argument that postwar European anti-Semitism parallels developments in the Middle East conflict is untrue.
In the words of UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Let me state the point as simply as I can: anti-Semitism is alive, active and virulent in the year 2002, after more than half a century of Holocaust education, interfaith dialogue, United Nations' declarations, dozens of museums and memorials, hundreds of films, thousands of courses, and tens of thousands of books dedicated to exposing its evils; after the Stockholm Conference, after the creation of a National Holocaust Memorial Day, after 2,000 religious leaders came together in the United Nations in August 2000 to commit themselves to fight hatred and engender mutual respect. It appears in waves, which may, but do not necessarily, correspond to developments in the Israeli-Arab conflict, with each wave being higher than the previous one.
A phenomenon that develops intensely in an entire continent over a period of many centuries becomes deeply embedded in the societal mindset and behavior. In his view, in certain European circles, revenge is being taken against the Jews because "nobody will ever forgive the Jews for the Holocaust." Sacks drew attention to the manipulation of words, like genocide and ethnic cleansing, by Israel's adversaries.
Many classic anti-Semitic prejudices are currently widespread in European society, while new ones are developing rapidly.
There are multiple forms of Jew-hatred among politicians, the media, the cultural elite, Christian clergy, schoolchildren, the less educated, among extreme rightists and the liberal Left, and especially in European Arab and Islamic circles.
Simultaneously it also serves as fireman, trying to quench the flames of classic religious and ethnic anti-Semitism. Although European anti-Semitism cannot be eradicated, certain steps can be taken to mitigate it.
This requires a major change in discriminatory EU policies toward Israel.