Wave of violent anti-Semitism sweeps Europe

Saturday March 28 2015

Jewish men pray on March 15, 2015 in front of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris that became the site of a bloody hostage drama during a jihadist attack in January. PHOTO | KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

Jewish men pray on March 15, 2015 in front of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris that became the site of a bloody hostage drama during a jihadist attack in January. PHOTO | KENZO TRIBOUILLARD | AFP

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A university student in London posted a photo of a Jewish man on Twitter with the comment, “Fifty retweets and I’ll knock this Jew out.”

A leaflet found among Israeli produce in a Norfolk supermarket showed the Israeli flag with the title, “The flag of Zionist racist scum.”

It added, “Holocaust? What a pity Adolf and Co didn’t manage to finish the job.”

At a London underground station, five girls from a Jewish school were approached by a man who shouted, “Being Jewish is wrong. You are going to die if you carry on being Jewish.”

These were just three of 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the UK last year — more than double the 535 noted in 2013 and 25 per cent more than the previous record. The figures reflect a European trend.

Last November, a German government minister said “hatred of Jews” was on the rise across his country and the rest of Europe.

He blamed the six-week conflict involving Israeli troops in Gaza last year, which left 2,150 people dead, mostly Palestinians. Chants of “Gas the Jews” were hurled during protests.

The US ambassador to the United Nations told the world body that two-thirds of hate crimes in the United States were directed at Jews — and Austria reported a doubling of anti-Jewish incidents.

In Paris, a gunman killed four Jews in a Kosher supermarket, after which soldiers were posted at Jewish schools, community centres and synagogues.

Increased Muslim immigration is blamed by many for the rise in anti-Jewish violence.

France has a Jewish population of 600,000 and a Muslim population of six million, mostly immigrants and their descendants from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

The BBC quoted French Jewish leaders as saying the danger to their community was no longer from the far right but from elements in the Muslim community.

They felt that for more than a decade the source of most anti-Jewish violence was deliberately masked by the government so as not to antagonise French Muslims.

The Community Security Trust, a Jewish charity which monitors events involving Jews in Britain, also said the surge in violence was fuelled by reactions to the Gaza conflict.

It reported a man in London shouting in Arabic “slaughter the Jews” when he saw a rabbi driving past, and four South Asian men attacked a former synagogue in Birmingham, shouting, “Kill the infidels, you are Satan worshippers.”

Not all incidents involve Muslims. The man who approached the schoolgirls in London grabbed one by the wrist and said “Come and be a Christian.” She kicked him and broke free.

And last week in Stamford Hill, London, some 20 people besieged a synagogue in the early hours but were fought off by Jews inside. They were local drunks coming from a party.

Hundreds of the incidents reported by CST involved social media like Facebook and Twitter. A British neo-Nazi, Garron Helm, aged 21, sent a Twitter message to the shadow health minister, Luciana Berger, showing her with the Star of David on her head and the message “Hitler was right.”

She was then bombarded with more than 2,500 hate messages. Helm was jailed for four weeks.

Berger said “Digital media companies must move faster to remove accounts being used to spread hate. To date, they have been too slow, allowing racists a free rein.”

* * *

A couple of weeks ago, I complained in this column about the bureaucracy and costs of getting a passport renewed.

It was all true, but in the interests of fairness, let me acknowledge that the passport arrived at my door in 11 days.

* * * *

The War of the Sexes (cont):

Wife: What do you like most about me, my pretty face or my beautiful body?

Husband: I like your sense of humour.

Husband: Would you have married me if my father had not left me a fortune?

Wife: Honey, I would have married you, no matter who left you a fortune.

Wife: Why are you studying our marriage certificate?

Husband: I’m looking for an expiry date.

Wife: Do you want dinner?

Husband: Sure, what are my choices?

Wife: Yes or no.

Girl: When we get married, I want to share all your worries and lighten your burdens.

Boy: That’s kind of you, darling, but I don’t have any worries or burdens.

Girl: That’s because we aren’t married yet.

A man was quietly reading the paper when his wife hit him with a frying pan.

“That’s for the piece of paper with the name Jenny on it that I found in your pocket,” she said. The husband protested, “Jenny is the name of the horse I bet on last week.”

Three days later, the man was watching telly and his wife hit him with an even bigger frying pan. “Why did you do that?” he cried.

Wife: “Your horse telephoned.”