Sunday, June 01, 2014
Economic Woes Fuel EU Anti-Semitism
On 24 May 2014, a gunman opened fire at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, Belgium, killing three people and critically wounding a fourth before fleeing the scene. The attack, which occurred the day before Belgian federal, regional, and European elections, is being investigated as terrorism by Belgian authorities. One French and one Belgian citizen were identified amongst the victims, while the other two were Israeli citizens Emanuel and Miriam Riva, a middle-aged couple on holiday from Tel Aviv. The murder of three people at the Brussels Jewish Museum is a result of "a climate of hate", said Joel Rubinfeld, the head of the Belgian League against anti-Semitism. In the ADL’s recent survey of anti-Semitism, Belgium was said to have a 27% score for anti-Semitic attitudes, with one in three Belgians saying that Jews think they are better than other people and 44% saying Belgian Jews were more loyal to Israel than to Belgium. Viviane Teitelbaum, a Jewish member of the Brussels legislature, said anti-Semitic attacks reached a peak in the early 1980s but had dropped off before a recent rise in anti-Jewish sentiment. "It has been a very difficult place to live" for Jews, she said, adding that many young people are leaving the country. She added some 40.000 Jews live in Belgium, half of whom reside in Brussels. A caretaker of the Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki arrived to a horrible scene on Thursday morning, May 28, as reported by Daniel Saletiel, head of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki. The graves had been vandalized, ornaments had been smashed, and even grave covers looked like they were moved. "The police will do whatever is humanly possible to arrest the vandals", stated the Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Thessaloniki housed a major Jewish Community of 50.000 people during the Second World War, 96 percent of who were murdered in concentration camps. The Golden Dawn party however, expressing fascist and anti-Semitic views, claims that the Nazi’s never used ovens and gas chambers to exterminate Jews in concentration camps. The Greek neo-Nazi party has gained popularity over the past years and recently managed to elect three politicians as Members of the European Parliament. The Jewish community is worried about the Greek voters’ preference toward the anti-Semitic party, which promotes the come-back of fascism.