Sixty years after the Holocaust, European Jews and Israelis are increasingly wondering if Europe is being sucked into the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. \nIn the past few weeks, a German member of parliament was forced to resign after saying that Jews were responsible for Soviet atrocities, and the commander of the German army's special forces was sacked for agreeing with him. \nThen came the observation by the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis that Jews are at the root of all evil, and the firebombing of a Jewish school in Paris. \nBut Israelis felt their fears were confirmed by an opinion poll of EU citizens that placed Israel as the greatest danger to world peace. Israelis were shocked, perplexed and outraged that they should be seen as a bigger threat than North Korea or Iran. \n"Anti-Semitism has become politically correct in Europe," said Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and minister in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government. \nOn Nov. 24, Sharon warned European governments that they need to do more to combat a revival of old hatreds responsible for rising anti-Semitism. He described Europe's burgeoning Muslim population as a threat to Jews and dismissed accusations that rocket attacks on Gaza and tanks in Jenin have contributed to growing hostility. \n"What we are facing in Europe is an anti-Semitism that has always existed and it really is not a new phenomenon," the prime minister said in an interview with EUpolitix.com, an online newswire dedicated to EU affairs. \n"This anti-Semitism is fundamental, and today, in order to incite it and to undermine the Jews' rights for self-defense, it is rearoused. \n"These days to conduct an anti-Semite policy is not a popular thing, so the anti-Semites bundle their policies in with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." \nLast week, Sharon said growing anti-Semitism in Europe contributed to the bombing of two synagogues in Istanbul, the destruction of part of a Jewish school in Paris and a series of smaller attacks on Jewish targets. \n"It's 60 years since the Holocaust and we are again the target of attacks, fires," said Cobi Benatoff, president of the European Jewish Congress. \n"Anti-Semitism should have been part of the history of old Europe by now, but unfortunately it is very present and alive in the Europe of today," he said. \nFor the chairman of Israel's Holocaust memorial council, Avner Shalev, Theodorakis's anti-Jewish statement is a "symptom of the systematic flooding of Europe with incitement against the Jewish people and the state of Israel." \nThe Israeli Forum to Coordinate the Struggle Against Anti-Semitism -- a group of Israeli intelligence and foreign ministry officials -- defines anti-Semitism in three forms: classic, new and Muslim. \nThe forum asserts that the most dangerous strand has its roots in Islam and that the rising number of Muslims in Europe is responsible for fuelling terror attacks, street violence and general harassment of Jews. \nMuslims are also blamed for the spread of anti-Semitism to countries such as Denmark, previously renowned for its efforts to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Sharon described the growing Muslim population in Europe as "endangering the life of Jewish people." \n"Of course the sheer fact that there are a huge amount of Muslims, approximately 70 million in the EU, this issue has also turned into a political matter. I would say, in my opinion, EU governments are not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism," he said. \nThat view was confirmed for many Israelis when it was revealed that the EU's racism watchdog has suppressed a report on anti-Semitism because it concluded that Muslims were behind many incidents. \nIsraeli officials say the comments of Theodorakis and the German MP, and a claim by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that Jews rule the world by proxy and get others to fight and die for them, fall into the category of "classic" anti-Semitism. \nBut it is the "new" anti-Semitism that most disturbs some Jewish leaders because they say it emanates from influential groups such as academics, politicians and the media and is dressed up as criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. \nDeborah Lipstadt, the academic who won a libel victory after describing the right-wing historian David Irving as a Holocaust denier, this month described the "new" anti-Semitism as directed at the "Rambo Jew, the Jew who is the aggressor." \n"What we have seen in these attacks is an obsession with the vilification of Israel; a use of Nazi and Holocaust images to describe Israel and its politics, and a focus on Israel's failures regarding human rights, while totally ignoring the Arab world's failures of human rights," she told a conference in Jerusalem. \nSome Israeli critics say a country that claims to be at the forefront of defending Western civilization cannot then demand to be judged by the standards of the states it portrays as terrorist regimes. \nBut Robert Wistrich, director of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's international center for the study of anti-Semitism, says human rights is merely a cover. \n"On the left we see a trend to believing there is a worldwide conspiracy in which Jews are implicated. You have a link of money, Jews, America, world domination, globalization," he said. \n"The notion that the Jews are a superpower that controls America is both a classic and revamped form of anti-Semitism. \n"The most interesting phenomenon is the singling out and demonization of the state of Israel, that brands it as a Nazi-like state or accuses it of genocide. \n"This kind of discourse is often put forward under the banner of human rights. This is new," he said. \nMany on the Israeli left are sceptical. \n"We should bear in mind that during the time of the peace process, when Rabin and Peres were leading, Israel was the favorite of the West," said Yaron Ezrahi, an Israeli political scientist. \n"There was so much support from Europe and its public. Why was anti-Semitism so limited during the time Rabin and Peres led the peace process and gave the world the message that Israel was prepared to abandon the occupied territories?" he asked. \n"Sharon has a long record of calling Israeli critics of his policies traitors, and foreign critics anti-Semites. \n"The left is concerned that Sharon's policies are endangering Israel's future," he said.
ILLUSTRATION: MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
Taiwan’s status in the world community is experiencing something really different; it’s being treated like a normal country. And not just a “normal” country, more like a valuable, constructive, democratic and generous country. This is not simply an artifact of Taiwan’s successes in combatting the novel coronavirus. It is a new attitude, weighing Taiwan’s democracy against China’s lack of it. Before I continue, I should apologize to the readers of the Taipei Times. I have not visited Taipei since the opening of the American Institute in Taiwan’s new chancery building in Neihu last year, so I was unprepared for the photograph
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