The bad news: most of the rest of Europe is, and the Middle East even more so.
A massive survey of 53,000 subjects asked people in 102 countries to agree or disagree with some popular anti-Semitic statements.
Most of those reflected various aspects of the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world (just this once, the Masons were left out) and the fact that the Jews have only themselves to blame for every manifestation of anti-Semitism, implicitly including the Holocaust.
It’s gratifying that Britain, along with the Anglophone world in general and the USA in particular, has come out best.
For example, Britain’s 12-percent level of anti-Semitism is only about a third of the Western European average – and a seventh of that of Greece, comfortably the most anti-Semitic country in Europe (in case you’re wondering, Hungary finished in the silver-medal position).
Interestingly, 77 percent of those who hate Jews for their behaviour have never actually met a Jew. Moreover, in most countries there exists an inverse if counterintuitive relationship between the number of Jews and anti-Semites: the fewer of the former, the more of the latter.
As a lifelong opponent of purely empirical knowledge, I have to feel vindicated. It’s good to see so many people basing their savagery on intuitive and philosophical presuppositions, rather than observation or cold facts.
Having often argued that faith is a valid form of knowledge, I welcome any substantiation, even if provided by mentally challenged Yahoos.
While we possess the absolute standard of good, evil has many gradations. Thus if the Middle East in general is 74 percent anti-Semitic, in the Arab states this figure rises to the near-uniformity of 82.5 percent – as opposed, say, to merely half of the Iranians.
It would be easy to blame political conflicts in the region, but facts make this copout considerably harder. For example, Iranians, whose state has officially declared Israel Enemy No. 1, are less anti-Semitic than Saudis, whose country’s geopolitical interests are closely intertwined with Israel, and whose proposal for the Arab Peace Plan is currently on the table.
Also, Lebanon, which has been directly or indirectly involved in the conflict for decades, is marginally less anti-Semitic than Algeria and Morocco, whose interest in Israeli affairs is mostly vicarious.
It’s not all about Islam either. Witness the fact that Middle Eastern Christians are more anti-Semitic than Muslims outside the Middle East – and Arab Christians are more anti-Semitic than non-Arab Muslims.
Yet the rising level of anti-Semitism is Western Europe, especially since 2000, is definitely linked with the burgeoning Muslim population.
A recent study of schoolchildren in Belgium, for example, showed that Muslim anti-Semites among them outnumber Christian ones five to one. The murder of visitors to the Brussels Jewish Museum the other day livened up the dry statistics, especially since the city’s population is 40 percent Muslim (by the looks of it, everyone else is an EU bureaucrat on an expense account).
Actually Belgium has form in escalating anti-Semitic attacks: for instance, more than 100 of them occurred in 2009, an increase of 100 percent on 2008. France boasts much higher absolute numbers but then, to be fair, she also has Europe’s highest population of both Muslims and Jews.
The format of a short article doesn’t encourage detailed analysis, especially, as we’ve seen, some obvious material factors don’t seem to explain much. For example, Sartre, his Marxist heart yearning for an economic explanation of everything, once described anti-Semitism as “a poor man’s snobbery”.
One wonders how he’d explain the fact that Laos has an anti-Semitism level of a meager one percent, as opposed to 24 percent in France. Yet, the last I looked, France is still wealthier than Laos, though the combined efforts of the EU and my friend François Hollande are doing much to narrow the gap.
One comment is worth making though. Human nature has a propensity towards externalising evil: it’s gratifying to blame others for our own wickedness, ineptitude and irrational resentments.
Speaking specifically about Europe, Anti-Semitic and other such sentiments are always there, but most of the time they lazily bubble underneath the surface. However, when the pressure in the boiler rises and the safety valve is failing, such feelings burst out.
Any revolution represents an uncontrollable spike in pressure, which is why it always brings out the darkest side of human nature. To this observation there are no known exceptions: even the supposedly benign revolution in America ran the French equivalent pretty close in the number of victims (especially if we justifiably regard the Civil War as the second act of the revolutionary drama).
There’s little doubt that we in Europe are in the throes of a revolution, where old certitudes aren’t just discarded but widely mocked. The pressure is building up, and the traditional safety valve of holding the national government to account isn’t so much failing as being removed.
Faced with all governments and all major parties across Europe uniting in the common revolutionary cause, people are rapidly running out of legitimate means of protest. If history is anything to go by, whenever this happens bestial feelings and practices come to the fore, especially when a little economic frustration is thrown in.
The European elections fired no more than a warning shot across the bows, but it’s a warning our ruling elites would be foolish to ignore. When people feel they have no recourse, raising its head is fascism in all its manifestations, of which anti-Semitism is the time-honoured one.
But it’s not the only one, and those who are happy that quasi-fascist parties haven’t quite taken over the European parliament are in denial. Michael Burleigh, for example, rejoices that “70 per cent of the vote went to mainstream centrist parties”. It’s more appropriate to commiserate that most of the remaining 30 percent went to nasty extremists.
Ultimately Europeans will never accept the on-going revolutionary reshuffling of their cultural, national and demographic pack, especially when the joker of growing Islamisation is slipped in.
The pressure will blow the lid off, and all sorts of fascistic nastiness will splash out. Including, as is always the case, anti-Semitism.