Anti Semitism: Reality Check

It’s open season on Jews again. In just two most recent breaking news items, high ranking officials in different parts of the world were reported to have issued disturbing Anti Semitic tirades. A lawmaker in Chile, Senator Eugenio Tuma, publically condemned Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, who is Jewish, as an activist and militant for the Israeli cause. While over in Greece, the Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim – a leading Greek Orthodox Priest went onto national television to blame Jews for Greece’s financial woes.

Cue all the various censures and condemnations. The American Jewish Committee was quick to issue a statement of outrage in response to Senator Tuma, and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece did the same. Government officials in both places also countered with strong criticism.Yippeekayay, as they say! Till the next time. The point is that these people of prominence feel sufficiently at ease to express those sentiments in today’s society and for every voice of condemnation out there, there is probably at least three silent applauses. If it took however long before those racists were “comfortable enough” to air their tirade then it is only a matter of time before those applauses become all that much louder as well. does that then leave us?

Credit has to be granted to governments which have prioritised legislation against race-hate crimes. It certainly makes people think twice before they choose to express any sort of racial sentiment. But what does legislation do apart suppress something, rather than genuinely cure it? Racism is not some virus like polio that can be eradicated by social and legislative medicine. Dare I say it: You don’t have to go to statistics for this: Anyone who looks into their own hearts honestly enough knows it to be true. Prejudice is one of the principle constituents of the human personality. So the question is to the extent that society can genuinely control what can only be described as an irrational hatred? The tragic reality is that racism, xenophobia, Anti Semitism, are not dead by any stretch of the imagination. They are more like sleeping dogs, waiting to rear their ugly heads when the opportunity presents itself.

Still, there is at least one thing we can do about it. Take it serious enough. A recent posting on this blog flagged up a comment made by vocalist and former pop singer Melissa Burke (mother to X Factor winner Alexandra Burke), at a recent Jewish function she told the caterer that he should have been left behind in Germany. I think the band leader – Phil Moss – should fire her. To date I don’t know that he has. Meanwhile, one twitter follower of mine @RabbiYYS commented that it is a “yawner of a story.” In other words, suggesting that a Jew should have died in the Holocaust, anytime, let alone while working at a Jewish function, is no big deal. Really?

Then there’s Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in the USA who is organising a lecture with Rick Sanchez in order to “clarify his misconstrued remarks.” Sanchez was fired CNN for making Anti Semitic comments about Jews controlling the media and now he’s got a Rabbi championing his cause. Is Boteach arrogant enough to think that CNN didn’t research the remarks before daring to fire him? Maybe the two of them should lawyer up and sue CNN for unfair dismissal. Or better still, maybe Boteach, my twitter follower and all other apologists out there should start taking the increasing threat of Anti Semitism a little more seriously, however flippant or “yawning” they perceive them to be.
Will it stamp out Anti Semitism? Hardly! But much like a ‘Whack the Mole’ game, we’ve got to keep beating it down if we want to win. Otherwise, we lose.