The current outbreak of violence between Israel and the Hamas has produced Europe-wide anti-Israel demonstrations, many of which incorporate vile and anti-Semitic proclamations and slogans as well as acts of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions.
It is not surprising that European Jews are worried and often frightened. But so should be the rest of the population. It is up to civil society as well as governments – wherever these anti-Semitic incidents occur – not only to educate but also to come down fiercely against the organisers and perpetrators of these anti-Semitic occurrences.
Similarly, it is up to Israeli society and authorities to educate but also to come down fiercely against organisers and perpetrators of anti-Arab racism that is increasingly rearing its head in Israel. Unfortunately, such racism seems to get away unpunished. Moreover, the right-wing perpetrators of these racist acts are well represented in the Israeli political elite. Israel’s Foreign Minister Lieberman, for example, has just urged Israelis to boycott the businesses of Israeli Arab citizens who are taking part in a general strike in protest of Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip.
It is generally accepted that such racist language, let alone acts of violence are totally unacceptable, and it is always a minority that perpetrates such racist outrage. But, the majority – be it in Israel or in Europe - must stop looking the other way. It must fight back.