Few days ago, we decided to write an editorial article to underline the persisting diffusion of anti-Semitism at a global level. The idea came to us after the news of an investigation on religious intolerance carried out by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a well known association, based in North America, openly engaged in refuting slander against the Jews (and others) circulated by racist organizations and governments. On the basis of over 53,000 interviews in 102 countries, the poll allowed the definition of an “anti-Semitism index” that could be used, in the different countries, to measure the population expressing racist attitudes and behaviors. Unfortunately, almost exactly at the same time, with an act of terrorism in Brussels, the hate against Jews re-appeared again in an up-to-date version – a clear-cut demonstration that anti-Semitism never dies. In our opinion, in the opinion of the “l’Astrolabio” editorial staff, in the opinion of the Friends of Earth – Italy, we have to face another dramatic drift: our international network, in which we represent Italy, appears to be sensitive to the hate message addressed towards Israel. As a consequence, an increasing isolation is affecting the Friends of the Earth Middle East mission: together with the environment, the peaceful co-existence of human peoples.
A number of indications can be extracted from the ADL’s study, purposedly carried out 70 years after the Shoah. But the essential message is revealed clearly by the crude numbers of the poll: 26% of the interviewed persons are in agreement with at least 6 over 11 negative stereotypes concerning the Jews. Among these, the prejudice that the Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country.
Geographically, anti-Semitism is strongest in the region of the Middle East and North Africa (an average of 74%), while the country with less anti-Semitism is Iran (56%). Outside these regions, the most anti-Semite countries appear to be Greece (69%), Malaysia (61%) and Armenia (58%), which are two countries where oriental Christianity is rooted and one Islamic nation. In western Europe, the average value is 24%, with Italy showing a lower percentile that the European average, that is 20%. Surely, we hoped in a better result, considering that the lowest European value is that of Sweden with 4%. The 37% of France cannot be used as a consolation of our value. The United States show 9%. The 35% of the interviewed evidenced that they did know practically nothing about the Shoah. The countries with the smallest number of Jewish population appear to host more anti-Semitism that the other countries.
These data worry us and give us sorrow. They worry us because, as noted by the few newspapers commenting the news, anti-Semitism seems to be hydra with many heads that never die; actually it appears to be resistant to any kind of treatment. We are sorry because we believed – Christians and Jews, religious believers and non-believers – that in our country, in spite of the wounds of history (from Constantine and successors to the fourth Laterenensis Council, from the ghetto in the Papal state to the racial laws), our humanity, our behavior had saved us and redeemed us. Our behavior of being the “Nice Guys” did happen but it did not save and redeem us. The behavior of the “Just” was also there but did not clean up the infection rooted in our ideas and in our way of being. Actually, it looks like the Days of Memory, the proximity, the shared memories, the seminars, the publications, the commemorations and the debates are not useful. Perhaps this is not true but for sure these initiatives must be re-visited, re-evaluated and drastically changed.
It is not a case that a bloody terrorist act on May 23rd with few consequences did happed next to the Hebrew museum and the Synagogue of Brussels. The anti-Semite matrix has been recognized by media and governments, law enforcing agencies and experts.
Anti-Semitism, anti-Judaism, anti-Zionism, hate against the state of Israel: deep links, complex phenomena which are not always clear. Links originated by an anti-Semitism affecting our history in the centuries. Good behavior, a desire of peace, an aspiration to a framework of solidarity and cooperation do not erase anti-Semitism, they make it more noxious.
L'Astrolabio Periodico di informazione sull’energia, l’ambiente e le risorse Testata registrata presso il Tribunale di Roma Aut. Trib. di Roma del 22/04/1996 n. 189 Direttore Responsabile: Aurelio Candido
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