Tony Blair is to take on a new role tackling anti-Semitism by assuming the chairmanship of a pan-European body that campaigns for stronger laws against extremism across the continent. The British former prime minister has been appointed as chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation.
In the joint article with Moshe Kantor, who is the president of the council and of the European Jewish Congress, Blair warns that Europe is entering a dangerous era as it is experiencing the slow rate of economic growth last seen on the eve of the first and second world wars.
Tony Blair and Moshe Kantor compared the very low levels of annual GDP growth in Europe before WWI and WWII with a very low level of European GDP nowadays and concluded that the very low level of GDP creates mass economic unhappiness and social instability that leads to social unrests and even to wars. Unhappy people are looking for an easy way to do something with their unhappiness and of course, the easiest way is to blame the Jews.
In the Blair/Kantor opinion, the economic hardship breads anti-Semitism as a form of social unrest. The government has to address this problem.
Traditionally, the government is addressing this problem in two ways.
First, the government is trying to reduce the economic hardship by encouraging the economic growth (the government thinks it can do it) and increase the amount of free goodies to the “socially unstable” through redistribution of wealth (the government knows very well how to take the wealth from the wealthy and deliver it to the “socially unstable”).
Second, the government is trying to create the laws punishing the “socially unstable” when the outcome of their instability is the acts of anti-Semitism classified as the acts of social unrests.
Unfortunately, the government actions on fighting the anti-Semitism cannot reduce the anti-Semitism because the roots of anti-Semitism are not in the economic hardship. The anti-Semitism existed long before the people invented the phrase “social unrest”.
Anti-Semitism is rooted in the belief that the Jews are a sort of spiritual evil, and the spiritual evil has nothing to do with economic hardship. In the historic past, the non-Jews nurtured this belief as defense against the spiritual influence of Torah-based ideas on how to treat “your neighbor”. The Jewish ideas were shocking to the heathen non-Jewish tribes. The Jews were telling the heathen neighboring tribes that the God’s way to normal life was to work together and help each other in order to be prosperous and happy while those heathen tribes believed in something completely different – the prosperity and happiness is reached by military victories over the neighboring enemies and by seizing their wealth.
Slowly, the Jewish ideas began capturing the non-Jewish world and Christianity was born. The Jews might expect that the Christians would be friendly to the Jews because of the mutual spiritual foundation. However, that was not the case. With the maturity of Christianity, the anti-Jewish hatred became stronger: the Christian authorities to strengthen their dictatorial power over people’s minds cultivated this hatred.
In the 20th century, the mainstream Christian authorities realized that the Jews should be friends of Christians – without the Jewish Old Testament, the Torah the Christianity loses the spiritual foundation for its existence. Moreover, they found the true enemies of Christianity. That is Islamic extremism, which demands the Christians’ conversion to Islam, and radical Atheism, which demands the replacement of the Torah/Bible-based morality by the human-made “social justice” and “human rights”.
That is why many Christians are ready nowadays to fight together with the Jews the new threats to the Judeo-Christian civilization and begin fighting the anti-Semitism.
If it is so, a better way for Tony Blair and Moshe Kantor to fight anti-Semitism would be to create – with the active participation of leading Christian and Jewish religious authorities – a non-government European Judeo-Christian union with the goal of restoring the Bible-based approach for governing the European Union. Restoring the Bible-based approach in legislative work would be the most effective step in fighting anti-Semitism – it would demonstrate the true great role of the “Semites” that is the Jews in creating our Judeo-Christian civilization that is cherished by the overwhelming majority of its citizens.
When the Judeo-Christian Torah/Bible-based morality is restored, the anti-Semitism would stop being a disruptive and threatening social force.
It might be not that difficult because – in spite of rising anti-Semitism – the Jews still held in Europe in high regard. This was revealed by a recent poll on attitudes toward minorities in European Union countries conducted by Pew Research Center in six European countries.
Despite rising anti-Semitic attitudes and attacks in Europe, a broad majority of Europeans still hold favorable views about Jewish people.
The survey, conducted after the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket terror attacks in Paris in January, examines the attitudes of six European Union nations regarding minorities, including Jews, Muslims, and Roma.
In France, 92% of citizens hold a favorable view of Jews, similar to the 89% documented in 2014, and a big jump from the 72% recorded in 1991. Similar results were recorded in Britain, where 86% of respondents voiced a positive attitude toward Jews, a number that remained virtually unchanged in recent years. The 80% majority of Germans hold a favorable opinion of Jews, with little difference in the numbers from 2014, but a marked increase from the 53% of respondents who viewed Jews favorably in 1991. Three-quarters of Spaniards see Jews favorable, with Italy trailing slightly at 71%. Even in Poland, the 59% majority is holding a positive attitude toward Jews.
2 thoughts on “Wrong and right ways to fight anti-Semitism”
I find that scapegoating definitely does rise in times of economic unrest. In America, the scapegoat of choice recently has been illegal immigrants. They are the “other” that is being credited with our economic decline – sometimes with measures that look a lot like old-school anti-Semitism (in some parts of the southern U.S. it’s advisable for Hispanic Americans to have their citizenship papers with them at all times). This arguably seems to be happening just because they are an “other” who speaks a different language – their theology doesn’t come into it.
So there are parallels based in economic hardship that do not involve the theology. Although I do not know enough about the history of Judaism to speak on what component the theology does play in the Old World.
Yes, you may consider Antisemitism as a sort of scapegoating. But the question remains – what is the right way to fight it.