Joshua Keating in Slate (photo: Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images):
When European government ministers talk about anti-Semitism, they tend to focus on the continent’s growing Muslim community—see French President Francois Hollande expressing concern about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being “imported” to his country. This may accurately describe many of the incidents of the past few weeks—the Sarcelles riots, in particular, do appear to have been carried out by young Muslims—but the problem may be more widespread.
A recent Anti-Defamation League survey found that 24 percent of the French population and 21 percent of the German population harbor some anti-Semitic attitudes. A recent study of anti-Semitic letters received by Germany’s main Jewish organization found that 60 percent of the hate mail came from well-educated Germans. So this isn’t just a problem with young, disaffected Muslim men.
After all, the two worst recent incidents of violence against Jews in Europe—the killing of three children and a teacher in a 2012 attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse and the shooting of three people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May—took place during times when there wasn’t much news coming out of Israel. Continentwide statistics on anti-Semitic incidents leading up to the most recent uptick don’t show much of an overall trend—in Britain, anti-Semitic violence is becoming less common while online abuse is becoming more frequent—or a correlation with events in Israel and Palestine.