The modern nation of Israel was born in May 1948 as the first official state of the Jews in more than 2000 years. The country came to be due to the desire of Jews to govern and protect themselves. The persecution and suffering of Jewish people throughout the world before the creation of the state of Israel is well documented. Although the formation was also met with opposition, the land promised to be a shelter where they could escape the discrimination and have a place to call their own. The move saw many immigrants mainly from Europe and many parts of the world coming to the newly formed state to start a new life.
It was a chance where they could practice their religion and life freely without any harassment and fear.The Jews in the new state of Israel together with those who remained in the Diaspora may have believed that the level of discrimination and persecution was going to fall. However, while the level of anti-Semitism might have been suppressed for a while after 1948, evidence reveals that it still exists almost in equal proportions like before (Ehrlich, 2009). In the 21st century for example more and more people those in the public eye and private citizens have become more comfortable in expressing anti-Semitic views. Some justify them through claiming that they are advocating for justice and truth while hate and bigotry motivate others. Journalists’ media outlets and newspaper publication give space to such views which further escalate the negative feelings among people. The most common form of modern anti-Semitism is found in the Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa. The rivalry between the Jews and the Arab countries has its roots way back when it was announced that the Jews would be resettled in Palestine.
While many nations in the world supported the move, the Arabs in Palestine strongly objected the plans and called on other countries to do the same. The resistance became so severe such that the British who first came up with the idea to resettle the Jews became unable to resolve the objection and handled the issues to the UN. Britain saw the need to have a Jewish State but at the same time did not want to lose their relationship and business with Palestine. The Jews were finally resettled, but the relations between the Jews with the Arab nations are still sad to this day. Conflict and attacks some of it as a result of radical Islam is frequent between the two groups.
Television stations and newspaper in the Middle East and North Africa openly call for the hatred of Jews. During Islamic holidays, for example, propaganda advertisements and conspiracy theories dominate the Arab media encouraging people not to associate with Jews. Friendships, business partnerships, and intermarriages between Arabs and Jews are strongly prohibited and in some cases met with extreme consequences. On the other hand attacks and harm towards the Jews and those who support them is regarded as bravery and celebrated (Israeli, 2014). Many of the leaders of these nations are also not shy to speak openly against Israel and its people. It is not just the Arabs living in these countries who discriminate against the Jews.
Arabs in Europe and America, for example, are likely to hold negative feelings towards Jews. The same attitudes in their home countries carry through to other countries. In multiethnic societies abroad where Jews and Arabs live, there are designated areas where Jews are not allowed to visit.
In recent years Anti- Semitism in Europe has become very bad to the extent where European leaders are forced to call for people to have tolerance. Jews and Jewish institutions continue to face attacks in countries such as Belgium, France, and Germany. In Germany, for example, Angela Merkel at one point had to call a public rally to persuade people to stop anti-Semitism. According to a recent survey 68% of people in Belgium, 76% in France and 80% of those polled in Germany agree that anti-Semitism exists in their countries. The attitude of the people who hate Jews in those countries ranges from claims that Jews think of themselves as better than other people. Others claim that they do not behave appropriately and the notions that they control global affairs. Political parties in Europe especially the far-left parties are openly anti-Semitics while the far right dislikes immigrants and foreigners.
Leading the front line on those who are more likely to result in protests and attacks against Jews in Europe are Arabs born in Europe and immigrants (Shryock, 2010). Protesters can be heard shouting slogans such as “death to the Jews” or “we hate the Jews” while at the same time burning Israel flags. The same anti- Semitic attitude is found in many parts of the United States primarily the more secular areas. In liberalinstitutions, the freedom to express anti-Semitic views has become somewhat fashionable. Journalists freely write biased stories and opinions against Jewish people, and it is less likely to receive any backlash compared to negative views on other minority groups. Any negative stories towards other minorities such as Muslims, African Americans Latinos or women is likely to be met with substantial backlash, but attacks on Jews is sometimes seen as bravery. The attacks are directed towards both the religious and secular Jews.
According to a 2014 FBI report on religiously inspired hate crimes, the Jews are the leading target at 56%, while Muslims came a distant second at 16% followed by Christian and atheists (Stoetzler, 2014). Conspiracy theories talking about how Jews control the world affairs have not the made the matters any better. One of the reasons why hate crimes and discrimination is not widely reported and discussed compared to minority groups is because they are seen to be privileged than others. The creation of the Jewish State gave many Jews with an opportunity to express and govern themselves. However, it has not stopped them from being the target of hate and bias both within and abroad.
While they are celebrated for achieving a lot of success and contribution to the society they are also on the receiving end in hate crimes and harassment. Much of the incidences go unreported, but they still exist. Some of the criticism is well-meaning, but hate and bias purely drive others. Governments in countries which have significant Jewish populations need to be at the frontline to encourage their people not to engage in anti-Semitic attacks. They can be made to feel accepted in the society by bringing more education to those who may harbor anti-Semitic views for various reasons.