Surveying Anti-Semitism, With Expressions Of Hatred On The Rise

Download Audio
A man wearing a yellow vest holds a placard reading "I am jew", during a gathering at the Republique square to protest against anti-Semitism, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Thibault Camus/AP)
A man wearing a yellow vest holds a placard reading "I am jew", during a gathering at the Republique square to protest against anti-Semitism, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Thibault Camus/AP)

With David Folkenflik

Anti-Semitism is a scourge that dates back millennia and yet remains as current as yesterday’s headlines. What’s going on, what it means and why.

Want more from the show? You can get messages right from our hosts (and more opportunities to engage with the show) sent directly to your inbox with the On Point newsletter. Subscribe here.


Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University. Author of "Antisemitism: Here and Now," "Holocaust: An American Understanding" and "The Eichmann Trial," among others. (@deborahlipstadt)

From The Reading List

BuzzFeed News: "Opinion: An Open Letter To The American Left: Don’t Make The Mistakes We Did In Britain" — "For those of us watching from the UK, seeing the Democrats grapple with allegations of anti-Semitism in their ascendant left flank has brought on a serious case of déjà vu. For British progressives, it was only a few years ago that we cheered the rise of the left wing of the Labour Party, and the leftward tilt on domestic and foreign policy that followed.

"Today, we are spectators from the near future, a place where a full-blown anti-Semitism crisis led to a literal split of the party last week. Viewing American progressive politics today is like seeing the beginnings of a slow-motion car crash, one we’ve already been through.

"I have some advice for Democrats looking to avoid the scorched earth on which UK progressives now stand. First, deal with anti-Semitism on the left — and yes, that’s an actual thing, not a smear concocted by political opponents. In fact, this might be the most important advice, namely: Do not let your opponents define the terms of your response to a very real problem."

The New Republic: "Why France Is Losing the War on Anti-Semitism" — "In the first weeks of 2019, French authorities discovered 96 tombs desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, the word 'juden' scrawled across a bagel shop in Paris, and swastikas marring a street portrait of former government official and Auschwitz survivor, Simone Veil. On February 16 in Paris, a group of protestors in the Yellow Vest ('gilets jaunes') movement cornered local Jewish intellectual, Alain Finkielkraut. 'Dirty Zionist, you’re going to die!' they yelled, along with 'Go home to Israel!' and 'France is ours!'

"Last year, France saw a 74 percent jump in anti-Semitic incidents. A survey from the European Union, released in December, found that a staggering 95 percent of French Jews saw anti-Semitism as either a fairly significant or a very big problem (more than any other country in the E.U.).

"Within days of the Finkielkraut harassment, President Emmanuel Macron proposed a controversial new strategy to fight anti-Semitism, including broadening its legal definition, dissolving several far-right groups, and putting his support behind a law that would punish online hate speech with fines of up to several million euros."

The Atlantic: "This Week in Anti-Semitism" — "The week began with Alain Finkielkraut taking his mother-in-law to Sunday lunch in Paris. As he returned to his apartment on the Left Bank, he crossed through a crowd of 'yellow vest' protesters. They recognized the well-televised philosopher. Despite the fact that he has professed sympathy for their grievances in his punditry, his presence enraged them. A viral video captured young men bedecked in the canary-colored uniform of the movement spewing insults at the slovenly 69-year-old: 'Dirty Jew!' 'Tel Aviv! Back to Tel Aviv!' 'France is ours!'

"Only last week, France reported a 74 percent increase in the number of offenses against Jews, and German police announced a 60 percent rise in violent anti-Semitic attacks."

New York Times: "Jewish Caricatures at Belgian Carnival Set Off Charges of Anti-Semitism" — "In Aalst, a small city northwest of Brussels, the Carnival parade is the main event of the year, where everyone and everything is mercilessly mocked, and drunkenness and a lack of taste are part of the mix.

"But this year, floats that the townspeople regarded as the customary shameless satire of their famed Carnival set off an uproar. One float in the parade on Sunday carried two giant figures of Orthodox Jews, with side curls and grotesquely large noses, sitting on bags of money. Another group paraded in the white hoods and robes of the Ku Klux Klan."

Adam Waller produced these segments for broadcast.

This segment aired on March 15, 2019.



More from On Point

Listen Live