I ask the question of many people: “How bad is anti-Semitism in Europe?” Israelis travel a lot, so they discuss this issue among themselves. The answer is a little unexpected. I have data from a recent poll to add to the comments.
The traditional Catholic countries have the highest levels of anti-Semitism: Spain and Belgium. All of Slavic East Europe, including East Germany, is still living in unreconstructed WWII anti-Semitism. France is not much above the European average but, thank goodness, France is getting better slowly. The Protestant Scandinavian North has virtually no anti-Semitism. The exception to all of this is England.
England has a serious and growing problem. A former Israeli consul general to England, that I talked to in Jerusalem, said Jews are leaving England, usually for the rest of the Commonwealthand for the U.S. I checked his data and over the past 30 years England’s small Jewish population has dropped from over 400,000 to under 280,000. A drop of one-third.
A prominent Israeli professor told me that anti-Semitic hostility at Oxford was so great that he and other Israeli professors couldn’t publicly announce their talks. Even then, the talks to small crowds, since the mid 1990s, have required tight/heavy security.
I have been listening to BBC radio for 30 years. It has never wavered from its staunch anti-Israel bias. Recently, the Palestinians sent a mentally retarded boy to kill Jews and he was caught. The BBC, consistent with its thirty year history, accused Israel of making a media spectacle of the boys capture. No mention of the morality of using mentally retard children as suicide weapons.
Has the BBC anti-Semitism made life for Jews in England more difficult? I don’t know the answer.
I do know that NPR has had a strong anti-Israel bias for the past 18 years. Fortunately, for all of us, that is likely to end now that MacDonald’s has taken over NPR’s soul.