In this edition of Insiders we look at a worrying phenomenon sweeping across Europe: antisemitism. In recent years it has been manifesting itself in threats, intimidation, and both verbal and physical attacks. There have even been been several murders, notably in France.
Why is this happening and who is to blame? The extreme right and neo Nazi groups? Or is it a byproduct of the Palestinian Israeli conflict spilling over onto European soil. Or, as in the case of Germany, is antisemitism rearing its ugly head again because of a wave migration from countries hostile to Israel?
Combatting hate crime
The first of our two reports delves into this question on the streets of Berlin and Frankfurt, where Hans von der Brelie met victims of violent attacks, but also caught up with religious leaders, and Jewish and Muslim volunteers working to foster peaceful coexistence. He also encounters students mobilising to combat hate crime through a very poignant gesture of solidarity.
France is home to Europe's largest Jewish population, around 500,000. It has also been the scene of some of the most horrific attacks in recent years. The gruesome murder of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year old Holocaust survivor made the headlines last March, a year after another elderly Jewish woman was beaten and thrown out a window in Paris. Other Jews have been injured in physical assaults, or endured taunts and insults in the street.
Our second report by Valerie Gauriat focuses on the trauma suffered by individual victims and explores the impact it has had on their lives. While some have left for Israel most who feel forced to flee other move to other parts of France where they feel safe, effectively becoming internally displaced residents of their own country.
With these harrowing experiences in mind Sophie Claudet speaks to Nonna Mayer, an expert in the root causes of antisemitism in Europe. She puts the upsurge in anti-Jewish acts in the context of Middle East developments in the past two decades, and throws light on the unseen consequences of 'everyday' antisemtism.