Does Western countries' silence over Israeli crimes in Gaza pay off debt for European antisemitism?

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 8:04 GMT
Jews have been subjected to bans, exiles in Europe since medieval ages.
Does Western countries' silence over Israeli crimes in Gaza pay off debt for European antisemitism?

Antisemitism reached apex during Nazi regime in Germany when Jews were systematically killed, discriminated.

Western countries' silence to Israeli crimes in Gaza is considered as a paycheck to antisemitism born in Europe.

Open support by European countries for Israeli policies and acts amounting to war crimes since the mid-20th century and their indifference to breaches of international law raise questions.

Anadolu shed light on Jews' past in Europe.

Antisemitism in Europe

Jews in Europe were restricted from practicing some professions and acquiring expertise in some areas. They were also prohibited from university studies and public service, and they could only live in specific regions, particularly in the medieval age.

"Returning to Zion" was a hope that kept Jews alive in the diaspora despite the difficulties. Zionism, however, was not an organized structure until the end of the 19th century.

Concurrence between Christianity and Judaism was the initial base of antisemitism.

In the 13th century, Jews could not discuss religion with Christians, and their holy books were burnt publicly in France. They were exiled from England (1291), France (1394), Spain (1492) and from other countries until the 16th century.

The exiled Jews started coming to the Ottoman Empire where they lived a free and decent life, unlike their peers in Europe, who, towards the end of the 17th century, were living in bad conditions in the ghettos.

Dreyfus affair in France

French army Captain Alfred Dreyfus was arrested in 1894 for espionage for the Germans and sentenced to prison despite lack of evidence.

The case reopened seven years later, and Dreyfus was acquitted in 1906. He even served in the army during World War I and died in Paris in 1935.

This affair sparked a new wave of antisemitism across France, while Jews in Russia and Poland in the 19th century were also oppressed.

Political parties with antisemitic rhetoric won elections in Austria, France, Germany, and Hungary.

Jews of Eastern Europe chose to go to the US to restart their lives, but Zionism became a source of hope for those who did not have that opportunity.

World War II when antisemitism evolves into genocide

Antisemitism, prevalent in Europe for years, saw its apex in Germany between 1933 and 1945 under the Nazi regime, and millions of Jews were either systematically killed or sent to concentration camps for forced labor and torture.

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler led a campaign to confiscate Jews' properties, exclude them from the academy, judiciary and army. Their places of worship and shops were closed too, and inter-community marriages were prohibited.

Jews, scapegoats of the aftermath of World War I, were deprived of their political rights and were held guilty of the inflation and economic crisis.

Over 260 synagogues were destroyed and 91 people were killed in the Kristallnacht pogrom when Nazis attacked Jewish people and property on the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938 in Germany, and 30,000 others were sent to labor camps.

Jews living in countries under fascist regimes such as Poland were stuck in the ghettos, deprived of food, medical assistance, and heating.

In 1942, those living in the ghettos were put on livestock trains for the "final solution to the Jewish issue," and were sent to extermination camps in Poland where they were asphyxiated to death with pesticides.

Elderly people, minors, and physically weak people unable to work were the first victims. Strong ones who were weakened eventually found death.

This massacre was called the Holocaust where almost 6 million Jews were killed.

European countries paying debt

European countries supported the Jews' migration to Palestine and the creation of an Israeli state after World War II.

The idea of settling Jews to Palestine was particularly supported by the US after the war.

Western countries' indifference to Israel's actions raises questions about whether they are paying the debt of their guilt that goes back a long way.


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