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8/25/04 - RESURGENCE OF ANTI-SEMITISM - 2004-08-25

On August 22nd, arsonists burned a community center for elderly Jews in Paris. They left behind Nazi swastikas and such messages as “Jews get out.” French officials say there have been about one-hundred-sixty anti-Semitic attacks against people or their property this year. French President Jacques Chirac condemned the attack and said his government is determined to apprehend and punish the perpetrators.

During the Second World War, the German Nazis and their collaborators murdered more than six-million European Jews. Sixty years after the Holocaust, said United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, it is hard to believe that “anti-Semitism is once again rearing its head. But it is clear,” Mr. Annan said, “that we are witnessing an alarming resurgence of this phenomenon in new forms and manifestations. This time,” he said, “the world must not, cannot, be silent.”

Other European countries where Jews have been attacked include Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and Belgium. There has also been an upsurge in neo-Nazi activities, including a neo-Nazi march on August 21st in the German town of Wunsiedel [VOON-zeed-el] involving some three-thousand people.

Incitements to hatred of Jews also remain all too common in the Middle East. In May, a Saudi journal called “The Muslim Soldier” published an article filled with scurrilous lies about Jews in its “Know Your Enemy” section. The article blamed Jews for “the majority of revolutions, coups d’etat, and wars” in the world and cited as evidence the discredited century-old anti-Semitic fabrication called the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” On August 10th in Egypt, a religious magazine published a column containing the infamous “blood libel” -- the obscene lie that Jews kill Muslims and Christians to use their blood for religious rituals.

One of the most sacred purposes of the U-N, says Secretary-General Annan, is to promote tolerance:

“No Muslim, no Jew, no Christian, no Hindu, no Buddhist, no one who is true to the principles of any of the world’s faiths, no one who claims a cultural, national, or religious identity based on values such as truth, decency, and justice, can be neutral in the fight against intolerance.”

It is necessary to fight anti-Semitism “by word and deed,” says U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. “Promoting tolerance is essential to building a democratic, prosperous, and peaceful world.”