"One could go on, and one will -- praising (...) the National Center for Jewish Film for releasing all four of Edgar Ulmer's Yiddish films in restored editions. But the DVD player is beckoning, and I think it is time for me to get back to the couch". The National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF) is a unique nonprofit motion picture archive, distributor and resource center housing the largest, most comprehensive collection of Jewish-theme film and video in the world. In their archives you can discover the works of Leo Fuchs, the "Yiddish Fred Astaire", restored gems (scroll down) like "Motl the Operator" and re-releases like "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg". (More on Greenberg, the Jewish kid who challenged Babe Ruth’s homerun record here, more on the NCJF inside).
"We're Hunting The Jews" go the chants at the Feyenoord soccer stadium in Rotterdam whenever Ajax is in town. Supporters of Ajax, one of the top Dutch football clubs based in Amsterdam, call themselves "Jews" or "Super Jews" based perhaps on historical Jewish communities. They wave Israeli flags and wear Stars of David in one of the oddest traditions in sport. Of course, the story wouldn't be complete without their opponents chanting "They've forgotten to gas you!" and hissing to mimic the gas chambers. Further complicating matters is the mosque being built overshadowing Feyenoord's stadium. Ajax wants the Jewish symbolism to stop to prevent further embarrassment, but this isn't the only case of "Jewish" clubs in European football, and the reaction they provoke.
Those anti-Semitic Europeans are at it again. In an opinion poll conducted in October, when shown a list of countries and asked "if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world", some 59 per cent of European Union citizens polled said that Israel was a danger. "This shocking result... defies logic and is a racist flight of fantasy that only shows that anti-Semitism is deeply embedded within European society, more than at any other period since the end of the war," responded Rabbi Marvin Hier. But, is it really so?
Why Does This News Make Me Uneasy? As a Jew whose sister is married to a German and who has happily visited Germany four or five times, the news that Jews are flocking back to Germany should leave me in the best of moods. But it doesn't. Antisemitism is flourishing almost everywhere in Middle Europe - specially in France, Germany and even Britain - often under the guise of Anti-Zionism. Even my synagogue in peaceful Lisbon is today protected by stringent security measures. Is this just an unwillingness to depart from old stereotypes or does it find an echo in other cautious Jews? Specially with Germans. I feel simultaneously ashamed and wary. Someone tell me - and a lot of others - I am wrong. Please. History may not repeat itself - but it sure as hell seems to inspires itself sometimes. And we're all better off, I think, if we confront our demons. If they are demons, that is.
Oriana Fallaci of Milan's "Corriere della Sera" wants people to stop denying that European anti-Semitism doesn't exist. Will other European journalists follow suit?