FAST = Fighting Antisemitism Together
June 17, 2005 6:26 PM   Subscribe

The CEO of BMO calls for non-Jews to speak out against antisemitism. Tony Comper cites an all-time record of 857 reported incidents in Canada last year. Meanwhile, 86 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in east London are desecrated. There were 532 antisemitic incidents in Britain last year, the highest since records started 20 years ago. Also in the news, yesterday an attack on a Jewish cemetery in Budapest left some 130 gravestones damaged. "I know I speak for the whole group when I say that we deplore intolerance in any and all of its manifestations, but also realize that the more well-defined and focused the target, the better the chances of having an impact."
posted by ori (7 comments total)
I think it's interesting how these things seem rather incredible. In the public eye - within public institutions like schools, workplaces - racism (ethno-supremacism included under that as well) or predjudice is so looked down upon that no one, even if they harbor these beliefs, will dare mention them. So these folks end up hiding their views within their closed cirle or friends or within a more organized white supremacist/racist organization.. So I guess thats why these neo-racists are hard to find and hard to confront. Cant exactly re-educate them if they dont mention their predjudices in public and keep them in the shadows of underground organizations.
posted by gregb1007 at 6:57 PM on June 17, 2005

What, no mention of la belle France, with the number one anti-semitic crime wave of the past five years? The one that keeps doubling in size and severity and number of victims every six months? (Used to be doubling only every year, but things have deteriorated...)

A partial and very incomplete list of the latest French anti-semitic attacks, murders, synagogue bombings, mail threats, phone threats, vandalism, etc. is here in the original French, here in Googlized English translation, broken down by type of incident and by date, with records and graphs going back several years.

gregb1007, white supremacists are a culprit, but not the main culprit in many of these countries' anti-Jewish crime waves. In France certainly (and to a lesser extent in Britain), the majority of the perpetrators have been either reported to be (by the victims) or legally established to be local Muslims, not neo-Nazi's. Guess why the anti-Jewish hate crime spike started, specifically, in September, 2000?

By any reasonable measure or statistic, the last five years have seen a very alarming uptick in violence against Jews, particularly but not exclusively in Europe. Good on Tony Comper for calling it out. But it's going to take a lot more than one socially-conscious CEO to turn this ship around. Spraypainted gravestones are nothing compared to the sidewalk stabbings, primary school firebombings, fake anthrax attacks, (etc.) that people in these communities have had to put up with. At least a gravestone is a chunk of rock, not a living person.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:16 AM on June 18, 2005

I for one hereby condemn antisemitism. Say what you want about the religion of Judaism and/or the policies of the Israeli government, I myself find both objectionable, but recognize that civilization in both the "Western" and "Muslim" worlds would be bland, dull and largely empty without the cultural products supplied by Jewish people. The American novel really picked up once the Tsar's escapees learned English, for example, and then too there's this little detail called "medicine", and....
posted by davy at 9:03 AM on June 18, 2005

Antisemitism is wrong, but I think this goes as proof solid that hate crime laws like Canada has are not only ineffective, but may actually be promiting the spread of hate in a manner which normal people can't see (and therefore can't control).

I think Canada would be much better off if we allowed these fools to blow off steam through the occasional nasty public statement instead of forcing these people to keep their hate pent up to the point they resort to violent acts.
posted by shepd at 10:27 AM on June 18, 2005

promiting = promoting. urgh.
posted by shepd at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2005

now if we could only do something on this level about homophobia, which is still very acceptable in many circles, including those which often deplore anti-semitism...
posted by TrinityB5 at 6:30 PM on June 19, 2005

shepd has a point. "Sticks & stones may break my bones...."

Besides, if you really think there's nothing wrong with being a "Jew-Bolshevik faggot" -- though you might use different words to refer to yourself ("social-democratic Hebrew homosexual" comes to mind) -- who the hell cares that they agree with you that you are in fact a left-of-center synagogue-attending guy who prefers sex with other guys? As far as "hate speech" goes, who the hell said everybody has to like you, whoever/whatever you are? (Hell, if most Mefites like me I'm fucking up somehow.) Let 'em say what they want -- and you slang 'em right back if you feel so moved. After all, you're a queer and not a sissy, right?

I'm also very strongly for Free Speech. Those who ain't sure of that already can Google my comments here for the details.
posted by davy at 6:51 PM on June 20, 2005

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