The European Union [EU] is singling out Israel for sanctions. Not only are the officials at the EU failing to boycott other regions that legally count as occupied territories, but they are actively aiding at least one clearly occupying power, Turkey, in the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus: in 2006, the EU approved a $259 million aid package for the Turkish Cypriot community there. In addition to that double-standard, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, has revealed noticeable prejudice on multiple occasions, the latest example being when she felt compelled to compare the Toulouse massacre to "what's happening in Gaza," any similarities to which would objectively be hard to come by.
Is there, then, an EU tendency to be anti-Semitic? As Thomas Friedman once wrote "Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest."
Recently, a shocking development was reported on in Belgium by Peter Martino, in which elementary schools are using government approved anti-Semitic textbooks for their history classes. That report recalled a Belgian girl in 2008, who wore a small star of David around her neck, and told the author she had just been refused entry to a bus in Belgium by a bus driver who said that, as a Muslim, he could not allow her to enter the bus. In the 21st century, in Western Europe, a girl was turned away from a public bus because she was a Jew.
What still stings me is that I did not take her seriously; what she said, however, has proven anything but far fetched. A 2011 study by Mark Elchardus, relates that one out of every two Muslim students in Brussels -- half -- are anti-Semitic. A recent study roughly replicated the same results for the Belgian cities of Ghent and Antwerp. Conversely, Belgium is also the country that is allowing Abou Jahjah, founder of the Arab-European League, a known anti-Semite and Hezbollah affiliate, accused of instigating riots and forming a private militia, to return to Belgium after having left it for Lebanon in 2006 to "fight off the foreign invasion" alongside Hezbollah. A country in which officials teach schoolchildren that the Holocaust was similar to "what's happening in Gaza"; that accepts the return of a man who was part of a foreign hostile fighting force and says he "felt a sense of victory" on 9/11, is indeed likely to become a country where a girl is refused entry on a bus because she is Jewish.
How is this dynamic to be explained? Besides the latent or active anti-Semitism that might drive EU leaders in their unequally-applied conduct toward Israel -- as opposed to other nations such as Turkey that are committing the same alleged offense -- another explanation is worth exploring.
The author Ali Salim recently began a popular article with: "We Muslims make the mistake of thinking Europeans really care about us, especially the Palestinians. We are wrong. Europeans simply hate the Jews more than they hate and fear us."
Although possible, it might also be worth to consider, an alternative explanation: that many Europeans fear Muslims more than they fear Jews, and therefore give in to anti-Semitic tendencies. When European history teachers, for example, omit the Holocaust from their curriculum in order not to offend Muslim students, they do not do that because they hate their Jewish students more than they hate their Muslim students. They do it because they are terrified of their Muslim students.
They might also believe they do it to be "nice," but then how come this same "niceness" is not afforded to the Jews?
Although European anti-Semitism predates Muslim immigration to Western Europe, the recent rise in post World War II anti-Semitism there coincides with parts of European Muslim populations' becoming more numerous, vocal, assertive and sometimes aggressive. The fear of this onrush might sometimes be expressed in an unconscious, unaware way, displaced, or covered over, as some sort of morally superior solidarity.
In Sweden, for instance, about a month ago, a tragic and disgusting incident took place. A pregnant Muslim woman was physically assaulted, verbally abused and her headscarf was torn off. This act should be condemned in the harshest of terms. But instead, many Swedes established the 'Hijab Outcry' movement, in which countless ordinary citizens and prominent figures took pictures of themselves wearing a Hijab to show their "solidarity" with the victim -- an action that could be applauded, except when one considers that the same people organize no such actions whatsoever in solidarity with the numerous Swedish girls who have been raped and abused by Muslim men. Then the "Outcry" becomes a different story altogether.
"Sweden now has the second-highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa, which at 53.2 per 100,000 is six times higher than the United States," Daniel Greenfield writes. "Statistics (see sexual violence) now suggest that one out of every four Swedish women will be raped. In 2003, Sweden's rape statistics were higher than average at 9.24, but in 2005 they shot up to 36.8 and by 2008 were up to 53.2. Now they are possibly even higher as Muslim immigrants continue forming a larger percentage of the population. With Muslims represented in as many as 77% of the rape cases and a major increase in rape cases paralleling a major increase in Muslim immigration, the wages of Muslim immigration are proving to be a sexual assault epidemic by a misogynistic ideology."
With the Swedish "Hijab Outrcy," for instance, one might look past this appearance of moral superiority, and see that show of solidarity for what it possibly really is: fear.
Psychology teaches us that when we have feelings that we worry might be viewed as socially unacceptable or potentially damaging to us in some way, we find ways to defend ourselves from the discomfort of too much anxiety; these ways are known as defense mechanisms, responses that are involuntary emotional counterweights to try to offset the feelings that make us uncomfortable. These responses can appear if, for example, a mother does not, deep down, want to love or take care of the child to which she has given birth – an unacceptable thought. She might then try to override those feelings by acting in precisely the opposite fashion, perhaps smothering the child in overprotectiveness, possibly in the hope that the pretending might jump-start her lack of feeling into love, or might at least appear to others as love. Or a man who is sexually attracted to other men might try to cover up these wishes, if they frighten him, by engaging in overtly promiscuous relationships with women, and might even harshly condemn homosexual men, in an effort to push his wishes away. In the "Stockholm Syndrome," victims start bonding with their abusers in the wish that if they share the same values as their abusers, their abusers might stop abusing them.
As the American psychologist Calvin S. Hall wrote, about one of the leading defense mechanisms, "reaction formation," "Reactive love protests too much; it is overdone, extravagant, showy, and affected. It is counterfeit, and [...] usually easily detected. Another feature of a reaction formation is its compulsiveness. A person who is defending himself against anxiety cannot deviate from expressing the opposite of what he really feels. His love, for instance, is not flexible. It cannot adapt itself to changing circumstances as genuine emotions do; rather it must be constantly on display as if any failure to exhibit it would cause the contrary feeling to come to the surface." (A Primer of Freudian Psychology, New York 1954).
The affection and solidarity that many progressive Swedes demonstrate regarding their Muslim population shows similarities to this stance: Swedes have reason to fear the aggressive elements among their Muslim population: many Muslims have created de facto enclaves in large cities, such as Malmö; and, if their demands are not met, do not shy away from using brute force.
The mainstream segments of Swedish society on the other hand, have weakened themselves by allowing a doctrine of political correctness to take hold of their institutions to such an extent that, ironically, a Somali born female journalist, critical of Somali immigrant culture in Sweden, recently decided that Mogadishu was a safer place for her than Sweden.
The carnage caused to Swedish society by vast elements of its Muslim population, however, has apparently failed to change Swedish attitudes. The Swedes' solidarity in the face of pervasive gang-rapes and other abuses looks indeed "overdone, extravagant and showy;" what is really an ordeal has become transformed instead into a sort of online Instagram or Facebook contest of who can show the most solidarity.
This might lead one to conclude that Swedish anti-Semitism might be propelled by the Swedes' fear of their Muslim population, whom they fear far more than their Jewish population, who are not numerous, aggressive or hostile. Without even being aware if it, unconsciously, many Swedes, as in the "Stockholm Syndrome," may be trying to get themselves into the good books of those whom they fear by displaying a kinship and closeness in racist tendencies against a group that both they -- and the people they fear -- also already dislike: Jews.
A former Swedish government minister, Jens Orback, may well have unveiled the country's sentiment nearly a decade ago with his comment on live radio: "We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us" – defeatism in its purest form, soaked in fear.
"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one," Alexander Hamilton said. If Europe prefers the disgrace of looking the other way while Islamists, through demography and proselytizing, are becoming de facto sovereigns in many enclaves all over Europe, Europeans have a choice: either to give in even further to anti-Semitic tendencies to be in the "good books" of those they fear and eventually live on our knees, or to stand up against the proponents of an openly theocratic and expansionist ideology. The heirs of the civilization that brought down so many threats, and that has accomplished so much, should be more than able to make this choice.
Timon Dias, based in the Netherlands, is completing a graduate program in Clinical Psychology.