We live in the opening decade of the 21st century and one would assume that in an enlightened nation such as Sweden historic anti-semitism would long have been laid to rest, but a first grade reader appears to present a stereotype of Jews that Nazis would be glad to offer their students in the 1930s. A first grade book which is intended to help children read has a passage about a boy with thick glasses who sits alone and apart from other children. The explanation offered by the book is: “Because he is a Jew.” That passage would have earned rave reviews from just about every Nazi publication. Elsewhere in the book, boys are portrayed as being skilled in mathematics while girls struggle with being able to count. Parents in Kariskoga in central Sweden are up in arms at such blatant examples of hate in a book for first graders.
The response by the author and publisher is revealing. They do not offer an apology but argue presenting such misinformation and prejudice provides an excellent opportunity to offer contrasting viewpoints! They want teachers to argue against the book as part of helping children learn how to read! Wow!
Alhough most German Muslims have not shown any major interest or support for islamic militants, they are more prone to tap into the spread of anti-Jewish feeling within their country. Farfur is a carbn copy of the Walt Disney Mickey Mouse character but he spouts anti-Jewish feeling as part of the comedy associated with the cartoon show. Children are encouraged to say things like “We don’t like Jews because they are like dogs. We will fight them.” In 2004, Fran ce banned such shows from being shown due to their anti-=semtism, but the use of cartoon characters to insult Jews is all too common on Muslim based TV programs
Last fall, Rabbi Zaiman Gurevitch, was attacked on the street n Frankurt on the Sabbath and stabbed by a 22 year-old German of Afghan descent who said: “You shit Jew, I’m going to kill you.” German educators increasngly are coming across young children who use the expression, “you Jew” as an insult when angry at another child. In 2007, the Grman Interior Ministry published a study which indicated that German Muslims were more prone to attack and insult Jews than any other group in Germany. The report noted, “the pervasiveness of sweeping anti-Semitic prejudice among Muslim students was also noticeable.”
The reality is that anti-semistism is linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Until that issue is resolved, there is scant prospect Hamas propaganda willl not cease. Perhaps, as part of any resolution of the conflict is the necessity of including an educational program between the parties that aims at ending bigotry and prejudice.
The 2007 study by the Anti-Defamation League regarding anti-semitism in the United States indicates, “anti-Semitic beliefs endure in America.” The survey revealed that 15% of Americans — 35 million- had “unquestionably anti-Semitic views.” The survey indicates 31% believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States and 15% believe Jews have “too much power.” African Americans constitute among the most anti-Semitic groups with 32% harboring such views. The ADL was concerned that such views continue enduring in America.
One can examine this survey and come away with sharply different conclusions. It is back to the argument of the glass have filled or half empty. About 35 million Americans have some form of anti-Semitism, but 265 million do not. It is interesting how classical physical features are no longer associated with Jews but the perennial complaint about Wall Street and power lingers on. On the other hand, although Jews are less than 2% of the population, they constitute about 7% of the US Senate. That indicates non-Jews vote for Jewish candidates. Violence against Jews has dramatically declined as has segregation in housing and education. Of course there is anti-Semitism, after all about half of Americans don’t believe in evolution and 34% believe in ghosts.
Posted in Education, Human Rights, Israel, Judaism, Multicultural, Politics, Religion, World News
Tagged ADL survey, American Jews, anti-Semitism, Israel