Anti-Semitism on the rise by nearly 40%

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Rome (Gemelli station), summer 2014.

Last Saturday night, my family and I went to the Synagogue. We are not Jewish. We are proud Catholics. And we believe in the dialogue and friendship between Catholic and Jewish people. And we are always eager to express our solidarity with the Jewish people.

One particular discussion with a middled-aged Jewish man struck a chord in me. In a resigned tone, this gentleman expressed his discouragement at the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

This reminded me of the recent study completed by Tel Aviv University researchers, which revealed that the year 2014 had been characterized by the fact that ant-Semitic incidents rose by nearly 40%.

This is more than preoccupying, since:

“The overall feeling among many Jewish people is one of living in an intensifying anti-Jewish environment that has become not only insulting and threatening, but outright dangerous, and that they are facing an explosion of hatred towards them as individuals, their communities, and Israel, as a Jewish state,” the authors wrote.

Last summer, while waiting for a train at a Rome station, I noticed a large swastika painted on the locomotive. In the last months, I have also heard an alarming number of anti-Semitic comments and observations by various people.

Anti-Semitism is a cancer that is eating up the spirit of tolerance of Europe – and many other parts of the world. We need to fight it with all our energies and determination. For, as Pope Francis recently said “a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!” And I totally agree with him.

I just wish I could join up with the participants of the upcoming 5th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem. I’ll make sure to attend in 2017. Now, more than ever, we need such venues.

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