Netanyahu takes Europe to task for anti-Jewish ‘obsession’

January 26, 2016  

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that Europeans were not doing enough to combat anti-Semitism, in a statement on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  

Netanyahu, who has routinely argued the Jewish state is unfairly singled out for criticism by the United Nations and other bodies, warned that “in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are once again being targeted just for being Jews.”

“We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state,” he added.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of the dangers of anti-Semitism, in remarks at the opening of an exhibition featuring works by Jewish concentration camp prisoners.

She cited in particular the fears of German Jewish leaders that the need to impart the lessons of the Holocaust has grown more urgent with the influx of a record 1.1 million asylum seekers to Germany last year, many from the Middle East.

But Netanyahu warned that anti-Semitism was not merely growing among immigrant communities, but was gaining traction across Europe.

“Even respected Western opinion leaders have become afflicted with hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said, without giving names.

“The obsession with the Jews – the fixation on the Jewish state – defies any other rational explanation.”

French immigration to Israel reached a record high in 2015, with around 8,000 French Jews arriving in the year, according to Israel’s immigration ministry. Most French Jewish olim cite growing anti-Semitism in France as a key reason for leaving. 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be marked around the globe on Wednesday to commemorate the six million Jews who died at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies.

Israel marks its own Holocaust remembrance day, which this year will be held in May.

AFP contributed to this report.

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