The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

A Dangerous Resurgence: Antisemitism in Europe Since Inception of Israel-Hamas War

American Jewish Committee
A picture implying antisemitic sentiments on the wall of a European city.

Despite the strong Jewish pride that lingers within the town of Tenafly, antisemitism is currently still a very harsh reality for Jews and is like a venomous serpent that has grown and festered, unchecked and untaught, throughout history. From physical attacks to hateful graffiti and online harassment, and even to entire meticulously constructed genocides against those of Jewish descent, these persistent acts of hate toward Jewish people are unacceptable and terrifying. Especially after the instigation of the Israel-Hamas War, antisemitism is not coming to a halt anytime soon and is rising internationally, especially across Europe. 

Quite prominent in Austria, antisemitism intensified during a brutal arson attack on a Jewish cemetery in Vienna on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, resulting in inconceivable damage. Parts of the building and pieces of scripture lie in ruins, and swastikas are plastered on the walls surrounding this sacred site. 

Unfortunately, this act of antisemitism is nothing new to the Jewish community and leaves a sickening feeling of deja vu in the stomachs of some. 

“This takes us back to the darkest times,” Chief Rabbi Jaron Engelmayer told CNN. “It’s unbelievable that 80 years after Nazi times, we go back to such times and have antisemitic acts here, in the center of Europe.” 

Referring to the Holocaust that broke out during World War II, Rabbi Engelmayer alludes to a cemetery in Berlin that was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, a Nazi pogrom against Jewish businesses, homes, and places of worship. During Kristallnacht, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust, tombstones were also vandalized and destroyed and lives were altered forever. The burning was symbolic of the overwhelming antisemitism that dominated Europe at the time and the common desire to eradicate Jews from existence. 

That hate continues to rage in 2023, and incidents surrounding antisemitic sentiments are becoming increasingly common. According to Oskar Deutsch, head of the Jewish community in Vienna, Jews living in that city have reported a whopping 167 incidents within the past three weeks, which is mammoth given the small Jewish population in Vienna at around 12,000 people. 

“After the seventh of October, antisemitism grew dramatically here in Austria, here in Europe, all over the world,” Deutsch commented, also including that for the first time in many years, for older people, “the Holocaust comes back in their mind.” 

Unfortunately, Vienna is not the only city to witness such a sudden increase in antisemitic terror since the breakout of the Hamas attacks. According to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman and founder of the European Jewish Association, “The scale now is different, completely different,” as antisemitic attacks all across Europe have been exponentially rising in commonality. 

Nearby  Germany has reported immense antisemitism within its borders, too. Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Robert Habeck, said in a video message that “Jewish communities are moving their members to avoid certain places for their own safety—and this is happening, here in Germany, almost 80 years after the Holocaust.”

Moreover, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported that since October 7, there have been over 800 antisemitic attacks raging within France, which is around twice the number that occurred in 2022.

Similarly, in London, there was a 1,353% rise in antisemitic attacks within the first week after Hamas attacked Israel, according to the London Metropolitan Police. 

Finally, a really alarming piece of news was released when Tal Yeshurun, an Irish Jew living in Dublin, reported that he had four family members killed in the Hamas attack, and seven more are missing. 

The body of one of his relatives “was so badly mutilated that it took them two weeks to actually identify any remnants of DNA to connect,” Yeshurun reported. 

He also reported the unfortunate reality of many around the world not being able to “understand the magnitude of what’s going on here.” 

“We have to be blunt about it,” Yeshurun insists, “there’s an existential threat for Israelis and Jews all over the world.” 

Given the skyrocketing antisemitic sentiments across Europe, Rabbi Engelmayer reported that some Jews across Europe are thinking about leaving for either Israel or the United States to seek refuge from the attacks raging within their own continent. 

However, he claims that the rise in antisemitic attacks will be met with defiance.

“We’re going on to live our Jewish lives,” Engelmayer said in Vienna. “The schools are open, the synagogues are open. We won’t let our enemies scare us.”

While the sharp increase in antisemitic attacks across Europe is an alarming trend that is not one that the world should ignore, people are speaking out against this hate demanding change and practicing defiance. Communities are congregating to show their support and solidarity with those of Jewish descent or those practicing Judaism. The best way to continue this growth against antisemitism is to educate oneself, educate others, and spread an unwavering message of unity, support, and tolerance. The world must stand together during this tough time and fight to combat antisemitism.

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About the Contributor
Maia Goldman, Staff Writer
Maia Goldman ('25) is excited to be writing for The Echo for this 2023-2024 school year! In her spare time, she enjoys being part of the Tenafly Tigers Marching Band, writing a plethora of creative stories, and watching the news. She aspires to be an international attorney someday.