sign Jews not allowed

Antisemitism in Russia

If you want to know about antisemitism in Russia, there is one word that says it all: 


Pogrom! 

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

This word is known in English, too, with the very same meaning: an organized massacre of Jews in Imperial Russia, including Ukraine, in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. This phenomenon was so widespread and powerful that it came to the English language without change. 

So modern Russia and Ukraine have something to say about their rich traditions of antisemitism. I believe Poland is in this company, too. Antisemitism became a reason for the Jewish exodus to the United States at the time. 

Later, in the Soviet Union, antisemitism lived on. I know there were limitations for Jews to enter universities, for example. As a Jew, you could also have some obvious career obstacles. 

I have always been wondering about the nature of antisemitism worldwide. What I know is that ‘Jews killed Jesus, our Lord.’ This sounds weird to me; I can’t take this seriously. However, so many people have died in religious wars throughout history, so no surprise in this case. 

Also, there’s a common belief that ‘Jews are greedy’, and that was another reason for hatred. Well, probably they are, but just like many other people of other nationalities and ethnic groups. 

Anyway, the true roots of antisemitism are not fully understood by me, and I probably will never get it. I also couldn’t care less. I admire the state of Israel; only a few nations could have withstood the constant pressure throughout its history. 

Finally, I once heard Churchill’s explanation regarding the issue. He said something like: ‘We have no antisemitism in Britain because we don’t think the Jews are smarter than us.’ 

I don’t know if it is his true quotation, but it sounds right to me.


P.S. Modern Russia, on the contrary, has no significant signs of this disease. This is one of the few things that make me feel proud of my country.


Antisemitism in Britain

Roger Bara

Britain today is not widely seen as an antisemitic society, but you can rest assured that there are large pockets of ignorant racists there who still shoehorn all Jews into a package containing all the pathetic and largely invalidated stereotypical traits.

In 2021, a record high number of antisemitic incidents were recorded, although the following year saw 27% fewer cases. But before we all start celebrating, 2022 also saw an increasing number of children becoming victims of hatred.  

Numbers? Well, the Community Security Trust, which advises Britain’s almost 300,000 Jewish folk on security matters, records well over 130 reports each month of anti-Jewish hatred. And in additional to the increase of children being victims, the number of young perpetrators was also greater than before.

Statistics can always be misleading of course, so maybe a better barometer of anti-Jewish feeling can be gauged by people being subjected to it. John Dobai, an 89-year-old now living in west London, lived through World War Two as a child in Nazi-occupied Budapest, Hungary, and survived the holocaust. In the past year, he says he has seen antisemitism rise in his neighbourhood, having lived in the area for more than 60 years, and says it is more prominent now than it had even been, in his experience.

“We have graffiti on benches and along the towpath claiming: ‘Holocaust: 6 million lies’ and similar on walls and benches in my neighbourhood”, he exclaims.

And this hate and antipathy towards one section of the community is also prevalent in those organisations that really should know better.

The Labour party, Britain’s official political opposition, and its then leader Jeremy Corbyn, have been recently absolutely hammered by the Equality and Human Rights Commission after an investigation into racism within the party. It led to a Tory landslide at the following election, and not only repelled many Labour voters, but also alarmed most British Jews. 

So “can do, and should do, much, much better” is probably my message to Britain today. 


Antisemitism in America

Photograph of Dean Lewis

Some kinds of hate are, a little, understandable. For example, the French don’t care for the British and I get that. Those nations were at war for centuries. Channel One in Moscow shows cartoonish WWII movies about once a month, normally to celebrate the liberation of this or that city from the evil Germans. To a certain point: understandable. But in both cases, it’s past time to let go.

I have never really been able to wrap my head around hating Jews. I know I’m an outlier in this but I just don’t get it; who did they invade? From what I can tell, it’s always the same thing: they are successful business people, leaches who are tight with money, so we hate them. Is this like today’s version of hating the rich in the 1920s?

Last Wednesday, Arnold Schwarzenegger did an interview on American CNN in which he talked about the rise of antisemitism in the US. The former California Governor said: “My father was, and so many other millions of men were, sucked into a hate system through lies and deceit. And so, we have seen where that leads,” He went on to connect hatred with the rise of populism and people like Trump. I agree.

Some will deny this, but the rise in antisemitism around the world is tied to the rise of populism. Hate is a part of the illiberal movement. Mr. Trump didn’t just fall out of the sky, and his dislike of all minorities is no random accident. Populism seems to be just fascism-lite and we do not yet know if the current American Republic can survive the far-right assault.

All things have a purpose, a reason for being and that includes political movements. I argue that the rise in antisemitism has ties to the rise of Populism which is due to the dominance of the One-per-cent. The lost income and the loss of decent jobs inflected on former members of the middle-class are not coming back. Those jobs were shipped to China. The loss of opportunity and the feelings of helplessness the rich have unleashed on the rest of us will be paid, in part, by our Jewish neighbors.