August 3, 2014

The anti-Semitic violence that has poisoned the atmosphere at European protests against Israel is shocking and unacceptable [“In Berlin rallies, a chilling echo from Germany’s past,” front page, July 31]. The Jewish communities in these countries bear no responsibility for Israel’s actions and should not be blamed or scapegoated for what is happening in the Middle East, nor made to feel unsafe or unwelcome in their home countries. The Post article provided needed exposure of this underreported phenomenon.

The good news is French, German and Italian leaders have set a clear marker for what are unacceptable forms of protest and have made it crystal clear that anti-Semitism has no place in their societies. Their rejection of anti-Semitism is not an extension of their uncritical support for Israel, as some rally organizers suggest, but rather a reflection of the lessons learned from the Holocaust and an understanding of the symptoms of a virus that has the ability to spread through society if left unchecked.

Other countries need to follow suit. The virulently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement in Turkey, Spain, South America and elsewhere has mainstreamed anti-Semitism, with hateful comparisons of Israel to the Nazis and chants of “Jews to the gas.” Anti-Defamation League polls show that one-quarter of the population is infected by anti-Semitism globally. It is imperative that world leaders stand up and speak out with conviction against this ancient strain of hatred.

Abraham H. Foxman, New York

The writer is national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

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