Sunday, March 15, 2015

Michael Douglas Op-Ed On Anti-Semitism

Actor/producer Michael Douglas- who has recently embraced Judaism (his actor dad Kirk Douglas is Jewish)- has written a very interesting op-ed on the upsurge of anti-Semitism around the world. He was inspired to write about it after his own son Dylan encountered anti-Semitism during a vacation in Southern Europe last year. Like his, Dylan has also embraced his Jewish roots.

At a swimming pool, some hotel patron insulted him after noticing his Star of David. In his op-ed Douglas recounts the incident his son experienced, some if his own past encounters with anti-Semitism, and then delves into why he believes there has been an increase in hatred of Jews.

In my opinion there are three reasons anti-Semitism is appearing now with renewed vigilance.

The first is that historically, it always grows more virulent whenever and wherever the economy is bad. In a time when income disparity is growing, when hundreds of millions of people live in abject poverty, some find Jews to be a convenient scapegoat rather than looking at the real source of their problems.

If we confront anti-Semitism ... if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness.
A second root cause of anti-Semitism derives from an irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel. Far too many people see Israel as an apartheid state and blame the people of an entire religion for what, in truth, are internal national-policy decisions. Does anyone really believe that the innocent victims in that kosher shop in Paris and at that bar mitzvah in Denmark had anything to do with Israeli-Palestinian policies or the building of settlements 2,000 miles away?

The third reason is simple demographics. Europe is now home to 25 million to 30 million Muslims, twice the world's entire Jewish population. Within any religious community that large, there will always be an extremist fringe, people who are radicalized and driven with hatred, while rejecting what all religions need to preach — respect, tolerance and love. We're now seeing the amplified effects of that small, radicalized element. With the Internet, its virus of hatred can now speed from nation to nation, helping fuel Europe's new epidemic of anti-Semitism.It is time for each of us to speak up against this hate.
He praises French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Pope Francis, and New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan for speaking out against anti-Semitism, and calls upon all the political and religious leaders of the world to do the same. He also believes it's also the responsibility of all of us "to take action."

Read the whole op-ed on the L.A. Times website.

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