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Experts Assess Anti-jewish Attitudes Arising from Lebanon War

March 29, 1983
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While classic forms of anti-Semitism are under control or even diminishing in Western Europe, there is an urgent need to counteract anti-Jewish attitudes arising from the Middle East conflict, according to Jewish communal experts from nine countries attending a forum here sponsored by the European office of the American Jewish Committee. The forum is chaired by Tullia Zevi, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities,

It was stated at the forum that many Jews perceive, rightly or wrongly, that anti-Jewish attitudes were fostered by what they regarded as biased media coverage of the war in Lebanon last summer, particularly on television. This resulted in the “demonization” of Israel, the portrayal of the Palestine Liberation Organization as an innocent victim and an attribution of “collective guilt” which held all Jews responsible for the plight of the Palestinians, the experts said.

In addition, anti-Israel hostility in many countries spilled over onto the European Jewish community creating tension and, at times, a dangerous atmosphere for Jews. The experts stressed the need for discussions between Israelis and the Jewish communal leadership on the effects of certain Israeli policies on European public opinion and on European Jewish communities.

Meetings with media representatives were urged to discuss the nature of the war in Lebanon, its coverage by the media and its consequences. The experts warned, however, that it was important not to lump all the media together because of the excesses of some.

While shocked by recent terrorist attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe, Jewish communities do not see these as signaling an upsurge of anti-Semitism in Europe but rather an attempt by Arab forces to bring the Middle East conflict to the European scene to frighten Europeans away from support for Israel.

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