Leading rabbi likens spread of anti-Semitism to a virus

science | Feb 22, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

On a recent visit to Israel, Lord Jonathan Sacks - the chief rabbi of the United Kingdom - told listeners that the return of anti-Semitism within living memory of the Holocaust is a serious problem. Speaking at Tel Hai College, Rabbi spoke on “The 21st Century Challenge for Jews and Israel." The leading challenge for Jews today, said the rabbi, is  anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Sacks said that seeing young Jews assaulted on European university campuses has been the "shock of my life." Calling anti-Semitism a set of "internally contradictory set of beliefs" rather than coherent doctrine, Rabbi Sacks likened anti-Semitism to a virus that "invades nations, bodies politics, in the way a biological virus attacks the human body."

Saying that anti-Semitism has returned to Europe, where most of the Holocaust took place during the mid-20th century, the rabbi said the epicenter is currently in the Mideast rather than Europe. The doctrines of anti-Semitism, he opined, are increasingly legitimized. Among the assaults on world Jewry, said Rabbi Sacks, is the currently unbalanced diplomatic assault on the tiny Jewish state.

Rabbi Sacks is a member of the House of Lords in the British parliament and a leading figure in Jewish thought. He will leave his post as Chief Rabbi, to which he was elected by fellow rabbis, in September 2013. 


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