In 1945, following the exposure of the Nazi extermination camps and the realization of the severity of the catastrophe caused by anti-Semitic ideology, European countries adopted a policy of rejecting in principle any expression that could be construed as supporting racism or bigotry. But seven decades after the Shoah, the grace period that had been extended to the Jews is over. Resentment of Jews that had been long silenced has again openly erupted. The consolidation of a critical discourse on Israel has granted renewed legitimacy to Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic expressions, which were once confined to the margins.
In addition to this development, immigration waves washing over Europe and other developments, boosted nationalist and conservative sentiments across the continent and threaten the stability of European Union and the common political vision of its member states. A large segment of the middle class in the Western countries where Jews live, feels that it is under existential threat. Some fear that migrants may “replace” them and take over the political and cultural control of the country (largely on the right); others fear a socio-economic downgrading that might leave them impoverished (mainly on the left). Jews often find themselves on the receiving end of such fears.