Anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. Strictly speaking, this may not be true, as Jews have traditionally had a difficult time in the “old world,” to say the least.
Why? Good question! Or is it?
I recently came across an article in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper describing a very distasteful situation in the UK. According to the article, “British high school pupils were asked to explain bias against Jews in an official religious studies exam, British media reported on Friday. More than a thousand religious studies students sitting a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exam last Thursday, set by one of the U.K’s three major examination boards, AQA, were asked, “Explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews.””
In defense of this brilliant question, a former chief examiner for religious studies for another examination board, Clive Lawton said “I do understand why people might react negatively to the question, but it is a legitimate one,” he said, adding, “Part of the syllabus is that children must study the causes and origins of prejudice against Jews.”
Out of curiosity, I wonder what the “correct answers“ are to this brilliant question. Is there a real cause and origin of prejudice? Blaming Jews for killing Jesus? The blood libel? Protocols of the Elders of Zion and attempts by Jews to rule the world? Can any of this explain the Spanish Inquisition? The Dreyfus affair? The pogroms in eastern Europe that my grandparents survived? The Holocaust?
Taking things one step further, I can’t help wondering whether these high school students in the UK are awarded “bonus points” for rationalizing entirely new and as-yet-undiscovered causes and origins of prejudice against Jews. Does being creative and inventive bring extra exam points? Or should students stick to the basic and known reasons?
I think I have made my point. I sincerely hope that somebody in the education system has enough sense to put a stop to this.