A new wave of anti-Semitism and more widespread protests could be expected in Europe, Maris Andzans, director of the Center for Geopolitical Studies and vice-rector of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, told LETA, commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East.
He said that such a reaction could be expected to Israel’s planned ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
“Given that the number of casualties in a ground invasion will be higher, more protests could be expected. The biggest risk is waves of anti-Semitism – attacks on synagogues, desecration of cemeteries and holy sites. Inspired by terrorists, the response could also be violent,” said Andzans.
Commenting on the overall discourse, the expert said that the European countries’ leaning towards Israel “is not a purely religious issue, but a politically strategic issue”. This is reflected in two aspects: firstly, many feel indebted to the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, and secondly, Israel is supported by the US. Given that the Baltic States, for example, also rely on US support if necessary, “it would be wrong to oppose the US”. The historical link should also be taken into account: in the 20th century, many people from the Soviet Union came to live in Israel, while the Arab and Persian peoples are more alien to Europeans, Andzans explained.
At the same time, the expert stressed that the security situation in Europe should not be exaggerated, as “there have been worse times”, such as in the first and second decades of this century, when large-scale terrorist attacks took place in several European countries, with bombings, cars running over people and the like.
Andzans believes that European security services are now working harder and that their professionalism has increased over the years. This is evident from the fact that the most recent terrorist attacks in Europe have not involved the use of explosives, which are usually preferred.
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