Anti-Semitism as an Instrument of the Last Election Campaign in the Czech Republic
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, The Centre of Middle Eastern Studies, University of West Bohemia Pilsen, Czech Republic
The great problem of young Czech democracy is its relation between liberty and civic responsibility. A new and difficult question is populism in our political life. This could be seen in the last election campaign in October. Many local politicians and political parties have used arguments from the field of xenophobia, racism and intolerance.
While the members of the major parliament party KDU-SL (the Christian Democratic Party) ODS (the Civic Democratic Party) and small radical parties as for example NS - the National Party used vulgar anti-Gypsy rhetoric with the support of a great deal of the Czech citizenry, and the DS - the Workers' Party used open anti-Semitism.
We may evaluate the election results today. The Workers party got cca 1% votes, which is about 29 000 voters. The National Party was totally marginalized. It is a quite favorable result for democracy but the influence of the Workers Party increases and next time they could be more successful.
The criminalization of anti-Semitic propaganda is needed but it is not efficient enough. More efficient is enlightenment and patient education from an early age. This is also the main idea of the LPA (the League against Anti-Semitism). The League should take legal action against these displays, against the offenders, and against xenophobic publications and texts. The League should write articles and petitions against these displays, should combat the threat in the field of education, and should work with youth.
The tragic situation in our country is caused by the absence of a social culture and historical memory during the Communist era and after the "Velvet Revolution" when nobody required the reflection of history and the society was oriented towards building "wild capitalism". Many people were frustrated by the harshness of the competition in their lives and by personal failure. This frustration sometimes leads people to search for its cause - and this is, for many simple and uncultured people, immigrants, Gypsies and Jews. It is very sad and dangerous that also political parties use this barbarism for their momentary profit.