Anti-Americanism has a long history in Europe, but some relatively recent events have made it inescapable - not just as, in Nelson Ascher's words, a "wild, open, and hysterical" annoyance, but as a central problem in international relations and US policy.
The uncertain transition to an EU super-state puts European identities in play. Anti-Americanism becomes a classic rallying point suitable for manipulation by political opportunists, and works as a surrogate nationalism on two levels - providing negative content in the absence of a positive European identity, and at the same time offering a vehicle for emotions formerly invested in separate national identities. It's not that the French are no longer French, the Germans no longer German, and so on, only that they are being asked to be much less so, revising and to a large extent reversing a project that dominated European politics and culture for several centuries. To the new old question "who are we," the one easy and obvious answer is "not American." (Also, it seems: "Not Jewish.")