Europe's War on the Jews

Jews flee their home countries for Israel.

Visitors to the Israeli cities of Netanya and Eilat take immediate notice of the frequency with which French and English (British) are heard in the streets.  In the larger Israeli cities, one hears a variety of different European languages being spoken.  Jews are once again fleeing their countries in the wake of the resurgence of anti-Semitism. Europe has apparently ended its moratorium on this foul bigotry. Since the 1980s, incidents have been steadily increasing.

The question that one must ask is whether what is happening is the result of Israeli governmental policies, or are they simply an excuse for the renewal of hatred and violence against Jews.  Two millennia of anti-Judaic hatred taught by the Catholic Church cannot be completely reversed in short 45 years – despite the meaningful changes made by the Church following the Second Vatican Council and Nostra Aetate. When one adds to the mix the approximately 52 million European Muslims, with their radical Islamic teaching and violent Koranic verses against Jews, the result has been a growing rejection of any guilt related to the murder of six million Jews perpetrated by European Christians.

There are some European governments, though, that are increasing their vigilance against anti-Semitic hate crimes.  For example, in the Netherlands, the Digital Journal reported on June 23, 2010, that “Dutch police will be using ‘decoy Jews’ to try and catch anti-Semitic attackers in Amsterdam. Law enforcers will be disguised in Jewish religious dress to entice those engaging in the hate crimes.”  However, France, under former President Jacque Chirac, had chosen denial.  On January 14, 2002 he responded angrily to Oliver Guland, editor of France’s largest Jewish newspaper, Tribune Juif, demanding he “stop saying that there is anti-Semitism in France. There is no anti-Semitism in France and, moreover, there are no anti-Semites in France.”  According to Guland, Chirac said that stories about anti-Semitism in France were just “rumors.”

While it would appear that the worst anti-Semitic attacks on Jews occurred during the second Palestinian Intifada (2000-2004) -- mostly by Muslim youth, but inspired by the unholy alliance of European Islamists, radical leftists and extreme neo-Nazis -- anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate crimes continue to occur in Europe.  The BBC reported on June 24, 2010 that “German police are investigating the stoning of a Jewish dance group trying to perform on the street in the city of Hanover.” According to YNET News, on June 28th, two young Israelis were attacked by a Palestinian in a Berlin nightclub. Police were reportedly “probing whether the assault by a man who identified himself as Palestinian was anti-Semitic.” In Sweden last August, an article published in the largest daily newspaper Aftonbladet implied that the Israel Defense Force kills Palestinians to provide the medical establishment with organs.  Curiously, the Swedish media denounced the story as anti-Semitic, while the Swedish government refused to comment on the article, claiming legal factors prevent them from condemning it. When the Swedish ambassador to Israel published a condemnation of the text in an article, she was forced to retract it.

Figures on anti-Semitism released by the Jewish Agency in January of this year, just days before commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, revealed that anti-Semitic incidents in Europe reached a level not seen since the end of World War II.  Data presented at a press conference held at the Jewish Agency offices in Jerusalem (with comments from Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Jewish Agency chairman Nathan Sharansky, and the Jewish Agency taskforce on anti-Semitism Amos Hermon) concluded that “Classical anti-Semitism is changing, and it is being replaced with a new anti-Semitism, which takes its shape in the form of unbridled attacks against the idea of a Jewish State.”  To ensure that there is no confusion between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, Sharansky offered simple criteria. He said, “We have identified such criteria through a 3-D principle: Demonization, Delegitimization, and Double Standard.”  Sharansky added, “If you look at anti-Semitism throughout the ages, we see these principles at play as well - the demonization of Jews, the delegitimization of the Jewish nation, and a double standard towards Jews as a people and a religion.”

France, in particular, has been a hotbed for Jew-hatred.  Rabbis have cautioned religious boys and men to wear baseball caps rather than yarmulkes outside their homes.  A suburban Paris Torah Center, or Merkaz Hatorah school, was destroyed by arson, and a Jewish girl was thrown to the ground and beaten by 20 students who yelled at her, “Dirty Jew.”

In an e-mail conversation several months ago with Lyda Peltz, a French Jew friend, she complained about the fear she has of walking in the streets of Paris. “You cannot wear anything that identifies you as a Jew,” she wrote and added, “France is no longer a place for Jews to live.”  Lyda has since moved to Netanya, Israel.

Residual anti-Semitism in Europe has conveniently piggybacked on the visceral anti-Semitism openly displayed by Arab-Muslim immigrants under the guise of anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism. Western Europe’s guilt over colonialism, and their abandonment of religion and Christian values, has left Western Europeans with a spiritual emptiness.  It has also created a crisis of confidence in European ability to restore its cultural and political prowess.  Fear of, and intimidation by violent Muslim youth roaming the streets of European capitals has made Europeans adopt Stockholm syndrome -- i.e. victims identifying with their victimizer.  Jews are therefore easy scapegoats for European malaise, with the extreme Right blaming the Jews (and Zionism) for Europe’s troubles, and the radical Left allying with radical Islam and railing against “American imperialism and capitalism,” as well as Zionism and Israel.  Jews, however, have always been an easy target for European and Arab frustrations and hate.  Israel moreover, has assumed, as Nathan Sharansky noted, the role of the individual Jew in European society.  For Muslims, a Jewish State can not exist in the “Domain of Islam,” and for the European political and theological anti-Semites, the Jewish State and Jews must be persecuted for their original sin.

As European demography changes, in large measure due to low birthrates among native Europeans, and while Muslim birthrates explode, anti-Semitism is bound to increase and Israel will increasingly become a target for demonization, delegitimization, and double standard.  This combination is a precursor for deadly anti-Semitism, unless the Europeans awaken to reassert their self-confidence in their culture, religion, and politics, and chose to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.