This topic is more Y.B.’s beat than mine. Perhaps he’ll have more to say. But this Atlantic article on the current predicament of Jews in Europe disturbed me as much as anything I’ve read about the fatal squeeze being put on Europe’s Jewish remnant.
Muslims (who outnumber Jews in Europe now by an order of magnitude) may provide the “muscle” these days when it comes to harming Jews. But the traditional prejudice of Christian and secular Europeans makes it easy for long-time Europeans to turn a blind eye, mutter in secret agreement, or otherwise support the barbarity.
The bottom line lesson is one we all know: Self defense can’t be delegated. Europe’s Jews will ultimately have to protect themselves. But how? Without an honored right to bear arms, they’re caught between being bankrupted by hiring security or fleeing to Israel — a nation that will welcome them right into the most dangerous region of the world.
Europe’s governments may promise to protect them and may even make token efforts in that direction. But seriously? You think “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” is going to work magic for the safety of Europe’s Jews?
An excerpt from the article:
France’s 475,000 Jews represent less than 1 percent of the country’s population. Yet last year, according to the French Interior Ministry, 51 percent of all racist attacks targeted Jews. The statistics in other countries, including Great Britain, are similarly dismal. In 2014, Jews in Europe were murdered, raped, beaten, stalked, chased, harassed, spat on, and insulted for being Jewish. Sale Juif—“dirty Jew”—rang in the streets, as did “Death to the Jews,” and “Jews to the gas.”
The epithet dirty Jew, Zola wrote in “J’Accuse …!,” was the “scourge of our time.” “J’Accuse …!” was published in 1898.
The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe is not — or should not be — a surprise. One of the least surprising phenomena in the history of civilization, in fact, is the persistence of anti-Semitism in Europe, which has been the wellspring of Judeophobia for 1,000 years. The Church itself functioned as the centrifuge of anti-Semitism from the time it rebelled against its mother religion until the middle of the 20th century. As Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Great Britain, has observed, Europe has added to the global lexicon of bigotry such terms as Inquisition, blood libel, auto‑da‑fé, ghetto, pogrom, and Holocaust. Europe has blamed the Jews for an encyclopedia of sins. The Church blamed the Jews for killing Jesus; Voltaire blamed the Jews for inventing Christianity. In the febrile minds of anti-Semites, Jews were usurers and well-poisoners and spreaders of disease. Jews were the creators of both communism and capitalism; they were clannish but also cosmopolitan; cowardly and warmongering; self-righteous moralists and defilers of culture. Ideologues and demagogues of many permutations have understood the Jews to be a singularly malevolent force standing between the world and its perfection.
Shades of Adolf Hitler. New century, different uniforms. Same deadly peril.