|Swastika grafitti (illustrative).(Photo by: REUTERS)|
Candidly Speaking: European Jews, time to wake up
By ISI LEIBLER
Time has arrived for Jews to take stock of themselves and consider aliya as a response to growing hatred that threatens to engulf them.
The time has come for European Jews to pull their heads out of the sand, face
reality and ask themselves honestly whether there can be any meaningful
prospects for their children to remain proud Jews in societies which have
reverted to treating them as pariahs.
Less than 70 years ago the soil of
Europe was drenched in Jewish blood. Orchestrated by Germany, considered the
most cultured country in Europe, six million Jews were brutally murdered in a
meticulously planned genocidal campaign. The vast majority of Germans and
citizens of Nazi-occupied territories either collaborated or closed their eyes
as millions of their Jewish neighbors were deported and systematically
After that terrible era the call went out: “Never Again.”
Yet just a few decades later, the evil winds of visceral anti-Semitism are again
raging throughout Europe with the addition of the nation state of the Jews
acting as surrogate to the conventional demonization of individual Jews. For
many Jews, it now directly impacts on the fundamental quality of their daily
The great source of concern is the extent to which indigenous
Europeans have revived the hostility and prejudice deeply embedded in their
religion and culture, which many mistakenly believed had been permanently
excised after the horrors of the Holocaust.
Additionally, in most
European countries, Muslim immigrants in escalating numbers are assuming an
increasingly powerful role in society and politics. They have imported vile
concepts originating from their former anti-Semitic society and culture,
imitating and even exceeding obscene Nazi propaganda. This is exemplified by the
portrayal of Jews killing Muslim children in order to obtain their blood to bake
matzot, or mullahs calling on the faithful to murder the Jewish descendants of
apes and pigs. Not surprisingly, Muslim immigrants are thus also
disproportionately involved in the upsurge of physical violence directed against
European opinion polls express a contemporary version of this
approach when they explicitly regard Israel as the greatest threat to global
peace and stability – exceeding North Korea, Iran or Syria. What is this if not
a 21st-century rendition of the medieval hatred in which Jews were viewed as
Satan’s representatives on earth and blamed for natural disasters such as
earthquakes, plagues and poisoned wells? The more sophisticated indigenous
European version targets the nation state of the Jews, defaming Israel’s army –
the most humane military force in the world – accusing it of war crimes, of
deliberately killing children, and even behaving like Nazis. Holocaust inversion
has now penetrated the mainstream and become a major vehicle promoting hatred of
Jews and diverting European guilt for the Holocaust by obscenely accusing its
survivors of engaging in similar genocidal activities.
attacks affect all Diaspora Jews other than those masking their Jewish identity
or currying favor by collaborating with Israel’s enemies. The concentration of
venom directed against the Jewish state is particularly grotesque when one takes
into account that Israel is the only democratic state in a region where Muslim
fundamentalism reigns supreme, imposes barbaric practices, denies elementary
human rights and freedom of worship and shamelessly indulges in violence and
murder of minorities and state-sanctioned persecution. While Arab states like
Syria blatantly butcher their citizens en masse, the spotlight remains centered
on condemning Israel’s efforts to defend itself from neighbors seeking its
It is no exaggeration to describe the situation as worse
than the 1930s. Then Jews could at least rely on liberals or segments of the
Left to support them against the Nazis. Alas, today these groups frequently lead
the anti- Semitic pack.
One need only observe the European media and the
vicious talkbacks endorsing anti-Jewish attacks to appreciate how the levels of
anti-Semitic paranoia now directly impact on the fundamental quality of their
In “polite” society and among the so-called enlightened
intelligentsia it is rationalized as post-modernism combined with extraordinary
guilt about Europe’s colonial past. These concepts have assumed a crucial role
in European thinking and are frequently employed as a rationale for demonizing
Israel as a colonial implant.
What is particularly shocking is the
extraordinary growth of popular anti-Semitism among the Left and Right, even in
Germany, a country which obviously has a special obligation to distance itself
from any vestige of anti-Semitism.
Gunter Grass’s extraordinarily crude
outburst against Israel merited a huge groundswell of popular
The German government attempted to resist these elements, but
when one observes the state-funded Jewish Museum inviting as its guest a woman
who justifies Hezbollah and Hamas and promotes BDS against Israel, the impact of
the radical anti-Jewish currents on institutions is only too
European Jews today do not merely confront a hostile anti-Jewish
media. They face increasing violence and even murder. The French Toulouse
massacre, in lieu of acting as a wake-up call, generated greater violence
against Jews and led to the exposure of terrorist cells preparing to murder
Jews. There are ongoing anti- Israeli demonstrations in which signs and chants
of “Gas the Jews,” “Hitler was right” or “Slit the throats of Jews” are everyday
events and anti-Semitism is escalating not only in France but in the UK, Sweden,
Hungary, Germany and throughout most of Europe.
It is not merely that
Jewish children increasingly encounter anti-Semitism in schools and that Jews
are becoming progressively regarded as detestable pariahs.
Today, in many
European countries, there is ever growing agitation to ban circumcision and
shechita – Jewish ritual slaughter. In some areas Jews even feel obliged to
remove their skullcaps to avoid being attacked on the street.
chilling feature of the burgeoning anti- Semitism in Europe is that it does not
emanate from governments or leaders but has infected the masses and is growing
at the grassroots level and is thus likely to intensify.
awful developments represent clear signals that Jews are no longer welcome. How
is it possible to bring up children to proudly maintain their Jewish identity in
such a climate? Jews have a weakness of denying the reality and toxicity of
anti-Semitism until it reaches unbearable levels.
But now the time has
arrived for Jews to take stock of themselves and consider aliya as a response to
the growing hatred that threatens to engulf them.
predecessors in the 1930s who were denied entry visas and had nowhere to flee,
today, Israel with its law of return provides a haven and welcomes Jewish
immigrants – young or old. Understandably, many may find it economically
prohibitive to make aliya, but they can at least ensure that their children not
remain trapped in societies which hold them in contempt.
living in a Jewish state will not merely find a refuge. They will discover that
it will enhance the quality of their lives and ensure that their children grow
up to be proud Jews, able to absorb their Jewish religious and cultural heritage
to the maximum.
The writer’s website can be viewed at
www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.