Danish police respond to shooting.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – The specter of lethal anti-Semitism has once again engulfed Europe, with the latest murder of the Danish Jew Dan Uzan who was guarding the Copenhagen synagogue. His death along with another Dutch civilian has been attributed to a Danish terrorist Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein believed to have been animated by radical Islam.
To understand the continuation of violent anti-Semitism, the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno said in post-Holocaust Europe, “We will not have come to terms with the past until the causes of what happened then are no longer active. Only because these causes live on does the spell of the past remain, to this very day, unbroken.”
What has filled the vacuum since Europe has relegated Nazism to a largely meaningless status, is the rise of Islamic-animated anti-Semitism enabled by an indifferent mainstream public coupled with an aggressive European Left. Anti-Jewish forces have turned Israel into a human punching bag.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “The repeated and false allegations of Israeli ‘war crimes,’ ‘child killer’ and even ‘genocide’ from political groups under the facade of human rights and humanitarian assistance has certainly contributed to the lethal European anti-Semitism. And many European media platforms and government officials repeat these modern blood libels without bothering to verify the facts or the double standards that are employed.”
A telling example came from Austria on Tuesday. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Linz declared a Turkish man’s call to annihilate the Jewish state and kill Jews merely an expression of “displeasure with Israel.”
In early February, a German court in Wuppertal agreed with the explanation offered by three Palestinians that their torching of the local synagogue was a form of protest against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to stop Hamas rocket fire. The men received a penalty of 200 hours community service.
Europe’s failure to internalize the threat of jihadist organizations was on display in 2012. The Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah blew up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, resulting in the deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver.
Denmark, it should be noted, has served as a meeting location for Hezbollah operatives. Hezbollah - as a legal political organization in Europe - promotes lethal anti-Semitism. The EU made a distinction without a difference, critics say, by merely outlawing Hezbollah’s military wing in 2013.
Steinberg, who has written extensively on Europe, said “European governments must immediately take the offense against terrorism by increased monitoring and preemptive action. Without adding major resources to intelligence gathering, particularly regarding jihadists returning from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, the attacks will grow.”
Denmark falls into the top four EU countries in terms of jihadist output for the Syrian war theater. In July, Sheikh Abu Bilal Ismail, a Danish imam, called for the extermination of the Jews at Berlin’s al-Nur mosque in July.
Ismail said it was necessary to “destroy the Zionist Jews...” and to “count them and kill them to the very last one. Don’t spare a single one of them.... Make them suffer terribly.” He returned to Denmark to continue to preach.
While controversy in Europe surrounds Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks about encouraging Danish Jews to immigrate, Steinberg offered a historical perspective.
“From the time of Herzl, one of the core principles of Zionism is that in order to defend our rights and our lives, Jews must have sovereignty and self-determination. There are of course other reasons for making aliya, but if Jewish lives cannot be protected in Europe, Israel provides a haven. On this, there is no difference between Likud and Labor; between Netanyahu and [Isaac] Herzog,” he said.Benjamin Weinthal reports on European affairs for The Jerusalem Post and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.