A Watershed for America’s Jews, the complete article

“[I]n their time-honored pattern of countering their own most basic interests, [Jews] are in the forefront of celebrating – and urging on – their self-destruction”

In A Watershed for America’s Jews? sociologist Rael Jean Isaacs poses an important and necessary question: What impact will President Obama’s proposed response to refugees from the Arab Spring wars pose for the demographics of the United States? Her statistics describe a looming crisis for Jews in the United States as well as for Israel so the impending crisis is real. What she omits is the equally dangerous outlook for Christian America.

My discussion of Ms. Isaac’s article consists of three sections. The first, A Watershed for America’s Jews, addresses her headline theme, the implications to America’s Jewish community and for Israel from the president’s intention to absorb refugees from the Syrian conflict well above established immigration quotas. The second, A Watershed for America’s Christians, will expand the discussion to suggest the consequences beyond America’s Jewish community to Christian America. And the third, Radical Islam’s “Crusader” Agenda, will describe the ideology and nature of threat promised by Radical Islam to the Christian West described by Islamists as “the Crusaders,” a reference to the first European invasion of the Muslim East. 

I. A Watershed for America’s Jews

Isaac estimates that there are presently, 

“five and a half million Jews in the United States. Even before the current Obama escalation, the Pew Research Center forecast the Muslim population would more than double by 2030 to 6.2 million, over-matching the number of Jews.” (my emphasis)

She notes that, “Muslims, like other ethnic communities, tend to cluster together and this will have an impact in electing anti-Israel congressmen” indicating an acceleration in already weakening U.S. political support for Israel and her Jewish supporters. American Jews, unlike most other American- “hyphenates” are extremely sensitive to the appearance of “dual-loyalty.” During the Year of the Spy-Irangate, few American-Jewish “leaders” were even available to comment on the arrest of Jonathan Pollard charged with spying for Israel. Of those who did so it as to distance American-Jews from Israel’s spy. At about the same time a Chinese-American CIA employee was also arrested, Wu-tai Chin, with no public distancing by Chinese-Americans. This degree of sensitivity already describes a level of insecurity among Jews unmatched in other American “hyphenate” communities, and deserving a book in its own right!

“Jews,” Isaac notes, “are emotionally captured by a parallel with the Holocaust when Jews seeking to escape Nazi Germany were denied a haven by [the United States and all but one other state in] an indifferent West… in their time-honored pattern of countering their own most basic interests, [Jews] are in the forefront of celebrating – and urging on – their self-destruction” by being in the forefront of welcoming Muslim refugees. Myself an often critic of our community self-expression, of our watered-down definition of “Zionism” now generally adopted by Jews across the West and even in Israel, I view her description of the community harsh and superficial. Yes Jews in America are sensitive to the West’s indifference to the fate of our people during the Holocaust: American policy towards Hitler was to abandon European Jewry to their fate. The abandonment of the Jews to Auschwitz cannot be too far buried in our psyche going forward. But in siding with the wave of Arab Spring refugees we are expressing something very different from a “time-honored pattern of countering their own most basic interests, [Jews] are in the forefront of celebrating – and urging on – their self-destruction…” We are, and appropriately as a humane people, describing sympathy based on two-thousand years experience of persecution: the West’s favorite hated minority. Generations of “American-Jews” have, for example, identified with and even died in the struggle for equal rights for African-Americans.

As with Ms. Isaac, I am not optimistic about a future for Jews in America. But my pessimism goes much deeper, as described in my writings for JPost blogs, and my soon to be completed book. 


II. A Watershed for America’s Christians

Writing this second part of my discussion of the impact of Isaac’s Watershed has taken far more time for me to consider than my response to her article regarding what for me is the far less controversial presentation of facts describing the impact on Jews in Western society. My hesitation is best represented by the right-wing mayor of Bézier, a town in France who, accompanied by a film crew and heavily armed police, burst into an abandoned apartment housing a young family of Syrian immigrants declaring them “not welcome in this town” and demanding they immediately leave. I am not “anti-immigrant.” The opposite, I suspect I am among those Isaac declares, “emotionally captured by a parallel with the Holocaust.” Still, my studies of antisemitism have sensitized me also to the West’s preference to not appreciate the depth of resentment by much of the Muslim world resulting from a century of Imperial exploitation and rule, a resentment centuries long and symbolized by two centuries of attempted conquest of “the Holy Land” by the Crusades beginning in the year 1096. It is this period of invasion that Radical Islamism refers to in describing its intentions regarding the Christian West as “the crusaders.”  

With American media’s preoccupation with the threat to Israel it fails to appreciate that the threat to the Christian West may be more dangerous than to Jews living in the Christian Diaspora. This is something discussed neither in Dr. Isaac’s article, and typically also in the thinking of Western writers regarding the still unrealistic but ultimate ambition of radical Islamism. Islamist rhetoric already describes its strategy in referring to the Christian West as “Crusaders.” Regarding Radical Islamism’s methods for achieving their goals one need only reflect on Islamic State’s approach to its Muslim enemies: Convert or pay impossible taxes; or die a gruesome death. Although described as indicating threat to Jews, Isaac’s description of the Arab Spring migration applies equally to the West in general. As she describes,

“The majority of those currently overwhelming political borders in Europe are young men, vigorous and aggressive… while there can be no doubt that ISIS will, as it has promised, infiltrate some members, the greater danger is that over time it will find large Islamic communities a fertile soil for new recruits, especially among young people disappointed that their new home does not offer them success that lives up to their high expectations…”

Isaac’s description is fairly obvious in reflecting the potential for risk for Arab Spring host countries, and more immediately for Jews living in those host countries. I endorse her description of host countries Islamic communities as, “a fertile soil for new recruits, especially among young people disappointed that their new home does not offer them success that lives up to their high expectations…” This is graphically represented by the riots in Paris and suburbs in 2005.  As described in Wikipedia:

“Initially confined to the Paris area, the unrest subsequently spread to other areas of the Île-de-France région, and spread through the outskirts of France's urban areas, also affecting some rural areas. After 3 November it spread to other cities in France, affecting all 15 of the large urban areas in the country. Thousands of vehicles were burned, and at least one person was killed by the rioters.”

Despite a state of emergency the riots continued for 20 nights during which 8923 vehicles were burned and 1,888 rioters were arrested. “Commenting on other demonstrations in Paris a few months later, the BBC summarized reasons behind the events included youth unemployment and lack of opportunities in France's poorest communities.” Discontent in Muslim communities remained high and resurfaced in bloody riots again in 2009 and 2013. Rioting also broke out among the youth in other European countries including Belgium, England, Sweden, Germany and Spain.


III. Radical Islam’s “Crusader” Agenda

“These ahādīth (reports, see below) indicate that the Muslims will be at war with the… Christians of Europe and their colonies in Shām (“Lands of Islam”) prior to the conquering of Shām at the hands of the Sahābah (closest followers of Muhammad)… This battle ends the era of the Roman Christians…”(Islamic State (ISIS) Magazine: Dabiq - Issue 4, p.34)

Following are rough translations and are offered only to assist in reading the above:

A Hadith is a “report” describing the sayings or actions by Muhammad. They are secondary sources to the Quran.

Shām (Syria) but more generally, the Lands of Islam. As example: Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus (Central Asia) in al-Shām.

Sahābah refers to those closest to, who accompany Muhammad.

The most prominent symbol of Radical Islam’s intentions for Europe and the West (the “crusader/Christian world referred to in the Dabiq quote, above) remains al-Qaeda’s 2001 airline hijacking attacks targeting America’s most prominent symbols of power: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the failed attempt targeting either the White House or the Congress.

There is a traceable line from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to al-Qaeda, Hamas and Islamic State. All are ideologically anti-West and anti-secular. Brotherhood assassination attempts against two Egyptian presidents, failed against Nasser in 1954, successful against Sadat in 1981, partly describe their anti-secularism: Muhamed Morsi, the MB president ousted after one year in power attempting to impose Shariah Law on Egypt describes the religious agenda.

Within months of invading Iraq US forces found themselves fighting both Iran-backed Shi’a militias and the ex-Baath led Sunni al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI would later call itself Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) and, when Assad used force against street demonstrators igniting the insurrection ISI added the Levant to its name and ISIL soon captured and held more than half the territory of Syria. Turning back to Iraq it the now renamed Islamic State (IS) quickly controlled large swathes of Iraq and, between the two districts, ruled more than ten million people.

A German journalist, Jurgen Todenhofer, somehow received permission to embed for two weeks with IS forces in Mosul (where the Iraqi army was described as abandoning uniforms and weapons in flight from approaching IS forces). In his interview with Al Jazeera Todenhofer himself expressed surprise. “They knew that I had made very negative comments on them before. They knew I had met Assad. I told them clearly that 'I am not on your side,' and they said, 'Yes, that is not our problem, we don't care about your opinion, we want you to tell what you have seen here, not the opinion that you had beforehand.’” As to IS’s motives for allowing the reporter freedom to report, it is likely reflected in his description of Islamic State to Al Jazeera:

“I had three strong impressions of ISIL. The first one was that ISIL is much stronger than we think. They have conquered an area which is bigger than Great Britain. Every day, hundreds of new enthusiastic fighters are arriving. There is an incredible enthusiasm that I have never seen in any other war zones that I have been to.

“Secondly, the brutality of their intended religious cleansing is on another level [he previously described fighters enthusiasm at the prospect of “hundreds of millions” of dead]. And thirdly, I think the strategy of the western countries regarding the Muslim world is completely wrong. With our bombardment, we have never been successful. We have not been successful in Afghanistan; we have not been successful in Iraq. The bombardments are a terror-breeding program. We had much fewer terrorists before 2001 and these bombardments, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, have created terrorists and increased terrorism.

Al Jazeera: How would you suggest to best counter them?

“I think only Sunni Iraqis can defeat the ISIL. They have done this once before. In 2007, they fought them down, but then ISIL was much weaker.”

I have provided a narrative of a possible, perhaps likely future describing how and why the West is and will be threatened by Radical Islamism. Over the years Europe has encouraged the immigration of millions of Muslim workers, mainly from Turkey and North Africa. They remained, second class citizens (if the term “citizen” even applies) in those adoptive countries. There they raised families and, for the most part, remained outsiders to the national culture. Their children, born into despair and with poor expectations for social progress remain frustrated and bitter; have expressed their sense of alienation through riots and lone-wolf terrorism. It is mostly from among these that Radical Islamism will find recruits at such time as, “Muslims will be at war with the… Christians of Europe and their colonies [leading to the battle that] ends the era of the Roman Christians.”