At my dinner table on Friday night, a holocaust survivor admits that she is trying to persuade her son to take his family out of Europe to America, Canada, Australia, Canada, Australia, Israel…’They say they can’t leave me, but I tell them: “Go, get out. My parents left my grandparents behind in Berlin and brought me to safety in England. Now I want you to leave so that my grandchildren will be safe.”’ There is an unbearable desperation in her plea. But she has a point.
As tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of Europe, the chants are modified but the message remains substantially intact: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Hamas — Jews to the Gas’. Or, more simply: ‘Death to the Jews’. Many European Jews, even well-established, affluent Jews, have been checking the suitcase they keep packed under the bed. They have been here before and many are (albeit reluctantly) reading the writing on the wall.
To some extent I thought I was inured. I grew up in postwar apartheid South Africa where a subtle undercurrent of anti-Semitism was a fact of everyday life. So while I was disturbed by manifestations of mob anti-Semitism, I was also less vulnerable to shock. That’s just how people are. Living in genteel, leafy Hampstead Garden Suburb provides an additional layer of protection from such crass outbursts.
But my sanguine state ends abruptly when I am out walking on Saturday. A hundred yards from my front door, I encounter the slogan, freshly painted in yellow, across the pavement: ‘Kill the Filthy Jews’. I am shocked. And shocked that I am shocked. The message is too close for comfort. The leafy gentility is, after all, an illusion. Source: The terrible warning of a Holocaust survivor
Nineteen months later, very little has changed,the new demographics of Europe has helped to revive that old hatred of Europe; Antisemitism. So says, my friend and teacher Barry Rubin.
Europe: Evaluating Changing Demographics/Worst Antisemitism Since 1945
By Barry Rubin
The always brilliant Walter Laqueur (a praise in no way exaggerated) has written a review essay about the question of Muslim immigration in Europe and how that continent is changing. Sound, sober, and balanced. Well worth reading. Laqueur rejects excessive predictions about what’s happening but points to the dramatic transformations that are taking place.
Incidentally, Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, has just stated that the situation for Jews in Europe is the worst it’s been since World War II:
“Jews are afraid to walk the streets in Europe with [anything showing them to be Jewish]. Synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security and Jewish men, women and children are beaten up in broad daylight,” he said in a message to the European Parliament. “Most worryingly, Jews are being forced out of many European cities, like Malmo [in Sweden], because of the atmosphere of hostility and violence.”
There might be some connection between these factors but it has not yet been recognized by European governments or the European Union.
After an attack by German-Arabs on a local Jewish dance troupe in Hanover and an assault by a German-Palestinian on two Israelis in a Berlin nightclub, Juliane Wetzel, of the German Parliament’s panel on anti-Semitism, told a newspaper that the issue of antisemitism from young Muslims in Germany had not been thoroughly examined. You think?
And guess what? It gets better. Wetzel has reportedly played down antisemitism even though she works for a center researching antisemitism, insisting the real problem is Islamophobia and attacking those who are really telling the truth about the issue.
But for me the absolute best symbol of all this is what happened at the Berlin nightclub. Apparently, a Palestinian attacked the two Israelis, and as they tried to run out the exit (following proper European procedure for dealing with aggression–running away), the German bouncer spotted them and thinking they had started a fight, sprayed them with some kind of teargas.
Get it? Palestinian attacks Israeli, European decides Israeli was at fault and attacks him instead of the real aggressor. Could you possibly ask for a better example of contemporary European policy?
Oh and check out the truly shocking Hove trial in which a British judge directed an acquittal for saboteurs who vandalized a factory. The reason? The factory was supposedly making military goods for Israel.
When a British judge cheers people for commiting a criminal act for a democratic ally on behalf of a revolutionary Islamist enemy, that says something about the state of justice in Britain today, though it should be added that this judge is known for being soft on extremists. This reminds me of a column I wrote warning that in trying to damage or destroy Israel, various people and institutions were doing even more harm to their own countries.
At the same time, however, I should add once again that government policies should not be judged by the media, academia, or individual anecdotes. European states are generally not so terrible on the Israel issue as many think, though they could of course be much better. As for sanctions on Iran, many of them are ahead of the United States.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (PalgraveMacmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; The West and the Middle East (four volumes); and The Muslim Brotherhood.