Israeli operations against Hamas have coincided with a surge in anti-Jewish protests and riots in European capitals. French mobs have attacked nine synagogues—including trapping dozens in Paris’s Synagogue de la Roquette for hours—and looted kosher butcheries and Jewish-owned stores. Especially chilling given the location, a Berlin crowd was filmed chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight on your own.” Individual Jews have also been attacked, including the Maccabi Haifa soccer team while playing a match in Austria.
In a haunting essay in last August’s Mosaic, the French Jewish writer Michel Gurfinkiel explained just how Europe got to this point and where it will go from here.The Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky once famously distinguished between the “anti-Semitism of persons” and the “anti-Semitism of things.” The former category, made up of individuals (including some Jews) with their particular moral or political shortcomings, can be fought, at least up to a point. The latter, which has to do with deep-seated social factors, with demographics, and/or with hard, obdurate, ingrained ideology, is another matter entirely. Of the two varieties, European Jews now confront the second. What will they do? Emigration, either to Israel or to America, is an option being actively considered. Should this become a widespread choice, it will inevitably be followed by the shrinkage of Jewish institutions, the drying-up of religious and cultural life, the deepening erosion of morale, growing anxiety and fearfulness—and more emigration.
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More about: • Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism
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