Who Should Leave and Who Should Stay: The Problem of Europe’s Jews

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26 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The modern Zionism did not start because of the Dreyfuss Affair. Most historians know believe that Herzl was contemplating a nationalist response to anti-Semitism before Dreyfuss.

    The Zionist movement also started long before Herzl wrote the Jewish State. It started in 1882 with the First Aliyah.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Europe’s Jews feel under siege because they are popular target of the rage of Muslim Europeans. Many European governments ignored this problem for a long time for a variety of reasons. If the law was actually enforced, French and other European Jews would feel safer.Report

  3. Avatar Brian Murphy says:

    I’ve generally been sympathetic to anti-Zionist arguments because of the colonization of Palestine. However, stories like this are making me rethink my position. In America, Jews are pretty safe. Maybe my perception as an American reflects the exception rather than the rule.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    [W]here do Jews belong if they don’t belong in Israel and they don’t belong in Europe [?]

    So there’s a group of people who are generally well-educated, hard working, and unwanted elsewhere? Give us the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. If Europe considers them the wretched refuse of its teeming shores, then send these homeless, tempest-tost to the U.S. of A. and I, for one, will welcome them, along with their contributions to our culture and to our economy.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I’ve been thinking about the U.S. option. Here are some thoughts:

      1. I asked my esteemed brother @leeesq if an asylum case could be made. He said a plausible case could be made but it would be hard because this is not a case of official government oppression but the case of governments being unable to control violence against a particular group and those are always harder. He said that a similar situation exists for ethnic Chinese in Indonesia who seek asylum in the U.S. My esteemed brother also thought that DHS would fight like hell against an asylum case.

      2. That being said, there was a law or something or other passed by Congress that gave Soviet Jews easy access to the U.S. during the 80s and 90s and it might still exist.

      3. On the other hand, most countries in Europe with incidents of violence against Jews are our allies. The Soviet Union was not. I can’t imagine any administration except, maybe Ted Cruz, being willing to isolate our European allies and partners by saying “You can’t handle this. So we have to step in and help the Jews in your country.” I can’t imagine any admin would take to an immigration judge or the courts saying that there was an asylum case and having that set as precedent.

      4. Speaking of politics, a lot of people would probably be very angry if we end up admitting the Jews of Europe but still work hard to deport asylum seekers from the developing world.

      5. Israel exists and it is not going away despite what some or many might want (I am not saying that you want Israel to go away). I think it is offensive to suggest that all the Israelis should move to the U.S. and leave the Middle East for the Arabs as some have suggested:


      • Avatar Guy says:

        Dude, Burt’s not saying the population of Israel should pick up and leave. You brought that up. You can’t meet any answer to “What would a better option be?” with “The fact that you suggested an alternative offends me.”Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Anyway, it sounded like Burt was talking abut European Jews in particular.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Your link doesn’t say anything about Arabs. It’s about an American Presbyterian. That statement is then at least a little bit more inaccurate than this one “The Parisian suburbs are still pointing blame at the French Jews for the murders that happened at the Kosher Supermarket last Friday,” which is not really what that link shows.

        The path away from mutual distrust and animus between two ethnic groups does not lead through false claims and overgeneralizations, I’m pretty sure.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Our laws are pliable.

        A Jew who no longer feels safe in France to the point she considers emigration will go to where she thinks her options are best. Maybe that’s Israel. Maybe it’s Canada. I want the U.S. to be a viable option for her. It’s not Aliyah (I hope I spelled that right) and can’t compete with Aliyah, because the U.S. offers a different sort of experience. IOW, if the U.S. adopts policies not currently in existence to encourage European Jews to come here, plenty will still opt instead to go to Israel.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Most of my arguments are about other issues and I do realize and acknowledge that Burt was not advocating for the entirety of Israeli Jews to emigrate to the United States. I was pointing out that this does seem to be a preferred solution for many.Report

      • Avatar Guy says:


        That’s true, and it’s important to argue against the whole “historical reset” idea when it’s proposed, but I still feel like these Israel posts of yours tend to contain “gotcha” questions like this one, where the mere fact that a person can answer is proof that they’re somehow anti-Israel.Report

      • Avatar Charlotte says:

        I would just add that my guess is, most of the French Jews who would consider emigrating to Israel are probably more recent arrivals from North Africa, and many of them already have family and/or friends in Israel and remain very tied to Israel. This is because when the Jews massively left North Africa in the 50s-70s, they chose different destinations. These Jews also tend to be more traditional and not as wealthy, which means they are a)more recognizable and b)more likely to live in proximity to other North African immigrants, some of whom might be radicalized.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      As an immigration lawyer, I can tell you that it isn’t that easy to get status in he United States.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      At last count, there have been something like 50 reported attacks against Muslims in France since the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, including businesses owned by Muslims and least one mosque burned down, shots fired at several mosques during services, grenades thrown at one mosque, spraypainted swastikas and death threats, beatings.

      Do you see an issue with saying, at some level of severity and persistence of such attacks (not necessarily the current levels) that Muslims should also be granted asylum from France?

      I personally have got the impression, which may be incorrect, that Muslim communities in France largely have it worse than Jewish ones – for one thing, any riots of the disaffected one hears about happening in France seem to be in suburbs where mostly North African immigrants live.

      It’s been some generations since 1961, certainly, but I don’t think the mentality that allowed the 1961 Paris massacre to happen would have entirely evaporated without the kind of difficult and careful introspection that Germany has had since WWII, but I don’t know that France has.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Forgot to include: Assuming you don’t see an issue with the basic idea that Muslims and Jews in France may both be sufficiently persecuted or at risk to allow refugee access to the USA – since some of the persecution of French Jews is at the hands of Muslims, do you see a serious risk of importing the problems, rather than removing the people from the problematic situations?Report

  5. Avatar J_A says:

    Do you know who Lassana Bathily is?

    He is the Muslim that saved six people’s lives in the kosher deli attack in Paris.

    I acknowledge that it’s been many years since my family lived in Paris, but I feel your post lacks details.

    In general, a BIG general, (Western) European (*) Jews are as integrated in society as they are in the US. There are no policies whatsoever that directly or indirectly disenfranchise European Jews.

    There are, on the other side, two problems

    1. A minority of a different minority (see Lassana Bathly) blame the state of Israel for the plights of some or all Middle East Muslims. This minority of the minority is taking advantage of (Western) Europe’s liberal environment to engage in terrorists acts, some of which directed towards the Jewish community. On the other side, let us not forget that this minority is not as well integrated into society as the Jews are. Part of the reason for it not being integrated lies on the minority itself, a lot of whose members have been reluctant to embrace the surrounding cultural patterns. And the other reason is that the majority of Europeans have not been welcoming to this minority, looking at it with suspicion and resent way before 9/11, and has resisted the minority’s integration to society in ways similar to their forefathers resisting the integration of Jews..

    Besides, we must remember that Europe is no stranger to terrorism. Many European countries are hit by terrorist attacks of one sort or other. The most recent ones have been orchestrated by the minority of the minority, but there used to be plenty of majority terrorists (ETA, IRA, Red Army Faction (baeder-meinhof), Red Brigades) and Zander’s Breivik is still a fresh memory. Europeans are used to see terrorism as a criminal and a political issue, solved by law enforcement and political action, when needed. In general this approach was worked, albeit through the long term, by tackling the root of the terrorist issues while prosecuting the acts of violence themselves.

    We also must remember that the minority of the minority terrorist acts have not traditionally been against Jewish targets. The kosher deli is an exception. The Madrid train bombings is more the rule. Charlie Hebdo is more the rule. Should we grant asylum to all reporters that might be afraid of fatwas? What about all commuters afraid of trains blowing up?

    2. The second issue is more troublesome. A minority of the majority in Europe has (again) risen against the Other. The Other is a lot of people: Muslims, Africans, Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans, Latin Americans. And, because they have been the Other for hundreds of years, Jews. This minority of the majority’s arguments would not be out of place on some tea party rallies. The Other are taking our jobs. The Other are mooching on our social benefits. The Other do not integrate in society. Freedom of movement across Europe had exacerbated the issue. There are so many new Other around. Albanians in the UK? Unheard of (go ask a working class Londoner what he thinks of Albanians or Poles. It’s not pretty. Being blind don’t make them part of the In crowd).

    And this minority of the majority is turning violent. And Jews might get in the crossfire, I won’t be surprised.

    Should Jews emigrate from Europe? I hope they don’t. I can understand if they want to. They always have the Israel option.

    But no, the European governments are not pushing Jews out. Pushing them out of France, or Europe is not what the minority of the minority terrorists are looking for, so it won’t be part of any political solution to that issue. And about the minority of the majority, as much as Jews are probably the most traditional Other, and thus get a lot of airtime in their discussions, Jews are not the Other this minority of the majority is the most concerned about.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      One person against an entire march chanting of “Jews, France is not Yours” or the attacks on Jewish synagogues this summer.

      I did not say that these were official government actions but it seems clear to many European Jews that their governments are unable to control violence against them.Report

      • Avatar J_A says:

        There’s a weekly March in Dresden against Muslims. Apparently every week more and more people attend it. Do you have a view about it. Should the European Muslims go?

        There was a referendum in Switzerland some years ago trying to minimize or stop the building of new mosques. Should Swiss Muslims immigrate to the U. S. as religiously persecuted?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        As I argued above, it’s a wonderful opportunity for the U.S. to brain-drain some other country that can’t see past a superficial attribute of a citizen able to contribute.

        Of course, in making that argument I become the opponent of those here in the U.S. who can’t see past a superficial attribute of a would-be immigrant to potentially come here and contribute.

        French Jews, German Muslims … all seem like they could make perfectly good Americans to me. I’m kind of more interested in what kinds of trades, technical knowledge, education they have to bring to the table, than the color of their skins, the foods they eat, or manners in which they choose to worship the divine (if at all).Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    I am struck in this how the fundamentalist extremists of each of the groups involved reinforce each other. Fundamentalist Islamists launch inhumane attacks on Israeli’s and drives Israeli’s into the arms of the Jewish fundamentalists. Jewish fundamentalists burn orchards, seize land and expand colonies and drive arabs into the arms of Islamist fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalists terrorize French Jews and drive them to make aliya and the Jewish fundamentalists rejoice. Around and around it goes.

    You’d think they were allies, all the fundamentalists, the way they empower each other.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I don’t think that people are thinking through their actions this thoroughly.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Lee, at no point did I indicate I thought this was intentional. I do not think that Likud and Hamas meet in some smoke filled cantina that straddles the Gazan border to plan their next moves while twirling their moustaches.
        It is simple face, when extremists on one side or the other sink a compromise agreement between groups they damage the moderates on both sides which naturally redounds to the benefit of their counterpart extremists on the other side.
        You can see it in Iran, for instance, both the Islamic hardliners and the GOP wish for Obama and Roubani to fail to reach an accord. When the GOP makes a run at the subject through the House and Senate (with some ADL spurred Dem assistance mind) the Iranians hardliners say “See! I told you so!” When the Iranian hardliners rock Roubani’s agenda the GOP nods sagely and says “Of course, we were right all along!” Neither of those groups are in any way in cahoots, they despise each other, but their interests are perversely aligned.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      Well that is the tragedy of a quagmire, isn’t it?Report

    • Avatar Charlotte says:

      I have long laughed at this irony, which was especially true when North African Jews were being scared out of their homelands and went massively to Israel.Report