Will Europe be Europe without Jews?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Jews to leave Europe. He recently called for a Mass Exodus after the recent attacks on a Copenhagen Synagogue. The Copenhagen attacks came soon after the hostage and murder situation at a Parisian kosher supermarket.
The whole issue of violence against Jews/Jews move to Israel/this causes more violence against Jews seems to be a cycle that is unbreakable for the foreseeable future.
Vox has a good essay on how anti-Semitic attacks are rising through out the world. The United States seems to be a largely happy exception. The Atlantic has a good round-up of stories and experiences of European Jews facing recent anti-Semitism. Kevin Drum thinks European anti-Semitic violence is connected to specific events and American anti-Semitic violence is connected to random individuals who choose to vent their frustrations by attacking Jews.
French Jews have already started making massive moves to Israel. This trend will likely continue despite pleas from the French Government. Europe is currently trying and failing to fight religious hate-crime. The question of whether Jews in other countries will follow the lead of French Jews is on the table now.
I have mixed feelings on the idea of a massive Jewish exodus from Europe. There is a very fine line between feeling unwelcome and unsafe and I don’t blame people for wanting to leave places where they feel unsafe. There are times when protests can go too far and make people feel unsafe and unwelcome. I support the right of ayslum-seekers in generals. There are just several happy accidents that make it easier for Jews to immigrate to Israel because of the Law of Return. The Jews come from Israel but we have also been part of Europe for centuries. Some of the best thinkers, writers, and scientists from Europe were or are Jewish or were or are of Jewish origin. I credit that the French Government and other Europeans are realizing that a Europe without Jews will not be good but I would like to see more concrete plans for combating anti-Semitic violence and demonstrations than just pleading with Jews to stay.
There will never be a Europe that is completely without Jews but I do worry that if enough Jews decide to leave Europe, it will make things much worse for the Jews who choose to remain and the whole thing will become an unbreakable cycle of violence and emigration and increasing radicalism. Europe has traditionally been more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than the United States but some European politicians use Israel-Palestine as a shield for their bigoted anti-Semitism like George Galloway and David Ward.
One thing I have noticed in talking with anti-Zionists is that they display a lot of wishful thinking. They acknowledge that many European nations did not want Jews to return after the Holocaust. They acknowledge that Amsterdam tried to get the Jews to pay back taxes. They also acknowledge that many Western countries did not want the surviving Jews because of traditional anti-Semitic reasoning. Yet they still wish that the Allied powers got their acts together to protect the Jews despite the fact that the Allies did not have enough resources to help their own citizens.
Many anti-Zionists also seem to have a hard time understanding how European Jews would feel safer in Israel than in Paris or Copenhagen. I am not sure what I get from this kind of anti-Zionism except that it is kind of just giving into terrorist extremism and letting them have their way. The kind of anti-Zionism that declares Brooklyn is better for Jews than Jerusalem or Tel Aviv because of Hamas and Hezbollah basically admits that Hamas will not be placated until it gets its way. There also seems to be a variant of “I wish the creation of Israel wasn’t necessary in 1949 even though all the facts on the ground indicate that it was.”
There is no way to determine how many Jews will leave Europe in the immediate future or whether Europe will find a way to combat rising anti-Semitic violence. I am personally hoping that Europe can get her act together this time around but I am not sure that they will. They are seemingly unable to integrate and deradicalize a large population that is also discriminated against, does not have much economic opportunity, and is seemingly uninterested in being part of secular European culture.