Published On: Thu, Apr 24th, 2014

The Plight of European Jews

In the wake of the recent shootings of innocent Jewish schoolchildren by a Muslim gunman in the French city of Toulouse, Der Spiegel is reporting that a record number of French Jews are emigrating to Israel.

An émigré named Linda, who didn’t want her last name identified, says that although she and her family are subjected to daily rocket attacks from Gaza while living in Israel, she still feels safer than when she lived in France.

“Anti-Semitism has become unbearable there [France],” she says. “Children are harassed on their way to school just because they’re Jews.” She adds that she was also the victim of such harassment in the middle of the Champs-Élysées in Paris. “I was wearing a necklace with a Star of David attached to it,” she recalls. “Someone barged into me. I said to him: ‘You ought to excuse yourself!’ All he said was that he didn’t apologize to Jews.”

According to the French Interior Ministry, anti-Semitic attacks rose 60 percent in 2012 over 2011 levels.


Anti-Semitic Desecration in Europe

As a result, Jewish institutions in France now resemble bunkers with high walls, barbed wire and protective guards. Hundreds of incidents of Anti-Semitism occur each year: from the desecration of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, to harassment for wearing Jewish symbols in public, and the senseless and grisly crimes such as the shootings in Toulouse.

Many of these acts are committed by Arab youths who claim allegiance to the plight of the Palestinians or resistance to French participation in the war in Afghanistan. Yet, most of these Arab youths are French-born and live far away from these conflicts and their rationales ring hollow. But many Jews have had enough. A total of 100,000 French Jews have already emigrated to Israel and more continue to relocate at the rate of 2,000 a year.

This migration is not limited to France. Jews feel unwelcome all across Europe, due to increased Muslim immigration into European cities as well as growing Anti-Zionist sentiments among Continental elites. The history of Jewish persecution is grimly familiar: the original Diaspora after the Babylonian Captivity, the forced conversions and then expulsions from Catholic Spain, the pogroms and Pale of Settlement in Czarist Russia and, of course, the Holocaust of Nazi Germany.

Anti-Semitism – whether racial, religious or geographical – hinges on the same pretext:  scapegoating.

(A recent example of this is seen in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian militants are blaming Jews for dividing the country. They are handing out leaflets ordering Ukrainian Jews to register with the government, listing all property or “else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated”, reports USA today.)

In the case of the shooting in Toulouse, while it appears the shooter received terrorist training in Pakistan and his crime is rightly labeled a terrorist act, his targeting of a Jewish school in Toulouse probably has more to do to his lowly status as an Arab living in France than with his professed hatred of Israel.  Some say it is the multicultural myth of the Europe Union that has failed to assimilate such disaffected youths that is at root cause here.


French Banlieue

Multiculturalism was intended to make immigrants feel at home in the West. “No need to adapt or change customs,” the multiculturalists say. “You may even keep the language from whence you came. It is we westerners who will adapt and accommodate you!” But this sense of noblesse oblige is a double-edged sword.  While Arab immigrants in France are provided with subsidized housing, many reside in dismal banlieues where immigrants feel marginalized. There, they speak Arabic and conduct themselves as if still in North Africa. But once outside the ghetto, French society is disinclined to hire them except for the most menial jobs. Arabs naturally feel resentful at this displacement.  “Why are we marginalized?” they ask. “When other minorities – such as the Jews – prosper at the center of society?”

The short answer is that Jews are better at adapting. They’ve been adapting to changing circumstances for thousands of years. By contrast, multiculturalists tells Muslims; “Don’t change. We’ll adapt to you.” But this multicultural model of assimilation is more soup than salad. Only recently have European leaders such as Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and David Cameron finally criticized this approach, saying it has been an abject failure in adequately integrating Muslims into the rest of society. Steeped in alienation, Arab youths are more susceptible to Islamist propaganda which, for all of its religious trappings, is essentially a criminal and nihilistic enterprise. Witness the killings in Toulouse. The killer was remorseless and contemptuous of the multicultural society that claimed to tolerate him. In the end, he was gunned down in a hail of bullets like a hell-bent gangster.

France has the largest population of both Jews and Muslims in Europe. There was hope that multiculturalism would integrate both populations into a newly de-Christianized Europe. But this experiment has failed. Incidents like the shooting in Toulouse give Jews fewer reasons to remain. Add to this, a resurgent neo-Nazi movement in Germany and the impetus for exodus seems inevitable.

The Jewish people are resilient and will persevere no matter what challenges lay ahead. Yet, Jewish migration away from Europe takes with it many of its contributions in the arts, science and industry.  Think of the countless Jewish thinkers and innovators such as Kafka, Freud and Einstein who were at their intellectual height before Nazism swept across Europe and turned its cities into bombed-out wastelands.

Historically, the rise of Anti-Semitism has been a canary in a coalmine. It warns of imminent danger. The media, however, continues to tell us that multiculturalism is the solution to these age-old conflicts.

But as the rising incidents of violence in Europe makes clear, Jews can no longer wait for this multicultural utopia to materialize. Instead, they are fleeing to an uncertain future in Israel rather than face continued persecution in the West.

About the Author

- Robert Maley has worked in publishing, banking and – as incongruent as it may seem – the theatrical world. After many years of living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he now resides in the more pastoral setting of Virginia. A playwright with an MFA from Columbia University, he has had several plays produced off-off-Broadway. Presently, he is a critic of the Cultural Marxism to which he once allied, especially as it pertains to the arts, faith and academia.