Such hopes are long gone. The sad fact is that many European Muslims subscribe to the unreconstructed forms of anti-Semitism that are prevalent in the Muslim world at large, and are impervious to any kind of Holocaust-related education. In today’s Europe, hard-core anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activity, from harassment in the street or at school to arson and murder, is mostly the doing of Muslims.'
So writes French journalist Michel Gurfinkiel, in an absolute stunner of an essay asking whether there is a long-term future for Jews in Europe.
'Another, opposite set of delusions is also gone: namely, that European Jews could easily or safely take part in a broad alliance against radical Islam. True, there is no doubt that most ethnic Europeans feel as threatened by Islam as do most Jews. A Tilder/Institut Montaigne poll released in April this year found that, with one exception, all religions in France are regarded positively; the one outlier, Islam, is regarded negatively by fully 73 percent of Frenchmen. According to another poll, by Ipsos/Le Monde, 74 percent find Islam “intolerant” and 80 percent believe it is “forcing its ways on French society at large.” A parallel poll conducted in Germany last year yielded similar results, with 70 percent associating Islam with “fanaticism and radicalism,” 64 percent calling it “prone to violence,” and 60 percent citing its penchant for “revenge and retaliation.” In addition, 80 percent of Germans think Islam “deprives women of their rights” and 53 percent foresee a battle between Islam and Christianity.
Is there any comfort to be drawn by European Jews from such findings, on the grounds that, for a change, a different minority has been singled out for aspersion? Alas, there is none. For a variety of reasons and out of a variety of motives—one might list among them the upsurge of an undifferentiated European xenophobia, combined in this case with a felt need to deflect the fear and resentment of Muslims onto an easier target— many ethnic French, Germans, and other Europeans are now of the opinion that Judaism, too, is an alien creed, and must be duly countered or curtailed. In surveys, they point to external similarities between Jews and Muslims: related Semitic languages, insistence on ritually processed food and ritual slaughtering, circumcision, and gender separation. Two-fifths of Britons and up to three-quarters of Germans now oppose circumcision. Last year, after a medical mishap involving a Muslim circumcision, a German court banned the practice altogether for minors; it took parliamentary action to make it legal again.
Ritual slaughtering, kosher as well as hallal, is likewise under threat in Europe. Almost three-quarters of Frenchmen disapprove of it, and almost one-half of Britons advocate a complete ban. Indeed, the practice is already prohibited in five European countries. The most recent to join the ranks is Poland where, only a few months ago, a sparkling new Museum of the History of the Polish Jews opened to great acclaim in Warsaw. “When [Poles and Jews] look in the same direction,” gushed a Polish Jewish businessman at the lavish inauguration ceremonies, “it’s great for [Jews], great for Poland, and great for the world.” Now, in a bitter irony that Samuel Sandler would recognize and appreciate, Poland has effectively banned the production of kosher meat.
Some political figures have rushed to condone and encourage these developments. Last year, François Fillon, the prime minister of France in the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy administration, urged both Muslims and Jews to renounce “ancestral traditions with not much meaning nowadays,” like kosher and hallal slaughtering. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, who came in third in the 2012 French presidential race, suggested in Le Monde that both the Islamic female veil and the Jewish male kippah (yarmulke) should be banned in public. In a TV interview on the same day, she conceded that the kippah is “not a problem” in France, but pressed Jews to adjust to its banning anyway as “a small sacrifice” since “laws must apply to all.”
But evenhandedness in these matters is absurd, and wholly unjust. Punctiliousness in ritual observance is far more central to traditional Judaism than to Islam, and there are already many instances where, as the researcher Dov Maimon has detailed, the religious rights of Jews have been set aside by European governments. Above all, putting Jews in the same category as Muslims in order to appear evenhanded requires pretending that they are two of a kind when it comes to the problems each presents to civic and social life in Europe, to democracy, and to Western values. This way lies surrender to blackmail and, eventually, conflict without end.
Even worse scenarios may be contemplated. Real life is often circular: the farther you travel in one direction, the closer you come to those traveling in the opposite direction. What about a nightmare fusion, at some point in the future, of an anti-Semitic Left, an anti-Semitic Right, and an anti-Semitic Islam? In the case of France, there are ominous precedents: many Frenchmen who started out as fierce anti-German patriots in the late-19th century ended as pro-German activists or collaborationists in the 1930s and early 40s. “Better Hitler than Blum,” went a slogan of French pro-German appeasers at the time of Munich (the reference was to Léon Blum, a Jew and then the socialist prime minister of France). Many right-wingers might feel closer today to the stern creed of Islam than to either Zionism, globalism, or the flaccid morals of liberal democracy.
Alternatively, many prewar left-wing anti-racists and philo-Semites were eventually seduced by Hitler’s “socialist” credentials, and accepted anti-Semitism as part of the package. Following the same pattern, today’s European Left and far Left tend to cultivate Muslim voters at any cost in order to gain an edge over the Right. And indeed, in the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, 86 percent of French Muslims voted for the Left, probably enough to ensure a win in both races. In another exquisite irony, a cottage industry of European academics and intellectuals has taken to promoting Muslims as Europe’s “new Jews” and indicting present-day Jews for betraying their “universalist” mission on earth by “regressing” to a reactionary ethnocentrism.
As for Muslim anti-Semitism, it has been intimately connected with classic European anti-Semitism for more than a century, and has massively borrowed the latter’s doctrines and tropes, from the blood libel to Holocaust denial to the crazed conspiracy-mongering of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The two brands share a common language, and each sees in the other a mirror image of itself. Much money has also circulated between them. Just as fascist and Nazi funds helped Arab and Iranian anti-Jewish activists in the past, so Arab and Iranian money has been lavished on all stripes of European anti-Semites in our time....'
Read (and contemplate) the entire article here and the response by Daniel Johnson here
Of course Gurfinkiel is right. But he's parochial. Europe is dying outright. Perhaps it will be ethnically cleansed of all Jews in a generation, having learned it's more acceptable to watch them die out slowly than stuffing them in ovens en masse. But generally it's simply a symptom of the death of Europe generally. In a generation or two, unless Europe becomes a third world collection of failed states packed with illiterate poor people from elsewhere it will simply be a depopulated lunar landscape just as sure as the Black Death revisited.ReplyDelete