Op-Ed: Terrible Days are Coming Upon Europe
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
Only negativity is unleashing in the spiritual sky of Europe.
In some European countries, such as Greece, Hungary and Ukraine, anti-Semites are already serving openly in parliaments. In Italy, one of the lawmaker of the Five Stars movement, the country's biggest party, Paolo Bernini, just called Zionism "a plague", not so much different from Iran's Rouhani rethoric.
Just as 14th-century Christians once held the Jews responsible for the epidemic Black Death, the Israelis are now blamed by the Europeans for all the ills of today's world.
Anti-Semitism in Europe has become a spiritual disease which is growing like a cancer, like the HIV virus which ultimately destroys the body.
Anti-Semitism in the United States is mere racism; in Europe it is more than intolerance, it is a religious disease, infectious and massively destructive.
After the Second World War, anti-Jewish contempt in Europe was confined to neo-Nazi hooligans. Now it resists any rational exorcism and it is hegemonic in public opinion. Europe is again approaching, as many prefer to avert their eyes, the paroxysm of Jew-hatred that plunged the continent into its XX century abyss.
It is quite clear that incitement against Jews in Europe has crossed the danger lines. Resurrecting the blood libels of the Middle Ages, pamphlets accuse Jews of murdering Arab children. Jewish cemeteries are routinely desecrated, tombstones daubed with swastikas and pro-Islam slogans. Jewish schoolchildren are abused, assaulted, robbed and beaten by hooligans, and Jewish women are afraid to go out alone even in their own neighborhood.
Only the deliberately callous or the hopelessly naive would deny that there is an atmosphere of complacency where horrible things are going to happen.
Europe is both the executioner and the victim.
But brutal, vulgar blood libels and street assaults may actually be the lesser danger. The greater one is that a continent which stood by in such cowardly fashion under Nazism is allowing anti-Semitism to regain respectability in the very core of its institutions in the form of Islamopholic cosmopolitanism.
And what is most frightening is that Europe's nations are disintegrating socially along with it Their spiritual essence is lost in favor of relativism and multiculturalism. Hatred and anti-Semitism always explode when a nation shows a derisory survival instinct and it is pervaded by illogic and inconsistency.
Seventy years ago, one of Europe's greatest writers, the Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig, committed suicide after watching the European culture he worshiped devour itself in World War II.
A year and a half before that, Walter Benjamin, then Europe's most important Jewish intellectual, had killed himself with a morphine overdose as he tried to flee the Gestapo.
Benjamin's friend, Arthur Koestler, also attempted suicide.
There is the same, poisonous atmosphere in Europe today. And like during Zweig and Benjamin days, Europe is both the executioner and the victim.
Terrible thing are going to happen here in Europe. A horizontal feeling of desperation is ravaging the continent.
The last sounds of pride come from the muezzin's lament. The rest of us live in a cold, nostalgic and pusillanimous comfort.