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Op-Ed: New Survey Suggests the Twilight of European Jewry

The hatred that everyone in Europe knows about, yet few dare to speak its name.
Published: Saturday, November 09, 2013 6:32 PM



Europe is fast becoming a dark continent for Jews. That is the picture painted by a new survey from the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, released to coincide with the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms that took place in Germany 75 years ago.

Among the survey’s most startling revelations, and there are many, is that a large number of European Jews are considering leaving because of the persecution they experience in the countries they currently live in. The survey also shows a clear link between the demonization of Israel and attacks on Jews in Europe. Ironically, the upshot of all this anti-Zionist Jew hatred could well be the strengthening of the Jewish State as a growing number of European Jews seek a place of refuge.

The survey of 5,847 Jewish individuals across eight major European countries, found that 66% of European Jews say that anti-Semitism is a problem in their country and 75% say it is on the rise. Large numbers said that they no longer bother to report these attacks to the authorities, 27% said these incidents happen too routinely to be worthy of being reported.

As a result of all this some 68% of the Jews in this study say they have avoided appearing identifiably Jewish in public for fear of attack or harassment. 49% of those who have experienced anti-Semitism say they now avoid certain areas or neighbourhoods to stay safe.

One of the most striking statistics is that 82% of those surveyed say they have heard Israelis being likened with Nazis. And it is no surprise where much of this hate is coming from, with many of those respondents who had witnessed anti-Semitism saying that it had come from the Left. 57% of those in Britain, 62% of those in Italy and 67% of those in France said they had heard anti-Semitism from someone on the Left.

When it came to racism against Jews from the Muslim community, 51% of Jews in Sweden, 56% of Jews in Britain and 73% of Jews in France said they had heard anti-Semitism from, what the survey terms, an Islamic extremist. This is the hatred that everyone in Europe knows about, yet few dare to speak its name.

The result of all of this is that many of Europe’s Jews are now looking to leave. The survey inquired about both those who are considering emigration as well as those who attempted it but returned for some reason. Across the eight countries surveyed 31% of Jews had either considered or attempted emigration specifically as a result of anti-Semitism. In France the figure is just below half, where 49% have either considered or attempted emigration.

These stark figures combined with high levels of assimilation, high levels of intermarriage and low birth rates mean that many of Europe’s Jewish communities appear to be living in a kind of unsustainable twilight. A limbo between past vibrancy and the threat of future total extinction.

The pressures here do not simply come in the forms of the kind of intense and unrelenting anti-Semitism documented by this new study. In addition to moves to label and boycott Israeli produce, Europe’s politicians are increasingly favouring banning such essential Jewish practices as kosher butchering and circumcision. Nor is it true that these moves are primarily directed against Muslims rather than Jews. In Sweden Halal slaughter remains legal whereas kosher was outlawed decades ago.

Similarly, when it comes to circumcision there is a clear double standard in operation. The genuinely barbaric practice of female genital mutilation is illegal across most European countries. Yet, the authorities systematically turn a blind eye when they know this practice is happening in Islamic communities. Rather than actually enforce this law they are instead devising new laws against Jewish male circumcision.

In Britain the top down interference with Jewish life has even impacted upon Jewish education. In 2009 the Supreme Court in London ruled against the admission policies of Jewish day schools as being guilty of racial discrimination. Indeed, the very crackdown against Europe’s Jews that many would see as a clear instance of racism, often now hides behind the banner of anti-racism.

The ideology that underlies the European Union and the universalist culture championed by Europe’s cultural elites is naturally and necessarily inclined against Jews. It views Jews parochial and anachronistic, inward looking and wedded to backward traditions. Europe’s multiculturalism will make allowances for Third World minority groups who are to be viewed as victims and not to be held to the same standards as everyone else. Jews are perceived as white and wealthy and thus are expected to toe the liberal, secular, integrationist line.

As witnessed with the horrific shooting attack at the Jewish school in Toulouse, the consequences of anti-Jewish incitement quickly becomes deadly. If incidents like this were to become more common one would have to ask how responsible it is for Jewish parents to continue raising families in these places. This survey would certainly suggest that many are asking themselves that very question.

It was recently reported that anti-Israel activists in Ireland have taken to placing yellow stickers on Israeli products. Once Europeans placed yellow badges on Jews, now they just place yellow stickers on Jewish products. What progress! Yet these things have consequences.

And among this rising tide of hate is questionable what kind of future Jews still have in Europe.