As Operation Protective Edge continues in Gaza, the Jews of the European diaspora are looking about and seeing an increasingly hostile home. A pair of particularly violent outbreaks of anti-Semitism in France and the Netherlands seems to foreshadow a future conflagration fueled by moral relativism and sparked by Europe’s growing Islamic slums. Muslims spouting Sharia and jihad have no room for Israel and Jews in their future world, and post-Christian Europe offers little resistance to those who promise hate and violence.
Paris’s Jews suffered attacks on three synagogues and a series of assaults and attempted fire bombings in recent weeks. Phrases like “Death to the Jews” are commonplace now in European protests, used almost to the point of trope, retaining raw force only through the sheer strength of the speakers’ hate. Berlin’s air, too, is again polluted by anti-Semitic chants and clamor. More and more, what claim to be “pro-Palestine” or “anti-Zionist aggression” demonstrations are nothing more than platforms to cry for the deaths of Jews everywhere. Perhaps most frightening, not only for the Jews of Europe but for Europeans themselves, is the recent protest at the Hague, where the flag of ISIS’s new Caliphate flew above a churning mob of radical Muslims jumping in the air in a show of solidarity against Jews, Israel, and the West.
The sentiment all seems eerily reminiscent of the darkness of post-World War I Europe, of Germany in 1933. That has not escaped the notice of the Knesset’s Diaspora Affairs Committee and the Israeli-Jewish Congress, which convened a conference Monday to discuss these terrifying echoes of the past. Jewish communities from throughout Europe were represented to discuss the possibility of another existential threat to their people.
The most common extremist attack on Israel has been the equation of Zionism and Nazism. There’s something brutally ironic about that. It should be laughably absurd to persecute the Jews of Europe for being Nazis—and it would be if life and death did not teeter in the balance.
German National Socialism is a very particular political system, perhaps unique to the inter-bellum period. Accusations of Nazism are incongruous when applied to Jews, or even Muslims for that matter. But ignoring the definitional incoherence of the attack, it boggles the mind to see racism accepted as political dialogue. Through passivity before radical Islam, Europe attacks Jews who are her citizens, salving her burning conscience by equivocating them with the state of Israel. It is one thing to accuse another nation of using disproportionate force in self-defense. It’s another thing entirely to allow anti-Semitism to flourish.
The leaders of Europe have not been silent, thankfully. They have condemned the worst of the violence and mobilized police to break up riots. Yet Jewish community defense groups have done much of the work in Paris to keep their people safe. It is not enough to react to violence; violence must be obviated. The cries for Jewish extermination must be taken seriously. Europe cannot let relativism remove what moral fortitude remains in her.