Will Muslim immigration lead to an upsurge in anti-Semitism?
Anti-Semitism among Muslims might not be acquired through the mother’s milk, but it is nonetheless a part of the socialization of Muslims, especially from North Africa and the Middle East. The historic expulsion of 850,000 Mizrachi and Sephardic Jews, who were forced to leave their homes in these Muslim countries with only the clothes on their backs and what they could carry, should not be forgotten. The Jews in this region had preceded by more than a thousand years the seventh century Islamic invasion that came out of the Arabian desert.
With Muslims now fleeing this region for Europe, the plight of Europe’s Jews is now almost indistinguishable from that of their ancestors as Europe fell under the jackboot of fascism. For a Jew dressed as a Jew, his yarmulke makes him a target. The only difference is that, today, Europe’s political leaders give lip service to condemning anti-Semitism but are unwavering in their determination to absorb an endless stream of migrants steeped in a culture of anti-Semitism.
Indeed, even with the Trump administration’s policy of extreme vetting of refugees, will anyone bother to vet them for anti-Semitism?
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says she will prohibit the display of religious garb in public. She need not worry about the Jews. Those who will not flee France will undoubtedly stuff their yarmulkes in their pockets and make sure their tzitzit are tucked safely inside their garments.
America, too, has seen a rise in anti-Semitism, most notably on the college campus. The purveyors of this anti-Semitism are the Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the largely Muslim organizers of the dual anti-Semitic hate fests known as Israel Apartheid Week and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. There is no Palestine Apartheid Week to publicize a political entity where no Jew is allowed to live and where selling land to a Jew is a crime punishable by death.
So, why have some 1,000 rabbis signed a petition in support of Muslim immigration to America? Do they not see what is happening in Europe? Are they bereft of any sense of the history of their own people in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa? Do they not comprehend that the Jews of Egypt, who preceded Islam, experienced dhimmitude as late as 1920?
When automobiles were on the road, airplanes were in the sky, and radio connected the peoples of the world, Egypt was treating Jews under restrictions designed for the seventh century. With the Jews gone, the Salafists in Egypt are calling for the imposition of the jizya tax on Coptic Christians in the 21st century.
Certainly, one can point to individual Muslims who are tolerant and countries such as Morocco where an enlightened brand of Islam is practiced. But this does not mitigate the threat of anti-Semitism, if the European experience is visited upon America.
Moreover, the rabbis who sign such petitions, who in their naïveté and their misguided desire to display some false sense of virtue, are a threat to the Jewish community. For America is not Europe in the sense that Americans will not tolerate here what Islam has done to Europe. There will be a backlash, some of which is already manifest in the ascendance of Donald Trump to the presidency.
Americans will organize against an assault on their culture and way of life. And when elected officials do not act, America has a long and ugly tradition of vigilantism that meted out justice on the frontier and harsh, brutal injustice ever since.
You might think the far right comprises Trump supporters and the people at Breitbart. Nonsense. That is just a political play by the left. The real alt-right resides beneath the political surface. Generally, they don’t write editorials or give interviews.
If there is a reaction to Muslim immigration, they will be the primary beneficiaries, because it will give them a mechanism for mobilization. As in all such mobilizations, they will blame the Jews. Just as in Germany, the far right now blames the Jews for the Islamic assault on their culture. Islamic immigration has caused a resurgence of the German far right.
The 1,000 rabbis with their vacuous petition will have given them a symbol for mobilization.
The good rabbis should remember that Jews, even in America, are like a school of fish threatened from above by birds of prey and from below by sharks. The rabbis have provided succor to both.
Edward Kimmel from Takoma Park, MD/Creative Commons