Archive | February, 2015

The carpet has been lifted and the dust is still there

23 Feb

What will it take for European Jews to realize that there is no turning back the clock of virulent anti-Semitism? The ancient disease that plagued the European continent for centuries was merely swept under the carpet for the last 65 years, a token of widespread but short-lived feelings of continental guilt experienced by the perpetrators and the enablers alike; however, like the non-rehabilitated violent criminal who is granted a reduced sentence for good behavior and returns to the real world only to commit acts of violence again, so too the 21st century Europeans have demonstrated that apologies and remorse do not necessarily lead to true repentance – the kind that includes a fundamental change in attitude.

As Liel Leibovitz of Tablet magazine writes,

As most European leaders are too busy declaring their absolute intolerance for any sort of prejudice to notice their own societies’ descent into moral chaos, let’s play a game: Imagine for a moment that the folks being beaten, whose houses of worship are being attacked, whose children are being murdered, aren’t European Jews. Imagine they’re African Americans living in the heartland of the Old South in 2015, and that the people uploading murder videos to YouTube were racial supremacists whose celebrations of these obscene acts were applauded by tens or even hundreds of millions of their fellow believers worldwide. Would anyone suggest that the people being targeted in this way were not actually being threatened, or that there was nothing to worry about, or that the people threatening them didn’t mean it, or that we need to sympathize with the confused motivations of the killers, or that they wouldn’t be quite so keen on killing if they had better jobs or nicer cars or flatter TVs, or that it was actually the victims’ own fault for not condemning the misdeeds of their own kind loudly enough, or that foreign politicians were exaggerating the epithets, and beatings, and tortures, and killings for political gain? No way.

Europe is a scary place for Jews these days because the European right and the European left are locked together in spiral of social and political madness that is being driven by the socio-political-theological madness of the jihadists. Here’s how it goes: Many Muslim immigrants and their ghettoized children challenge the state’s priorities and traditions, from questioning the ban on religious headdresses to decrying the dismal economic opportunities available to them; right-wing parties respond by beating the tribal drums, a downbeat that often sounds a lot like the one that rang wild in Europe not even 80 years ago; and left-leaning parties do their best to appear both tough and sensitive, which, sadly, is impossible. If the jihadists don’t win, whoever does win may well be worse.

It is time to face the facts: the carpet has been lifted and the dust is still there. European anti-Semitism is alive and well, and those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.