Jewish protesters in Krakow call for reopening of synagogue, the sign on the right reads ‘Jewish community is not only for the Jakubowicz family. (photo credit: Courtesy)
“There is no Europe without Jews,” Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, said two years ago.
Unfortunately, the second European Jewish community, in Malmö, Sweden, could soon be dissolved in a few years. Not by choice, not because they wanted to move somewhere else, but simply because they fear for their lives and the safety of their families.
This is scandalous and should become an outrage for every decent European.
For centuries, perhaps even millennia, the Jewish community has been a type of bellwether for the societal health of the European continent.
If one looks back throughout history, when the Jews did not feel safe and were oppressed, enslaved, expelled and massacred, it was usually in places and at times when the continent was facing traumatic and unstable convulsions among the populace.
Whether the Crusades, the Reconquista, the Reformation, or before each of the two World Wars of the last century, each were preceded and accompanied by massive expressions of hate toward the Jews from within and without.
Whole countries, towns and cities were wiped clean of their Jews, either through massacre, forcible conversion or expulsion. Not infrequently, a mix of the three.
After the Holocaust, broken bodies and souls attempted to give the European continent one last chance by returning to the homes they lived in before the war or venturing toward new countries and lands.
Despite antisemitism never being extinguished and keep raising its ugly head on many occasions since, Jews once again adapted to their new surroundings and tried to contribute beyond their numbers to the societies they lived in whether through science, culture and innovation.
Many thought the days of relocation and replacement were long in the past.
However, it appears that we were far too optimistic, as in May, for the first time in many decades, a Jewish community was dissolved due to security concerns, and it does not look like it will be the last.
Beginning in 2016, neo-Nazis from the Nordic Resistance Movement started pasting stickers with fascist imagery on Sweden’s Umea’s Jewish community center, “making the place look like after Kristallnacht,” in the words of one of Umea’s Jewish leaders. The closure followed surveillance activity on the center by the neo-Nazis, who published details about individual visitors.
Now it seems as if the Jewish community in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city, is also considering dissolving itself due to antisemitism. Whereas in Umea the greatest threat came from neo-Nazis, in Malmö it is from Muslim immigrants and the far Left.
EUROPE IS already convulsing under much instability. It is a continent still reeling from the financial crisis of 2007-8, with challenging austerity plans across the continent, the uncertainty over Brexit, and the rise of the far-right and far-left populist parties.
The European Union, which was meant to serve as a bulwark against intolerance and fanaticism and bring together a more cohesive and unified continent saw in recent years the strengthening of euroskeptic, far-right and nationalist parties.
This combination of economic uncertainty and frailty, and rising populism and nationalism, is ominous for the Jewish community who follows these events very closely because of our intimate understanding of the winds of history.
Of course, no one is claiming that this clearly replicating the 1930s and a new Holocaust is in the offing. However, the atmosphere in parts of Europe is eerily reminiscent and the effect is worryingly similar, nonetheless.
The big difference between then and now is that European countries are largely dominated by leaders who speak out against antisemitism and try and reassure their Jewish communities.
However, this is clearly not enough, and words, as well as the much welcomed solidarity are not saving Jews from savage attacks, which makes them question their future.
According to a poll released by EU agency for fundamental rights (FRA) last December, close to 40% of European Jews have considered leaving their home countries over the past five years because of rising antisemitism.
This figure is alarming and should be a call to massive and unprecedented action. It should mean a continental-wide call to arms to invest in a safer future for European Jewry.
It should mean that the fight against antisemitism should begin in schools where we educate to tolerance.
It should mean greater policing and harsher punishments for those whose words inspire hate against Jews, whether online or in marches in our main city streets.
It should mean an effective identification, investigation and prosecution of antisemitic hate crimes.
It should mean the immediate adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism by all European governments and relevant bodies and institutions.
Security and safety for Jewish communities should not be left to them to provide, but should be undertaken by the authorities who have a duty to safeguard and protect our communities and institutions. This basic responsibility of all governments should not be privatized.
These and other steps have to be taken now. The times for discussions is over, and if the fate of Jewish communities is not enough of a motivating factor, then the future of Europe should be.
As Timmermans stated and as history has amply demonstrated, the battle against antisemitism and for the safety and security of European Jewry is no less than the battle for Europe’s soul and future.
The writer is president of the European Jewish Congress, the World Holocaust Forum and the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, where he leads the struggle against antisemitism and racism and the promotion of tolerance and reconciliation, human rights and interfaith dialogue.
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The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
For the second time in recent history, a Dutch Christian organization dedicated to supporting Israel has gone head-to-head with the government. With their family tradition of belief in Israel that preceded the state of Israel by almost one hundred years, it seems unlikely that the van Oordts are about to back down, no matter what the odds.
Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.