First, what actually is the deadly anti-Semitism that is now sweeping Europe? Yes, under the extinguished logs, the warm ashes of the old European anti-Semitism remain, but a new phenomenon now came to wreak havoc, and awakened the zombies.
It is the widespread diffusion of an Islamist anti-Semitism (no, Arabs are not Semite too: “Semite” is a purely linguistic adjective, not a racial one) that, in the wake of Haj Amin al Husseini and, later, of Arafat, criminalized, as the Nazis did, the Jews who dared to found Israel. So, because of a series of well-orchestrated lies, Israel became an apartheid State (it is crazy, just have a walk in a mall and see with your own eyes), a genocidal State (nevertheless, the Palestinians triplicated), a State that kills children and young people in their sleep in order to harvest their organs (go and read the story on the Swedish tabloid “Aftonbladet”), a country in which the Jews have been only as tourists or occupants.
Today’s anti-Semitism uses the myth of Israel’s cruelty to restore classical stereotypes: power, cruelty, cynicism, and the feeding on blood. “Death to Jews” has been shouted in the demonstration for Gaza. Modern anti-Semitism is Israelophobia, which the extreme left and the extreme right actually welcome.
But nobody wants to know it, so a reliable defense for the Jewish community will never be established. Three different statements issued by the European leaders do not sound reassuring at all. The first one says: “We will catch the culprits. We will defend the Jews because they are part of us”.
The second one repeats: “But the attacks do not have an Islamist origin. The perpetrators are just random lunatics”. The third one says: “Do not leave, you are our Jews”. Many heartfelt and polite statements by Angela Merkel, by the Danish Prime Minister and by our Matteo Renzi, repeat the Jews that Europe is “your home”, implying a reproach directed against Netanyahu for having said that their natural refuge, if they want it, is Israel.
Sure, they have a right to invite “their” Jews to stay. But the European defeat that the leaders are perceiving, and denouncing, in the leaving of the Jews is certainly not greater than the one of seeing them mowed down in the streets of Paris, Marseilles, Copenhagen, Brussels. The Jews do not belong to anyone, they do exist: as any other people, they have a right to live and to be secure.
Even in their diaspora, they are a unique people with different traditions; they belong to a single moral and cultural identity that has persisted through the millennia, no matter if they speak French or German. The union of so many people and the respect for their different origins created a loving and solid community in Israel, although not free from flaws (Ben Gurion once said: “When Israel has its prostitutes and thieves, we will be a state just like any other”).
A community that neatly defends itself from its aggressive neighbors, not afraid of an ISIS’ terrorist abruptly entering a kindergarten, a supermarket, a synagogue… And when, if not now that Jews are afraid to wear the kippah or the star of David, should Netanyahu have told them: “Just come here, this is your home”? Why do the European countries feel defeated if the Jews leave? The defeat is actually antecedent, it lies in Europe’s fear, in its crisis of identity and conscience, and in the enormous moral and physical dangers that it itself is running.
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (February 18, 2015)