A Europe spun out of control

As news of the murder of Dan Uzan, the Jewish guard who prevented a massacre at the Copenhagen synagogue late Saturday night, spread through news outlets and social media Sunday, Danes began to gather in the narrow, cobbled street of Krystalgade in the center of Copenhagen, where the synagogue sits behind heavy metal gates.

As the pavement in front of the Copenhagen synagogue filled with flowers and as memorial services drew record numbers of people, it became apparent that Danish Jews were experiencing an extraordinary outpouring of sympathy.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt assured the Jews, “You are not alone,” and even shed a tear for the cameras, as she added her bouquet to the others on the spot where Dan Uzan gave his life.

Anna Mee Allerslev, mayor of integration at the Copenhagen Municipality, also left flowers in Krystalgade and later co-initiated the memorial service in the large Gunnar Nu Hansen square in Oesterbro, the Copenhagen neighborhood where the first victim, the Danish movie director Finn Norgaard, was killed earlier in the day. After the memorial, the mayor proudly wrote on her Facebook page, “We remember. 41.000 Danes gathered in mourning. We emerge stronger on the other side together. Am grateful to be a Dane.”

Martin Lidegaard, the Danish minister of foreign affairs, shared this heartfelt comment with his Facebook followers: “Painfully beautiful memorial in Copenhagen. A sea of people. So many beautiful speeches, all building bridges and insisting on our most important values: trust, freedom and togetherness. Thank you.”

Behind the flowers, the thousands of candles and the memorial ceremonies, something unnervingly familiar emerges, persistently forcing you to take in the outlandish vision of a nation so obsessively and compulsively riddled with the pathology of political correctness that it would probably require clinical treatment, if such were only readily available.

Politicians and the usual “experts” from the chattering classes admonishing the public, including the terrified and deeply shocked Jewish community, to carry on as normal. Except there is no normal for the Jews of Denmark. For many years already, wearing a kippah or a Star of David in the streets of Copenhagen has been fraught with risk of verbal and physical assault. Forget about carrying the Israeli flag. Jewish children go to school behind barbed wire. This was not the first terror attack against the Jewish community, as some terror “experts” have wrongfully claimed. The first terror attack against the Copenhagen synagogue happened in 1985. Nothing has really been “normal” since then, a reality that eludes most Danes in general and the political and cultural “elites” in particular.

Danish authorities have for years willfully ignored the Jewish community’s increasingly desperate pleas for increased security around its institutions. There is something dark and tragically ironic about the self-congratulatory poses of Thorning-Schmidt, Lidegaard and Allerslev and the authorities on the state and municipal level that they represent, pretending that they have no share in the responsibility for the tragic death of Uzan, which the prime minister claimed that the authorities could not have prevented.

This defensive statement is of course highly questionable. As late as Saturday afternoon, after Danish authorities knew for a fact that a terrorist who had shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he sprayed the Café Krudttoenden with round after round of bullets and had killed a bystander in cold blood, had fled with an automatic weapon in Copenhagen, armed police was still not stationed in front of Jewish institutions. The police only sent reinforcements after the Jewish community contacted the police, asking for protection. However, they did not send 20 or even 10 police officers heavily armed with machine guns to what was an extremely likely next target. They sent two police officers, who failed miserably at identifying the terrorist, who was pretending to be drunk in order to get himself as close to Uzan as possible, although their presence did probably help prevent a massacre inside the synagogue itself.

At the news conference hosted by the police around noon on Sunday, one incredulous journalist questioned the wisdom of the police’s decision to post only two officers in front of the synagogue, while knowing that a terrorist with an automatic weapon was on the loose. The police were unable to give a satisfactory answer to this very pertinent question, quipping that “it is always easier to be wise after the event.”

Then there is the carefully sanitized discourse. Hardly anyone dares whisper that dangerously toxic word: anti-Semitism. It appears to have disappeared entirely from official use by European state authorities in an extremely successful act of EU harmonization.

Thorning-Schmidt stated that the motives behind Uzan’s murder were “unclear.” No, they were not. The Muslim terrorist killed him at close range, shooting him through the head for one reason alone: He was a Jew.

In fact, 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein had been very vocal about his burning hatred of Jews, according to several of his classmates contacted by Ekstra Bladet, the Danish tabloid.

“He was consumed with hatred of Jews and was very aggressive when he spoke about the Israel-Palestine conflict,” a 22-year old former classmate told the newspaper. Judging by the reactions of Hussein’s friends and supporters this is unquestionable. They have vowed that the Jews “asked for it” and that they will pray for Hussein every Friday on the spot where the police killed him in the early hours on Sunday.

A leading Danish politician, Fathi el Abed, member of the Socialist party, Socialistisk Folkeparti, who on a nearly daily basis spews virulent hatred against Jews from his Facebook page, but who is nevertheless frequently quoted as an objective “expert” on the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Danish media, wrote on his Facebook page that he was “considering” whether to condemn the murders.

The terror attack was, of course, described as an “isolated event,” perpetrated by a “lunatic” who had been “misguided.” Naturally — I know you are waiting for this — it had “nothing to do with Islam.”

In fact, several social media users were quick to show their eagerness to placate Muslims. Less than 24 hours after the murders, many were asking themselves whether it would not have been better if Lars Vilks, the cartoonist who famously drew Muhammad as a dog, had abstained from performing such a “disrespectful” act towards the Muslims and “the Prophet” (as Muhammad is now routinely called, even by ethnic Danes). Very few appeared to ask themselves how the Jews entered and figured in this intricate equation and why they were targeted in conjunction with an attack on the freedom of speech.

Many were, predictably, quick to warn against a backlash against the Muslims and that all should be done to avoid any collective demonization of them. Unfortunately, no one was warning against the demonization of Danish Jews.

In addition to the vilification of Jews coming from Israel’s detractors, the local branches of the BDSers, led by the same foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, now so moved by the “painfully beautiful” words of the ceremonies but who advocated a boycott of Israel in the EU, the demonization has come from the very top of the Danish government.

In the fall of 2013, in an unprecedented move, the Danish government prohibited shechitah, ritual slaughter, refusing to meet with Jewish — and Muslim — community representatives to hear what they had to say on the topic. The responsible minister, Dan Joergensen, only agreed to meet with representatives once the prohibition, which was enacted administratively, surpassing parliament, was in place. The move created much anti-Jewish sentiment, with many Danes touting the old Nazi adage that schehitah is a “brutal and inhumane” way of slaughter.

At the same time, a campaign to prohibit circumcision of infants drew enormous traction, dominating the headlines for long periods and with social media erupting in a hate-filled campaign against Jews with almost medieval depictions of Jews as child-abusers, recalling ancient blood libels. The campaign was led by several Danish doctors and found many supporters among Danish politicians and lawmakers, even government ministers, but has so far not yielded any results. During these debates, Jews were frequently told by ethnic Danes to adhere to “Danish tradition and laws” or leave the country.

As the Danish Jewish community tried to cope with the aftermath of the attack, keeping children at home as the Jewish school locked down on Monday, news of hundreds of gravestones desecrated at the French Jewish cemetery at Sarre-Union reached the headlines.

Europe has spun out of control. Irremediably.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

About the Author
Judith Bergman is a writer and a political analyst. She holds degrees in International Relations (The London School of Economics and Political Science) and law. She lives in Israel.
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