Europe’s Jews Have a Civil Rights Fight on their Hands

Antisemitism in Europe is a civil rights issue. Discrimination against Jewish religious rites is a civil rights issue. It doesn’t matter if the source is a secular one aiming to make religious affiliation subservient to the state. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from the slums of Paris and is based on an old prejudice from Algeria and Morocco. These developments across Europe are an issue of civil rights which Europe’s Jews are going to have to fight for.

It’s unhelpful to say that Jews in Europe should just drop everything and come to Israel. Talk about punching someone right in the face. You aren’t holding up Israel as the hope of the world when you make these desperate pleas. You’re making us look like the weakling. You make Israel out to be a place lacking strength, because people would only be coming here because they have no other choice rather than on account of Israel being the best place to be.

Even the Exodus only occurred with the Hebrews leaving with some pride in hand. Egypt was left punished for its treatment of the Children of Israel. Whether it’s France as a whole which is accountable or a small segment of that society or some substantial sector of Europe, drawing them here out of desperation does not make for a strong Aliyah.

For what Jews remain in Europe and do not make the trip, they will need support and encouragement. They have a tremendous amount of work ahead of them to combat the variations of prejudice and discrimination Jews are facing in formerly Enlightened countries (capitalization intentional).

As an ardent Zionist, I want nothing more than to see a massive wave of Jewish immigration to Israel. I am well-aware though that such things are better with our heads held high. Redeem the community, make it vibrant and cause it to grow. Then if you are inclined, come to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv & Haifa.

About the Author
Gedalyah Reback is an experienced writer on technology, startups, the Middle East and Islam. He also focuses on issues of personal status in Judaism, namely conversion.