Walter G. Wasser

Reckoning for Diaspora Jewry

As we navigate through these turbulent times, it’s essential to confront some difficult truths about the state of diaspora Jewry. Melanie Phillips recently highlighted these issues in a compelling piece, and her insights demand our attention. The evidence she presents is stark: from blatant acts of vandalism and threats in New York to the chilling statistics of antisemitic violence in France, the threat is both widespread and deeply rooted. This surge in Jew-hatred has seeped into the mainstream, driven by an unholy alliance of the hard-left, liberal apologists, and radical Islamists.

The alarming rise in antisemitism and violent attacks across Western societies demands a serious reevaluation of our position and safety. For Jews in Israel, the imperative for diaspora Jews to leave and seek refuge in the Jewish state seems clear. Israel, despite its own security challenges, remains a place where Jewish identity, safety, and solidarity are paramount. The Jewish state offers a unique sense of belonging and a unified front against a common enemy.

Phillips highlights crucial differences between the current wave of antisemitism and historical state-sponsored terror like that of Nazi Germany. Today’s antisemitism is insidious, pervasive, and bolstered by ideological zealots within Western societies, making the threat more diffuse but no less dangerous.

The political landscape further complicates the situation. The growing influence of “populist” parties in Europe, some of which have troubling histories with antisemitism, forces diaspora Jews into an uncomfortable dilemma. Supporting these parties might seem pragmatic given their stance against radical Islam and unchecked immigration, yet it conflicts with Jews’ historical wariness of right-wing movements.

In Britain, the Labour Party’s equivocal stance on Israel and Palestine, combined with the significant demographic influence of the Muslim population, suggests that Jewish concerns may be sidelined. The Labour leadership’s attempts to reconcile these conflicting pressures are unlikely to provide the robust support needed to counter the current wave of antisemitism.

Ultimately, as Phillips concludes, the decision to stay or leave is deeply personal. However, the stark reality is that Jews in the diaspora must brace for an increasingly hostile environment. Those who choose to stay must prepare for an ongoing struggle, both politically and socially. It is a time for vigilance, unity, and perhaps, for many, a reconsideration of where they can best ensure the safety and future of their families.

Phillips’ call to action should resonate profoundly. It is not merely a question of physical safety but also one of preserving Jewish identity and values in the face of mounting adversity. Whether diaspora Jews decide to stay and fight or seek refuge in Israel, the path forward will undoubtedly be challenging and fraught with difficult choices.

Summary of Melanie Phillips’ Viewpoints:

  • Rising Antisemitism: Phillips describes an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents across the West, including violent attacks and mainstream acceptance of anti-Jewish sentiments.
  • Insidious Threat: Unlike historical state-sponsored antisemitism, today’s Jew-hatred stems from an alliance of the hard-left, liberal apologists, and radical Islamists.
  • Political Challenges: In Europe and Britain, Jews face a political landscape where supporting right-wing parties with troubling histories might seem necessary to combat antisemitism, yet it conflicts with historical Jewish wariness of the right.
  • Personal Decisions: Phillips underscores that deciding whether to leave or stay in the diaspora is a personal choice, but warns of the difficult and dangerous environment Jews will face if they remain.
  • Israel as a Refuge: Despite its own challenges, Israel is portrayed as a place of clear purpose and unity for Jews, standing in stark contrast to the ambiguous and perilous situation in the diaspora.

These points offer a sobering yet vital perspective on the choices we face. It’s a time for us to engage in thoughtful reflection, honest dialogue, and collective action to navigate these challenges. Let’s rise to the occasion, ensuring the safety and integrity of our communities, whether we remain in the diaspora or seek refuge in our ancestral homeland.


Phillips, Melanie. “The Looming Choice for Diaspora Jews.” Jewish News Syndicate (JNS), June 14, 2024.

About the Author
The author is a specialist in nephrology and internal medicine and lives with his wife and family in Jerusalem.