Time to leave

” My Jewish fellows, it’s time to leave Europe and move to Israel, better earlier than later” Barcelona chief Rabbi Meir Bar Hen warned without fearing the European blame. His declaration means something more and better than just a shock after the two-day attack: a historic reflection in order to save human lives.

European Jewish communities have experienced the worst troubles, anti-Semitism has damnified them in all forms: they have been treated with the contempt, violence and imprisonment imposed by Christianity; pogroms have persecuted Eastern and Northern Europe; western Europe has imposed on them the worst persecutions in the history, the Shoah, at the hands of the Nazi-fascists.

Right now it is time to denounce a historic epocal catastrophe: it is the new Islamic anti-Semitism that has been heavily imported and has found allies and ideological space, both on right and left: racial hatred, pure and simple, that comes from the extreme right. A masked anti-Semitism disguised as criticism to the State of Israel.

Rabbi Bar Hen is right: Jews are entitled to a life free of blame and danger, but at the moment, Europe does not provide security for the elderly or hope for the youth. Islamic anti-Semitism spread as the Muslim crowd becomes larger, and Europe denies the phenomenon refusing to fight it.

It is unacceptable that in France 22 percent of Jews avoid collective events because they are afraid of attacks, and 40 percent can no longer wear a Kippà or a star of David because of continued aggressions. Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four customers in a kosher supermarket in Paris proclaiming his hatred for the Jews, is only an extreme case in the chain of the tents of thousands of anti-Semitic events (in Brussels, Toulouse, Copenhagen…) lived daily by European Jews: more than half a million European Jews have received verbal or physical aggressions, including myself: I must live under police protection when I am in Italy.

In France, the violence is a daily war to face: it began in the most theatrical way in 2006, when Ilan Halimi, a 24-year-old French man was kidnapped by a gang of young Muslims and tortured for weeks while obliged to listen to the Koran, and finally thrown him into a dump to die. His mother, uselessly, tried to explain to the French police that Muslim anti-Semitism was the direction to be looking for, but they didn’t listen.

England is a nightmare of continuous anti-Semitic initiatives, where the best universities are turned into hate spaces against Israel and the Jews; where no one is surprised when the Islamic Tarbya Academy uses as textbook “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The worst blood libels became in Europe common sense: a Swedish newspaper (Aftonbladet) wrote that the Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians to extirpate and sell their organs.

The boycott over Sweden and Norway is a paroxysm: a film festival in Oslo has excluded a documentary about children with disabilities “The other dreamers” because it is authored by Israelis, alias: by Jews.

The historical strength of Islamic anti-Semitism, always very active in the consideration of the Jews as “dhimmi” and “descendants of pigs and monkeys”, is not affected at all by the “dialogue” among religions and cannot provoke a reaction from the European authorities. Jews risk their lives, and life must always be defended as Rabbi Meir Bar Hen has done inviting them to emigrate to Israel.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (August 20, 2017)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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