The Beginning of the End in France

The new era of deadly anti-Semitism in France began with the January 2006 murder of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi. Shortly after a Shabbat meal with his mother, Halimi was lured to a Paris slum, where he was ambushed by a gang. They held him captive for 24 days, during which time he was beaten, stabbed, burned with acid, mutilated, lit on fire, and tortured to death. Halimi’s murderers were African and North African Muslim immigrants with ties to Islamic extremists. They called themselves the Gang of Barbarians. And they chose Halimi because he was a Jew.

“The Existential Necessity Of Zionism After Paris: A Commentary Editorial”
The Editors

Commentary Magazine
February 2015

Why My People Must Leave France

If you were a Jew in France, a country crawling with Jew-hating Islamists, what would you do now? You can avoid being shot to death by jihadists by avoiding drawing cartoons that offend them. But you can only avoid being shot to death by jihadists if you are Jewish by ceasing to be a Jew, or emigrating.

via The Fate of France’s Jews | The American Conservative.

Updated: Anti-Semitism and the Fool’s Errand of the European Left

The Anti-Zionism of Fools”
Richard Seymour

Jacobin
August 8, 2014

Jacobin, the Marxist quarterly that is far more likely to publish anti-Israel screeds than to say anything positive about Judaism, has held its nose and published an article acknowledging that France has an anti-Semitism problem.

I say “holds its nose” because while the article offers a reluctant acknowledgement that, yes, antisemitism is wrong and should be expunged from the anti-Israel dialogue, the author prefaces all of that with an overlong screed against Israel, as if anyone on the Left in Europe who dares speak against anti-Semitism must first establish beyond a doubt their Israel-hating chops.

The result is that the first half of the article is a fairly tedious display of what happens to Hamas propaganda when it is pushed through the gut of a radical Irish writer. But if you can manage to restrain your bile long enough, the last half of the article offers some interesting fodder on the anti-Semitism of the French far-right.

On the other hand, you may not want to. Richard Seymour is complicit in the kind of unquestioning support of Palestine, and the unequivocal condemnation of Israel as “a state which is, at its core, an institutionalized form of colonial ethnic cleansing,” that is aught less than demagoguery served hot. It also proves that he is on a fool’s errand.

Leave aside for the moment the fact that the past several years have provided an ample body of evidence that there are herds of anti-Semitic pond scum within the European Left, and that recent weeks have seen them scurrying for cover under the banner of protest against Israel. There is a fundamental linkage between Israel and the global body of Jews that must be considered before we spend our energies trying to weed out the “good” anti-Zionists from the “bad” anti-Zionists.

Because while there are those who can and do disaggregate a disapproval of Israeli government policy from their feelings about Jews in general, they are generally the kinds of people who would grant that Israel has a right to exist. But those who insist that Israel has no right to exist are ipso facto anti-Semites. By de-legitimizing Israel as a state, they are imposing a brutal sentence on every Jew: you, Jews, have no right to a homeland, and despite a long history of oppression and persecution in nearly every other land in which you have lived, I condemn you to an existence in which you will be forever a stranger in a strange land.

Is that not, at its essence, a profoundly anti-Semitic sentiment? Is it possible to argue for the destruction (or deconstruction) of Israel, the end of a land where any Jew has the right of abode, without being fundamentally anti-Semitic?

I commend Seymour for his call to the French left to disaggregate antisemitism with anti-Zionism. I castigate him for putting to print language that delegitimizes Israel and thus calls into question its right to exist. And I pity him for the belief that, in Europe especially, he will ever be able to divide those who hate Israel and those who simply hate Judaism.

Anti-Semitism never died in America. We all scoffed at Irv Rubin and lightened our donations to the ADL, but G-d bless them, they never went off-watch, even when we did. It is time we all wake up and realize that what we are seeing on the streets of Europe’s capitals has now come to America in a way that is much bigger and much more mainstream than what we faced with neo-Nazis and the KKK in the 1970s. This will be politically uncomfortable for many of us, but we have to see that the interests of our people and our faith must rise above the dividing lines of American politics. For if it does not, we will be divided, conquered, and sent again to wander when our home no longer welcomes us.

Bolivia Becomes a Flyover Country

Bolivia declares Israel a ‘terrorist state’ ”
Via AP

The Times of Israel
July 31, 2014

I have a little list of places in the world to which I will not go. The primary basis of that list is the way Jews are treated in that country, or the way Israel is treated. The list includes places you would expect, like Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and a few that you might not, including Malaysia and Brunei.

It was bad enough when President Evo Morales cut off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009. By branding Israel a “terrorist state,” Morales only succeeds in proving that he is more interested in aligning himself with a leftist cause than he is pursuing a realistic, fact-based foreign policy.

That is not the sort of government into whose hands I am prepared to pass responsibility for my safety as a Jew, and I will offer a special prayer for our brethren who are there now, or whose duties carry them there.

Turkey Shows its True Colors

With Israel, the world is blaming the victims”
Richard Cohen

The Washington Post
July 28, 2014

Richard Cohen calls out Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an anti-Semitism-addled hypocritical bigot. Read the article: it’s a good call.

When a head of state finds himself compelled to direct his nation’s anger at another nation or a race of people, it is either an abject admission of mental illness, a craven pandering to the lowest common denominator in his electoral base, or a prelude to war. I go with the second one.

Now would be a good time for our Jewish brethren in Turkey to consider alternative living arrangements. Erdogan has pandered to the anti-Semitic mob, who will now feel empowered to focus their anger and hatred on the nearest Jewish targets.

Turkey has proven itself more than ready to engage in genocide. Let’s take the hint and get our people out while there is still time.

Head of UNHRA attacks US for not providing Hamas with an Iron Dome

U.N. Human Rights Chief Attacks U.S. For Not Providing Hamas With Anti-Rocket System Like Israel’s Iron Dome… | Weasel Zippers.

The naiveté of UN officials in this case would be laughable if it were did not border on incompetence. Any impartial student of the region could tell you that if the US were to give Hamas their own Iron Dome, the launchers would be placed in mosques, and Hamas would use the missiles to shoot down El Al Airliners, not defend their own people.

One has to wonder whether this credulity about the situation in Gaza is genuine, or whether there is an ulterior motive behind it. If the former, this individual is in no position to make broad statements about the region. If the latter, she should be sacked.

 

France Owes Parisian Jews Justice

Jewish Businesses In Paris Are Being Looted And Destroyed By Protesters Over Israel Gaza Offensive”
S
im Sim Wissgott

Agence France Presse
July 21, 21014

In light of the growing wave of European anti-Semitism, I saw this most recent outrage as being slightly reminiscent of Kristallnacht. As a friend pointed out, that was an overstatement: not only was the French government not involved, it actually arrested some of the Muslim miscreants.

But the matter is not yet closed. It will be important to monitor the degree to which the French government prosecutes those arrested for rampage. Paroles or light sentences – or even a failure to prosecute – would suggest that the Hôtel Matignon is more afraid of Muslim violence than the taint of injustice. THAT would reek of Hindenberg’s Weimar Republic, and would hint of much worse times to come.

Taking Moral Responsibility

Moral clarity in Gaza
Charles Krauthammer,
The Washington Post,
July 17, 2014.

In an incisive op/ed in the WaPo, Krauthammer hits the nail on the head. You don’t have to buy into everything Bibi Netanyahu has done (I have real issues with the West Bank settlements,) but you must recognize that there is no moral equivalence in Gaza: Israel is fighting for its life here.

The Arab nations, if not much of global Islam, has chosen to play the role of Amalek and eradicate Israel, and then the Jews. They have chosen to do so by proxy because doing so with tanks, bombs, and infantry was not only spectacularly unsuccessful, it made them all look foolish AND it surrendered the moral high ground from 1947 to 1983.

In so doing, they have made the people of Gaza the cannon fodder in a worldwide propaganda war. If you want a bad guy in the deaths of Palestinian civilians, don’t look to Jerusalem: look to the cynical leaders of Hamas, of the Palestinian Authority, and of those national leaders who smile at Israel’s leaders for the cameras while they secretly write checks for Israel’s demise, and write off the people of Gaza as martyrs to a selfish cause.

The game has been the same since the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem called for the eradication of the Jews in 1926. All that has changed is the tactics.

I stand with Israel. I will bear the pain of its wrongs and fight to minimize them as I enjoy the triumphs of the good that it does and work to maximize them, because on the balance I know the scales tip heavily toward the good.

All I ask in return is that anyone who buys into Hamas propaganda, who stands with terrorists, similarly bears the moral responsibility for their actions, goals, and atrocities.

 

Rabbi Menachem Creditor is Done Apologizing for Israel

I’m Done Apologizing for Israel”
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The Huffington Post
21 July 2o14

Rabbit Menachem Creditor and I are at variances about a lot of political issues, but he and I stand together on this one. I, too, am done apologizing for Israel. I too, am done trying to apologetically explain Jewish morality, or for my Jewish existence, and for all the same reasons.

I ask the enraged critics of Israel’s defensive responses to Hamas: Would you have us not respond to this monstrosity? Do you think it’s not worth losing the PR battle to retain our humanity and save as many lives as possible? What country would stand by when thousands of terrorist missiles assault its citizens? I, a Jew, have lost 20 of my sons in the last three days, because I will not lose my humanity and stage a careless ground war in Gaza that would cause mass casualties.

Please read his post.

Sympathy for the Hobby Lobby

“Why Hobby Lobby Isn’t Anti-Semitic”
Yair Rosenberg
Tablet
October 4, 2013

In all of the anger and resentment that has surrounded Hobby Lobby of late, I missed Yair Rosenberg’s short but thoughtful piece asking us to reconsider whether either the Hobby Lobby organization or its CEO David Green are, in fact, anti-Semitic.

As Rosenberg points out:

Undoubtedly, some Jews might feel comfortable hawking baby Jesuses during the holiday season, while others might not. Both are very real, very human positions. Surely we can extend the same empathy and understanding to non-Jews with similar perspectives? This doesn’t mean one has to agree with Hobby Lobby’s decision. But it does mean we should refrain from tarring its ownership as bigots.

This is a sentiment with which any tzaddik might agree. But I think the real issue goes deeper than just Hobby Lobby.

The paradox of living in a society wherein virulent anti-semitism is either latent or non-existent is that we become increasingly sensitized to anything that offers the least hint of hatred. Our threshold lowers, and we justify that on the grounds that we must be vigilant, lest the sentiment spread and become dangerous. After all, we think, the Jews of Germany were like the proverbial boiling frogs, adapting to increasing levels of anti-Semitism right up to the point that they were herded into gas chambers.

At some point, though, we run the risk of seeing something that we think might be anti-Semitism, and it might not be, but we err on the side of caution because of we fear the consequences of adapting to any level of Jew hatred in society.

Rosenberg’s point is that we may have crossed that threshold, that we may be seeing anti-Semitism in the reflection of an orthodox Christianity that is, understandably, uncomfortable selling Judaica. In this case, until we can look into the heart of another, I am prepared to give the Hobby Lobby team the benefit of the doubt. But more broadly, it may be time to start a wider discussion about where we, as Jews, should draw the line between a possible misunderstanding of intent and clear-cut anti-Semitism.

The Macklemore Test

Will Macklemore’s ‘hella good Jewish homies’ weigh in on his ‘anti-Semitic’ getup?”
Twitchy

May 19, 2014

Rapper Macklemore has earned himself much ire for not only going onstage to sing “Thrift Shop” made up as a over-the-top caricature of a Jewish man (let’s call it “Jewface,” at least as offensive and over-the-top to us as Amos and Andy were to African-Americans), but then having the temerity to deny the caricature. As the online uproar built, he tweeted:

“A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume.  Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.”

Even a cursory review of the photos and the circumstances suggests that anyone believing that is endowed with a superhuman level of credulity.

America now faces a test. If this event marks the apogee of Macklemore’s career, it will demonstrate that America will not tolerate racism directed against Jews. If, however, he retains his popularity or becomes more popular, it will demonstrate that Americans are prepared to lionize a man who is at the very least an insensitive lout, and is possibly a rabid anti-Semite.

I can only hope that Mr. Macklemore is merely a callous boor rather than an uncloseted neo-Nazi, and that he did not do this to try to earn more credibility with that section of the rap community that seems to enjoy Jew-bashing. An apology that would allow us all to move on would be nice. The next best thing, though, would be to see Mr. Macklemore reduced to playing third-billings at KKK conventions.

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