Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Departure of European Jewry

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Vocal Europe.}

Suitcase IconJust as significant percentages of the Arab nation are on the march into Europe - taking the Middle East with them - so a significant percentage of European Jews are packing it in for Israel.  This past year is a record among French Jews for the making of aliyah, i.e., Jews returning to the Jewish national home.

In fact, French aliyah is up 118 percent.

Does anyone doubt that there is a direct correlation between Arab-Muslim immigration into Europe and Jewish emigration out of Europe?  I would posit that the two are intimately connected due to the fact that the demographic moving into Europe has rates of anti-Semitism around the 80th percentile and is often not the least bit shy about demonstrating that tendency, sometimes violently and sometimes murderously.

French Jews understand very well that the slaughter of Jewish people in the kosher market in Paris, concurrent with the Charlie Hebdo murders, and the 2012 slaughter at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, means that the Jihad has arrived in Europe.

Many Europeans - those who were cognizant during the March 2004 Madrid train bombings that took 191 lives or the July 2005 suicide bombings in the London underground that took the lives of 52 commuters or the May 2013 murder and near-beheading of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich - have noticed, as well.

For many other Europeans, however, the acceptance of large numbers of Arab immigrants is a moral imperative.  If Europeans wish to live up to Enlightenment values, and general standards of human decency, then they must extend a sincere welcome to the humanity crossing over their borders as refugees of war.  This is, apparently, despite the fact that about two out of three Middle Eastern migrants are not refugees from war.

The instinct driving this inclination is one of compassion and should, thus, be respected.

In a recent piece for Vocal Europe, social and cultural psychologist, Birol Akkus, argues that the emerging backlash within Europe against the immigration crisis is in part due to psychological issues among right-wing xenophobes (or racists).  He writes:
You might be forgiven for looking to specific and topical events, such as the refugee crisis, for the steady rise of xenophobia, but there are more reasons. The first and foremost reason is that our perception is not optimized to see the world as it is, but to see it as best serves our own interests.
Akkus argues for xenophobia as a driving force behind the backlash against Arab migrants into Europe.  He asks rhetorically, "Wasn’t xenophobia (or even racism) supposed to be a passed station in the postmodern enlightened world?"

It was, indeed.

The problem is that it is hard to be welcoming to a population wherein significant numbers hold a Koranically-based hostile view of the native population and non-Muslims, in general..  Furthermore, when Swedish citizens of Malmö complain that they have not the living space to accommodate this sudden upsurge in population, with the ice of winter fast approaching, it probably has little to do with xenophobia or Islamophobia.  It is, in fact, primarily due to those "specific and topical events" that Akkus glosses over.

Jewish people, needless to say, are leaving Europe because they are sick of the abuse.  They do not want to need to have their synagogues and Jewish schools guarded by police and they do not want their children harassed, beaten, or murdered on the streets of European cities for the crime of being Jewish.  They also understand very well what it means that they must have armed guards around their social facilities.  It means that they are surrounded by a significant degree of hostility and the worst of that hostility comes from the Arab-Muslim community.

There are two important questions to ask in terms of Jewish emigration from Europe.  How extensive will it be in the coming years?  And what will the semi-departure of the Jewish people mean to Europe?

Chances are that most European Jews are going to stay put.  There is, and will be, a departure of European Jewry, but unless the situation deteriorates further - which is a distinct possibility - it will not represent a majority.  The emigration will, however, be significant and the remaining Jewish population is likely to be negligible in European politics.

As for what the trimming of Jewish people out of Europe means to Europe, it probably will not mean much.  Although it is true that Jewish people tend to punch well above their weight-class culturally and politically, it is also true that Jews represent a tiny portion of the overall European population.

In January of this year, directly after the Parisian Charlie Hebdo / Kosher Market Jihadi Murders, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls claimed that "If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France."

That is a very nice sentiment, but given the fact that France and the EU fund Hamas, and Hamas calls directly for the genocide of the Jews, it rings a bit hollow.

Drawing upon one of the more famous hadiths, the Hamas charter reads in part:
The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
The dwindling of European Jewry will not mean much to Europe.  There will be a small diminishment of European art, culture, literature, science, medicine, philosophy, and human empathy.

However, there will also be a significant and concurrent decrease in anti-Semitic violence, because there will be a significant and concurrent decrease in Jews.

Akkus is not wrong to point to rising xenophobia within Europe as an issue, but no analysis makes sense without a consideration of the "specific and topical events."


  1. Without a cohesive community, without social institutions, without schools and shuls, Jewish existence in Europe will disappear in a generation or less. Whomever is left will be a "Jew" like Jon Stewart is a Jew (BTW did you know he legally changed his name to Jon Stewart a decade ago?)

    1. I'm surprised he didn't just go ahead and add the "h" to Jon.

  2. The dwindling of European Jewry will not mean much to Europe .

    I disagree.
    Yes, there will be a little dent in the cultural and artistic scene, and a few other areas, but that is survivable, as you imply. There won't be shortages of doctors or lawyers etc.
    Most Jews will stay but they will be pressured to be the "right kind of Jews" and will find things more difficult if they are not.
    That is already happening.
    What will be true, as Europe's Jewish population feels it necessary to leave - albeit in dribs and drabs- is that Europe will be selling part of its soul. And the implications of that are immeasurable. A Europe that presides over this will have relinquished the right to think of itself in the ways it prefers to do.

    You say that with fewer Jews that anti-Semitic violence will decrease. Again, I disagree. I feel sure that the opposite will be true. Anti-Semitic violence and hatred have little correlation with numbers. Perhaps it may be true that when one group is scapegoated for all society's ills that it will become more and more of an affront that some of those people still persist in thinking that they have a place in society.
    Perhaps the only Jews who will be left are those who do not mind detatching themselves from virtually everything to do with their heritage. I would doubt that that would provide the protection they might count on. It wouldn't be the first time that has been true.

    I wouldn't discount what Manuel Valls said. It is true that he belongs to a government whose policies stoke up anti-Jewish sentiments, but I think there was something real in his words. It's possible for both those things to be true.

    As for the "backlash" it's entirely true that some of these events and policies seem likely to lead to a rise in far-right groups who are deeply unpleasant. It may well be that over time the policies of the mainstream left will help to increase parties who are openly anti-immigration. And worse. Much worse.
    That is extremely alarming but also a somewhat simplistic reading of what the situation might bring about. There are- much as many commentators refuse to acknowledge it- significant numbers of perfectly ordinary" non-xenophobic people" who have very real concerns and worries about unprecedented cultural shifts and changes to the towns and areas they have grown up in. It is a mistake to assume those people are all unreconstructed bigots. They are not. It is much more complex and nuanced than that article makes out. Or, indeed, than most of our political and media class make out. And that is a big part of the problem.

    1. Kate,

      "What will be true, as Europe's Jewish population feels it necessary to leave - albeit in dribs and drabs- is that Europe will be selling part of its soul. And the implications of that are immeasurable."

      What are the implications of that?

      Do Europeans honestly care?

      As for Europe's "soul," I have no faith in it. I very much hope that I am not insulting you.

      "You say that with fewer Jews that anti-Semitic violence will decrease. Again, I disagree."

      As the percentage of the Jewish European population decreases, the rates of anti-Jewish violence, per percentage of the Jewish population, will increase.

      The smaller the minorty, the easier it is to pick upon, after all.

      However, in terms of straight numbers, the rates of violence against Jews will diminish for the simple reason that there will be less Jews to kick around.

      If the time comes wherein there are virtually no Jews in Europe then there will be virtually no anti-Jewish violence in Europe, just as there is no anti-Jewish violence in Egypt... or on the moon.

      You know the circumstances on the ground where you live far better than do I and I do not mean to be disrespectful.

      I very much hope that I am being overly pessimistic, Kate, but outside of Middle Eastern Jewry, I worry about my European brothers and sisters the most.

    2. Hi Mike.

      Re Europe losing its soul:
      Yes, I think it's far more important than it might seem. Far more. That's the trouble with "souls" they're so much harder to monitor.
      You ask whether Europeans honestly care. Well some of them do; very much.
      What we are all reading about is what the European Union and the political elites, intelligentsia, media etc, are supporting. They are quite out of step with many ordinary people. Many people here in the UK have a sense of something being lost. It is, of course, not really about anything to do with their Jewish communities but, as the saying goes: Jews are the canary in the coalmine. And will people care about dwindling Jewish populations? They might well do after it is too late. It's an interesting call.
      Re the potential decrease in anti-Jewish violence: With fewer actual Jewish people around it might be entirely true that there will be fewer actual attacks on actual Jewish people. But I would imagine there is a likelihood of increased attacks on what remains of Jewish institutions. For example, Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. Who will bother to protect those? And that kind of violence, of which there is a lot anyway, can easily be supposed to increase. Attacks on actual people are terrible but attacks on the legacy of Jewish life and history in Europe are also deeply damaging. To all parties concerned.
      A continent that allows its own history erased or destroyed is in serious trouble. Whether it knows it or not.
      The article you linked to is a classic piece of "Guardian" - type thinking. That European culture is only about its ability to be truly "multicultural." And that anyone who is concerned for some conservation of traditional culture is by definition a bigoted xenophobe.
      I expect the writer would not make the same argument about other countries in other parts of the world. As someone recently said, I forget who it was, no one would make the case that if in fifty years time the population of Cairo was half made up of European secular Christians, that Egypt would or should be fine with that. Or that the average Guardian reader would ever advocate that. If culture is seen as worth preserving in some places but not others, it suggests something other than principle is the issue.

    3. @ Mike,

      "What are the implications of that?

      Do Europeans honestly care?"

      The whole argument for letting in millions of refugees (and "refugees") is this statement: "Wasn’t xenophobia (or even racism) supposed to be a passed station in the postmodern enlightened world?"

      Which means that allowing the Jewish population to essentially be driven out is in direct opposition to that sentiment. Europeans should care because if they don't, they'll need to rationalize the inherent hypocrisy in that. They'll need to reconcile their pride in being so progressive and post-modern with the reality that they've sacrificed their Jews to that very progressivism.

      Not sure I explained that well. Did that make sense to anyone but me? lol.

    4. @Anonymous

      Yes. That made a lot of sense.
      If being "progressive" and "inclusive" and "diverse" can only be achieved at the expense of becoming more hostile and intolerant of Europe's Jews, then it is inherently hypocritical. Also it is allowing one form of racism to be acceptable while claiming that racism is unacceptable.
      That has already been going on for some years. And is almost totally denied.

  3. Replies
    1. That's great. Congratulations, Mike.

    2. Good stuff, Mike!
      And to think, I discovered you! :0)

    3. Thank you!

      My next piece for those guys will be a book review of Dr. Mike Harris' Winning a Debate with an Israel Hater.

    4. btw, in that book he refers to People with Israel Derangement Syndrom as PIDS.

      I love that because it immediately brings to mind the word pitiful.

      The Pitiful PIDS!

      He also assures me that somewhere in the book is a conclusion that I will loathe.

      Maybe, but I have yet to get there. It's a brief book, so it won't be long, now!