January 21, 2016
As a Kabbalist, specializing in the intricacies of human nature, I know that as the situation in Europe worsens, and it will, the pressure on the Jews will grow. The hatred toward them will soar and they will undoubtedly be persecuted. Now, while they can still leave with their capital, is the right time to move. As refugees, it will be much harder for them to make a fresh start.
Just recently, Huffington Post published my post, Jews Have No Future in France. The post sparked a vibrant debate around the question of Jewish continuity in Europe, and specifically in France. In this post I would like to address some of the arguments presented in the comments.
Quite a few of the responses related to the idea of leaving France as defeatist. Some suggested that the Jews should fight back with arms; some wrote that they should publicly display Jewish signs, such as the kippa [Jewish skullcap] in defiance of the violence toward them; and others suggested that since Jews have been persecuted wherever they went, there is no point going anywhere because they will only be persecuted in their new countries, so they’d better stay where they are and “ride out the storm.”
Whether leaving Europe is defeatist or not, the truth, as I see it, is that Jews have no future not only in France, but in Europe as a whole. I have no doubt that apart from perhaps a few extreme right activists, Europeans will not be able to do anything against the Islamic overtaking of the continent. The German police officer telling the German woman terrified of being raped by a mob of raucous Muslim immigrants, “I would love to help you, but I can’t,” embodies the helplessness of Germany in tackling the migrant influx. Their brazen and lawless conduct was met with “overwhelmed police officers, insufficient personnel and weaknesses in equipment,” which will only encourage them to take even bolder actions at the first opportunity.
What is true for Germany is even truer for France, as evident from the horrific events of November 13, in particular, and all of 2015, in general. Even the well-established British Jewish community is not a haven for Jews in view of the hostile atmosphere in the UK toward Israel and toward Jews. In light of all that, I don’t mind being called “defeatist,” as long as perhaps some Jews will read and take notice.
History Repeats Itself
In the 1930s, German Jews did not believe that anything would happen to them. By the time they were ready to leave, no one would have them and the vast majority perished in the Holocaust. This is why I concluded my post about the Jews having no future in France by saying that fortunately now we have a Jewish state. Just as before WWII, Jewish leaders assured their congregations that nothing would happen to them. Today we are hearing voices saying that there is no cause for alarm. They were wrong then, they are wrong now, and we must learn the lesson from the past.
I confess that Israel is not the easiest place for new olim [Jewish immigrants to Israel], as I myself experienced in my time, and as Khatun Khanke pointed out in her comment in my previous post. However, here is where we must be. Here we must come together and build a cohesive society that is a role model of unity that the world will want to emulate.
Understandably, European Jewry might choose the US or Canada as their new home. The language barrier is practically not there, and life there is much more similar to the way Jews live in Europe. However, in the long run, I do not see a bright future for US Jews, as well. Anti-Semitism is rapidly spreading throughout the world, and the US is already plagued with it. It is only a matter of time before it erupts there in full force.
At the same time, there is a way to reverse the trend, provided we become proactive. The Jewish people have a task. They must unite and spread the spirit of unity to the rest of the world. They can achieve this unity willingly, through recognition of their vocation, or unwillingly, through the nations’ pressure, which will cause us to huddle together, though the latter is not true unity.
From all sides, we are told we are unique, different, and most of all, responsible and accountable! If we shun our mission, anti-Semites will lead the world against us and we will pay a heavy price for refusing to lead the world to unity. But if we choose to unite and become a “light unto nations,” to use the Biblical metaphor, the world will embrace us, and we will be welcome wherever we go.