By Daniel Greenfield
The first school I ever attended had heavy steel doors behind which
lay a narrow corridor and a window of bulletproof glass. The next set of
steel doors could only be opened by the former Israeli commando behind
the glass. And no one was allowed to enter or leave except on a
staggered schedule so that in the event of a terrorist attack not more
than a handful of children and parents would be killed.
This school wasn’t in Israel. Israeli schools don’t look like this. Jewish schools in Europe do.
European Jewish institutions tend to have more of the ubiquitous
Israeli security guards keeping watch (some, like Dan Uzan during the
Copenhagen attacks, have paid the ultimate price) than their Israeli
counterparts. More than Israel, a single non-Muslim state encircled by
the shattered remnants of a Muslim empire, they feel as if they are cut
off and under siege.
Pre-war Jewish synagogues and schools in the Holocaust territories of
Europe were grand and baroque. The Jews who attended them lived in an
atmosphere of constant anti-Semitism that has no equal today outside the
Muslim world. But they refused to be afraid or to lose their sense of
Post-Holocaust Jewish institutions are anonymous modernist
fortresses. The Jewish communities that survived warily retreated into
themselves. Distinctive Jewish clothing wasn’t worn. The survivors kept a
low profile and made sure that there was little to distinguish them
from the local population.
They lost confidence in themselves and the future.
It wasn’t like this everywhere. The Jews of France and Italy suffered
comparatively lower losses and maintained some of the buoyancy of the
native population. The Jews of the United Kingdom who escaped Nazi
occupation were naturally inward looking, but lacked the same paranoia.
And the migration of Middle Eastern Jewish refugees that transformed
Israel also reinvigorated stolid European Jewish communities with some
of their liveliness and confidence. It is their children who are willing
to match Muslim violence with violence in France. They have a
confidence that the native Jews don’t.
While anti-Semitism in Western Europe remained ubiquitous, it was
Muslim migration that made the fortresses necessary. It was Muslim guns
and bombs that imposed the steel doors, the bulletproof glass and the
security cameras along with the Israeli security guards keeping watch on
It took decades to even make a conversation about Muslim
anti-Semitism possible. The Copenhagen synagogue targeted by Muslim
terrorists last month had also been targeted by them thirty years ago.
European Jewish leaders didn’t complain. Instead they built fortresses
to keep the terrorists out. They didn’t expect anyone to listen and they
had learned that it did no good to complain.
September 11 changed that. Muslim violence stopped being a “Jewish”
problem. It became everyone’s problem. And when European Jews complained
about it, they were no longer isolated.
The new millennium had seen a massive growth of Muslim population in
France accompanied by an increase in anti-Semitic attacks. But the authorities attributed these attacks to vandalism, hoodlums, delinquents and petty criminals. The police often did not even bother to respond.
In 2002, French President Jacques Chirac claimed
that talk of anti-Semitism in France was “propaganda” by “certain
American extremist groups”. He accused American Jews under orders from
Jerusalem of orchestrating an anti-French campaign. Chirac’s tantrum
showed why French Jews had been so hesitant to speak up, but the
negative publicity soon forced him to acknowledge the reality of
Within a decade the official European narrative shifted from random
acts of vandalism to a wave of anti-Semitic violence. The shift was made
possible by extensive documentation, international campaigns and a
general upsurge in Muslim violence around the world. When synagogues and
schools were torched, when Jews were attacked in the street, these
crimes were no longer dismissed as petty vandalism.
While Chirac-style denial of anti-Semitism wavered, denial of Muslim
violence remained intact. The old narrative of hooliganism was replaced
by radicalism. The solution was still integration and employment. The
integration narrative retains the old myth that Muslim violence is a
social problem caused by French racism and a lack of jobs. ISIS is
viewed as just another gang of bored teens who need to be amused.
Attacks on synagogues and schools were still framed as a backlash to
Israel, rather than recognizing that the attacks on Jews in Israel and
Europe were motivated by the hate embedded in Islamic scriptures.
Muslims are not the victims, either in Europe or in Israel. They are
not attacking Jews in Europe because the Europeans estranged them, but
because they choose to be estranged. They have made choices based on
their culture and religion. And those choices must be examined on their
The debate over Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe concentrates on Israel
and Europe while ignoring the fact that its victims are often neither
European nor Israeli. They are Middle Eastern Jewish refugees.
Ilan Halmi, whose brutal torture and murder made headlines around the
world, was from a Moroccan Jewish family. Of the four Jewish men killed
in the Paris Kosher supermarket attack, at least three were from Middle
Eastern Jewish families. The Muslim bigotry that their families endured
in North Africa followed them to France.
The issue isn’t Israel. It isn’t even Europe. It’s Islam.
In the 19th century, France emerged as a defender of Jews
against Muslim anti-Semitism in North Africa. When France left North
Africa, the Jews followed to escape Muslim anti-Semitism. Jeffrey
Goldberg’s recent Atlantic article
about European Jews incessantly circles the question of Israel, but
Israel isn’t really the issue. Muslim attacks on Jews did not begin in
the 20th century.
When North African Jews in France are murdered by North African Muslims, is the real issue Israel or Islam?
The European left has “Israelized” Muslim attacks on Jews. Every act
of racist Muslim violence is linked to Israel, but Muslim anti-Semitic
violence did not begin with Israel and will not end with it.
We tend to see anti-Semitism in Europe through the lens of the
Holocaust, but while the far-right hates the Jews, the type of
anti-Semitism that turns schools into fortresses has little to do with
When politicians blame Muslim violence on the failure to integrate,
they are admitting that the outbreaks of Muslim violence are a throwback
to the Middle East. They are Islamic, rather than European, expressions
European anti-Semitism has played a role in the wave of Muslim
violence by isolating Jews, by demeaning their concerns and by
“Israelizing” the attacks against them. And while there are those on the
far-right who engage in this behavior, it comes most often from the
left. But European politicians from all sides have been willing to cover
up Muslim violence and isolate Jews with their denial.
The most fitting term to describe their treachery is a familiar one
from WW2; ‘Collaboration’. And it is not only the politicians who looked
away from the burning of synagogues by Muslims who were collaborators.
It is also those politicians who looked away from the Muslim sex
grooming gangs in the UK and who refuse to take Sharia Patrol harassment
seriously who acted as collaborators.
It was collaboration, rather than anti-Semitic violence, that made
the Holocaust possible in so much of Europe, including France. The
existence of European Jewry is not endangered by European anti-Semitism,
but by European collaboration with Muslim anti-Semites.
Muslim anti-Semitism drives some Jews out of Europe to Israel, but
European Jews had endured violence for many centuries. European Jews go
to Israel not only to escape, but to find something. They are leaving
behind the defeatism that hangs over Europe for a sense of purpose. And
they are not alone.
A quarter of French university graduates want to leave the country.
134,000 British citizens left the UK in 2013. Emigration from Sweden hit
record numbers last year with half a percent of the country leaving.
Europeans, Jewish and non-Jewish, are leaving Europe.
They are leaving behind Socialist governments, high taxes, violent
Muslim gangs and a sense of despair. They are leaving behind burning
synagogues, Sharia patrols, moral vacuums and sex grooming gangs. Muslim
anti-Semitism is not a European problem, but it is the symptom of a
very European problem.