Then came my visit to the Hainburg town hall for birth records to sort out the murkiness of Lenke’s paperwork. “Gruss gott!” said the two women… “What is your religion? For example, I am Katholische. And you are …?” Momentarily stunned, I sat there. Was this necessary? Reading my face, the woman added, “You can leave it empty.” No, I calculated, I’ve got nothing to hide. “Jewish,” I said. But it didn’t register… The lead official finally reached for her procedural rulebook, turning to the page of recognized religions. And there it was: Israelitische. Yes, I’m an Israelite.
However, my ordeal wasn’t over. “And your wife? Her religion?” … I called [her to ask] “Jewish?” I asked. Her response was strident. “Leave it blank. Yours, too,” she said. “This is no time for patriotism. Who knows what the situation will be like in 30 years? Or how this information could be used online.”… Lenke’s birth certificate now includes the gaping blanks. Later, as I told the story to my father — who agreed with my wife’s rationale, since it was his grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins who were deported to Auschwitz — I wondered if the Roma who refuse to declare their ethnic identity are justified. Have Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and others surrendered the right to ever again be trusted with such data?
Decades of excusing the most vile anti-Semitism as mere anti-Zionism – of accepting fantasies about cabalistic lobbies and fabrications about well-poisoning as part of public discourse – have destroyed all limits on venom and violence. Nothing is off-limits any more. Truth doesn’t matter: people justify their pathological hate with outrageous fabrications. Ethics certainly don’t matter: against the Jewish “modern-day Nazis” – the ones who inhabit Israel and the ones who might support them – anything is justified. This is the stuff of mass pogroms.
We’ve reached a tipping point in Europe. Anti-Jewish fanatics have gone from denying the Holocaust to justifying it. Durban II will be a surreal display of open and unapologetic anti-Semitic incitement. There will be calls for violent “resistance” against a global Jewish enemy of a kind – and in a pitch – that hasn’t been heard since the Holocaust.
It’s not just the willingness of European protesters to publicly call for Jews to be thrown into gas chambers – something that even five years ago they would have been too ashamed to do…
… or how in Denmark – the shining jewel of European liberal socialism – there are open celebrations of Nazism:
Those are the open calls for genocide: undeniably dangerous but easy enough to spot. Ditto for the chilling parallels between the Europe of WWII and the Europe of today. Jewish businesses are again being targeted for boycotts in Italy. Synagogues are again being torched in Germany and France and Britain. This is a full-fledged Western phenomenon. The offices of Jewish organizations are being vandalized and torched everywhere from London to North Carolina. Jewish schools are being firebombed in Canada. And of course there are brutal attacks on individual Jews. They’ve become commonplace in Britain and France and Norway and are spreading to New York and Australia.
But again, those are the broad trends. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the literally thousands of physical attacks. They become statistics. But the details are also critically important: the repeated stabbing of a French Jew for wearing a Star of David, the gleeful gang beating of a British Jew, the group assault on a teenage French Jewish girl by Muslim kids as young as 13. Of course a lot of the violence comes from the anti-Semitic Arab Street that Europe imported into its heartland. But leftist anti-Semitism is also spiking. Attacking Jews is fun again in the Western world.
It’s that kind of stuff – the day-to-day humiliation and dehumanization of individual Jews – that makes mass violence doable. No opportunity for belittling Jews is wasted. The Israeli basketball team was driven off the court by a violent Turkish mob – and then charged by the European oversight committee with a forfeit. Israel’s Red Cross was forced symbolically alter the Star of David – Jewish symbols being offensive to Muslims. In Britain hating Jews is done casually – upper-class and lower-class anti-Semitism have converged:
I am standing in a queue waiting to buy a train ticket from London to Canterbury. A well-dressed lady standing behind me informs her friend that she “can’t wait till Israel disappears off the face of the earth.” What struck me was not her intense hostility to Israel but the mild-mannered, matter-of-fact tone with which she announced her wish for the annihilation of a nation. It seems that it is okay to condemn and demonize Israel. All of a sudden Israel has become an all-purpose target for a variety of disparate and confused causes. When I ask a group of Pakistani waiters sitting around a table in their restaurant why they “hate” Israel, they casually tell me that it is because Jews are their “religion’s enemy.” Those who are highly educated have their own pet prejudice. One of my young colleagues who teaches media studies in a London-based university was taken aback during a seminar discussion when some of her students insisted that since all the banks are owned by Jews, Israel was responsible for the current global financial crisis.
Indecency toward European Jews – long a staple of international diplomacy toward Israeli Jews – is again a part of everyday life on the Continent.
So of course the riots and near pogroms are staggeringly dangerous. Anti-Jewish violence is the final goal, after all. They also create a drip drip drip environment of intimidation – the prerequisite to achieving glum silence. When random attacks fail to sufficiently bully people into silence, the violence can be escalated – ergo the thousands of Oslo thugs who attacked pro-Israel demonstrators with knives and explosives.
But it’s not just the violence. It’s the everyday mood of Europe that’s become genuinely dangerous. For decades it was the height of sophisticated bravery – for all that it was also routine – to accuse Israeli Jews of controlling global finance, of insinuated themselves into Western governments, and of poisoning Palestinian children. Sophisticates and multiculturalists brazenly excused those smears, essentially claiming that anti-Semitic tropes are OK as long as they’re merely applied to Israeli Jews. The result is as obvious today as it was inevitable a decade ago: the Europe of 2009 is looking a lot like the Europe of 1939.
* In Austria, an Israelite is born–or not [JTA]
* Netherlands: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas" [Jihad Watch]
* Denmark pro-jihad demo: "We want to kill all the Jews" [Jihad Watch]
* Jews in Rome outraged over boycott call [YNet]
* Arab attacks synagogue guard in Germany [Elder]
* Synagogue in northern France vandalized [JPost]
* Anti-semitism fears for Harrow and Brent over Gaza violence [Harrow Times]
* Offices of London pro-Israel lobby vandalized [JTA]
* NC:Chabad House Vandalized [Islam In Action]
* "Racist and hateful" Muslim gets four-year sentence for firebombing Jewish school [Jihad Watch]
* British anti-semitism roundup [Elder]
* 55 Anti-Semitic Attacks in France Since War In Gaza [Gateway Pundit]
* Muslims attacking Jews on the streets of Norway [Yourish]
* Denver & New York Hold Today’s "Jews Are Nazis" Rallies …Update: Couple Attacked in New York [Gateway Pundit]
* Anti-Semitic incidents cross Australia [JTA]
* France: Jewish man stabbed; incident believed nationalistically motivated [YNet]
* London man attacked ‘for Gaza’ [JTA]
* France: "Teenagers" charged in attack on a Jewish girl [Jihad Watch]
* Europe Reimports Jew Hatred [WSJ]
* Israeli team flees to changing room in Turkey [PR Inside]
* Israeli basketball team that fled court tagged with forfeit [Israel Matzav]
* Neutrality Doesn’t Apply To Jews [MR]
* Europe’s Estrangement from Israel [PJM]
* Obama Envoy George Mitchell: I’m Moving In! [MR]
* 6 injured in violent Gaza protests in Oslo [YNet]
* "Could It Be That Anti-Semitism Is Again Prevalent In Germany?"
* CAIR: Complaining About The Anti-Semitic Attacks We’re Inciting Is A "Distraction"
* Watcher’s Council Results – What You Say Out Loud Matters