Wednesday, December 11, 2019

European Jews are confronted by a threat not seen since the 1930s

Joel Kotkin, Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, @ Quillette (The Jewish Dilemma):
Whether from the Right or the Left, from Muslims, reactionary Christians, or progressive Greens, European Jews are confronted by a threat not seen since the 1930s. Some 90 percent of European Jews, according to recent surveys, have experienced antisemitic incidents, and more than 80 percent of European Jews aged 16 to 34 believe antisemitism is a growing problem in their countries. According to a recent EU survey, half of German and Belgian Jews and well over a third of Jews in France, the United Kingdom, and Sweden report being harassed for their religious affiliation; the rates have grown everywhere over the past five years.

If these trends persist, we can expect Europe’s Jewish populations to erode further. The triumph of Corbyn—a man 87 percent of British Jews polled believe to be an antisemite—could cause nearly half to “seriously consider” emigrating, most likely to more congenial places like Israel, the United States, Australia, and Canada. France’s Jewish population, the largest in Europe, has been sustained largely by the mass migration from North Africa, although that source has pretty much dried up now. Even so, France still has fewer Jews than it did in 1939 and that number seems destined to continue shrinking. Since 2000, nearly 50,000 Jews have left, mostly for Israel, the United States, or Canada. 
In fact, it’s hard to find a place in Europe—with the odd exception perhaps of Hungary—where Jewish prospects are anything but dismal. Eastern Europe, the center of the Jewish world in 1939 with its eight million Jews, has less than 400,000 today. Germany, home to 500,000 Jews in 1933, now has as little as a third of that, most originally refugees from eastern Europe. Fewer than 15,000 of the Jews living in Germany today can trace their roots to the pre-Nazi era. […]  
More troubling, antisemitism in Europe is reaching the educated mainstream, much of it left-leaning. Sixty percent of German antisemitic messages came from well-educated people, according to one study. Today, barely half of Europeans think Israel has a right to exist. The generally middle-class Green Parties, which emerged as big winners in Germany and across the continent in recent European elections, tend to support the BDS movement, which aims to demonize and eliminate the Jewish State. […]  
Over the long term, if current trends hold, the Jewish future will be essentially that of Israel. Close to a majority of all Jewish children are living there already. Today, Israel is home to 40 percent of the world’s Jews, and by 2030, according to Jewish demographer Sergio Della-Pergola, it will be home to an absolute majority. This could mark the continuing demise of what was once the most widely spread diaspora in human history and the gradual return of Jews into a singular nationality based in Israel.  
Many in these countries may well say “good riddance” to the Jews, but it represents a tragedy not only for the Jewish people but for Europe and the world. The Jewish legacy, particularly in Europe, has been profound, including the accomplishments of Benjamin Disraeli, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Mark Chagall, Theodore Herzl, Billy Wilder, and Arnold Schonberg, to name but a small handful.  
Europeans in particular need to recognize that, if these trends continue, they too would lose something precious in the process—a global community that has provided the world with more of its share of cultural icons, scientific breakthroughs and, for the most part, a strong voice for tolerance. If the world’s Jewish population loses its cosmopolitan character, it will be a loss both to itself and to the world.  
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On the unrelenting decline of the Jewish population in Europe:
[…] Parliament Vice-President Antonio Tajani, an Italian member of the EPP group, said he was concerned about the decline in the number of Jews in Europe: from two million in 1991 to 1.4 million in 2010. He also said he regretted the attacks they are subject to: “Jewish people should be able to live in peace in Europe, respected like anyone else. They should be able to display their faith, their identity, without being attacked."
Source: European Parliament, 2016

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