While not all Jews support Israel’s actions in Gaza, some people – as previously discussed here – are holding all Jews responsible. Eli Lake spells out where he believes the line falls between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism:
The atmosphere in Europe since the beginning of the war has been so toxic that the foreign ministers of France, Italy, and Germany on Tuesday issued a rare joint statement condemning anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
All of this presents a troubling paradox for Zionism. The state of Israel was founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews. But in 2014 Europe’s anti-Semites have attacked Jews for the deeds of the Jewish state. It is a classic anti-Semitic canard to punish any Jew for the perceived crimes of all of them. There is no evidence also to suggest that if Israel did not respond to rockets fired from Hamas, the Jews of Europe would be any safer or the continent’s anti-Semites would be any more tolerant. After all, some of the worst attacks on Jews in France occurred at a time of relative quiet in Israel.
It’s disgusting and wrong. It’s worth noting, however, that Netanyahu’s blanket condemnation of all of Hamas for one lone, renegade cell – and the brutal collective punishment of Gazans – including ten dead children today – doesn’t help matters. Lake quotes a former IDF intelligence official as saying that rising anti-Semitism in Europe ends up fueling emigration and thus aiding Israel. Elliott Abrams believes this is happening in France:
In my travels to Israel over the years I have noticed what so many others have as well: the growing French presence. One hears French spoken in hotel lobbies and restaurants, and sees real estate ads more often in French than English. It was estimated a month ago that one percent of the French Jewish community, or 5,000 people, would emigrate to Israel this year. That figure will surely grow now, this year and in the coming years. French Jews simply do not feel safe, despite general denunciations of anti-Semitism from government officials. To walk in many parts of Paris wearing a kipah is to risk serious bodily harm.
Last week, Jordan Chandler Hirsch put forth a similar argument:
The case for Israel is now unfolding in the heart of Berlin. This past Friday, an imam was filmed delivering a Friday sermon beseeching Allah to destroy the Zionist Jews. “Count them and kill them to the very last one,” he prayed. A day before, an angry mob gathered to demand the same thing. “Jude, Jude feiges Schwein! Komm heraus und kampf allein!” it bellowed in unison—“Jew, Jew, cowardly swine, come out and fight on your own!”
Or they can come, of course, come to America, where Jews are celebrated, integrated and free from rockets.
(Photo: A Pro-Palestinian demonstrator holds a placard with the symbols ‘Swastika equal to Star of David’ during a demonstration on July 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. By Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)