Committed Zionists have one main aim and that is to get every single Jew to flee from their home country and move to Israel. It is an aim that they pursue as vigorously as the worst kind of anti-Semites who also want to see Europe become a Jew-free zone. In this sense, Zionism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin.
Hence, within hours of the latest atrocity in Denmark, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the murderous attack as an excuse to urge all Jews to quit Europe and migrate to his Zionist state. Never one to miss a political opportunity with a General Election looming, he moved as fast as a rat up a drainpipe to whip up fears of anti-Semitism and create a false climate of panic across the continent.
Sadly, the truth is that Europe is facing a variety of hate campaigns against minorities, of which Jewish targets are but one, although attacks on their communities do create the main headlines.
Accurate figures about the rise of anti-Semitism are, it appears, in short supply. Earlier this month the Mayor of London’s Office gave the impression that 95 per cent of all hate crimes are against Jews; it was the same figure that had been released by the Metropolitan Police press office. However, on closer scrutiny, it looks as if the London figures were grossly misinterpreted; there were indeed around 13,000 hate crimes in the English capital last year but of these “only” 358 were anti-Semitic; still worrying, of course, but less than two per cent of the total.
In fact, in 2014, according to the London police figures, there were nearly twice as many Islamophobic attacks than those which were anti-Semitic in nature. The trend is said to be reflected nationally and Europe-wide, although – again – accurate figures are hard to come by.
So it appears that Netanyahu was quite wrong to say that Europe is no longer safe for Jews following terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. Not many people are convinced by Netanyahu’s argument that Israel is now the only country in the world where Jews can feel safe.
Aside from the election being his motivation, Netanyahu knows that there is a brain drain from Israel which is ringing alarm bells in Tel Aviv. The country’s higher education system is said to be deteriorating and well-educated Israelis are fleeing overseas, according to a 2013 report published by the Taub Centre for Social Policy Studies. This intellectual exodus of Jewish talent is troubling Netanyahu and the rest of the Knesset because it means that the Zionist dream is faltering. Perhaps the Israeli leadership is also worried that, in stark contrast, global calls for the Palestinians to be availed of their right of return to their homeland are growing with each new generation.
Could this be the real reason behind Netanyahu’s latest call for Jews to quit Europe? If so, it was a desperate attempt to shore up the Zionist project, but it has back-fired badly. His scare-mongering provoked Copenhagen’s Chief Rabbi, Jair Melchior, to express his dismay about the Israeli prime minister’s motives. “If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else,” said Rabbi Melchior, “we should all run to a deserted island… Terror is not a reason to move to Israel.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls slammed the Israeli leader’s call for a European exodus; he urged all 475,000 French Jews to stay put. He also questioned the timing of Netanyahu’s announcement just a month before seeking re-election to the Israeli parliament.
“Being in the middle of an election campaign doesn’t mean you authorise yourself to make just any type of statement,” said Valls. He pulled no punches in his criticism. “The place for French Jews is France.” His words were backed-up immediately by President Francois Hollande.
According to Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark’s Jews belong there. “They are a strong part of our community,” she insisted, “and we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country.”
That is the sort of message that Europe’s Jews should heed. Leaving their home countries will not solve the problem of racism across the continent. People of all faiths and none need to stand together against the neo-fascists and their anti-Semitism and Islamophobia if the curse of racism is to be defeated.