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Why Won’t Europe Acknowledge the Grave Threat to Its Jews?

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Why Won’t Europe Acknowledge the Grave Threat to Its Jews? – Deborah E. Lipstadt (Tablet)

(dailyalert.org, Jan. 20, 2015)

The day after the Paris market massacre, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that the “anti-Semitism problem in France is not primarily a problem of anti-Semitism from French Muslims.”

J.J. Goldberg, a guest on her show, disagreed. He recalled the case of Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew who was kidnapped and tortured for 20 days by a group of French Muslims, and the murder of young children at the Toulouse Jewish school by a French Muslim. He observed that a French Muslim murdered four visitors at the Brussels Jewish Museum in May.

What needs to be said is that there is a problem in a segment of the Muslim world. It is extremism that justifies and celebrates killing individuals for angering them and Jews just for being Jews.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon insisted that the attacks had nothing to do with religion, characterizing them as “criminality.” If it was just criminality, then what happened at the Hyper Cacher supermarket was a hold-up, and not anti-Semitism.

Nowhere have I heard an acknowledgement that Europeans have failed to take seriously these attacks on Jews. Instead, people have explained away the attacks by suggesting they’re a response to Israel’s actions in the Middle East. That argument telegraphs the message that, while killing Jews was wrong, it was understandable.

I ask the general European population to recognize that these attacks directly threaten them and the liberal democratic society they treasure. It begins with the Jews but it never ends with them. They must realize that they ignore atrocities against Jews at their own – not just our – peril.

The writer is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University.

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