‘YET” IS THE OPERATIVE WORD HERE….AND THEN JOHNSON GOES ON TO GIVE EGREGIOUS EXAMPLES OF CRUDE ANTI-SEMITISM…JEWS CANNOT AFFORT TO WAIT FOR “YET”….RSK
Yes, Europe routinely turns a blind eye to the revival of anti-Semitism. But the outlook is not so bad—yet. By Daniel Johnson
As an Englishman, I smiled at the title of Michel Gurfinkiel’s brilliant essay. “You Only Live Twice” alludes, of course, to the 1964 James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, whose books (unlike the better-known films made from them) are peppered with stereotypical Jewish villains. It is well to be reminded that Fleming’s unabashed anti-Semitism was still common among right-wing Britons of his class and generation—the same generation that had fought and defeated Nazi Germany.
Gurfinkiel paints a somber, even apocalyptic vision of the long-term future for Jews in Europe. I share his concerns and to some extent also his pessimism. One estimate (by Andre Kaspi of the Sorbonne) is that by 2080 Europe will have only 600,000 Jews. But I believe there are still grounds for hope that Europeans could yet avert the hideous prospect of a posthumous triumph for Hitler and his latter-day avatars.
Gurfinkiel is right to observe that the majority of European Jews, unlike most of their American counterparts, have recent family memories of persecution, demonization, and expulsion. Increasingly often, they may also have personal experience of anti-Semitism, even in countries that were not involved in the Holocaust. One young German-Jewish student of my acquaintance, whose family came from Kiev via Frankfurt, is an enthusiastic Anglophile. “I always wanted to live in England,” she says. But her own first personal encounter with anti-Semitism came not in Germany or Ukraine but at the London School of Economics, where she found herself confronted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanting: “Throw the Jews into the sea!”
Nor are such public displays limited to the fringes. David Ward, a member of Parliament for Bradford East, belongs to the Liberal Democrats, now part of Britain’s coalition government. Earlier this year, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Ward wrote: “I am saddened that the Jews . . . could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new state of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.” Last month he returned to the subject, tweeting: “At long last the Zionists are losing the battle—how long can the apartheid state of Israel last?” His party responded by suspending him for two months in the summer—when Parliament does not convene. This token rebuke reflects the grim fact that nationally some 37 per cent of Liberal Democrats agree with the views held in Ward’s own, largely Muslim constituency.