I must have missed the memo that Nazism and antisemitism have made a full force turn around since the 1940’s and are back in style with a vengeance. And it’s apparently a new world trend! Who would have thought… I woke up this morning to read about a Jewish cemetery in France being vandalized where hundreds of graves were desecrated (HUNDREDS), swastikas and antisemitic slogans painted on about 30 homes in WISCONSIN (of all places), terror attacks targeting the Danish Jewish community where a man was killed guarding a Bar-Mitzvah, and let’s not forget about those super friendly Islamic countries all over the Middle East who would be giddy at the chance to kill every Jew if they could manage it along with wiping Israel off the map.
Europe’s leaders are doing what they can to urge the Jews to remain in their home countries, while Bibi Netanyahu is on a mission to get every European Jew to Israel on the next plane if possible. They speak so eloquently, these European leaders, about how their countries wouldn’t be the same without its Jews… How Europe wouldn’t be the same without its Jews… Yet what are they doing to protect these Jews and combat a situation that is slowly forcing European Jewry to escape or be killed. Words are wonderful, but they don’t stop bullets, and I find myself wondering if America (well not Wisconsin apparently) and Israel are really the only two safe places left for our tiny tribe that can’t seem to be left alone.
Stephane forbade me from bringing my Jewish Star to France when we last visited his home right outside of Paris, and, at the time, I simply thought he was just exercising a bit of extra caution… Now I know he probably spared me from a what could have been a traumatic first experience in Europe. I saw footage today of a journalist who decided to do a bit of a social experiment by wearing a yarmulke (Jewish head covering) and walking around Paris, and the footage he captured of people spitting on him, calling him names, even threatening to physically assault him, were out of this world outrageous. Stephane doesn’t want to go back. If it were up to him we would never step foot in France again, and it makes me so profoundly sad that a country so beautiful and rich in culture has become a cesspool of hate and terror for her countries almost half a million Jews (many of whom have come or are planning to come to Israel permanently). I can’t imagine not feeling safe in my own home.
Will it come to America? Will I one day be forced to hide my Jewish identity in my home like Stephane has to do in his. I pray that it will never happen, but who would have thought that only 70 years after the Holocaust Jews in Europe would once again be fleeing for their lives. No place is immune from this kind of hate, especially when the leaders who are charged with the protection of their people sit idly by and do nothing… but give baseless, empty words. I am a citizen of the only two places left that might be safe for me to openly admit that I’m a Jew and that (quite literally) scares me to death. Forget visiting all of the places I have dreamed about going to since I was a new initiate of Middle Eastern living. I have already resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never see Lebanon (once coined the Paris of the Middle East, and home to some of my favorite artists), or the magnificent antiquities of Egypt, but to think that my life might also be threatened by visiting Europe as an “open” Jew is something that I just can’t accept… I had less problems when I lived in Palestinian East Jerusalem for goodness sakes.
The answer to all of this mess is out there somewhere… I just hope it is found quickly and with minimal loss of life. But there has already been so much loss of life. Today alone upwards of 20 Coptic Christians from Egypt were mercilessly slaughtered by ISIS for simply being Christian. Jews are being targeted on every side of the world, and no one seems to want to point out what is so obviously staring us all in the face… The reason for this madness hiding behind a religion that is supposed to be of peace.
I’m sure some people will read this and call what I say Islamaphobic. It is within their rights to think so. But one of the benefits of getting a PhD in Psychology is knowing that a phobia is an exaggerated fear or anxiety where the fear is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation… When your life is threatened daily (and living in Israel that is a reality), and every day you see example after example of the terror that comes with radical Islam, there is no disproportionality between my fear and the actual danger. Just look at that cemetery in France… Watch the Swedish and French reporters who wore traditional Jewish garb and walked through their cities…Look at Copenhagen, and Australia, and London. Or better yet, come to Israel. You might sing a different tune then.
I miss you every second of every day, friend, and I pray things get better soon. Until then we remain ever vigilant yet hopeful.
Until we meet again <3,