I’ve written recently about the widespread persecution of Christians across the globe, and considerable attention has been paid to peaceful Muslim communities fearful of being blamed for the actions of radical Islamic jihadists.

But too often we forget the ongoing plight of the faith that for centuries has been target of persecution, and in our own time has been marked for utter elimination.

How do things go with the Jews? Not well, I fear.

 The chief rabbi of Brussels told an Israeli radio station on Nov. 23 that Jews have “no future in Europe.”

As the Jerusalem Post reported, Rabbi Avraham Gigi described the environment in the Belgian capital since the city has been in lockdown following police anti-terror raids across the country.

“There is a sense of fear in the streets, the Belgians understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes (instead of at synagogues) and some of them are planning on emigrating,” Gigi said.

He explained, “Since Shabbat (the Sabbath) the city has been paralyzed. The synagogues were closed, something which has not happened since World War II. People are praying alone or are holding small minyanim (prayer groups) at private homes.”

Gigi said there has been a migration of Jews to Israel “as well as emigration to Canada and the U.S. People understand there is no future for Jews in Europe.”

The Times of Israel reported Tuesday that Paris police have told the leader of the local Chabad community to cancel the public lighting of Hanukkah candles when the holiday begins at sundown Sunday. In the past, lighting ceremonies have been held in multiple locations across the city, but now may only be allowed at one site under heavy guard.

The Jewish magazine Mosaic reported Oct. 7 that “tens of thousands” of Jews have left France in recent years in the wake not only of targeted terror attacks but of “home-grown anti-Jewish threats and acts – verbal abuse, desecration of cemeteries, swastikas on Jewish property, fire-bombings of synagogues, and other forms of violence, up to and including murder.”

Between 2002 and 2014, the number of anti-Semitic acts tripled from the previous decade, and what had been a relative trickle of emigrations to nations such as the United States, Canada and Australia grew substantially – but has not equaled the number of Jews making “aliyah” (literally, “going up”) to Israel, heading toward the Middle East even as hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim migrants began marching the other way, headed toward Europe.

There is no question, at least in the minds of Europe’s Jewish community, that life there is getting harder.

As Mosaic noted, “In its report for the year 2014, France’s Jewish Community Security Service observed that anti-Semitic acts had doubled since the previous year and were now occurring almost without interruption. Indeed, in 2014, 51 percent of all racist acts committed in France had targeted Jews, a community representing less than 1 percent of the country’s population – even as racist acts directed at those other than Jews had decreased overall by 5 percent.”

Some of the perpetrators are radical Muslims, but both the far right and the far left have displayed anti-Semitic tendencies, either seeing the Jews as “inferior” or as representatives of Israel itself, which is far more widely hated in Europe than in the United States.

Mobs have attacked Jewish businesses and synagogues on many occasions, their cries and graffiti including the slogans “Hitler was right!” and “Mort Aux Juifs!” (“Death to the Jews!”).

And it’s not just in France, Mosaic reports: “In Norway, where a blood-libel cartoon (alleging that Jews kill non-Jews and use their blood in their ceremonies) was published in the main national tabloid, anti-Semitism has become intense enough to alarm the pan-European Organization for Security Cooperation. In Sweden, the number of threats against Jews has doubled just since this past January, actual crimes against Jews have multiplied, and the perpetrators are rarely apprehended and almost never convicted.”

It added, “In the U.K., anti-Semitic incidents doubled between 2013 and 2014; according to a poll taken that year of several thousand British Jews, 45 percent feared they had no future in Britain, and 58 percent were concerned they had no future in Europe altogether; a quarter of those surveyed had considered leaving Britain in the past two years.”

It’s a common story that European Jews have learned not to wear skullcaps or jewelry with Stars of David in public, for fear of insult or worse. While authorities condemn anti-Semitic incidents, they are often slow to investigate or make arrests.

If Europe’s Jews increasingly live in fear, what does that say about the vaunted freedom of the West? Can we not remember what happened the last time Jewish blood ran in European streets?

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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