Europe Still Prefers Its Jews Dead and Quaint

Aug. 16 2017

Recent articles in Jewish and Israeli publications have noted the new fad of mock-Jewish weddings. Annika Hernroth-Rothstein comments:

Apparently, some villages in Poland are holding Jewish weddings without any Jews. These include a ḥuppah, people dressed up in “Jewish garb,” and a fiddler-on-the-roof-style atmosphere, and the participants mimic Jewish life in almost every aspect, apart from the pork-heavy menu. After reading up on this phenomenon, I learned that such events are taking place all over Europe, from Krakow to Seville, and that they are most common in countries that once had vibrant Jewish populations.

Having traveled some, of course I have encountered the vaguely anti-Semitic knickknacks sold on the streets of Poland, Hungary, and other East European countries, but I never knew of this intricate playacting. . . .

Living Jews, [meanwhile], are being turned away, persecuted, and driven out of Europe once again, and very little is being done to prevent this. In 50 or 100 years, the descendants of the people now holding the pitchforks will probably hold parties in our honor. They will wear clothes they know from pictures, perform rituals they learned from movies and songs, and desecrate the celebrations with foods we do not allow. They will call this a tribute, but I see it as absurd. . . .

The worst part of it all, the thing that really gets me, is that I think they prefer us that way. It seems they can only love and accept us when we are a memory, rather than a living people. After we are gone, they adopt our customs with teary-eyed nostalgia, and celebrate us. It is only after our death that they can embrace our traditions, because it is only then that they can do so on their terms.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Jewish World, Polish Jewry

The U.S. Must Maintain the Kurdish Enclave in Eastern Syria

Aug. 16 2018

Presently only two rebel enclaves remain in Syria, and both are dependent on outside powers: one in the northwest, under Turkish control, and an area in the east controlled by the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Only by continuing its support for the latter can America prevent Iranian domination of Syria, writes Jonathan Spyer. Officials in Washington have made various statements suggesting that the White House has no intention of ceding the country to Iran, but haven’t clarified what this means in practice:

Actions . . . are a better guide than sentiments. And it appears that the SDF leaders remain skeptical regarding America’s long-term plans. Last week, the first direct negotiations took place between their representatives and those of the Assad regime, in Damascus.

It is not quite clear where things are heading. But Israel’s interest in this is clear. Maintenance of the east Syrian enclave and the [U.S.] base in Tanf means keeping a substantial physical obstacle to the Iranian hope for a contiguous corridor [connecting it to Lebanon via Syria and Iraq]. It would also prevent an overall Iranian triumph in the war and give the West a place at the table in any substantive political negotiation over Syria’s future. . . .

Specifically, efforts should be made to ensure a formal U.S. declaration of a no-fly zone for regime and regime-allied aircraft east of the Euphrates. This move, reminiscent of the no-fly zone declared over Iraqi Kurdistan after the Gulf War of 1991, would with one stroke ensure the continued viability of the SDF-controlled area. There should also be a formal recognition of the SDF zone, or the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria,” as it is formally known. This entity is not seeking independence from Damascus, so Western concerns regarding the formal breakup of Syria need not be raised by such a move.

As the strategic contest between Iran and its allies and the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East moves into high gear, it is essential that the West maintain its alliances and investments and behaves, and is seen to behave, as a credible and loyal patron and ally.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Kurds, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy