Europe’s Double Standards Come Back to Haunt It

In January, Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s foreign minister, called for an investigation into incidents where Israeli security forces have shot Palestinian terrorists in the midst of committing acts of murder. Tom Wilson wonders if she will make similar calls regarding French and German police:

Yesterday, when an . . . Islamic State devotee in Germany began attacking commuters on a busy train, he was quickly shot and killed by security. Similarly, the horrific truck attack last week in Nice was brought to an end only when the French police shot and killed Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who also appears to have been linked with IS. . . .

[T]he question is not whether Wallstrom’s comments about Israel were acceptable; we already knew that they were not. Rather, the question here is whether the Swedish foreign ministry is going to be consistent because a standard has now been set. As such, Margot Wallstrom has a choice on her hands. Either she can come out and call for equivalent investigations into the actions of the German and French police—and provoke popular and diplomatic fury from across Europe—or she could not hold European countries to the same standard she holds Israel to and, in doing so, confirm that she operates a bigoted and discriminatory attitude toward the Jewish state.

When Wallstrom made her comments in January, many will have assumed the latter to be the case. But if she cares to, recent events have now provided her with an opportunity to prove otherwise.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Car intifada, Europe and Israel, Islamic State, Israel & Zionism, Sweden, Terrorism

On Thanksgiving, Remember the Exodus from Egypt

Nov. 27 2020

When asked to design a Great Seal of the United States, Benjamin Franklin proposed a depiction of Moses at the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, while Thomas Jefferson suggested the children of Israel in the wilderness after departing Egypt. These proposals, writes Ed Simon, tapped into a venerable American tradition:

The Puritans from whom Franklin descended had been comparing their own arrival in the New World with the story of Exodus for more than a century. They were inheritors of a profoundly Judaic vision, melding the stories of the Hebrew scripture with their own narratives and experiences. . . .

For the Puritans, Exodus was arguably a model for understanding their own lives and history in a manner more all-encompassing and totalizing than for any other historical religious group, with the obvious exception of the Jews. . . . American Puritans and pilgrims like John Mather, John Winthrop, John Cotton, . . . and many others placed the Exodus at the center of their vision, seeing their own fleeing from an oppressive England and a Europe wracked by the Thirty Years’ War to an American “Errand Into the Wilderness” as a modern version of the Israelites’ escape into Canaan. . . . [Thus the] Exodus . . . has become indispensable in comprehending the wider American experience. Through the Puritans, the story of Exodus became a motivating script for all manner of American stories. . . .

We read its significance and prophetic power in accounts of slaves who escaped the cruelty of antebellum plantation servitude, and who crossed the Ohio River as if it were the Sea of Reeds. . . . We see it in photographs of the oppressed escaping pogroms and persecution in the Old World, and in the stories of later generations of refugees. Exodus is an indispensably Jewish story, but what more appropriate day than Thanksgiving, this most American and Puritan (and “Jewish”?) of holidays, to consider the role that that particular biblical narrative has had in defining America’s civil religion?

Read more at Tablet

More about: American founding, American Religion, Exodus, History & Ideas, Thanksgiving, Thomas Jefferson