Europe Still Prefers Its Jews Dead and Quaint

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.

Read more at Israel Hayom

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

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas