Jews Feel Safer in “Right-Wing” Eastern Europe Than in the “Liberal” West

Nov. 30 2018

In a survey published last week, European Jewish leaders and professionals were questioned about their own experiences with anti-Semitism and asked to gauge its extent in their countries. By a margin of about 20 percent, respondents in Western Europe were more likely to feel unsafe than those in the east; the former were also more likely to consider anti-Semitism a threat. Evelyn Gordon comments that this upends current assumptions about the resurgence of right-wing nationalism in Eastern Europe:

There are two reasons for these . . . results. . . . The first is the politically incorrect fact that violence against Jews in Europe comes mainly from Muslim anti-Semites rather than from either the right or the left. (See, for instance, the shootings at a Jewish museum in Brussels, a Jewish school in Toulouse, and a kosher supermarket in Paris.) And in Western Europe, liberal governments spent decades implementing liberal immigration policies that have produced large Muslim populations. Eastern Europe has very few Muslims, initially because decades of Communist rule made these countries economically uninviting and more recently because rightist governments have imposed restrictive immigration policies.

The second reason is more speculative, since correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causality. Nevertheless, as the report noted, the findings are suggestive: “Hostility toward Israel in the general society is perceived to be fiercer in Western Europe.” . . . [O]bjective data seem to support this hypothesis: whenever Israel launches a major counterterrorism operation, anti-Israel sentiment spikes, and so do anti-Semitic attacks, [perhaps because] rampant anti-Israel sentiment often makes anti-Semites believe that society will tolerate such attacks so long as they can be portrayed as “anti-Israel.” And this belief is hardly unfounded. . . .

[Moreover], since hostility toward Israel emanates primarily from the left these days, it’s no surprise that such hostility is higher in liberal Western Europe than in conservative Eastern Europe. Thus, both of the main contributors to anti-Semitism in Europe today—Islamic anti-Semitism and left-wing hostility toward Israel—are more prevalent in the liberal West than in the allegedly “fascist, anti-Semitic” countries of Eastern Europe.

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

At the UN, Nikki Haley Told the Truth about Israel—and the World Didn’t Burn Down

April 22 2019

Although Nikki Haley had never been to Israel when she took the position of American ambassador to the UN, and had no prior foreign-policy experience, she distinguished herself as one of the most capable and vigorous defenders of the Jewish state ever to hold the position. Jon Lerner, who served as Haley’s deputy during her ambassadorship, sees the key to her success—regarding both Israel and many other matters—in her refusal to abide by the polite fictions that the institution holds sacred:

Myths are sometimes assets in international relations. The fiction that Taiwan is not an independent country, for example, allows [the U.S.] to sustain [its] relationship with China. In other cases, however, myths can create serious problems. On Israel–Palestinian issues, the Trump administration was determined to test some mythical propositions that many had come to take for granted, and, in some cases, to refute them. Haley’s prominence at the UN arose in large part from a conscious choice to reject myths that had pervaded diplomacy on Israel–Palestinian issues for decades. . . .

[For instance], U.S. presidents were intimidated by the argument that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would trigger violent explosions throughout the Muslim world. President Trump and key colleagues doubted this, and they turned out to be right. Violent reaction in the Palestinian territories was limited, and there was virtually none elsewhere in Arab and Islamic countries. . . .

It turns out that the United States can support Israel strongly and still work closely with Arab states to promote common interests like opposing Iranian threats. The Arab street is not narrowly Israel-minded and is not as volatile as long believed. The sky won’t fall if the U.S. stops funding UN sacred cows like the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). Even if future U.S. administrations revert to the policies of the past, these old assumptions will remain disproved. That is a valuable accomplishment that will last long after Nikki Haley’s UN tenure.

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More about: Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, United Nations, US-Israel relations