Europe’s Centuries-Old Anti-Semitic Easter Traditions

In the past three decades, much has been written and said about the “new anti-Semitism.” But a look at some local European Easter celebrations suggests that there is plenty of the old anti-Semitism to be found as well—and not just in religiously conservative countries like Poland, but even in the supposedly tolerant and progressive Netherlands. Canaan Lidor reports:

At a festive procession in Pruchnik, a small town in southeastern Poland, townsmen watch the ceremonial burning of a kippah-wearing effigy they’ve named Judas as part of a Christian event. In a small Dutch municipality, dozens of men wearing matching attire march through their city’s streets singing of the Jews’ murder of Jesus Christ. . . . A testament to the deep, abiding roots of Jew-hatred on the continent, the events held last week are among several traditions that persist in 21st-century Europe, despite repeated protests by Jewish and other critics.

The anti-Jewish caroling in the Netherlands’ eastern town of Ootmarsum sees singers in matching outfits denounce “the Jews who with their false council sacrificed Jesus on the cross.” . . . . Easter caroling at Ootmarsum has come under criticism, including by the influential Dutch rabbi Lody van der Kamp. The rabbi, who was born in the east of the Netherlands, last year called the tradition “unfathomable” in an interview.

A visitor from a nearby town, who is among the hundreds of tourists who come to Ootmarsum annually to watch the Easter caroling procession, defended the original lyrics to [the local newspaper]. “Why should I get involved,” demanded Jaap Meerkerk. “Let the incessant complainers find some other target than this beautiful tradition. No one here came to offend anyone,” Meerkerk said.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Jewish-Christian relations, Netherlands, Poland

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy