Yes, that Jeffrey Goldberg, the one who told us, a couple of years ago, that Israel was getting ready to bomb Iran. Which may yet happen, but as forecasts go, that one was way off target. Now he’s scrubbed the crystal ball and is asking whether the European Jews should pack their bags and get out of Europe (the answer is yes).
In order to reach his unhappy conclusion, Goldberg gives us a long disquisition in the Atlantic on French antisemitism, and a few little pastiches of the state of affairs elsewhere in the Old World: Belgium, Germany, Holland, England, Sweden and Denmark. Like most Americans who claim insight into “Europe,” Goldberg doesn’t give the Mediterranean countries much coverage (there’s one passing reference to some graffiti in Italy, nothing on Spain, nothing on Greece).
The focus on France, and to a lesser extent on Great Britain, is certainly legitimate, since they are the two largest Jewish communities on the other side of the Atlantic. If there were massive Jewish emigration from those two countries, it would be an important phenomenon. As French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has famously and melodramatically said, the departure of a hundred thousand Jews would be a major event, an historic failure of the French Republic. Both French and British Jews tell pollsters they are frightened of the antisemites, and are thinking about leaving. Moreover, greater numbers of French Jews actually are leaving, although the absolute numbers–seven thousand went to Israel last year, and some of those still work in France — do not bespeak a mass movement. Nor is there reason to believe the British Jews are leaving en masse.
Goldberg thinks they should go, because of the growing strength of the “new antisemitism,” which he attributes to a blend of old-fashioned “fascist antisemitism” and the Islamist Jew-hatred that has certainly grown dramatically in recent years:
But what makes this new era of anti-Semitic violence in Europe different from previous ones is that traditional Western patterns of anti-Semitic thought have now merged with a potent strain of Muslim Judeophobia.
True enough, but something funny happened to “traditional Western patterns of anti-Semitic thought” in Goldberg’s account. Its left side magically disappeared. In Goldberg’s telling–and it’s quite a long telling, so he wasn’t under severe length restrictions–there are no leftist antisemites, only right-wing “fascists.” Indeed, he argues that Muslim antisemitism wouldn’t be nearly as big a threat without the active involvement of the rightists:
…the new anti-Semitism flourishing in corners of the European Muslim community would be impoverished without the incorporation of European fascist tropes.
This remarkable claim flies in the face of a considerable literature about the abundant Jew haters on the left, and is even at odds with some of the material in Goldberg’s own article. When he discusses the shameful Dutch pretense that the Anne Frank museum is not treated as a specific symbol of antisemitism (an official there tells Goldberg ““We want people to be interested in this issue, people from all walks of life. So we talk about the universal components of Anne Frank’s story as well. Our work is about tolerance and understanding”), and that it has never had a Jewish director, it’s obviously the result of political correctness, one of the left’s prime cultural weapons, or, to use Goldberg’s language, it’s a primary leftist trope.