Undoubtedly, the present Israeli-Palestinian conflict fought in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank will have a spillover effect causing immense harm and insecurity to the dwindling population of Jews living especially in Europe.
The huge Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries is a well-known historical fact and the numbers can fluctuate, but it is indisputable today that the numbers of Jews living in the Arab world have diminished drastically.
Their mass exodus resembles the exodus of Hindus from Pakistan. Those who had the resources have fled to other countries. But while Hindus may not yet have felt the persecution in Europe, it is an altogether different scenario for the Jewish diaspora.
According to a recent study published last year by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research, the results were mind-boggling. It was found that only 1.3 million people described themselves as Jewish in continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia. That figure has declined by nearly 60% since 1970, when there were 3.2 million Jews in the same area.
Unequivocally, the Jewish community has suffered suppression and has felt unwelcome. But it would be a mistake to assume that Jews today are fleeing because of the threat of Nazis in Europe. No, they are fleeing the anti-Semitic violence instigated primarily by Muslim Judeophobia. In other words, it is the growing Muslim population and some miscreants within its community that targets the few remaining Jews in European cities every time a cycle of violence breaks out in the Middle East.
In the last few decades, many Jews in Europe have been murdered, harassed, and insulted for being Jewish. Jews are now outnumbered in most European cities by a growing population of Muslims primarily from North Africa and the Middle East, who despise them and target them for all misgivings and tragedies of Middle Eastern politics.
Europe is finding it difficult to reconcile itself with the fact that few members of a new minority are now emerging as a big threat to the dwindling Jewish minority. To be specific, it is the radical Islamists who are targeting the Jews.
What is surprising is that even though the European countries promised never to repeat the atrocities of the Second World War on their soil, they were unable to prevent or console the Jewish community living in Western European countries from feeling insecure and isolated.
It is a known fact that no Jew would ever dare to walk the streets of Malmö in Sweden in broad daylight with a visible Jewish symbol on him or her without risking his or her life. In Scandinavian countries, the Jewish population is now primarily concentrated in big cities like Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.
The dilemma, though, remains that the attacks on the Jewish community have increased here, too. I have attended several meetings of the Jewish community in Denmark and it is no longer just an anecdotal example that some Jews have changed their names. Innumerable members of the remaining Jewish community residing in Denmark have quietly changed their second names to ones sounding similar to Danish second names.
As the situation in the Middle East gets tense and worse and a civil war-like situation prevails, its effects can be felt far away in the capital cities of Western Europe. As Israel intensifies its assault on Gaza, and, God forbid, if a civil war breaks out in the streets of Jerusalem, which houses both Jews and Arabs, a spillover effect will be seen even in Copenhagen and Stockholm.
One can only hope that the world leaders decide to intervene and mediate in the tense situation prevailing in Israel. Because for the umpteenth number of times, as seen before, we will witness another exodus of Jews from Europe.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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