Spike in worldwide antisemitism sparks mass emigration

by Charles Gardner

The future of the Jewish people in Europe – and even in America – is at great risk, with many leaving for Israel or being advised to do so.

Much of the shocking rise in worldwide antisemitism that is behind this mass exodus has been witnessed by Dr Fred Wright, a British historian and theologian who has been working to facilitate Aliyah (returning to their ancient land) for persecuted Jews around the globe ever since the days of the former Soviet Union. He is currently serving as Director of Communications for Ezra UK.

In conversation with me, Fred outlines the dire situation facing Jewish communities for whom he has a heart of love and concern that he hopes will be replicated by more Christians, as the Bible commands us to do.

“The Jewish people have the distinction of being the most opposed and vilified group in history from the time of written record,” he said. “Esteemed historian Robert Wistrich labelled it as the World’s Longest Hatred. Any discussion of the Jewish people, their relationship with God and the land will always be overshadowed by the evil spirit of antisemitism and of tropes of Jews as being clannish, conspiratorial and holders of world power in the realms of media, politics, and the economy.

“Anti-Defamation League research shows that classic antisemitism is emerging again in American society, where there are around six million Jews. The question arises as to what their future is both within and without the USA, especially in view of rising Muslim antisemitism with Jewish leaders previously indifferent to Aliyah now encouraging their followers to leave.

“Antisemitism is rife at the much-lauded Harvard University where students have endorsed the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. And a shocking incident in Las Vegas saw a swastika carved into the back of a 17-year-old autistic schoolboy.

“In Europe, meanwhile, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of Jewish history there, in the words of former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharanksy. The Berlin-based correspondent of Israel’s largest newspaper, Israel Hayom, revealed that the Jewish population in Europe has decreased by 60 percent in the last 50 years. And Wistrich said of European Jewry: ‘It’s over; it’s a slow death.’ In short, there is no future for the Jews of Europe.

“Russian and Ukrainian rabbis have called on all Jews to leave the war-torn countries before they are made scapegoats for the hardship caused by the conflict. Step by step the iron curtain is coming down again. And we at Ezra have helped over 16,500 Jewish people make Aliyah in the first year of the war, with many more in process.

“Samuel Hayek, a UK resident for over 40 years, chairman of the Jewish National Fund and a renowned philanthropist, has also sadly remarked that Jews have no future in Britain, where 1,652 anti-Jewish hate incidents were recorded nationwide in 2022. He noted that Britain’s Muslim population could triple in the next 20 years, adding: ‘I’m not against any minority or against Muslims in the UK or in Europe, but against anyone who spreads hatred.’

“Another spokesman, Mehdi Hasan, has pointed out that ‘anti-Semitism isn’t just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it’s routine and commonplace’.

“Holland’s Jewish community have been advised to emigrate to avoid increasing harassment by young Muslim fanatics. Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs said he and his wife would leave if not for their responsibility for those still there. ‘I’m like the captain of a sinking ship,’he declared. And Dutch novelist Leon de Winter predicted that when Israel celebrates her centenary in 2048, the last Jew will leave Europe.

“France, the scene of much chaotic rebellion in recent days, has a shadowy history of antisemitism that peaked with the notorious case of injustice against a Jewish army officer witnessed by journalist Theodor Herzl who thus concluded there was no future for Jews in Europe. He duly launched the Zionist movement that sparked ongoing Aliyah to Israel. Some academics consider that Nazi ideology could just as easily have developed in France as in Germany. And the situation now appears worse than ever, exacerbated by Islamic-led elements, with Jewish educational establishments located on first floors with bomb-proof doors and security guards outside.

“In the past few years there has been an ever-increasing number of Jews leaving major cities. Grenoble has seen half the Jewish community flee and Nice has witnessed a drop from 20,000 to 5,000. In Toulouse, where much of the Jewish community arrived from North Africa in the 1960s and 70s following Islamic expulsions, they have felt constrained to move once again – no less than 50% of them. ‘In a few decades there will be no Jews in France,’ one Jewish leader said.

“Jews in Belgium also suffer great hostility, with the Chief Rabbi of Brussels, Albert Guigui, no longer wearing a kippa in public for fear of violence and Israeli journalist Eldad Beck reporting that ‘there is a good chance, in twenty years, of ending up with a jüdenrein Belgium.’

“Antisemitic incidents are also rife in Germany – an average of five a day in the first ten months of 2022 – less than 80 years after the Holocaust shocked the world. A particularly low point saw Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, at a press conference in Munich last year, outrageously accuse Israel of having perpetrated ‘50 Holocausts’ against the Palestinians! Semen Gorelik, Jewish community chairman in the state of Brandenburg, has announced that he is leaving Germany for Israel and urged German Jews to follow suit due to the rising tide of antisemitism there.

“A similar situation exists in Austria, where the Jewish community president of Vienna said: ‘The challenge of rising antisemitism is a global phenomenon and we are working closely with all strands of society to combat it.’

“Sweden, once a paragon of tolerance, now has the third highest rate of antisemitic incidents in Europe, once again mostly due to Islamic tensions, with the number of Jews in the city of Malmö plummeting from 3,000 to 600 in just a few short years.

“Meanwhile neighbouring Norway risks becoming one of the first countries without a Jewish presence. Due to Islamic tensions, the synagogues of Oslo and Trondheim are the most securely protected buildings in the country and Aliyah has found a renewed focus. The picture is similar in Denmark while in Spain, four decades after the demise of General Franco’s dictatorship, opinion polls continue to reveal deeply-rooted antisemitic clichés.

“And whereas Italians generally are not antisemitic by conviction, there is a residual suspicion of Jews because of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. And even in Greece, despite its relatively small Jewish community, antisemitism is an ongoing concern.”

But when all is said and done, all this terrible upheaval is paving the way for the greatest miracle since the crossing of the Red Sea 3,500 years ago. For the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah that a day would come “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.” (Jeremiah 16:14f)

For more information, see www.ezrauk.org

The walls of Jerusalem’s Old City – a fortress of old also symbolic of the safe-haven for Jews in Israel envisaged by Zionist pioneer Theodor Herzl. Photo: Charles Gardner