On Friday, Sir David Amess, a long-serving British lawmaker from the Conservative Party and the Honorary Secretary of the Conservative Friends of Israel since 1998, was stabbed to death while meeting with constituents in a church building in his home district. A 25-year-old man of Somali descent was arrested and the counterterrorism division of London’s Metropolitan Police force formally declared the incident an act of terrorism. According to its statement, “The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.”
On Wednesday, two days prior to the attack in the UK, a Danish convert to Islam killed five people in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg. The killer was a convert from Christianity to Islam and “Police had been concerned about signs of radicalisation in the suspect before the attacks,” a senior officer said.
There is very little Europe can do against the expansion of fundamentalist Islam. Both Muslim immigrants and native Europeans who have converted are becoming radicalized with dire ramifications for Europe and far reaching implications for Jews.
For centuries, Christianity had governed in Europe. It launched crusades to the land of Israel and was triumphant against invading belief systems, mainly Islam.
However, today’s Europeans are hardly religious, especially in Western Europe. In many ways, this leaves people feeling empty and in search of meaning. Into the void comes the currently most vibrant and aggressive religion on the planet: Islam.
However, in many cases, it offers its explanation in such a dogmatic manner that people are given the choice to become devout and fanatic Muslims and get financial support, education, and a fully organized life, or be subject to constant intimidation, threat, and indeed homicide. For its part, old Europe is too tired and too insecure to stand up to the threat. It is yielding to the new power.
For Jews, this can only mean trouble. Israel is already portrayed as the epitome of evil in many distinguished academic institutions, the Progressive Left and Extremist Islam are in complete agreement when it comes to maligning Israel, and the rest of the world seems content with offering polite disapproval of any sort of bigotry.
But hatred isn’t passive; it percolates and slithers into the hearts of more and more people. Today, the veil of anti-Zionism is easily removed and exposes the antisemitism underneath. If people were embarrassed to admit that they support anti-Jewish views until just recently, now they are embarrassed to admit that they do not support such views. When antisemitism becomes mainstream, it becomes institutionalized. When it becomes institutionalized, terrible things happen to Jews.
As always, when the world is in crisis, and today it is, it turns its anger at the Jews. We see it as looking for a scapegoat, and perhaps it is from the perspective of the rulers, but there is much more to it than that.
From the perspective of most people, Jews are indeed responsible for all that is bad in the world. They do not usually act on their feelings or express them, but they feel it nonetheless. When things get really bad, they begin to air their feelings. Therefore, what we perceive as an increase in antisemitism is actually venting of preexisting sentiments.
The only cure against the growing aggression against Jews is Jewish unity. We’ve always hated that cure because we hate one another more than we hate our haters, but it has always been our only rescue. When we did not use it, we were not rescued.
It is not as though we’ve never known about it. In my book 𝐿𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝐵𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑅𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑠, I dedicate an entire chapter to excerpts from Jewish spiritual leaders of every era reminding us that unity is our only salvation. Had we been united, our sages say, no misfortune would have come to us. “When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel,” states the book Maor VaShemesh (Light and Sun), “no calamity can come over them. … [If] there is bonding among them, and no separation of hearts, they have peace and quiet … and all the curses and suffering are removed by that [unity].” Similarly, the book Maor Eynaim (Light of the Eyes) stresses, “When one includes oneself with all of Israel and unity is made … no harm shall come to you.” Likewise, the book Shem MiShmuel (A Name Out of Samuel) adds, “When [Israel] are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.”
The darker the clouds of Muslim fundamentalism grow in Europe, the more vigil Jews should become. Moreover, these clouds are now amassing not only in Europe, but in the United States, Latin America, and all over the world, and not only from Islam, but from all religions and all the nations. It is time for the entire Jewish people to unite and take the one pill that protects against Jew-hatred: Jewish unity.
For more on this topic, see my books 𝐿𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝐵𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑅𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑠: 𝑊ℎ𝑦 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑢𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙 𝑔𝑢𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦’𝑠 𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑟, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐽𝑒𝑤𝑖𝑠ℎ 𝐶ℎ𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒: 𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑟 𝐴𝑛𝑡𝑖-𝑆𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑠𝑚, 𝐻𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑖-𝑆𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑠𝑚 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝐽𝑒𝑤𝑖𝑠ℎ 𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑑.
People lay down flowers and light candles after a deadly attack, in Kongsberg, Norway, October 14, 2021. Terje Bendiksby/NTB/via REUTERS