Europe’s Jews still face anti-Semitism

This is a letter regarding Jeffrey Goldberg’s cover article in the Atlantic, entitled “Should the Jews leave Europe?”

Goldberg’s recent article takes the pulse of current political thought regarding anti-Semitism in Europe. The situation for Jews in Europe, as I have previously written, is more openly violent now than it has been in nearly 70 years. It is so fraught with anti-Semitism that many of Europe’s Jewish residents have decided to emigrate to Israel or to the United States out of fear for their property and lives.

As the old and bitter saying goes, in Jewish history, the pessimists who leave in times of trouble survive, and the optimists who remain often do not. But Goldberg’s article misses the point to the issues of anti-Semitism and question of the continued safety of Jews in Europe – not because he is wrong, but because he does not go far enough.

It is one of the responsibilities of legitimate government to establish and preserve safety for its citizens as best it is able: if European governments cannot, or will not, do so for their Jewish populations, that would imply a far greater issue than Jews rightfully fleeing pogrom-like outbreaks of violence.

If European governments are too mired in navel-gazing nationalistic concerns to protect their national minorities, if, indeed, European governments will not step up to the plate and protect their minorities, Jewish or otherwise, Europe will not be safe for anyone; nor will there be any honor left in living there anyway. To their credit, multiple Western European government leaders have stated their intentions to protect their Jewish citizens.

“France is your home,” the French president said in an address after the anti-Semitic attack on a Paris kosher supermarket. What is not yet clear is whether these words, and words like them, will lead to better policies, or if they are empty attempts to save face.

Until then, the pessimists will leave and the optimists will stay, and Europe, and our world, will be the poorer for it.


Julia Walsh,

Class of 2016