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Calling for Jews to Flee Europe Would Give Hitler a “Posthumous Victory”

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2015

In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin  
Natanyahu traveled to France and urged French Jews to flee their country and  
emigrate to Israel, which he said was their real “home.”  
There is widespread dismay in France at the Israeli notion that French Jews  
are not really French but that their real “homeland” is Israel.  
Prime Minister Manuel Valis said, “If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no  
longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”  
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, said  
that far better than emigration to Israel would be the preservation and  
protection of Jewish life in the many countries Jews call home. He regretted  
that “after every anti-Semitic act in Europe, the Israeli government issues  
the same statement about the importance of aliyah rather than employ every  
diplomatic and international means at its disposal to strengthen the safety  
of Jewish life in Europe. The Israeli government must stop this Pavlovian  
response every time there is an attack against any Jews in Europe.”  
Yonathan Arli, Vice President of CRIF, an umbrella group of Jewish  
institutions in France, says that he believes Jews should remain in France,  
which is their home. We have had a Jewish community living here for more  
than a thousand years,” he said, “We went through bombing attacks, the  
Holocaust, acts of terrorism, and we are not about to leave now. We just  
want to be safe.”  
Writing from Paris in The Forward (Jan. 16, 2015), Laurent-David Samama  
notes that while some French Jews might be considering emigration, “… others  
— including young Jews like me — feel that making aliyah is a too-easy  
escape; it’s simply not the answer. Those of us who remain in Paris,  
Marseille or Lyon are determined not to let the terrorists win. Throughout  
French history, Jews have experienced many periods of crisis. We’ve always  
overcome them, and we will overcome them again. Now more than ever there is  
another communal faction that believes France needs us to stay here, to play  
the role of social whistleblower.”  
Samadar Bar-Akiva, executive director of JCC Global, a network of Jewish  
community centers, declared: “… the calls for French Jews to pack their bags  
and make aliyah are disturbing and self-serving … It will be more  
constructive to help French Jewry continue the educational and social work  
they are already doing.”  
Uri Avnery, the leader of Israel’s peace movement, Gush Shalom, declared  
(Tikkun, Jan. 17, 2015): “The blood of four Jews murdered in the kosher  
supermarket was not yet dry when Israeli leaders called upon the Jews of  
France to pack up and come to Israel. Israel, as everybody knows, is the  
safest place on earth. This was an almost automatic Zionist gut reaction.  
The basic belief of Zionism is that Jews cannot live anywhere except in the  
Jewish state, because the victory of anti-Semitism is inevitable everywhere.  
Let the Jews of America rejoice in their freedom and prosperity — sooner or  
later they will come to an end. They are doomed like Jews everywhere outside  
of Israel. The new outrage in Paris confirms this basic belief. There was  
very little real commiseration in Israel. Rather a secret sense of triumph.  
The gut reaction of ordinary Israelis is, ‘We told you so!’ and ‘Come  
quickly, before it’s too late.’”  
Writing in Mondoweiss (Jan. 19, 2015), Jonathan Cook points to the similar  
worldview of Zionists and traditional anti-Semites: “Israeli politicians of  
both right and left have parroted his (Netanyahu’s) message that European  
Jews know ‘in their hearts that they have only one country.’ The logical  
corollary is that Jews cannot be loyal to other states they live in, such as  
France … In this regard, Netanyahu and the far-right share much common  
ground. He wants a ‘Europe free of Jews.’ The far-right wants the same … One  
Israeli commentator noted pointedly that Israeli politicians like Netanyahu  
‘were helping to finish the job started by the Nazis and their Vichy  
collaborators: making France Judenrein.”  
Editorially, The Forward (Jan. 14, 2015) declared: “Europe needs its Jews  
as much as some Jews still need and want a place in Europe. Even if  
immigration to Israel under¬standably increases, it is our duty to redouble  
support for those Jews who wish to remain where they are. Besides, after so  
many nations in the last century murdered or expelled their Jews, should we  
really encourage more Jews to flee?”  
After a terrorist attack in Copenhagen, Denmark in February, Prime Minister  
Netanyahu once again called upon Danish Jews, and Jews throughout Europe, to  
leave their homes and come to Israel. Denmark’s Chief Rabbi, Jair Melchior,  
said he was “disappointed” by Netanyahu’s call for immigration. He said:  
“If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run  
to a desert island. Terror is not a reason to move to Israel.”  
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt declared: “The Jewish community  
have been in this country for centuries. They belong to Denmark, they are  
part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish  
community of Denmark.” Jeppe Juhl, a spokesman for the Jewish community in  
Denmark, stated: “We’re very grateful for Netanyahu’s concern but having  
said that, we are Danish — we’re Danish Jews but we’re Danish— and it won’t  
be terror that makes us go to Israel.” (Times of Israel, Feb. 9, 2015)  
Claude Lanzmann, the widely respected French Jewish filmmaker, best known  
for his Holocaust documentary film Shoah, said that following Benjamin  
Netanyahu’s advice would have only one result, giving Hitler, who did his  
best to rid France and all of Europe of Jews, “a posthumous victory.” •

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