Jeffrey Goldberg has a big extensively reported piece in the Atlantic on European Jews and whether or not they should leave the Continent. Joseph Cannon is very offended by Goldberg’s conclusion. I have a different reaction. Goldberg is free to have his opinion. It’s based on very personal considerations and his own family history.
It’s disturbing that this is even something under discussion, and I don’t think Goldberg’s reporting about the experiences of Jewish communities in Europe can just be dismissed.
I certainly do not agree with this:
This article by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic is a despicable piece of agit-prop designed to convince Jews that they are all unsafe outside of their supposed “homeland.” Jews are being told that the year is still 1944. Jews are being told that all gentiles — every last one of them — are ruthless, mindlessly bloodthirsty Jew-haters, reared on the Protocols and anxious to break out the Zyklon B. Anyone who opposes the Israeli plan to exterminate all Palestinians must be a Jew-hater who wants to exterminate all Jews.
That is not even a remotely fair representation of Goldberg’s article.
In Goldberg’s concluding paragraph he cops to having a biased view.
I am predisposed to believe that there is no great future for the Jews in Europe, because evidence to support this belief is accumulating so quickly. But I am also predisposed to think this because I am an American Jew—which is to say, a person who exists because his ancestors made a run for it when they could.
Yeah, I think this is alarmist. But I don’t think it’s agitprop. It appears sincere to me. And Goldberg dutifully reported that many of the European Jews he encountered were very uncomfortable with Netanyahu’s recent recruitment efforts.
The Israeli government, as one might expect, is interested in accelerating the departure of Jews from Europe. Israeli leaders have lectured French Jews about the necessity of aliyah, or emigration to Israel, in ways that have displeased French leaders, including the prime minister, and have also frustrated some French Jewish leaders. “To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray. The state of Israel is your home,” the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said after the kosher-market attack. (He reprised this entreaty after the attack in Copenhagen a month later.)
Even some French Jews who are contemplating aliyah, and who tend toward the right end of the Israeli political spectrum, told me that they found Netanyahu’s remarks unhelpful. Others noted that life in Israel is not especially tranquil. Jews die violently in Israel, too.
Goldberg did not endorse aliyah as the solution, either.
Yet Israel’s future as a Jewish haven is an open question. Alain Finkielkraut, the French philosopher who is a harsh critic of his country’s management of the jihadist threat, is also a strong critic of current Israeli policy. “It is an irony of history that people who move to Israel as Jews might be moving to a state that in the next decades becomes a binational state with a Jewish minority, because of the occupation of the West Bank and the settlements,” he told me when we talked in Paris in January. “Moving from France to escape the attacks of Arabs to a country that will not be Jewish does not make a lot of sense.”
He never does offer an outright recommendation, but if people follow his ancestors’ example, they’ll immigrate to the United States, not Israel. And nothing Goldberg writes is fairly interpretable as “all gentiles — every last one of them — are ruthless, mindlessly bloodthirsty Jew-haters, reared on the Protocols and anxious to break out the Zyklon B.”
I’m embarrassed by Cannon’s take on this piece.