It seems a bit absurd, here I am, in what many people mistakenly believe is the eye of the storm. Worried friends ask me if I’m OK, if I’m not afraid, and whether, if they dare to purchase the ticket and come and visit me, if there will be an outbreak of war here in Israel. In the real world, things are completely reversed. The armed forces, no less!, have been called out to protect Jews in France and Belgium, whereas security for Jewish institutions is heightened in every other European country. Then there is of course, despicable and cowardly murders committed against people like Lee Rigby, bludgeoned to death on the high street in London, Christmas shoppers mowed down on the side walk, that AWFUL, AWFUL assassination of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and the Jewish victims at the Hyper Casher market. And thats not counting the harassment Jews are suffering from society at large, and in particular from a large segment of Muslims who have been taught to hate Jews just because they are Jews.
It beggars belief when Torah scholars argue that Jews should be armed to protect themselves in Europe, while more and more Jews admit feeling uncomfortable in the current state of affairs in Europe.
Politicians and other unelected leaders sorrowfully cluck their tongues when unbridled hate speech turns into bloody nightmares that trip up their pet fantasy that if you only lean backwards long and hard enough, then surely we can all live together in a multiculti society. When that clearly doesn’t work, the current recipe is to lay the blame at whatever misfortune that hits the Jews right in the jugular vein, on the Jews themselves. Or on Israel, that – for anybody who actually has not had a brain amputation performed – is a pseudonym for Jews. Some journalists go to great lengths to ride as roughshod as possible over Jewish raw emotions, the European ones only apologising halfheartedly after they have been found out, whereas the American ones get fired ( a fact that really says it all)...
As prominent Norwegian Jews now vocally testify: its scary to be Jewish in Norway now. Not only Jews are concerned; some politicians too voice their deep concern that Jews, just for the sake of being Jews, cannot feel safe any longer in Norway, or all of Europe. The shocking bit is to discover that for all the great ceremonies, the grand words, the reassurance that European politicians will fight tooth and nail to purge anti-Semitism from amongst us. The distance between such assurances and facts on the ground speak its own clear language; almost three years since the release of a damning report on anti-Semitic attitudes in Norway, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust have still not become incorporated into the national curriculum in primary or secondary education. The EU has not only withdrawn what used to be its own working definition of anti-Semitism, but in spite of its own grand words to stand up for the Jews, it failed to approve its long awaited anti-Semitism task force.
With this backdrop, to my great disappointment, some awfully clever people in Norway – with an acute sense of timing – now fret about that circumcision has been sanctified in Law and must be carried out in hospitals or under the supervision of a specialist. The Children’s Ombudsman is back in the media, lamenting that more people might now choose to circumcise their baby boys, and that a revision of the Law is required to find out about side effects or problems arising form this (she aims her darts at the Muslim population only, thus further sidelining this minority group, evidently she didn’t consider President Obama’s admonition to Europe, that Europe must integrate its Muslim population into the mainstream culture – finally a wise word from a president many consider to be a great disappointment). She has her own profession on her side – many urologists, paediatric surgeons and nurses say they will refuse to carry out circumcisions, claiming it is against the human rights of the child, and they demand that the state respect their reservation on the grounds that it is against their conscience to carry out such a procedure. Their protests are risible and show the shallowness of their ethical reasoning; we need not go further back than last January when all the “good forces” were up in arms about a clarification in current legislation on GP’s and other health workers’ right to deny to refer a woman for abortion since it would go against their conscience to terminate an otherwise healthy pregnancy. Oh the fury, GPs who professed to be Christians were ridiculed, hounded, and some GPs even handed in their notice when in stead of being a minor bureaucratic procedure, became a major political battle, which in the end terminated a GPs freedom to deny certain treatments on grounds of conscience. Many of the voices that hurled insults at said GPs for their struggle, now demand that the Law must grant them the right to deny treatment on grounds of conscience.
This is what in Jewish circles is called chutzpah!