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  • Writer's pictureOperation Tarshish

Is it time for N. American Jews to seriously consider Aliyah? (immigration to Israel)

It used to be that we would see the occasional article relating to an antisemitic incident, usually somewhere in North America or Europe. Then October 7 happened. The occasional article became a daily article. Now, as we approach five months, post October 7, an entire page is dedicated to antisemitic incidents each and every day.

Thursday’s Jerusalem Post is a perfect example.  Page 5 was dedicated to the following headlines:

  • Antisemitism wave prompts sharp rise in immigration

  • Anger over Gaza - clouds Europe’s cultural events

  • Harvard pro-Palestinian faculty group apologizes for sharing antisemitic image

  • Holocaust memorial stones in Vienna splattered with yellow paint

Wednesday’s paper was no better:

  • Antisemitic graffiti sprayed at Lake Merritt, California

  • Dearborn freelancer threatens to ‘kill every Jew,’ pro-Israel CIA operatives

  • Over 1,000 antisemitic incidents reported at US colleges since October 7

  • Muslim activists in Pennsylvania want to abandon Biden

Tuesday’s paper:

  • Mohamed Hadid: Netanyahu kills more children per day than Hitler’s Auschwitz

  • Ottawa youth charged for planning to attack Jewish target

  • Brazil recalls its ambassador after Katz reprimands him at Yad Vashem

  • Canadian arrested for antisemitic threats

A trend has definitely developed. Given what’s being felt by Diaspora Jews, who are most vulnerable, by virtue of the fact that they are living in countries whose law enforcement and military are not solely dedicated to their security, they are in a pre-Holocaust phase of thinking, considering where would be the safest place to live. 

According to a recent Reuters report, “Two-thirds of American Jews feel less secure,” the difference occurring just within a year’s time. 

If you’re wondering what would cause them to feel insecure and more susceptible to attack, as opposed to how they felt prior to October 7, undoubtedly a major contributing factor, in their perceptions of safety, you needn’t look further than the spontaneous anti-Israel protests in many major cities and campuses, the political climate, which is threatening the re-election of candidates who support Israel and the general tepid, if not antagonistic, response to the war being fought against Hamas terrorists.

Many see a similarity to the type of toxic atmosphere, which began to be pervasive in Europe, as Jews were more steadily castigated and blamed for everything which ailed their countries. But times have changed, and while it’s more difficult to pile on to North American Jews, it doesn’t prevent stereotypes and tropes from re-emerging in order to influence others about this tribe which is unique to all others.

One such example was an image recently posted on Instagram by “Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, which “included a 1960s era cartoon of a hand emblazoned with a Star of David and a dollar sign holding Muhammad Ali and Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser in a noose. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee which likened Zionism to an imperial project, read the image caption, referring to the influential 1960s Civil Rights activist group. The cartoon appeared to be a cropped version of a SNCC cartoon that upset Jewish groups at the time.”

Although an apology was given, it begs the question, “Who felt emboldened enough to post such an antisemitic trope (connecting money to Jews) especially in light of what recently took place with Harvard’s president, who was forced to resign in disgrace from her position, after failing to condemn the type of anti-Jewish atmosphere which was taking place on the campus of this elite, ivy-league university?”

Both real estate mogul, Mohamed Hadid and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva invoked the period of the Holocaust in order to make a false parallel between the Nazis then systematic murder of Jews, simply due to their ethnicity, and today’s IDF response to a savage massacre perpetrated by Hamas terrorists, who are truly dedicated to the same goals of the Nazis, aspiring to rid the world of its Jewish population.  

Thanks to social media, we just get to hear about it more, but when the characters are no longer in brown shirts with swastika emblems on their sleeves, but rather popular influencers, Hollywood personalities, prominent politicians and professors, that’s when ordinary Jews begin to recognize a worrying trend towards demonizing all of their people – regardless of whether or not they are even connected, in any way, to the Jewish homeland or feel an affinity towards it.  

Because we’ve already been in this frightening situation, the way history previously unfolded is a good indication of how it could similarly play out even 80 years later.  And since we live in a post-COVID era, where many people are able to work remotely from home, they are no longer dependent on remaining in one geographic area due to their occupation.  

While it’s true that uprooting one’s self, as well as other family members, is not a simple feat, especially given the massive cultural differences and language barriers, which will be the greatest hurdles to overcome in such a move, it still beats cowering in fear and wondering if your kids are safe or if you’ll be accused of some absurd trope associated with your Jewish ethnicity, and so this accounts for the “sharp rise in immigration prompted by a wave of antisemitism.”

According to the article, “since the beginning of the war, there had been a 300% increase in the opening of immigration case files in France, over 100% in the U.S., 150% in Canada and 40% in the United Kingdom. At no time in the last 80 years, have there been numbers like these, reflecting a turning tide in the perception of how unsafe Jewish people feel. In France alone, “a historical 1,800 acts of antisemitism in the country occurred since October 7.”

Is it any wonder, then, that a cause-and-effect reaction is taking place within the Jewish people who have come to realize that their best bet is to immigrate to the one place they know which will protect them better than any other? Who can blame them for wanting to give their children a quality education without the fear of being indoctrinated by pro-Palestinian sympathizers who have no problem supporting terrorism as a means to an end?  

This trending migration was not created in a vacuum but one which had been simmering just under the surface, waiting for the right moment to make its big splash onto the many stages and platforms where it is being advanced. And now it has.  

As things continue to escalate in a direction which causes Jews to worry over their future in countries which are no longer welcoming as they once were, that sharp rise in immigration will continue to spike until the prophetic call of every Jew returning to their homeland becomes a reality. These are the days in which we are living!

Cookie Schwaeber-IssanA former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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