The consequences of anti-Semitism

Citing FBI statistics, Tevi Troy informs us that hate crimes in 2020 reached their highest level in 12 years. Of religion-based hate crimes, 57.5 percent of them were targeted at Jews, even though Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population.

That’s what I call disparate impact. Yet, nearly everything I read in the mainstream media about hate crimes focuses on other minority groups.

Tevi writes:

Though American Jews have long been comfortable in America, the sad history of world Jewry suggests that no home for the Jews can be considered permanent. Yet, as the countries that have expelled Jews or encouraged them to leave have learned, things usually got worse, not better, after Jewish populations departed.

Tevi cites examples of the deleterious effects of expelling Jews on the ex-host countries. The clearest example occurred in Spain after Ferdinand and Isabella kicked the Jews out in 1492:

Spanish Jews until then had been a flourishing community, producing poets, philosophers, and physicians. All that ended, to the eventual regret of both Christian Europe and Spain. Many of the expelled Jews moved to the Ottoman Empire, which, at the time, took a more welcoming attitude toward Jews.

The Ottoman Empire benefited significantly:

In 1571, when Venice weighed expelling the Jews, a Venetian diplomat named Giovanni Soranzo successfully argued that doing so would benefit an enemy. As Soranzo put it, “Do you know what it may cost you in years to come? Who gave the Turk his strength, and where else would he have found the skilled craftsmen to make the cannon, bar, shot, swords, shields and bucklers . . . if not among the Jews expelled by the Kings of Spain?”

I wrote about a striking example of how “the Turk” profited from the Spanish Inquisition in this post about Salonika (Thessaloniki).

My family has no roots in Spain or Greece. Those “ancestry” tests confirm this.

Thus, when I visit the Jewish quarter in Spanish cities and towns and in Thessaloniki, I have no special personal feelings. Yet, it sometimes seems to me that, even after so many centuries (in the case of Spain), there’s a hole where the Jews once thrived.

In modern times, Tevi points out, Jews were expelled from countries throughout the Middle East and were driven out of the Soviet Union due to poor treatment. The results?

The Jews [in the Middle East] were often multilingual business owners, with ties to Western countries and economies. The Jews had made Arab societies more open, and their departures brought with them significant losses in human capital and connectivity to the rest of the world, with damaging consequences for Arab economic development. . . .

[M]ore than 1 million Jews [left the USSR/Russia] in the late 1980s and 1990s for Israel, where they have helped create Israel’s “Startup Nation” economic miracle. Israeli tech leaders with Soviet origins include Demisto’s Slavik Markovich, Twistlock’s Dima Stopel, Luminate Security’s Leonid Belkind, Guardicore’s Pavel Gurvich, and Lightricks’s Zeev Farbman. Another Soviet Jew, Sergey Brin, came to America and cofounded Google.

The situation of Jews in America today is nothing like the examples cited above. But neither was the situation in Quebec in the 1970s. Yet, Tevi notes that fear of rising anti-Semitism caused a migration of Canadian Jews from Quebec to other parts of Canada, to Quebec’s detriment.

Thus, it’s reasonable for Tevi to conclude:

Should Jews feel unprotected in urban environments where public officials don’t take anti-Semitic incidents seriously, they might begin leaving those areas for more welcoming places. . . .

It doesn’t take concentration camps or expulsion orders to send Jews looking for happier pastures. All that’s needed is for a government and its police forces to look away as Jews get attacked in the streets. We should all hope that the day never comes when the U.S. has to say, as other countries said before it, “We should have kept those Jews.”

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