As I write a siege is ongoing in a Kosher shop in Paris. In France, Belgium and across Europe in recent years, Jews have repeatedly been the targets of Islamist attack. They always are. Last year saw the largest upsurge of anti-Semitic hate crime on record even in the UK.
But it is the continent that has seen the worst and growing litany of attacks. In 2012 Mohamed Merah killed three Jewish children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse. In May last year three people were shot dead by an Islamist gunman at the Jewish museum in Brussels.
During the twentieth century Judaism on the continent of Europe was almost wiped out. In twenty-first century Europe the remaining Jews are once again the target. But from a different type of fascism and from a population who came to Europe since the Holocaust. In the last few years France has seen a larger exodus of Jews moving to Israel than any other country.
There are two questions we really need to consider at such a time. The first is, ‘Why do they always target the Jews?’. In 2008 when Mumbai was attacked, the Islamic terrorists rampaged through that great Indian city. But they specially sought out the tiny Chabad house in Mumbai and there they slaughtered the young rabbi and his wife. It is the same story everywhere. And of course the sort of people who gun down cartoonists for exercising their right to free expression will be the same people who will target Jews.
The second question is this: How dare so many Europeans still wonder why Israel needs to exist. Today Israel is the world’s only really safe haven for Jews who live in a world which cannot keep them safe, even when it wants to.