Esperson notes that at school after school, “talented and obviously articulate” kids explain to him the history of Israel as it’s been taught to them. After the Holocaust, they inform him, the Western countries, led by the U.S. and Britain, flew “massive numbers of American and English and German and Polish Jews” to Palestine, where “they chased all the Palestinians out of their houses with gunpowder and cannons and other modern weapons, helped by the British and Americans, and sent them to refugee camps, where they have been ever since.” This twisted version of history, Esperson explains, is so ubiquitous in Danish schools that he’s begun passing out a “fact list” in which he seeks to correct all the lies these kids have been fed about the history of Jewish settlement in Palestine, the events of 1947-48, the current situation in Gaza, the rights of Israeli Arabs, and so on.
Last Wednesday, a 17-year-old Norwegian Jew whose byline identified him only as “Daniel” wrote a piece in Aftenposten headlined “Universally accepted anti-Semitism.” “Why,” he asks, “should I, as a Jews, feel insecure in Norway at times? Because there are many who say they want to kill me.” He tells an anecdote: “I’m sitting at the library playing an Internet game that involves shotting the greatest possible number of people with bows and arrows when a kid walks in….’Pretend you’re shooting a Jew,’ he comments enthusiastically.’”
Daniel recalls that during his school years, “the epithet ‘you Jew’” has been “as common as faen” (Norway’s F-word). But in all those years, he’s only heard teachers react to “you Jew” a total of five times. “People have said ‘you Jew’ in the classroom and the teacher has heard it, but do they do anything about it? No. Even though the teacher knows that I’m a Jew and people have said ‘you Jew’ so that both I and the teacher could hear it, the teacher never does anything other than to tell them to stop it.” Kids who say faen in class have their names taken down – but never kids who say “you Jew.”
Daniel eventually learned that “you Jew” was only the tip of the iceberg. “During the Gaza demonstrations, people went around with posters in Arabic saying ‘Kill all Jews.’ I have been asked if I support Israel, and after saying yes, I get immediate follow-up questions about whether I support child murderers.” He points out that if he were to call in school for the murder of all Muslims or Christians, he would probably be sent to the principal; but when people call for the murder of all Jews, it’s treated as a question of free speech.
To be sure, if a Norwegian student were to stand up in class and call in school for the murder of all Muslims, his fate might well be something considerably worse than a visit to the principal. And that’s why, for all the huffing and puffing about Islamophobia, such things virtually never happen. Kids in European schools are not going around taking the word Muslim in vain because they know very well that there’d be hell to pay if they did. Not only would they risk retribution from their Muslim classmates; they’d be left high and dry by their teachers and principal, who’d rush to distance themselves from their “Islamophobia” and to apologize for Muslims’ hurt feelings.
None of what Esperson and Daniel are describing, needless to say, is confined to just Denmark and Norway. This, alas, is Western Europe today: a part of the world that was once the very definition of civilization and enlightenment, but that, having exposed in the last century its capacity for irrational, murderous barbarism, now seems inexorably drawn, like an addict unable to resist his drug, back into that vile darkness.
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