Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekly Standard: Rotten in Denmark?

Elliot Abrams is angry at Denmark:

The latest news out of Denmark bore this headline: "Jews Warned Not to Wear Kipot, Stars of David in Copenhagen."

His link is to the Israeli Nation News, but whatever.

Here is an excerpt:

Israeli and Jewish officials in Denmark on Wednesday warned Jews to avoid openly wearing religious symbols and dress when moving about Copenhagen amid rising anti-Israeli sentiments. "We advise Israelis who come to Denmark and want to go to the synagogue to wait to don their skull caps until they enter the building and not to wear them in the street, irrespective of whether the areas they are visiting are seen as being safe," Israel's ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon, told AFP. Avnon added that visitors were also advised not to "speak Hebrew loudly" or demonstrably wear Star of David jewelry, the news agency reported. Denmark's national Jewish Religious Community organization has also advised its members, and those at the private Jewish school in Copenhagen, to exercise caution. Caroline Jewish School headmaster Jan Hansen told daily Jyllands-Posten: "It is not something that we do officially, but if the issue comes up we would say (to our pupils) they should think twice before walking into certain areas of Copenhagen with a skull cap or Star of David."

This is indeed a shame. Denmark's Jews trouble nobody and the fact that it's dangerous for them to wear what they want is tragic. But Abrams then writes:

The Holocaust Museum web site tells us of a different Denmark

  • Germany occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940. However, Danish Jews were not persecuted until the autumn of 1943.
  • When the German police began searching for and arresting Jews on the night of October 1, 1943, the Danish police refused to cooperate.
  • Unlike Jews in other countries under Nazi rule, the Jews of Denmark were never forced to wear the yellow Star of David or any other identifying badge.
  • Approximately 500 Jews were deported from Denmark to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Following protests from their government, these Danish inmates were allowed to receive letters and even some care packages. Most of them survived the Holocaust.

It seems, from this information, that a Jew could more safely walk the streets of Denmark's capital and count on the Danish government’s protection in 1942 than today, 70 years later.

This is dishonest on several levels. Most obvious is that if Denmark seems different to Abrams than it once did, he should mention that it's because it is less Danish. Abrams fails to quote the part of the Israeli Nation News article that gives the context:

According to figures from the Jewish Belief Centre, the organization has received 37 reports of anti-Jewish incidents this year, predominantly in the heavily immigrant Noerrebro neighborhood and around the Jewish synagogue in central Copenhagen.

Denmark's Jewish community is estimated at between 6,000 and 8,000 people.

In September, a Jewish rabbinical college in Germany similarly warned its students against wearing kippot in public, after Rabbi Daniel Alter was attacked by four Arab youths in Berlin.

Denmark's real failure is an immigration policy that allows Arabic Muslims to infest its country. But Abrams prefers to criticize Denmark for struggling with the fallout.

I can't help noticing the apples-to-oranges comparison: not persecuting Jews struggling to blend in vs. insufficiently protecting Jews determined to stand out. Again, I don't really care what hats and jewelry Jews choose to wear, but it does betray changing attitudes towards assimilation of Jews themselves.


Dexter said...

In other news, Muslims in Denmark still not advising Muslims to avoid openly looking like Muslims while moving about Copenhagen amid continued Danish apathy to the invasion of their country.

Dr. Φ said...

Good point! If Denmark Muslims did receive that warning, it would be all over American media, not just the weekly standard. We pretty much saw bien pensant outrage over restrictions in France.

månesteiner said...

"Denmark's real failure is an immigration policy that allows Arabic Muslims to infest its country."

No, its immigration policy is only an outward sign of the real failure. Denmark's real failure is its lack of will to be Danish. Its immigration policy is just a reflection of that broken will. Obviously Denmark isn't alone in that.

Dr. Φ said...

Mane: okay, but what is "Danish" other than who their an ancestors are, a specific people with a shared history?

Liberals (and conservatism inc.) argue endlessly that "the true essence of America is . . . " and proceed to name their favorite policy proposals.

månesteiner said...

"Mane: okay, but what is "Danish" other than who their an ancestors are, a specific people with a shared history?"

"Danish" is just that. A particular people on a patch of land with shared ancestors, shared history, language, and culture. Forget about the "other than" part - that alone is a powerful good thing, like a family.

Danes have perservered and thrived for more than a thousand years. So, when they suddenly decide that apparently they've been doing it wrong all along and it's now time to import the Third World by the thousands into their country to help sort things out one has to wonder what's gone wrong in the Danish mind.

Denmark is small and still a relatively homogeneous culture, the U.S. is huge and fractured. I don't think we can compare them. There isn't a "true essence of America" anymore. Americans don't have a shared history, culture or even language today.

Dr. Φ said...

Mane: well said. But I'm not sure "they" are the Danish people at large but are rather their elite. Indeed, elites across the West have betrayed their people, with one exception. Israel's elite stands with the Israeli people, and their nation thrives even under difficult circumstances.

månesteiner said...

Best of luck to the Danes and the Israelis in the new world.