Leave France or die. As Bret Stephens noted in the Wall Street Journal recently, it has come down to this choice for French Jews, who are beginning to stream out of the country as violent Islamic Jew-hatred there grows. They may certainly take advantage of Israel’s right of return if they choose, but if they are serious about the vow “Never again,” then it’s time for Jews in France and elsewhere to get serious about defending themselves.
Over a hundred years ago, long before the Holocaust, Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization, advocated that Jews arm themselves (“Jewish youth, learn to shoot!”). But today, long after the harsh lessons of the Holocaust, Jews are loathe to take up arms against their enemies. Instead, too many urge each other simply to flee their homes or conceal their Jewishness.
For example: for those who dare to stay in France, a French hairdresser has come up with a way to boost “Jews’ feeling of confidence as they walked on the streets”: a Magic Kippah made of real or synthetic hair that blends into the wearer’s hair, making it nearly invisible and thus making Jews less of a public target. This brings to mind British authorities advising soldiers not to wear their uniforms in public, making them, too, less of a target for Islamic murderers like those who savagely butchered Lee Rigby. Or American soldiers in Europe being cautioned not to wear their uniforms off-base due to threats from ISIS.
While downplaying one’s Jewish identity may be a prudent temporary ploy, it is no guarantee of safety and certainly no solution to actually combating anti-Jewish violence, in France or anywhere else. Neither is carrying cell phones in case of emergency, as Orthodox rabbis are now urging observant Jews to do on the Sabbath, contrary to Jewish law. Attackers bent on knifing you to death are not going to give you the time to dial the police, give the dispatcher your details, and wait for the unarmed French cops to arrive.
Magic Kippahs, cell phones, and one-way tickets to another country are not the answer to genocidal Muslim fundamentalism or other threats to Jews. The only long-term, dignified solution is to fight back.
Esther Goldberg at the American Spectator gets this. In response to Stephens’ WSJ article urging Jews to abandon France, Goldberg declared in her article “Jews Need to Start Packing” (heat, not suitcases) that “Sometimes it gets to where you need to take the matter of your protection into your own hands.” Although France doesn’t have the blessing of our Second Amendment, she suggested that
Jews in France should let it be known that they intend to carry a weapon for defensive purposes. Jewish communities everywhere should raise money for their legal defense when they get arrested... They might even start an unstoppable trend. After all, who wants to be a victim?
Of course, this is no easy matter for Jews in tightly gun-controlled Europe, but it’s long past time for European citizens as a whole (and Australian, as well) to begin pushing back against those restrictions and their cultural aversion to private gun ownership if they hope to secure their personal and national security, and their very civilization.
Here in America we are blessed with our Second Amendment, which enshrines the natural right to self-defense. Even unarmed American Jews are safer here than anywhere, but they shouldn’t take that for granted.
Recently in southern California’s Valley Village, to select one example, Judah Cohen reported on what the LAPD officially designated a hate crime: several Jewish families with their children and elderly were harassed, threatened and almost run down by unidentified Latinos driving in a black SUV with no license plates. This occurred around noon as Jews were walking home from Shabbat morning service. The SUV swerved into one Jewish man and struck him with the passenger-side mirror.
One witness told Cohen, “They are looking for Jews, driving around the neighborhoods yelling derogatory anti-Jewish remarks… They called us ‘f-ing Jews’ and said they were going to ‘f’ing get us’, and I took them as serious.” Another witness, a grandparent, declared: “They said they will be back, and we are scared. I’ve never lived in fear like this inside my own home, but my shotgun is loaded and easily accessible.”
A shotgun – good for that grandparent. Cell phones and Magic Kippahs aren’t quite as effective at repelling violent savages as a 12-gauge or a concealed-carry handgun in the hands of a Jew trained to handle it.
But Judah Cohen urged his readers to remember that Jews are not vigilantes: “Don’t start carrying a gun. Walk in groups and be cautious. Be extra courteous.” He suggested that Jews protect themselves as they walk by praying or thinking about the Torah. Unfortunately, walking in groups was little protection for the Valley Village victims that Cohen had just investigated, and courtesy or spiritual contemplation won’t spare you from a beating or stabbing or shooting by Jew-hating thugs.
Cohen did concede that “If you must carry a gun, know how to use it. One organization that can teach you how to use a gun is http://cjhsla.org/jewscanshoot/. Own a gun, know how to use it,” he concluded.
As it happens, I am affiliated with that website. My friend Doris Wise Montrose, the founder and president of the Los Angeles-based Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors (CJHS), recently created a self-defense offshoot of CJHS called “Jews Can Shoot” (JCS), which prepares and empowers participants (who don’t necessarily have to be Jewish) to defend themselves and their rights and freedoms with training in firearms and self-defense. (I interviewed her about JCS for FrontPage Mag here.)
“Every Jew a .22,” as Meir Kahane put it. It’s time for Jews to take the targets off their own backs and put Jew-hatred in their sights.
(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 1/30/15)