Simon Dubnow (1860-1941) was a famous Jewish historian born in Belarus, who wrote a magisterial 12 volume “World History of the Jews.” He was neither a socialist, nor religious, nor a Zionist, but rather a secular Yiddish speaker who identified with the Bundist Party that advocated local Jewish autonomy. He was rounded up by the Nazis and murdered along with thousands of other Jews in Riga, Lithuania, during WWII. He predicted that “if Germany and Russia go to war the Jews will be crushed between them.” Foresight, yes, but not enough to follow Zeev Jabotinsky’s advice, who tried to warn the Jews of Eastern Europe to get out to save themselves while there was still time.
Currently there is a similar situation brewing in Europe. The European Jewish communities are caught between the Muslims, who now constitute about 20% of the population in some countries, and the local populations, formerly known for their endemic anti-Semitism, in Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, etc. If there is a violent confrontation between Islamic radicalism and European nationalism, the European Jews will be crushed between them.
This is especially true in France, which houses the largest Jewish community in Europe (ca. 500,000) and the largest Muslim population. Neither the entrenched Muslim community, nor the growing French nationalist political movement (Marine Le Pen’s National Front) will do anything to defend the rights of “liberté, egalité, fraternité.” The French Jews are now flocking in their thousands to Israel and more are beginning the process of leaving. French has now replaced Russian as the most common spoken language in the center of Netanya. Mind you, now is August, the hallowed time for the French to take vacations. But, many of those here on vacation are either planning to stay or are preparing their escape (see http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/22/middleeast/france-israel-jews-immigration/ ).
Of the many movements that attracted Jews before WWII, socialism, communism, Bundism, and assimilation, only Zionism has become a successful movement. Not only did it establish the State of Israel, but this State has made amazing progress, with a stable democratic system, strong currency, technological development, excellent armed forces and investment opportunities. Let’s hope more Jews get out of Europe in time, before they are caught in the next European cataclysm.