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Odds and Ends
22 4, 5:09am
I'm ethnically Jewish, Lithuanian primarily, though religiously it's... weird. But try to understand things from our perspective. Yes, it's a long piece, but, well, history is longer than most Americans realize.
We never really viewed ourselves as being native to the lands we lived, for about 3000 years much of our identity has been that we were, in fact, Resident Aliens; many people date the Diaspora (our word, incidentally) to around 2000 years ago, but the Babylonian Exile was much further back and there were scatterings of us even before then. In some cases, we even predate the "locals" in the lands we lived in. But as the Resident Alien, we were always the ones to be blamed for whatever the problem of the day was. Come Christianity and Islam, things got even weirder. We were both a Holy People to be protected, but the most vile of traitors for not granting those religions legitimacy through conversion. Martin Luther infamously believed (among other reasons) that Jews refusing to convert to Catholicism was proof the Church had failed in its duties, but became enraged when Jews refused to convert to his religion. And so we kept getting tossed from one country to the next. We are remembered for being merchants and skilled craftsmen, but only because everyone else DIED; you can take your education/training with you, but not, e.g. your farm or fishing boat.
Skipping a lot of events, we come to the French Revolution and later Napoleon. The promises of the French Republic were a France where all citizens were, in fact, French. For once, we were to be equal citizens. This... didn't work out as expected. Again, skipping over a lot of history, we come to the Dreyfus Affair. After Bismarck utterly humiliated France, it was a Jewish war hero who was to blame for France's loss. It didn't matter that there was no real evidence, a large chunk of the public simply could never accept the idea of Jews being fellow Frenchmen. Combined with the Russian oppression of their Jewish populations (i.e., my family), a lot of Jews ended up looking to one country that was rivaling both France and Russia; Germany.
You can open a history textbook to read more on how THAT ended, but I'll focus on the relevant point; it did not matter how loyal we were or that we had fought in WWI in slightly higher percentages relative to the general population, Xenophobia is NOT a precision instrument. Hatred of one group almost universally leads to hatred of other groups, and whatever grievances Germany had with France, Britain, Poland or Russia only fed into more hatred of Jews. And Roma/"Gypsies" too, which is another sad story.
Ashamed of what they had done, Western Europe wanted to prevent the wrongs of the past from repeating, and one of the results was the creation of the Multiculturalism we see today. France, Germany and Britain invited in millions of Muslim immigrants who would never have been allowed to join European societies pre-WWII. I am doing a disservice if I don't mention that one of the original intentions of Multiculturalism actually was exploitation; the immigrants would work for low wages, then return home to be replaced with a new set of immigrants. As it turns out, many of those immigrants preferred to stay and formed communities in Europe, but those communities are not exactly pro-Jewish, for a number of reasons I'm glossing over lest this thread become yet another flame-war. Regardless, this leaves us again in yet another strange situation. The more grievances that natives have with the Muslim immigrants, regardless of their legitimacy, the more hatred the locals will have against Jews (and Roma, if we're being honest). The more grievances Muslims have against the locals, again, regardless of their legitimacy, Xenophobia and Hate are not precision tools, and you won't find too many anti-Western Muslims who are pro-Jewish. So I see a very dangerous future for my people in Europe, because if tensions continue to boil over, for us it won't matter too much which side "wins".