Imagine you are an impoverished religious Jew living in Paris. You can no longer wear religious garb out of fear of being set upon by assailants from North Africa who will beat you to within an inch of your life, if not take it. Your children are bullied in school, as their teachers ignore their complaints, and might even take perverse satisfaction in their plight.
Even though French political figures make speeches condemning anti-Semitism and police are routinely sent to protect Jewish institutions, the anti-Semitism grows on the body politic with the onslaught of migrants from Muslim-majority countries who carry anti-Semitism with them as part of their cultural and religious socialization.
When immigrant mothers are angry at their children, they unabashedly call them “Jews” as if it were an invective, not caring who hears.
In 2014, a survey of 1,580 French respondents found that Muslims, who comprised one-third of the interviewees, were two to three times more likely to be anti-Jewish than French people generally.
You too would like to leave France, but you don’t want to go to Israel, where the standard of living is more down to earth than luxurious, where there is terrorism and a state of siege, and where the language is difficult to learn.
Who will help you? In your grandmother’s day, there was the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society—the one and only agency that, with the help of private contributions, came to the aid of European Jews.