- - Monday, August 11, 2014

As the recent bloody riots in Paris and the anti-Semitic protests seen in London, Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam remind us, anti-Semitism remains alive and well in Western Europe.

The New York Times reported violent clashes in Paris between anti-Israeli mobs and French police. Rioters chanting “Death to Jews!” and “Hitler was right,” looted Jewish shops and grocery stores, and assaulted synagogues with smoke bombs, stones, bottles and debris. In northern Paris, 44 people were arrested and 17 police officers were injured when a peaceful pro-Palestinian march turned violent and lawless as demonstrators burned the Israeli flag and waved banners reading “Isra-hell.” According to The Independent in London, “The great majority of these protesters were of North African origin. There was also a contingent of about 100 far left demonstrators from the New Anti-Capitalist Party.”

Meanwhile, nearly 15,000 people marched relatively peaceably from London’s Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington in cultural solidarity with the anti-Semitic rioters across the Channel. Nevertheless, they had to be forcibly stopped by a blockade of “bobbies” in riot gear before reaching the embassy.

Germany, too, faces a haunting revival of anti-Semitism, while Vienna and Amsterdam have seen their own streets filled with pro-Palestinian rallies and protests — always, it seems, just a stone’s throw from erupting into deadly violence.

Here in the U.S., extra security has already arrived at the headquarters of the Lubavitch Hasidic community in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, as directors there are concerned that matters could get “out of hand.”

But these latest protests and thuggish demonstrations across the Atlantic signal more than just a hatred for Israel or disagreement with the current conflict in Gaza. They highlight a spreading disdain for the values and moral fabric of Western civilization. These values and morals were once, in effect, the price of admission for new arrivals to the open, pluralistic societies of the West. But for decades now, our democracies have failed to insist that immigrants from non-Western countries assimilate and embrace the spirit of mutual tolerance and peaceful political coexistence of their adoptive homes. And today we continue to witness the consequences of that failure, the consequences of the “dogma of multiculturalism,” as Thomas Sowell put it, and the leftist fallacy that all cultures are “equally valid.”

So long as Western leaders, pundits and academics continue to preach the divisive gospel of multiculturalism instead of calling for active assimilation, the cultural clashes erupting in the Parisian streets, the looting and the tear gas will only grow in scale and scope.

Nearly a decade before the tragedy of September 11, Samuel Huntington famously — and controversially — prophesied in Foreign Affairs that “the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural,” he warned. “The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”

Huntington, it seems, may have been on to something. Those battle lines are already drawn through the streets of London, and in flames in the suburban neighborhoods of north Paris, and they may soon be coming to kosher delis in Brooklyn.

Regrettably, the ministers of multiculturalism have only perpetuated and excused these battle lines, these “clashes of civilizations” by absolving non-Western immigrants from any need to learn or accept the values, traditions, laws and rites of their Western hosts. This flaccid absolution has only entrenched the cultural differences by willfully refusing to teach non-Western immigrants the values of Western civilization or weave them more fully into the Western social fabric.

As famed historians Will and Ariel Durant once observed, “Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.”

Rather than teach Western civilization, of course, leftists have condemned it.  Rather than preaching its virtues, leftists have ridiculed its shortcomings. Rather than call for assimilation and integration, leftists have advocated division and segregation. Rather than e pluribus unum (“out of many, one”) leftists call for ex uno plures (“out of one, many”). And yet those same leftists stand agog, it seems, in terror when those same unassimilated “many” refuse to respect the rules or abide by the laws and customs of open societies, and prefer violent protest to civil discourse.

They are left only “condemning the violence” — because violence is not cultural, not personal, somehow not perpetrated by human hands — but never condemning the various cultures that condone it, because, after all, all cultures are equal. To the multiculturalist, any culture that shouts or condones “Death to Israel!” and “Hitler was right!” is no better or no worse than the culture that does not shout or condone that sentiment. Both cultures, they say, should be equally respected. And when one of those equally esteemed cultures lights a match to the Israeli flag in our streets, or torches the Jewish deli in our neighborhood, or loots the Jewish storefront in our town, all that our multicultural ministers will allow our civic leaders to say — as the French have so redundantly repeated — is that our nation is not anti-Semitic.

Such reassuring sentiments may be all that our multiculturalism will allow these days, but they sure don’t mean much when the looting starts.

Unfortunately for the Europeans, the looting has already begun and may only get worse. Here in the U.S., a hotbed of multiculturalism and pluralistic preaching for nearly half a century, we could soon inherit the whirlwind of our fallacy and folly.

To our shame, of course, we have seen our fair share of protests-gone-bad, but we have yet to face the kind of clash of civilizations that awaits, the conflagration that will consume us when the unchecked cultures of Hamas and Hezbollah and al Qaeda living here in the pockets of our cities find a reason to riot.

Horace Cooper is a writer and a legal commentator.



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