vendredi 1 février 2019

Joel Kotkin: Le déclin des communautés juives partout en Europe

"The erosion of the French Jewish community, as well as others, is not just a tragedy for that country, but for the world."

Joel Kotkin, expert en urbanisme et auteur de l'ouvrage The City, a Global History (R.C. Hobbs Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University in Orange and the executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism) - A shrinking Jewish world (2015):
Recent anti-Semitic events – from France and Belgium to Argentina – are accelerating the relentless shrinking of the Jewish Diaspora. Once spread virtually throughout the world, the Diaspora – the scattering of Jews after the fall of ancient Israel – is retreating from many of its global redoubts as Jews increasingly cluster in two places: Israel and the United States. 
Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Jewish communities throughout Europe are again on the decline. This time, the pressure mainly comes not from the traditional anti-Semitic Right but from Islamic fundamentalists, which include many European citizens. [Marc Knobel : "L’Europe va se vider de ses juifs. En France, 60 000 sont partis en dix ans"]
Not all this decline is attributable to attacks from Islamic militants. Demographic factors – intermarriage and low birth rates – afflict almost all Diaspora communities. 
But large-scale migration out of Europe is something not seen since the 1950s. In France, the nation with the largest Jewish population outside Israel and the United States, the outflow of Jews doubled in 2014, to 7,000, from the year before. The Jewish Agency is now drawing up plans to attract 120,000 more to Israel.

Overall, nearly 26,500 Europeans immigrated last year to Israel – a 32 percent increase from 2013. In Britain, a Jewish population of less than 300,000 has not grown for a generation. With recent polls showing close to half of all Britons holding some anti-Semitic views, a majority of British Jews now feel there is no future for them in Europe; one in four is considering emigration.

As one Jewish community after another has declined, the role of Israel has expanded. In 1939, most of the world’s 16 million Jews lived in Europe, and, even by 1945, barely one in five Jews resided in Palestine. Since then, the Diaspora population has dropped from 10 million to 8 million, while Israel now accounts for roughly 40 percent of the world’s Jews, according to the Jewish Agency. Overall, the United States and Israel account for 81 percent of Jews worldwide, compared with barely a quarter in 1939.

At the same time, Israel’s Jewish community will grow faster due to a birthrate twice as high as in most countries, including the United States. These trends confirm some of the predictions made a half century ago by the French sociologist Georges Friedmann in his provocative book, “The End of the Jewish People?” As Israel became stronger, more dominant and, more Middle Eastern in mentality, he suggested, Israeli identity would soon supplant that of the Diaspora. “The ‘Jewish people,’” he wrote, “is disappearing and giving place to the Israeli nation.”

This merging of Jewish and Israeli identities validates the Zionist vision of making Jews into a “normal” nation. Of course, Jewish communities would persist, particularly in the United States, as well as Canada and Australia. […]

Jews sometimes thrived in exile for awhile, but then faced expulsion, as occurred in England in 1290. The 1492 expulsion of the 200,000 Jews in Spain – for centuries arguably the most advanced center of Jewish culture – led them to Italy, Turkey and Muslim North Africa. Some of the Jews leaving France today are themselves on a grand circular route of return – descendants of people who may have been originally exiled from Palestine, first to Spain, then to the Muslim world, to France and now to Israel.

This history reveals why Israel remains vital to Jewish survival. But that does not mean we should dismiss the Diaspora as fundamentally tragic. The mingling of Jewish and other cultures helped create the earliest global financial networks, the development of “off the shelf” clothing and the Hollywood entertainment industry. Intellectually, the Diaspora created some of the world’s greatest minds, including Moses Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Marx, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Andrew Grove and Saul Bellow. […]

Ultimately, maintaining the Diaspora may prove as important to Jews as the continued security of Israel. Without the Diaspora, Israel just becomes another nation, with its unique history but no real universal message. The universality of the Jewish experience grows not from the soil, but from culture and thought developed largely in “exile.” In this respect, the erosion of the French Jewish community, as well as others, is not just a tragedy for that country, but for the world.
Lire l'article complet @ Press Enterprise

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