As Laura Rosen Cohen likes to say, everyone meets at Jew-Hate Junction: excitable young Mohammedans, secular polytechnic Euro-lefties, anti-globalist conspiracy theorists... It's getting pretty crowded over there. As I wrote almost exactly a decade ago about the Ismalization of Europe:
There are already many points of cultural friction—from British banks' abolition of children's 'piggy banks' to the enjoining of public doughnut consumption by Brussels police during Ramadan. And yet on one issue there is remarkable comity between the aging ethnic Europeans and their young surging Muslim populations...
Young Muslims do not like Jews: that is a simple fact, and it's a waste of everybody's time denying it. Where Muslims predominate, Jews vanish - as in Molenbeek, across the canal from downtown Brussels. I remember from my childhood the main drag, the Chaussée de Gand (or Steenweg op Gent, if you're Flemish, as my mum was), as a bustling strip with many Jewish businesses. But in the first decade of the 21st century they all disappeared, and their former owners chose to remain silent – because it was easier that way.
One hairdresser, for example, had "DIRTY KIKE" sprayed on his window and was punched in the face by a gang of half-a-dozen "youths". So he went to the police and filed a complaint. One hour later, the "youths" returned and smashed all his hairdressing mirrors. His clients didn't want to come after that, and so a 35-year business closed its doors.
Now they're all gone.
Ethnic Continentals, on the other hand, do not like Muslims, and they see where this is headed, and it's easy to blame Jews. The logic is not difficult: 'Tween-wars Europeans would never have entertained for a moment the construction of mosques in every corner of their countries. But then the Holocaust happened, and "nationalism" got blamed, and mass immigration was instituted as a form of penance, and in one of history's blacker jests the principal beneficiary of Holocaust guilt was Islam. So, in the newest variant of the oldest hatred, Jews get hated for the Islamization of Europe.
And then there's simply the crude arithmetic of day-by-day remorseless demographic transformation in democratic societies: Muslims are where the votes are, and Jews aren't. Which is why Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is happy to while away the hours on such vital debates as the question of whether Hitler was a Zionist.
So it's getting pretty crowded at Jew-Hate Junction, with various strains of anti-Semitism jostling hither and yon. In the past twenty-four hours, Twitter has exploded with scenes from the annual Lenten carnival in Aalst, a city halfway between Ghent and Brussels, and just south of my mum's hometown of Sint-Niklaas. The parade floats included two giant hook-nosed Jew puppets with sidelocks and streimels, both with gold coins at their feet and one with a rat on his shoulder - and accompanied by a song about getting "extra fat" on full money-bags that are "Jewishly beautiful". Social media has erupted, the European Commission has weighed in, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center has written to the Belgian Government.
The Mayor of Aalst, Christoph D'Haese, seems to be bewildered by all the fuss, and says "it's not up to the mayor" to ban floats. I'm with him on that, both on the principle of free speech, and on utilitarian grounds: B'nai Brith is not doing European Jews any favors in demanding that such puppets be forbidden. I was in Aalst two years ago for the first time in a couple of decades. It's an ancient city: its thousand-year-old town hall is the oldest in Belgium, and so, I believe, is its bell. Its carnival is one of those medieval traditions faintly creepy to modern sensibilities - like the nineteeth-century "horribles" parades in my corner of New Hampshire that would be unthinkable in our insipid times. It trades on ancient stereotypes: Thus the highlight of yesterday, Shrove Tuesday, was the annual Stoet van de Voil Jeanetten - or, in English, the Parade of the Dirty Sissies, which supposedly originated back when the local peasantry were too poor to afford fancy costumes and so paraded in their wives' finery, to which over the years accessories such as fake breasts, baby strollers, a herring and a birdcage were added. That would be "transphobic" in Connecticut, but not in Aalst. It is a raucous, vulgar, mocking tradition, and so its grasping Yids are hook-nosed caricatures such as one finds in old novels. I don't doubt there are a few burghers of Aalst who are antipathetic to Jews, but they don't want to kill them, they just want to hoot and jeer, as at the "dirty sissies".
And it's not worth worrying about because it's nothing to do with Europe's future: it's a last gasp of a dying Europe, of a Continent whose oldest cultural traditions, such as Christmas markets, have either to be canceled or held behind bollards and armed guards. Europe is losing even the consolations of culture, and so one day, not very far off, a Lenten parade that dates from the Middle Ages will be gone.
Whereas Corbyn's Labour Party is very much Europe's future: the alliance between the secular left and Islam. Whatever the squeamishness of the few remaining old-school Judeophile socialists, they understand where the basic math of the new demography is leading.
Could it happen in America? Well, consider Ilhan Omar, a savvy Somali who briefly married her brother for the purposes of immigration fraud and yet became the darling of the new Minnesota Democrats. She's been in Congress barely a month, but already it's clear her horribles parade never ends: She has said that with Jews it's "all about the benjamins" - which is the same message as that Aalst parade, yet made by an already influential US Congresswoman.
The old Democrats, like old Labour, roused themselves to object, and determined to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. It was thin gruel, but even so Democrat House members were stunned by the "outpouring of support for Omar". So in order to make the resolution less "contentious" it will now be modified to condemn Islamophobia, too.
I'm very bored by the smooth taqqiya Muslims who profess to dig the interfaith outreach. On balance, I prefer the likes of Ms Omar, who just can't help herself. She'll back down a little when Nancy Pelosi orders her to, but forty-eight hours later comes roaring Tweeting back ...and dares the Democrats to call her on it.
The House Leadership just backed down. Like Corbyn in London, it can no longer even insist on its anti-Semitic bona fides without weaseling and equivocating. That's very telling - and, unlike puppet grotesques in a medieval Lenten parade, it's not the last throes of the past but a glimpse of the future.
~This afternoon, Wednesday, I'll be keeping my midweek date with the great John Oakley on Toronto's Global News Radio 640, live at 5pm Eastern. Hope you'll join me.
In a grim world, there's fun to be had in The Mark Steyn Club. The important, critical element of the Club is its members - and I'm very touched by all those who signed up in those early days when a bullying billionaire tried to crush me, and lost spectacularly. It means an awful lot to know you value what we do here - Deep State machinations, transient electoral jockeying, big-picture civilizational collapse, audio fiction, video poetry, live music. If you've become a bit jaded by all that and want something more, well, there's always the second annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise. We set sail from Vancouver to Alaska this September with Dennis Miller, Michele Bachmann and the rest of our merry crew. You can book your cabins here.