Ben Cohen, senior editor of TheTower.org & The Tower Magazine, writes a weekly column for JNS.org on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics from New York.

Latest column

The continent of Europe ceased to be the center of Jewish life more than a century ago, when it yielded that status to the increasingly affluent, influential Jewish community in the United States, joined, a bit later on, by the state of Israel. That transition has generated a question that can justifiably be described as “perennial,” inasmuch as it gets asked with predictable regularity and produces more or less the same answers.

Recent columns

The European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, unveiled a nine-year strategy last week to counter anti-Semitism and foster Jewish life among its 27 member states. Within hours of its release, the strategy had won generous plaudits from Jewish organizational leaders, with the head of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, hailing the 26-page document as an “unprecedented and vital document that will act as a roadmap to significantly reduce antisemitism in Europe and beyond.”

It has the air of a witch-hunt. Many of the 300 leaders of Iraqi civil society, Sunni and Shi’a, who gathered in the Kurdish region last week for a conference advocating an Iraqi peace accord with the state of Israel, are now the subjects of arrest warrants from the authorities and death threats from Islamist militias.

When the former Trump administration announced that it was moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December 2017, the reaction in the Muslim world and among Muslim communities in the West was predictably furious. In the Friday sermons that followed that announcement, several imams around the world denounced Israel in uncomplicatedly antisemitic terms, many of them quoting the same hadith – a saying attributed to the prophet Muhammed – that speaks of a mass slaughter of Jews by the Muslim faithful.

"Paul” is an Australian Jewish man in his late 40s who lives in the city of Brisbane, in the state of Queensland. On a recent Saturday, Paul (the name he has been referred to by local media to protect his identity) was walking with his 11-year-old son to a local synagogue where they were attending a bar mitzvah. On their journey, they were accosted by a stranger who, having noticed the kipahs that father and son were wearing, yelled “Heil Hitler” in their direction while giving the Nazi salute.