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Jewish World Review May 22, 2002/ 11 Sivan, 5762

Don Feder

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Europe's irrelevant and knows it | Commenting on Secretary of State Colin Powell's meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Iceland last week, The New York Times anxiously informed us that in European eyes, America is "heedless, insular, bellicose, unilateralist."

And in American eyes, Europe is envious, bitter, alienated and -- ultimately -- irrelevant.

That no one pays much attention to their anti-Israel hysteria is an ongoing source of frustration for Europeans. (If it were up to the European Union, Yasser Arafat would have a state encompassing Tel Aviv and Haifa, as well as the West Bank.)

The French applaud themselves on the defeat of Jean-Marie Le Pen (whom they revile as a "fascist"), while French synagogues go up in flames, French Jews are beaten in the streets and President Jacques Chirac insists there's no anti-Semitism in France.

One who knows better, Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci (once the darling of the Euro-left), declares: "I find it shameful that in France, the France of Liberty-Equality-Fraternity, they burn synagogues, terrorize Jews, profane their cemeteries. I find it shameful that the youth of Holland and Germany and Denmark flaunt the kaffiye. ... I find it shameful that in Italy state-run television stations contribute to the resurgent anti-Semitism, by crying over only Palestinian deaths, while playing down Israeli deaths."

Europe hates Israel for the same reason it hates America -- because Americans and Israelis still stand for something. We are among the last defenders of the civilization Europe created, then abandoned.

After the great bloodletting of World War I, Europe lost the will to resist evil. It wasn't until German panzer divisions were rolling across Poland that most Europeans awoke to the dangers of fascism.

The French army put up a weak defense, then Vichy France spent the rest of the war collaborating. Italy joined the Axis at the outset. While it's true that the Brits were in it two years before us, if not for Eisenhower, Patton and Omar Bradley, they'd be singing Deutschland Uber Alles in Piccadilly.

During the Cold War, America had to drag our so-called NATO allies (most with burgeoning communist parties) kicking and screaming to the defense of the West.

European moral confusion was epitomized by that pompous nonentity, Charles de Gaulle, who referred to Washington and Moscow as "the two hegemonies" -- as if America (which saved Europe with the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine) really wanted to impose a system of gulags on Belgium and France.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, little has changed. Europe's contribution to the Gulf War was symbolic. Its armies of doormen and headwaiters are fit only for au pair employment in the Third World.

European greatness is in the dim past. Today, the continent's chief exports are incomprehensible films, freakish fashions, cars that are permanently parked in repair shops and, of course, their perpetual petulance. Europeans' smugness is mystifying. They have pretensions without real intellect.

Europe's few authentic thinks see this clearly. In an essay in the May 13 issue of Forbes ("Ten Reasons for Identifying with America"), British historian Paul Johnson writes, "These days, when young people come to me for advice, I always say to them: 'If you're ambitious, make your life in the U.S.A."'

Europe has no future. Demographically, it's dying and no one is sending sympathy cards. Except for Moslem Albania, there isn't a European nation with a birthrate approaching replacement levels.

Maternity wards are almost as empty as churches. (Religious attendance is lowest here -- another symptom of the general malaise.) Without immigration, in a few generations, Europe would be a wasteland. The Europeans of tomorrow will be Africans, Arabs and Asians. They will wander through the great cathedrals and museums, and wonder what it once meant.

The man without a survival instinct despises those who still struggle for life. Reflecting the Stockholm syndrome, Europeans identify with the Third World thugs and holy warriors who are digging their graves.

European malice is directed exclusively at the United States and Israel. Theirs is the rage of the impotent.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate