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Is It Equally Unsafe in Denmark and Jordan?

Two dispatches tell the same story for Jews and Israelis

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Petra, Jordan(AMNH)

Last week, two different stories about two entirely different places came across the wire that confused and startled me a little bit. The first one is about Jordan, where Jewish and Israeli tourists visiting the country have been instructed to…you know…not look so Jewish when they visit.

According to a copy of a ministry memo issued at the end of November, Amman instructed Jordanian tour operators to inform their Israeli counterparts to advise Israeli visitors not to wear “Jewish dress” or perform “religious rituals in public places” so as to prevent an unfriendly reaction by Jordanian citizens.

This isn’t entirely unexpected. The temperature in Jordan seems to be high running these days as King Abdullah is fighting to avoid becoming another casualty of the Arab Spring. This heightened alert also seems an obvious upshot of last month’s Operation Pillar of Defense since a huge percentage of Jordan’s population is Palestinian. Earlier this year (as in before Pillar of Defense), six Israelis were attacked by vendors at a market in southern Jordan. Later in the story, we learned this:

Israeli tour operators…had not been notified of any such directives. Kfir Schwartz, director of Ahalan Olympus, a tour company in Israel that organizes trips to Jordan, said that such advisories are “not something new” but have never been formal.

The very same day that the Jordanian notice went out, many several thousand miles west, another alert went out in Copenhagen. From the Israeli ambassador to Denmark:

“We advise Israelis who come to Denmark and want to go to the synagogue to wait to don their skull caps until they enter the building and not to wear them in the street, irrespective of whether the areas they are visiting are seen as being safe,” Amb. Arthur Avnon is quoted as telling AFP on Wednesday. The news agency reported that Avnon also advised visitors not to “speak Hebrew loudly” or demonstrably wear Star of David jewelry.

This came a month after the Israeli embassy in Denmark was defaced and attacked in the same week and a few months after it was rumored that Denmark was about to become the newest front in the public battle against ritual circumcision.

Add these two stories to an episode from earlier this year when a rabbi–one of the first to be ordained in Germany since the Second World War–was savagely attacked on the streets of Berlin, prompting a nearby rabbinic seminary in Potsdam to instruct its students–future Jewish religious leaders–to refrain from wearing Jewish items in public. One inspiring aspect of that story is that 1,000 Berliners gathered to march in solidarity with the Jewish community, donning kippot as they walked the streets.

The invitations to the solidarity marches have not gone out in Jordan and Denmark just yet. But the warnings stand.

So is the message here that it’s just as unsafe in 2012 to be a Jew in an Arab country in the Middle East as it is to be a Jew in a stereotypically placid (and historically Jew-friendly) place like Denmark? Or is the message that dislike for Jews has grown so intense that governments and various tourist operators and religious institutions are conceding that Jews cannot be protected? Or is it something else?

Earlier: Berliners Don Kippot in Solidarity
Jordan Warns Israelis Not to Visit Wearing ‘Jew clothes’ [Times of Israel]
Israeli envoy warns against wearing kippot in Copenhagen [JTA]

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julis123 says:

Jews are also not allowed to purchase land in Jordan

    I believe it’s a capital offense. It is definitely a capital offense in the Palestinian Authority, one that has been enforced.

    hg
    J’lem / Efrat

reikihaus says:

How about the third option, not mentioned? There are increasingly larger numbers of Muslims from Arab countries moving to Europe and bringing their Judeophobia with them. This is something that needs to be addressed in those countries, just as they did in WWII. Jews are also citizens of Denmark, and have been for centuries. Singling out minorities for persecution – even by another minority – is abhorrent. I expect the Danes to do the right thing, as they normally do.

    I have no expectations of the quintessentially politically correct Danes. Defending Jews is simply not fashionable among the progressobabble set. At most they might express concern about the antisemitism or maybe even condemn it but in the same breath “understand” why it occurs.

    hg
    J’lem / Efrat

    Alittlefurthernorth says:

    It’s true that Denmark (and the other Scandinavian countries) have growing Muslim minorities that are openly hostile to Jews. The ambassador is exaggerating, though. Denmark is still very much a placid place and the vast majority of ethnic Danes are as “Jew-friendly” as ever. As has already been pointed out, I’m not aware of any assaults on Jews in Copenhagen.

Several years ago Jordanian customs officials would routinely stop religiously observant Israeli tourists at the border and would allow them to proceed only if they acquiesced to their tefillin being confiscated.

Isn’t the “New Middle East” wonderful? And then Bill Clinton, Jeff Goldberg, the J Street jerks & jesters, and all the other peace processors & Oslo Accordians wonder why Israelis from across the political spectrum have become skeptical (at best) or downright cynical about the so-called “peace process”.

hg

J’lem / Efrat

Several years ago Jordanian customs officials would routinely stop religiously observant Israeli tourists at the border and would allow them to proceed only if they acquiesced to their tefillin being confiscated.

Isn’t the “New Middle East” wonderful? And then Bill Clinton, Jeff Goldberg, the J Street jerks & jesters, and all the other peace processors & Oslo Accordians wonder why Israelis from across the political spectrum have become skeptical (at best) or downright cynical about the so-called “peace process”.

hg

J’lem / Efrat

I live in Copenhagen and I can not remember any assaults on jews. Everybody is safe in Copenhagen. Don’t worry.
Regards
Stig, Copenhagen, Denmark

herbcaen says:

Jew in an Arab country in the Middle East as it
is to be a Jew in a stereotypically placid (and historically
Jew-friendly) place like Denmark?… Denmarkstan and Jordan are now ethnically identical. Jews shouldnt visit either place

His_Lordship says:

Message To Fellow Jews Of The World: Come to America where we have freedom of religion. Freedom to wear your kippah in public, circumcise your sons, buy and eat kosher food free from shame.

Don’t you see what is happening? It is Nazi Europe all over again. It starts with beatings, destruction of property, desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. The pogroms are starting. If 10,000 Muslims march on a Jewish neighborhood do you think the Danish (or French or Swedish or Belgium) government will call out the army to save you?

The Europeans despise us. Read your history books – Europe is done. Open your eyes. It is going to get worse and worse.

Quasirandom says:

This weekend, a danish journalist of jewish extraction reported his experience wearing a yarmulke on a walk across a part of Copenhagen that is locally known as “Little Palestine” or “2200 Beirut”, 2200 being the Danish postcode. He concluded that it is indeed not safe to do so. The problem in Denmark, and especially in Copenhagen, is that we have let in a large number of Palenstinian refugees from Lebanon whose children have found it very hard to integrate into Danish society, or indeed who have found it hard to be accepted by “ethnic” Danes. Especially the boys from this subset of immigrants have been causing a lot of trouble. In fact, a large part of the reason for the rise of xenophobia in Denmark is that “ethnic” Danes would, essentially, like to get rid of these Palenstinian refugees, by any means whatsoever that can be construed to be legal. Anyway, it is just to say that as long as one steers clear of certain neighbourhoods in Copenhagen, say “Noerrebro” and some of the southern suburbs, and doesn’t go to the wrong nightclubs etc, the chance of trouble should be very low. (But do by all means take care in southern Sweden, because there even the authorities rail against “Zionists”). It’s sad to say by I would claim that anti-semitism in Denmark is almost 100% confined to immigrant communities of Arab (Persian less so) extraction.

PARTNER &P C says:

I REMEMBER READING SOMETHING ABOUT THERE IS SOMETHING ROTTON IN DENMARK A LONG IIME AGO AND I THINK THE NAZIS WERE INVLOVED IN IT BUT EUROPEANS LIKE AMERICANS HAVE SHORT MEMORY SPANCES EUROPEANS WILL NEVER STOP HATING JEWS AND JEWS WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT THESE PEOPLE LET HAPPEN TO US JEWS AMERICA IS A GREED

2000

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Is It Equally Unsafe in Denmark and Jordan?

Two dispatches tell the same story for Jews and Israelis

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