“Perhaps not since the Holocaust, which saw the annihilation of about two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish community, have the Jews of Europe lived in an atmosphere of fear so acute that it feels like a fundamental shift in the terms of their existence. Across a Europe of daubed Stars of David on apartment buildings, bomb threats to Jewish stores and demonstrations calling for Israel’s eradication … For European Jews, it seems that something fundamental has shifted since the Hamas attack, as it also has for Jews in the United States.” Roger Cohen in the NYT (Gift Article): For Europe’s Jews, a World of Fear. As the son of two Holocaust survivors, this trend is deeply concerning. But so is the age-old notion that the only way to respond to antisemitism is with fear. That strategy hasn’t worked well in the past. I’m not a particularly brave person and I’ve never had to face existential threats. But let me channel my dad. When he was a teen and the only surviving member of his family, he escaped a Nazi round-up and crawled through mud and snow until he reached the edge of the Polish forest. He survived there for months, alone, often getting through the night by stealing some warmth while lying on top of outdoor bread ovens. Eventually, he got a gun. A gun meant you could join the partisans, an organized group of insurgents, protecting each other and launching attacks from their hideaways in the woods. He spent years fighting the Nazis, specializing in blowing up German trains headed toward the front. What we’re experiencing today is not the Holocaust. I’m not advising European and American Jews to escape to the forest and take up arms. But I am calling on Jews, from communities to campuses, to set fear aside and respond to the latest threats with strength, unity, and defiance. Antisemitism is all-too familiar. Our reaction to it doesn’t have to be.