It’s 1932 again…

This week I am visiting Rome with my 7 year old daughter. Tonight at Giolitti’s I watched her giggle with delight as she scoured the menu and finally chose the challenge of a “Coupe Mondialle” ….an incredible edible ice-creamic concoction. A moment of pure delight…childhood memories made and snapped for posterity. Click.And in that moment, my mind flirted with images of another time, another Europe…and all the photographs that litter museums from Auschwitz to Yad Vashem. We have seen them. We have visited Dachau, wandered into Theresienstadt, watched Shoah, Life is Beautiful, Schindler’s List: they are deep-woven strands of our collective fabric.

And that’s when it hit me. It is 1932 again.

As was then, this is now. As they did before us, we carry on living, touched sometimes faintly other times more keenly by events near and far away. Old arguments, futile in hindsight, re-emerge:

Yes..they are fringe lunatics, they say terrible things, but that could never happen here. We are too civilised for that; this is 2014 for goodness sake.

Yet all around us the menace grows: the Nazis have returned.

Growing up, I suspect each of us thought about where we might have stood had we lived through Hitler’s Europe. Would have had the visceral courage of the Lochemai Hagetaot; would we stand and fight…or would we turn and say, keep your mouth shut, don’t rock the boat, you will only make trouble for everyone? Not that I judge anyone..the choices were intolerable.

We thought these choices were past. We thought we had reached a golden age of Judaism where our biggest issue was intermarriage. We were wrong. We are being propelled inexorably towards a conflict of messianic proportions.

As Islamic Militants compete in a murderous black Satanic Olympiad …endlessly striving to set ever more gruesome personal worsts; our global leaders do nothing but criticise Israel.

The failure of free governments to deal with Militant Islamic threats now, means the costs of addressing them tomorrow will be ever greater.

I am left feeling how utterly dumb we have been in disturbing well crafted power balances. Gadaffi and Hussein were undoubtedly evil. But maybe they were the price we paid to keep more horrific forces at bay? Better a vicious autocrat ruling through domestic fear, than a populist Jihadist terrorising theocracy willing and financing ambitions of a global caliphate.

There is a big space between democracy and liberal democracy….and Mill’s warnings of tyrannical majorities seems nowhere more relevant than the UN today. As dark clouds gather, we stand alone again. The evil genie of AntiSemitism released from the bottle once more.

I look daughter now grinning with unashamed pride: she has demolished her Ice cream. “Are we finished?” she asks me. It is a rather pertinent question. Now it’s our time to choose.

11 hrs · Magliana, Italy · Public