One afternoon in November, Océane Sluijzer, a 13-year-old Belgian Jewish girl, was beaten up after soccer practice by a group of schoolmates. Her tormenters, girls of Moroccan descent, called her a "dirty Jew" and told her to "go back to her own country."
Two weeks later, the U.S. ambassador to Belgium mentioned the beating in a speech about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. Howard Gutman, himself a Jew, saw Océane's plight as symptomatic of a larger problem: Jews and Muslims in Europe are caught in a proxy war that mirrors events in the Middle East, especially between Israel and the Palestinians.
"[E]very new settlement announced in Israel, every rocket shot over a border or suicide bomber on a bus, and every retaliatory military strike exacerbates the problem and provides a setback here in Europe for those fighting hatred and bigotry," Gutman said.