‘European Jews should be allowed to carry guns to protect their lives’

AFP Photo / Miguel Medina
If governments are unable to protect Jews in Europe, at least a few people in each Jewish community should be permitted to carry a gun, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association, told RT.

RT:Why did you come up with this idea to arm Jewish communities in Europe?

Menachem Margolin: Unfortunately, there are too many Jewish people who feel insecure in Europe; there are too many parents who don’t feel comfortable…to bring their child to the Jewish school because they are not sure if the child would come back in the evening alive. There are too many parents who are afraid to come to the synagogue. And we demand [that] European governments make sure that the entire Jewish institution in Europe will be completely secure. However, if the governments are unable to promise that the entire Jewish institution in Europe will be secure I do demand that at least a few people in each community will be able to carry a gun in order to [protect] themselves in case of emergency.

RT:So, will adding more guns to the equation, really solve the problem?

MM: You know the bad people in Europe have enough weapons. They don’t need any license, they are not controlled, they just have a lot of weapons and they do whatever they want without any control. What I am asking is that the good people, those who live under danger, will be able to protect their life. Otherwise we might be again in the situation and we won’t be surprised if another time an attack against a Jewish institution is going to happen, people will be dead without any possibility to protect their life.

Reuters / Ammar Awad

RT:Wouldn't it make more sense for the authorities to concentrate on fighting crime instead?

MM: Of course there are some responses in the governments, but I would like to ask you, what you would do if you know that there is at least one person trying to kill you and you know that he follows you from day to day to see where you go, at what time you leave your house, at what time you come back, and he will look for the right time to kill you? What would you do if you would go to the police and the police tell you: “Look, we are unable to protect your life,” what would you do? There are three options. Either you consider going to another country or you hire a security guard to protect you. But if you don’t have money to do so, and your job is in this specific country and you are unable to move to another country, wouldn’t you ask for a permit to carry a gun in order to prevent any kind of terror against you? Now this is the situation where millions of Jews live in Europe today. So if a Jew lives under threat that someone might come and kill him or his child, how can you expect him not to take any responsibilities to prevent any kind of terror attacks?

RT:Do all Jewish people share this opinion?

MM: You know people are of different opinions, I don’t think there is one thing that everybody agrees on in the same way. There are some people who always think that this is better not to describe the situation, to keep a low profile, and they hope that if they keep a low profile then the situation will be calm. But the fact is that many other communities feel that we need to be very clear with the situation, we need to describe what are the threats that we have and to face that, and we need to be brave. So of course we have different kinds of opinions. But the majority, I would say, of the Jewish people of Europe who don’t feel secure will feel much more secure to come to a synagogue if they know that if not the army, if not the police, but at least a few people there who carry a gun who passed all necessary tests - psychological, physical tests, training, shooting, whatever they need in order to be able to use the gun properly. More people would feel comfortable to come to synagogue, to send their children to Jewish school, if they know that a few people there will be able to protect their lives in case of emergency.

AFP Photo / Jack Guez

RT:What about others? Don't they deserve to protect themselves, too?

MM: That’s not what I said, but what I said that our first demand is that the governments protects Jewish institutions. The fact is that every [time] we hear about anti-Semitic attacks somewhere in Europe, we always call on the government to react. Some governments come out with a strong statement, but at the end of the day not a lot of things are done. So I repeat again. It’s not that I’m looking for a situation where every person, a sixteen-year-old child… would carry a gun. … What I’m saying is if the governments are able to ensure that Jewish people in Europe can continue to live with full security and in full freedom of religion, it will be fantastic. However, if governments feel that they don’t have enough means or tools or enough manpower or budget to protect the entire Jewish community, then leaders of Jewish communities must take the responsibility to make sure that Jews will feel secure to come to synagogue.

RT:But if European authorities treat Jews as some special minority - that's just going to stir up anti-Semitic sentiment there, isn't it?

MM: Again, I’m not here to blame anyone, I’m here to speak about the reality, and the reality is the reality. I don’t think that there are any other minorities in Europe that face the same dangers or the same threats that Jewish communities are facing. Sometimes I can understand where your question comes from because a man who didn’t experience this kind of fear can’t understand the needs other men have to secure their lives.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.