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The European Immigration Crisis
Merkel: Refugees Must Reject Anti-Semitism

Chancellor Merkel has vowed that Germany’s new immigrants will have to respect German laws and customs—including those against anti-Semitism. Bloomberg reports:

Chancellor Angela Merkel said anti-Semitism has no place in modern Germany, including among the record influx of refugees arriving this year.

Addressing concern voiced by Germany’s Jewish community that asylum seekers from Syria and other Muslim countries may spread hatred of Jews, Merkel said “people have to respect our laws and our constitutional order wherever they may come from.”

“That includes rejection of any form of anti-Semitism,” she said Wednesday in a speech at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, where she received a German rabbinical school’s award. “I will always take it seriously when you express your concerns about anti-Semitism.”

We wrote about those concerns last month, when the head of the German Jewish community asked for caps on the refugee intake out of concerns over anti-Semitism. The Chancellor appears to think, though, that she can have her cake and eat it too: The newcomers will be welcome, but they will be so rapidly assimilated that the anti-Semitism so prevalent in the Muslim world won’t be a problem in Germany.

Anti-Semitism, however, is deeply ingrained into the Arab worldview right now, and eliminating it would involve an extensive cultural makeover. Although good, recent data on Syrians is hard to find, roughly 2-3 percent of citizens in neighboring Arab countries hold favorable views of Jews, according to Pew. We wonder whether Merkel fully realizes the scale of what she’s asking. Moreover, anti-semitism is already present in Germany. To note this is not to raise the specter of Nazism, the crimes of which Germany has repented of. But it’s hard not to notice that during recent Israeli conflicts, protestors in major German cities have been seen chanting anti-Semitic, as well as anti-Israel, slogans.

Anti-Semitism isn’t just a moral failing in its own right; it’s also a sign of sickness in a society. A society that blames “the Jews” for the state of the Arab world or the economy doesn’t understand how geopolitics or economics work. In those circumstances, wealth, peace, and success all become harder to obtain. So anti-Semitism among Arab refugees isn’t just an ugly prejudice. In addition, it’s a sign of just how hard it will be for many to adjust to life in the West—at least, that is, for as long as the West retains its own grip on reality. Clearly anti-Semitism is not currently as big of a problem in German society as it is in the Arab world (hence the Chancellor’s statement and the challenges facing assimilation). But the German anti-Semitism that does exist is a sign of Europe’s own crisis of confidence, on matters economic and even spiritual.

So good for Chancellor Merkel for having the right impulses. But we hope that she realizes—or does soon—the scale of her request. Assimilating the new refugees is a huge, necessary, and by this point unavoidable task. Feel-good policies and quick fixes won’t solve these thorny cultural problems.

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  • Dale Fayda

    Merkel is a worthless, gutless turd. Just like the rest of the Euro-elite ruling class.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Actually, it is an insult to worthless, gutless turds to compare them to Merkel, but your overall point is well made.

      • Andrew Allison

        Merkel is a politician and a worthless, gutless turd, but I repeat myself. That said, don’t underestimate her.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I absolutely agree. She is no fool, and is not to be underestimated….

          • Andrew Allison

            We have to stop this agreement nonsense — people will start to talk [grin]

          • Jim__L

            Does anyone actually elect the President of the European Commission?

          • Andrew Allison

            Yes, but not to that job. He was appointed by the European Parliament, the members of which are elected by the individual member countries of the EU. on the recommendation of the European Council (heads of state of member countries). Junker is a member of the European Parliament, elected by Luxembourgers. It seem that the EU has been most effective in creating bureaucracies piled upon bureaucracies, are feeding from the public trough. No wonder the members can’t afford armed services.

    • Ellen

      Unfortunately you are probably right. I thought she was better than the rest of those good-for-nothings. But, sadly, she has taken the path of least resistance by going along to get along.

      The Arab refugees won’t be assimilated or absorbed properly, that is already quite clear. How much of a social calamity they will cause is the only question. The Jews who live in Germany should get out while they can still leave with their assets.

  • Gene

    It is utterly irrelevant to ask whether she “realizes the scale of her request” because she is not actually requesting anything. She’s throwing off a statement to temporarily mollify critics, in much the same way as Obama tosses out stupid remarks about global warming to distract his core supporters from the much more serious issues the world is facing right now–and the cluelessness of his approach to addressing them.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Precisely….after all, is she going to deporting refugees? She will keep making excuses for them, and short of one running while with an AK and a suicide vest, she will do nothing.

    • Jim__L

      It would be as helpful for her to ask immigrants to convert to Christianity. Possibly more helpful.

  • Boritz

    “… doesn’t understand how geopolitics or economics work. ”

    That’s the new normal in the West as led from behind by the U.S.

  • Jim__L

    Multiculturalism means never having to assimilate. Doesn’t Merkel know basic identity theory?

    • f1b0nacc1

      She knows it, she is just betting that most of Germany does not

      • Andrew Allison

        Shame on you [grin] (see above)

    • Andrew Allison
      • Jim__L

        Can she implement that?

        • Andrew Allison

          FG redux? The point is that you were completely wrong about her.

          • Jim__L

            Your point stands. So does mine, I think.

  • jeburke

    Why is it “necessary and unavoidable?”

  • Episteme

    There’s an argument to be made that the key in a nation like Germany (or France, or even the United States – even if anti-Semitism has been less of an issue than other power-relational bigotries) is to have that sense moved from the public sphere to the private sphere. There’s the element of active hatred of a separate group, and then there’s that element you speak of public discourse becomes framed around blaming the Other for the uncontrollable – you can’t change what other’s think or feel, but you can attempt to mitigate larger social relations and see wide-scale changes from there (those remaining chants in German protests aren’t the sort of daily public/media discussions of pre-war and historic anti-Semitism, just as much of the confusion about alternate racial discourses in the US today is whether the change from really-open slavery-era discourse to silver-tongued segregation-era discourse to now questions of what remains in the mindset of descendants of actors).

    I don’t know that there’s a utopian assumption – with the EU, there may well be – but I think that the idea of changing behavior in the public space, and so leaving the narrative open to those same economic and socio-political rationales you reference that are otherwise not allowed room to be heard (whether a private hater is allowed to seethe in their own time is maybe a different question for a European versus an American coming from how the Enlightenment was “cut off” on each side*). However, the first step, even from the post-war German perspective, is likely to make certain that the visceral public-space hatred is removed to the private-space.

    *Off-topic, but I’ve been thinking, in reference to discussions in grad school of late about Jeffersonism and the impact of biological/romantic thought, of how Europe’s late-Enlightenment experience with Enlightenment Despotism and thus understanding Romaniticism as a reaction is very different to America. In Europe, the coming of the Terror, followed by Napoleon and the likes of Frederick (in the argument of liberty versus enlightenment categorical order, order won) saw the Enlightenment appear a failure, so growing Modernity moved the liberté/egalité/fraternité trinity into naturalistic Romanticism as part of a shift to liberal individualism. The US short-changed the road toward either anarchy or an American Bonaparte with the Constitution (the lead-up to the Civil War is a different story, but I’m talking roughly 1783-1815 here), so the Enlightenment was locked into Locke instead of transitioning into Kant. Others kept asking about the arrival of Romanticism, the was scientific biologicism that fit with conflicts in the slave narratives as well as fueling reactive Transcendentalism – America didn’t have a Napoleon, Frederick, or Mehmet to react to, so those narratives were incorporated into the same master narrative without a sense of previous socio-political eschatologies having failed (the liberty/order debate was shortchanged by Jefferson defeating Adams after Adams already cast Hamilton out of ‘party’ and watched the former Treasury Secretary burn all the bridges among the Federalists in a way they never recovered from as a true opposition).

    I wonder how much the timeline of just WHEN the United States gained independence and remained effectively locked into 18th-century Whig arguments (even the current Republican Presidential race is as much the classic Country Ideology vs. ‘Court Party’ debate that was inherited by anti-Stamp revolutionaries in 1760s from earlier anti-Walpole forces, just using ‘Base’ and ‘Establishment’ as Find-and-Replace terms) when the Enlightenment in Europe was then turned on its head within a decade affects Atlantic and global relations & ideologies (certainly in terms of how differently groups consider natural rights). Even looking at deeply-Americanized European figures like Winston Churchill in such a light is interesting…

    • Andrew Allison

      You would no doubt be interested by the reason for the peculiar way in which American’s use their knives and forks. King George had a withered left arm, and was thus compelled to move his fork to the right hand in order to get it to his mouth — the Court and Gentry, of course, followed suite. When the King died, big sigh of relief as everybody except the now independent Americans, went back to doing it sensibly.

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