It would be inhumane not to react with compassion to the tragic and harrowing depictions of the suffering of refugees. For Jews, more than any others, these images revive horrific memories of their own collective past and the horrors endured by their families and kinsman when an indifferent world effectively collaborated with the Nazis by denying haven to Jews seeking escape from the gas chambers.
In this context, it is ironic that the most generous assistance to refugees emanates from the Germans, who — even setting aside the Nazi era — were hardly renowned as adherents of multiculturalism. Many attribute this to a guilt reflex and atonement for Germany’s iniquities during the Holocaust.
It is also not surprising that many Jewish communities in Europe, North America and Australia are currently at the vanguard of those calling on governments to be more liberal and accept greater numbers of refugees. We also hear passionate calls from rabbis and Jewish lay leaders citing religious and ethical teachings that oblige us as Jews to provide haven for refugees. Former British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks even went to the absurd extreme of making an analogy between Syrian refugees and Jews in Europe during the Holocaust.
While reaching out and providing assistance to refugee families in distress is highly commendable, to make analogies between these refugees and Jews facing the Nazi genocidal policies is not merely misleading, but trivializes the Holocaust.
The Jews who found refuge from the Nazis integrated into their host societies and never sought to impose their Jewish values — in stark contrast to the tensions created in Europe over recent decades by Islamic migration of elements who seek to impose anti-democratic values, restrict freedom of expression and promote the equivalent of Shariah law. In fact, the Jews became the most committed advocates for strengthening democracy and made major contributions to the economic and cultural enrichment of the countries that gave them haven.
Nor can one point to a single example of a second-generation Jew transformed into a terrorist by extremist rabbis while this has been the case with many Muslim migrants. Indeed, the idea of Jews engaging in terrorism in Western countries is simply inconceivable.
That European Union bureaucrats are pressuring European countries to absorb refugees indeed reflects commendable humanitarian intentions. But there is a need to act rationally and appreciate that a growing flood of Muslim migrants to Europe could lead to disaster and even ultimately undermine West European civilization.
That may sound hysterical and, in the current climate, such observations automatically provoke accusations of Islamophobia and lack of compassion.
But the reality is that the overwhelming majority of these “refugees” not only originate from Muslim countries other than Syria, but 70% are estimated to be men of military age. That is to say that the majority of this “refugee” population are not traditional families seeking sanctuary, but men seeking economic enhancement.
Furthermore, these large numbers will act as a magnet which could result in profound demographic changes with tens of millions of Muslims seeking to escape Arab countries to better lives in Europe. Taking account of their high fertility rates in a continent with declining birth rates, Islam could yet conquer Europe by demographic means, despite being vanquished militarily hundreds of years ago on the battlefields.
Most European countries already face major problems integrating existing Muslim communities, all of which include substantial extremist elements promoting objectives incompatible with Western values and creating major social upheavals and conflicts.
We should be under no illusions. Most emigrants from Muslim countries have been nurtured with hatred of Western values, contempt for democracy and vicious anti-Semitism. Ironically, Germany’s concern to demonstrate its severance from its evil Nazi past by hosting large numbers of these “refugees” will inevitably strengthen the growing Islamist anti-Semitism in Germany and throughout Europe.
It would be absurd to imagine that these migrants will somehow miraculously be integrated more effectively than their predecessors. We already have the specter of second-generation Muslims educated and nurtured in European countries becoming jihadists, voluntarily serving in terrorist militias in Syria and returning to Western countries to embark on terrorist activities.
In this environment, Europe’s current security problems will exponentially increase if large numbers of Islamic refugees descend upon the continent — especially as there are no means of identifying or excluding potential terrorists. The reality is that a significant proportion support the jihadi movement and will never be integrated into democratic societies.
These are indeed difficult problems and there is no easy solution. To allow compassion to determine policy without reference to long-term repercussions reflects a total lack of resolve to maintain democratic values and is almost comparable to lemmings heading to the slaughter — a true recipe for the demise of Western civilization.
The reality is that Western democratic values are under threat and that while multiculturalism is an idyllic concept, it can only apply in an environment where all parties accept an open democratic society. Alas, the reality is that the Muslim radicals are gaining strength and while distinctions between moderate and radical Muslims may apply in realpolitik on the international global arena, all evidence indicates the rapid expansion of powerful and surging anti-democratic and jihadist elements in every expatriate Muslim community.
This is further highlighted by the astonishing but adamant refusal of the wealthy Arab oil countries — Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, which import vast numbers of Asian workers — to absorb even a minimal number of their own kinsman. They justify their exclusion on the grounds that such people will create disorder and represent security risks.
It is also scandalous that the Arab League and the 57-state Organization of the Islamic Conference make pious comments but turn to the non-Muslim international community to resolve issues created by Islamist extremism from their own ranks. The wealthy Muslim states should be obliged to take the lead role in efforts to integrate their own people.
There must be an intensive effort to stabilize the Middle East region. In this context, it should be noted that the barbarism that today dominates the region is a direct outcome of U.S. President Barack Obama’s concern not to alienate the Iranians, and the repudiation of his commitment to act against the Syrians after Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.
There are no easy solutions but the Western world must seek to resolve these problems without paving the way for anti-democratic forces to destroy our way of life. As Jews, despite identifying with the harrowing images of suffering endured by those seeking to find a better life in Western countries, we must not let ourselves be ruled by emotions or intimidated by the threat that we will be accused of engaging in Islamophobia. We must rationally consider the long-term repercussions of our actions and, while displaying compassion and joining calls for Christians and Yazidis facing genocide in Syria to be accepted as refugees in Western countries, we must also avoid creating a situation in which we lay the foundations for jihadists to achieve their objectives by demographic means and devour the hand that feeds them.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom