My eighteen-year-old son has a friend named Dan who recently moved from France to study in my son’s New York yeshiva. When I asked Dan what he liked best about being in New York, he quickly replied, “Walking down the street wearing a yarmulke and not having to look behind my back.”
While some Jewish neighborhoods in Paris may still be comparatively safe, Dan explained, neighborhoods bordering on Muslim ones are so dangerous that even the French police won’t enter them, let alone a self-identifying Jew.
While thousands of Jews are leaving France and other European countries in record numbers, the ones left behind are facing increased threats from both the far right and even more so the political left and its Muslim allies. And with the sudden and enormous influx of refugees from Arab countries, the danger is mounting.
Last month, when France had to take in thousands of these refugees from Germany, former French minister Patrick Devedjian joked that Germany “took our Jews and gave us Arabs.” While Devedjian felt compelled to retract his remark, no one can deny that the truth behind his humor struck a raw chord. The cultural and financial brain drain in Europe that resulted from the murder of six million Jews was never restored. Worse, the millions of Arabs who physically replaced those Jews have inversely sapped the systems of their host counties.
Yet any perverse satisfaction Jews may take from this implicit revenge is belied by the deeper truth that the joke is on them. European countries, ravaged by rampant Arab immigration, will suffer inevitable decline as a result of this crisis, but Jews in Europe and in Israel will suffer along with them. Which is ironic, considering that Germany’s prime motivator in welcoming Arab refugees seems to be a desire to atone for the sins of its past. It’s an almost defiant demonstration to the world that Germany can be a champion of human rights a mere seventy years after savagely trampling on them.
But Germany’s outreach can be the undoing of its own good intentions. Accepting close to a million Arab migrants, most of whom are in search of economic benefits, is no penance for Germany’s past crimes. Indeed, it only serves to exacerbate the crisis currently faced by the Jews of Europe. And it endangers the Jews of Israel by boosting the German population with new citizens hostile to Israel. Anti-Zionist sentiment in European countries is growing exponentially with the growing Muslim populace. Those sentiments translate into policy because those citizens translate into votes.
All across Europe we see eager recognition of a Palestinian state, boycotts of Israeli goods and academia, calls for war crimes against the IDF and Israeli politicians, and libeling of all Israelis as demonic “occupiers.” The Iranian nuclear deal passed through England, France, and Germany, three of the six countries that negotiated the deal this past summer, without so much as a whisper of concern for Israel.
In England, Jeremy Corbyn, who has called Hamas and Hizbullah “friends” and publicly endorsed a blanket arms embargo on Israel and a boycott of its universities, was recently elected the new leader of the Labour Party with a boost from British Muslims and their liberal cronies. All this is will only get worse with the influx of more Muslims into Europe.
Angela Merkel, who is as good a friend of Israel as one can hope for in a German chancellor, recently gave an impassioned interview to the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot to mark fifty years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany and ahead of a scheduled meeting in Berlin with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an annual event Merkel initiated in 2008 in an effort to improve ties with Israel.
Merkel decried Iran’s hostility toward Israel as “unacceptable” and underscored the efforts to maintain good ties between Jerusalem and Berlin as coming “out of an awareness for Germany’s constant responsibility for the fracturing of civilization in the time of the Holocaust and an awareness for the shared values and interests.”
All very good. But Merkel’s reiteration of Germany’s sharp opposition to Israeli settlement policies, her endorsement of a Palestinian state, and her country’s rush to cement the Iran deal show where Germany’s true sentiments lie.
It is also further fodder for Germany’s growing Muslim and leftist bloc and a growing right wing bloc that is expanding in backlash against the former. Merkel’s popularity is actually plummeting with the rise of Muslim immigration and the crime, jihadism, and economic burden they bring with them.
Indeed, it’s ironic that Merkel gave the interview two days after a senior European Union official warned of rising anti-Semitism in Europe. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmersmans said that “in the last couple of years you’ve seen this age-old monster come up again in Europe.” And in a further irony, Netanyahu was forced to cancel the annual meeting in Berlin because of a wave of terror attacks against Jews in Israel.
European silence in the face of intensifying anti-Semitism, enthusiasm in restoring ties with Iran at Israel’s expense, and eager complicity in promoting the false Palestinian narrative only emboldens Muslims everywhere. Flooding Germany with Muslims, rallying for Palestine in France, and promoting BDS in England all result in a knife in the back of a Jew in the Old City.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Merkel’s noble ones among them. If Germans and other Europeans really want to atone for their sins against the Jews, bringing in more of their enemies to reside among them is not the way to do it; supporting Jews and Israel against their enemies is.