A document submitted to the German government on behalf of several high-level German intelligence agencies raised concerns that the country’s current policy toward refugees fleeing the Middle East will lead to increased extremism and anti-Semitism. The report was obtained and publicized by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
“The high influx of people from other parts of the world will lead to instability of our country,” reads part of the document. “An integration of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Germany is not possible in view of the number and the existing parallel societies… we [will] import Islamist extremism, [and] anti-Semitism.”
The report also warns that the present course of action will push many native Germans to take radical anti-immigrant positions in reaction to policies “being forced by the political elite.” These dual concerns, they warned, could prove a deeply destabilizing effect on the country.
Responding to a general wave of criticism over Germany’s “open door” policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, “We can and will manage this integration,” adding that she believes that many will not settle in the country permanently and that the Geneva Convention obligates the present course of action.
In an interview with Hamodia, Abraham Lehrer, vice president of the Federation for Jews in Germany, echoed the concerns mentioned in the report, particularly in regard to the Jewish community.
“We remember very well what happened 70 years ago, when Jews were refugees and nobody wanted to accept us,” said Lehrer. “It is not the fact that they are refugees that worries us. But the people coming now from Syria and Iraq have been taught that Israel and Jews are their greatest enemy. It will be very hard to teach them how to live in a constitutional democracy with freedom of religion.”
He said that while Germany already had a large Muslim population, it was mostly comprised of émigrés from Turkey who have been in the country for 20 to 40 years. “They did not grow up with a mentality of dehumanizing Jews,” he said.
Rabbi Joshua Spinner, executive vice president and CEO of the Berlin-based Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, told Hamodia that the wide failure of Germany’s bureaucracy to process the refugees that have arrived over the past months has raised further concern over the country’s ability to manage integration, adding to fears of extremism and anti-Semitism.
“Without a doubt, many if not most of the migrants are decent people who just want to live their lives and give their children a different and better future, but among them will also be angry, traumatized people accustomed to violence and possessing intolerant attitudes toward people and ideas they will find here,” he said.
“There is great concern today among Jews in Germany regarding the migrant crisis. Jews know that doors must remain open to the oppressed and threatened, and acknowledge the exceptional efforts of Germany to act morally and nobly.”
Rabbi Spinner added, however, “hundreds of thousands of migrants, most socialized in an atmosphere of hatred of Israel, anti-Semitism and general intolerance of Western freedoms,” pose a threat to Jews as well as to the democratic society of Germany.
In a meeting with Chancellor Merkel earlier this month, Dr. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany, raised concerns over the influx of migrants from Syria and Iraq, warning that “many come from countries in which Israel is an enemy and are raised with this hostility toward Israel [and] … frequently carry over their resentments toward all Jews in general.” Reports at the time said Merkel responded, “We must take care of that.” The chancellor did not offer any details.