Muslim Refugees Will Stir Anti-Semitism in Germany Warns Jewish Group

German Jews
A man wearing a kippah waits for the start of a demonstration against anti-Semitism at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, September 14, 2014. |

Leaders from a Jewish group in Germany are expressing concerns about refugees stirring anti-Semitism.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the Central Council of Jews in Germany has warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that many refugees "come from countries in which Israel is viewed as the enemy" and that "these prejudices are often projected onto Jews in general."

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party responded that it is ready to combat anti-Semitism "resolutely."

Germany has said that it will welcome as many as 800,000 refugees from Syria, and other countries near the Middle East, who are fleeing terrorism and civil war.

The migrant crisis has caused mounting tension across Europe, with countries like Hungary saying it does not have the means to assist the large influx of refugees seeking to make their way toward Western states.

Merkel's open-door policy on immigration has sparked controversy in Germany, however, with the anti-migrant PEGIDA movement staging marches across the country.

Migrants queue in the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs (LAGESO) as they wait to register in Berlin, Germany, October 7, 2015. German authorities are struggling to cope with the roughly 10,000 refugees arriving every day, many fleeing conflict in the Middle East. The government expects 800,000 or more people to arrive this year and media say it could be up to 1.5 million. |

"I am convinced that Mrs. Merkel's politics are against national interests," said PEGIDA supporter Max Haupt during a rally in Dresden earlier in October. "I'm very disturbed about that. It's almost treason. She has forgotten the oath she gave when she was sworn in."

Merkel has said that there is no practical way to place a limit on incoming refugees, however.

"You cannot just close the borders," the German leader insisted during an interview.

"There is no sense in my promising something that I cannot deliver," she continued. "We will manage. I am quite strongly convinced of that."

Bloomberg noted that the chancellor's approval rating has been on the decline, with her CDU party hitting a three-year low with only 36 percent of the public's support. FG Wahlen polls have also shown that Merkel's public support has steadily dropped over the past month.

In a September op-ed for Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (Central Council of Jews in Germany), World Jewish Congress leaders Josef Schuster and Ronald S. Lauder said that, as Jews, they understand the hardships that refugees are experiencing.

"Nowadays, many people flee Syria and Iraq because they fear for their lives because of their religion," the op-ed reads. "These refugees have gone through a lot of hardship. Who should understand them better than we Jews?"

The World Jewish Congress leaders recalled that, throughout history, the Jewish people have also had to flee as refugees, and said that Germany is respecting a "great humane tradition" by offering migrants shelter.

"It's also important that those who at present can't return to their home countries will become familiar with our Western values. In Germany, that means respect for the values enshrined in the Constitution and also an acceptance that support for Israel is part of the political DNA of this country. Moreover, society by and large agrees that the Holocaust must be remembered," they added.

German protests
Participants take part in a demonstration called by anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West," in Dresden January 5, 2015. Several thousand opponents of Germany's policy toward asylum seekers and Islam are expected to attend the protest in the eastern German town on Monday. |

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