Monday, September 26th | 2 Tishri 5783

March 1, 2016 6:04 am

Europe’s Migrant Policies Demonstrate Blatant Hypocrisy on Israel

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

Middle Eastern migrants in Europe. Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed via Wikimedia Commons.

Middle Eastern migrants in Europe. Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed via Wikimedia Commons.

Europe has long touted itself as a beacon of human rights and freedoms. From their safe and secure area of the world, Europeans have looked askance at Israel with a self-righteous smugness that proclaims, “If only we were in Israel’s position, there would have been peace and tranquility with Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority and all Arab nations.”

However, the recent influx of refugees into the European content has put Europe to the test, and to the unfortunate shock of many, we are starting to learn that Europe is not as tolerant as we would otherwise believe. Yet the world really doesn’t seem so concerned about it. Europe is very good at judging Israel, but seems to have a double standard when it comes to itself.

One must ask — how would Israel have been treated if it had adopted the policies and actions towards migrants that Europe has? Let’s look at some facts.

To begin with, Czech President Milos Zeman recently said, “It’s practically impossible to integrate Muslims into Western Europe,” and referred to the migrants as an “organized invasion.” The Czech Republic has refused to open its borders to the masses of refugees.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has complained that the influx of refugees “could redraw Europe’s cultural and religious identity.”

Apparently when these statements are coming from Europe, they are not condemned.

Hungary and Slovenia have now built barbed wire fences along their borders to keep migrants out. Poland and Slovakia follow a similar policy, not allowing any refugees within their borders. Austria has passed legislation allowing only 80 migrants a day to apply for asylum.

Hungary has even taken the extra step of criminalizing undocumented border crossings with up to three years in prison.

We are also now learning that the poor and desperate refugees reaching Denmark are actually having their valuables confiscated by the government to pay for their processing. This includes watches, laptops, and any cash amount over $1450 dollars. This has been enshrined within Denmark’s laws.

Switzerland has been doing the same thing and just recently Germany has adopted this policy as well. The little bit of money seized from these refugees may represent a lifetime of hard work and savings, confiscated in a moment with no legal recourse.

It is unimaginable that Israel would ever contemplate something similar.

We are seeing that racial profiling is an acceptable way of dealing with refugees — as long as you are Europe. In German, Austrian and Dutch cities, migrant males have been legally banned from various swimming pools, bathhouses and saunas. Different clubs and bars in Austria have a no-migrant-men policy; and in Denmark, men will not be allowed into certain establishments unless they can speak Danish, German or English.

Now Doctors Without Borders has announced that it will no longer provide services at migrant reception centers in Italy. Why? Because the Italian government has allowed these centers, which accommodate tens of thousands of refugees, to fall into disrepair. Squalid restrooms, bug infestations, showers without privacy, untreated mold and water leaks are par for the course for these refugee centers, and the Italian government has purposefully allowed this to happen in the hopes of dissuading future migrants. What if this were Israel instead? Can you imagine the headlines?

Many other European states are passing laws making it almost impossible for migrants ever to adjust and live a normal life within these countries. Laws have been passed to severely limit migrants’ access to social welfare benefits, and other enactments that require waits of three years before family members can be brought over for reunification. Some European states do not allow migrants to live outside of refugee centers — some of which are nothing but tent encampments. Migrants also face long waits just to acquire work permits. The overall goal of all these laws is to make it harder for migrants to gain permanent status and to try to make life so difficult they will be compelled to leave.

Anti-immigrant verbal abuse and outright physical attacks are seemingly becoming the norm in Europe, as the ranks of far-right-wing movements increase by the day. Recently, in the East German town of Bautzen, a hotel that was being converted into a migrant shelter was engulfed in flames in a suspected arson case. A crowd at the scene cheered as the building burned, and police said that many of the people looked and spoke with”unashamed delight.” Some in the crowd even tried to stop firefighters from putting out the flames. Another German town saw 100 angry protesters block a bus of migrants from debarking from their bus.

And now we are learning that Sweden has announced plans to deport 80,000 refugees, while Finland announced the deportations of 20,000. A number of European countries have begun passing legislation that classify refugees from Afghanistan as “economic migrants,” thus barring them from being granted asylum. Never mind the fact that 2015 was the worst year for civilian casualties on record there. People who risked their lives to escape squalor and tyrannical regimes are being cordoned off based on their ethnicities and forcibly removed from Europe.

Can you step back for a second and imagine if everything mentioned above had happened in Israel instead?

Can you hear the condemnations and self-righteous proclamations that would have echoed from one side of the globe to the other? The calls for boycotts and sanctions?

A recent poll showed that 29% of Germans support an open-fire policy on the border to keep the refugees out. Is shooting to kill now becoming an acceptable refugee policy? As larger number of migrants continue entering Europe, these sentiments will inevitably only increase. One can only hope that fascist nationalism does not replace the crumbling policies and approaches of European governments that we are witnessing today.

Europe has been callously and unfairly judging and condemning Israel for years, as it sat atop its lofty perch. However, the influx of desperate refugees is exposing Europe’s “humanitarian” nature as hypocritical in the extreme. Given what we are already witnessing in Europe, one can only imagine what might become if it faced a fraction of the pressures and dangers that Israel faces daily.

Alan Dershowitz has argued that one should not look at whether Israel is a moral country in comparison to other nations that are never attacked or faced with its realities. Rather, Israel must be judged by nations who face similar circumstances and a similar level of threat.

And based on that criterion, Israel is quite simply the most moral nation on earth.

The Washington Post calls Shmuley Boteach “the most famous Rabbi in America.” He is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 30 books. Next month he will publish “The Israel Warrior: Fighting the Battles of the Jewish State in the Marketplace of Ideas.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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