Update from Berlin

Update from Berlin
June 15, 2016
Dateline: Berlin

Last week, together with SWC International Relations Director Dr. Shimon Samuels, I had meetings in Berlin with senior government officials focusing on the implications of one million Middle Eastern migrant/refugees now in Germany. Social integration and the need to challenge problematic attitudes brought from their cultures about women, gays, and Jews was a core focus of the discussions.

Photo: SWC officials met with senior German Justice Ministry officials last week in Berlin. L-R: Shimon Samuels and Rabbi Cooper at an earlier meeting with German Justice Minister Heiko Maas

Here are some of our findings:
  • Despite the serious efforts it is clear that Germany and other European countries cannot validate the true identity of hundreds of thousands of these new arrivals.

  • The political implications of this new reality are not lost on the fearful voting public that is veering right in many European nations. One official told us that ISIS made a special point of infiltrating at least one of the Paris terrorists among legitimate refugees fleeing Syria’s bloody civil war. “ISIS has plenty of operatives in place and could have carried out the attacks with Islamist terrorists already in place,” we were told. "But they wanted to spread mistrust and hate about the newcomers and they succeeded.”

  • When we raised the issue of the impact of radical Imams, authorities admitted that there were times when they couldn’t identify the Imams, what they are teaching to new immigrants and who they succeed in radicalizing, until it is too late.

  • We conferred with a top Jewish community leader in Berlin and the Israeli Ambassador to assess the changing situation and discuss steps to secure a safe future.

  • Der Tagesspiegel, a leading German newspaper, ran my op-ed challenging Germany to confront the anti-Semitism that migrants brought with them from their countries of origin and has been widely read.
    Read article (in German) here.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Germany and across Europe  - thank you for your continued support.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper,
Associate Dean