Erdogan Holds Europe Hostage as he Accuses the EU of Not Honoring Refugee Deal

Syrian Refugees

As was reported previously, the real fun is about to begin for Europe.  As the refugee crisis continues to turn worse in Western Europe, Erdogan has begun to use it to extract more and more money from European coffers. If the EU does not do what Erdogan says, he will unleash the hordes of Syrian refugees and migrants looking for a way into Europe that are now in Turkey.

“Ask them [the EU]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?” Erdogan asked, according to EU Observer.

Essentially, Erdogan is confirming, that unless the EU pays 3 billion Euros that was promised in the deal, he will allow these Syrian refugees to overrun Europe.

The EU agreement with Turkey was meant to hault refugees from reaching Turkey’s neighbor Greece thus entering the EU’s Schengen zone. The Schengen zone is where free cross-border travel is permitted.  Part of the agreement was the EU’s agreement to accelerate Turkey’s EU accession process.

The amount given so far to Turkey is one percent of the total that the EU pledged to give to Turkey in exchange for greater help in blocking the westward flow of refugees, mostly Syrians, from entering the heart of Europe.

Essentially Erdogan’s whole goal is to extract from Europe more and  more money, by holding the catastrophic threat of millions of refugees inside Europe over their heads.  With the recent attacks in Germany and France, most EU members will opt to cave.  If they do, don’t expect Erdogan to kep quiet for long. Afterall, the goal is to create the same sort of chaos in Europe as Erdogan and Turkey has in Syria and Iraq.  Their assumption is that they not only will be able to take advantage of it, but control the chaos.  The problem is they believed the same thing in supporting ISIS, but now their creation has grown a mind of its own.

The ‘New Normal’?

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

In Michel Houellebecq’s dystopian novel, “Submission” (2015), which takes place in an imaginary France ‎in 2022, when the Muslim Brotherhood has won elections and rules the country in alliance with the Socialists, the non-Jewish protagonist, a professor at the Sorbonne, tells his Jewish student, who is escaping to Israel with her family, that there ‎can be “no Israel for me.” This is one of the most poignant observations in the book.‎

Another is the protagonist’s reflection that the increasing violence, even the gunshots in the streets of Paris as a ‎civil war threatens to explode during the run-up to the elections, has become the ‎new normal: something that everyone is resigned to as an inevitable fact, barely reported in the ‎media and treated as unremarkable by his fellow lecturers. Even after the Muslim Brotherhood wins the ‎elections, and the Sorbonne is turned into an Islamic university, with all that this entails, his colleagues treat ‎this development as nothing out of the ordinary. Houllebecq’s indictment against the silence and ‎complicity of his fellow intellectuals in the face of the Islamist encroachments on French society is ‎scathing. As a matter of course, in the new France, where freedom of speech comes at a prohibitive ‎price, Houllebecq now has to live under 24-hour police protection. “Submission,” by the way, was published on the day of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks.‎

The resignation and the precarious pretense that everything is normal in the face of rapidly deteriorating ‎circumstances, is a predictable human reaction, testimony to the sometimes practical but lamentable human capacity for adaptation to most circumstances, whatever they may be. ‎Historically, Jews have excelled in this discipline, simply because they had no choice. Just like Houllebecq’s ‎protagonist, they had nowhere else to go. However, whereas there “can be no Israel” for the lost ‎professor, today, unlike the last time Jews were threatened on a large scale in Europe, there is an Israel ‎for the Jews. Uniquely among all the peoples of Europe, the Jews have a welcoming place to go. ‎Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Western European Jews choose to stay put in Europe.‎

In 2015, 30,000 Jews made aliyah from all over the world. Almost 22,000 of these arrivals were from ‎France, Russia and Ukraine, and approximately 3,700 new immigrants made aliyah from the United States and ‎Canada. Other countries included Argentina and Venezuela, but Western Europe, outside of France, only ‎accounted for the tiniest contribution to these figures.‎

From the Netherlands, home to an estimated 50,000 Jews, only 96 Jews made aliyah in ‎‎2015, still the highest figure recorded in a decade. In Belgium, which saw an Islamic terrorist attack on the ‎Jewish museum in 2014, only 287 Jews made aliyah last year out of an estimated Jewish population of ‎‎40,000. Aliyah from the Scandinavian countries was equally negligible in 2015, despite a terrorist attack on ‎the synagogue in Copenhagen in 2015 and a growing anti-circumcision lobby in all the Scandinavian ‎countries, threatening to literally make a continued Jewish presence in those countries untenable. In ‎‎2014, kosher slaughter was made illegal in Denmark. In Sweden and Norway it was already outlawed. ‎

In the Netherlands, the beginning of 2016 saw an extraordinarily savage anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish ‎octogenarian couple in Amsterdam, who were robbed and beaten nearly to death while the Muslims ‎who perpetrated the attack called them “dirty Jews.” The couple had to be confined to an old-age home, ‎having sustained permanent injuries. Incredibly, the Dutch media, aided by the prosecution, upon reporting ‎the crime, chose not to mention the strong anti-Semitic element of the hate crime. Anti-Semitism was ‎also reported to be on the rise in Dutch schools, a dire foreboding for the future. ‎

The situation all over the European continent is depressingly similar with the occasional fluctuations in the ‎rise and fall of anti-Semitic incidents, but with a clear and persistent anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli ‎sentiment that makes itself felt in everyday life. Recently, the president of the Jewish society at the ‎London School of Oriental and African Studies explained that “we are too scared to go anywhere ‎so we walk in a group to the station. People come up to me and say, ‘I heard you hate Palestinians.'”‎

Jews are particularly at risk from the rise of jihad on the continent, but they are also existentially ‎threatened by the anti-Semitic campaigns against circumcision and kosher slaughter, which often have a broad ‎popular base that defies any categorization of left and right. The Social Democratic government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt brought about the prohibition against kosher slaughter in Denmark in 2014.‎

Added to this is the threat from far-right groups, which is sometimes exaggerated yet ‎nevertheless very much there. In the Netherlands, for instance, a Jewish organization, the Center for ‎Information and Documentation on Israel, was pressing charges in May against supporters of the ‎Dutch soccer champion PSV Eindhoven. A video was posted of PSV fans singing, “My dad was in the ‎commandos, my mother in the SS. Together they burned Jews, for Jews burn the best.” A PSV ‎spokesperson expressed his horror at the video. ‎

Nevertheless, Dutch high school graduates at a graduation party this month at Elde College in the ‎town of Schijndel, 60 miles southeast of Amsterdam, broke out in a song with almost the same lyrics. As ‎they approached the party, several graduates sang, “Together we’ll burn Jews, because Jews burn the ‎best.”

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, whose home in Amersfoort has been attacked five times in recent years, says ‎that the frequency of anti-Semitic chants and other hate crimes “means Dutch Jews are less inclined to ‎report hate crimes, when they occur around them all the time.” In other words, hate crimes have become ‎the new normal, just as in Houllebecq’s dystopia, the violent riots in the streets of Paris and the ‎incremental Islamization of France became the new and accepted normal. The status quo ‎gradually transforms itself from what is first seen as unbelievable and deeply shocking to something that is considered quite ordinary. “Only six years ago, we were profoundly shocked ‎when two young men screamed ‘Heil Hitler’ during a commemoration ceremony at Vught,” said Jacobs, ‎‎”But today, this wouldn’t be so shocking anymore. It is happening all the time in the Netherlands.” ‎

This is perhaps inevitable, a function of the plasticity of human nature and its ability to adapt to even that ‎which is most abhorrent, but it is also truly lamentable. Unlike Houllebecq’s professor, these Jews have a ‎place to go, no matter how imperfect and difficult they consider Israel to be compared to their often materially ‎comfortable lives in Western Europe. ‎

The questions inevitably arise: Why put up with the miseries of the European continent and the constant ‎and incremental assaults on Jewish freedom there, whether they come in the form of jihad or “native” ‎European anti-Semitism? Why suffer the indignity of hiding their identities for fear of verbal or ‎physical attacks when they can be open and free in Israel? 

Europe is More Than Western Europe

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

The rift in the European Union between the older, mostly Western European, members and the newer ones from Eastern Europe has become increasingly clear lately over the refusal of most Eastern European countries to receive migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

The European Commission has proposed reforms to EU asylum rules that would see financial penalties imposed on members refusing to take in what it deems a sufficient number of asylum seekers, amounting to $290,000 for every migrant. The penalties, if passed, are particularly aimed at the newest EU countries, such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, since these are countries who have closed their borders to migrants or are in the process of doing so.

Disagreement over how to respond to the migrant crisis in Europe, however, is not the only issue dividing the Eastern European members of the EU from Western European ones. Israel is another such contentious issue.

Several Eastern European countries, while having pasts rife with virulent anti-Semitism and atrocious records of behavior toward Jews during the Second World War, differ greatly in their policies toward Israel compared to their Western European counterparts. That does not mean that everything they do is in favor of Israel, far from it. The entire EU, including those Eastern European countries, voted in favor of the latest U.N. resolution to slander Israel, when they voted that Israel was the world’s only health violator. There must be some diplomats sitting around with very bad tastes in their mouths.

Nevertheless, Eastern European countries today represent the only part of Europe that, out of national interest or a genuine sense of solidarity, stands with Israel in one form or another. This is already saying much on a continent where, for example, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders only recently declared that calls to boycott, divest and sanction Israel are considered by the Netherlands to be “freedom of speech” and therefore legal. (It would appear that there are some serious cognitive issues in the Dutch government: What happens when the calls actually lead to real action, such as municipalities refusing to do business with Israel or refusing to buy Israeli goods and services? Would that be legal, too, according to the foreign minister? As discussed previously in this column, a Spanish court recently declared such municipal boycotts of Israel to be in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, the same convention that Koenders invokes in his condoning of BDS as “free speech.”)

In December, Czech lawmakers passed resolutions criticizing the decision by the European Union to label Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, and urged the Czech government not to abide by it. Characteristically, all Czech political parties supported the resolutions, even those on the Left, save for the Communists, who in keeping with their Soviet legacy, claimed that the Czech Republic was too complacent towards Israel. In a country like the Czech Republic, which paid a high price for the experiments of Communism for over 50 years, such slogans make a negligible impression.

Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman also praised the resolution, saying that the vote “aligned the Czech Republic with democratic countries that fully respect human rights and reject any form of discrimination.” Close your eyes and picture any Western European politician uttering those words. Perhaps Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom? No, it is impossible even to imagine such a thing.

The Czech Republic’s friendship with Israel extends back to the 1948 war, when the Czechs sold weapons to the fledgling Jewish state when very few others, wanted to do so. It would be sobering to remember at this point that the United States at that time enforced a weapons embargo on the entire region, whereas the British were in fact supplying both weapons and leadership to Arab militaries out to extinguish the Jewish state. During Soviet occupation, this friendship naturally went into a half-century long hiatus, but was rekindled after the end of the Cold War.

Most recently, the Slovak and Lithuanian parliaments have decided to form pro-Israeli caucuses, a result of an initiative from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, the World Jewish Congress and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.

“As Western European countries continue to turn their backs on the Jewish state, we see that Eastern European countries are more supportive than ever of the only democracy in the Middle East — Israel,” Knesset Christian Allies Caucus director Josh Reinstein said.

This may also be because these countries still retain a sense of logic and pride in their heritage and do not harbor any secret wish for national suicide. After living under totalitarianism for over half a century, while Western Europe was harvesting the peace dividend of being under the American protective wing and growing increasingly more wealthy and materialistic, forgetting completely what it means to be terrorized, those countries who used to be under the Soviet boot see very clearly that Israel’s fight against Islamic terrorism is their fight, too.

Dismissing Europe entirely as a place where support for Israel can be found is a fallacy, even if it is admittedly one that is easy to make in the current circumstances. There are friends of Israel in Eastern and Central Europe, even if their membership of the European Union frequently renders their scope of action limited. This is very important to keep in mind. Too many observers in Israel and elsewhere forget that Europe consists of more than just Western Europe.

When Jew Hatred Trumps European National Security

What is perhaps most conspicuous about the growth of anti-Semitism on the European Left, as exemplified by the current crisis in the British Labour Party, is that it is rising at a time when Europe should be busy with much more pressing issues, such as national security — particularly in London, where the terrorist threat keeps growing and security officials can barely keep up.

It has been less than two months since Islamic terrorists successfully targeted the Brussels airport and the Maelbeek metro station, killing 32 people and wounding many more. And it has been only half a year since the Paris attacks, in which Islamic terrorists killed 130 people and wounded nearly 400. These were groundbreaking, shocking events in the history of Islamic terrorism on European soil, so one would naturally assume that Israel and Jews in general, who make up such a marginal demographic group, constituting less than half a percent of the population of the EU, would be the last thing on European politicians’ minds. Another enormous immigration crisis looms, as 800,000 migrants, according to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, are currently in Libyan territory waiting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This means that Europe will most likely be facing even more chaos than it did last summer.

However, European politicians, instead of busying themselves with protecting their citizens from future terrorist attacks — as well as preventing another chaotic summer of migration chaos — incredibly find time to get mired in sordid squabbles about insane ideas of transferring Israeli Jews to the United States and claiming Hitler was a Zionist — as we saw in the U.K. — or composing elaborate peace conference initiatives to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — as we saw in France. If I were a European citizen, I would wonder why my government was occupying itself with these issues, which have no vital meaning to any Europeans, at a time when Europe is facing unprecedented security threats.

As I mentioned in a past column, one example of this preposterous mindset was France’s rejection of Israeli terrorism tracking technology, which might have possibly prevented the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels — a clear example of Jew hatred trumping national security concerns, especially at a time when national security should be the top priority of every single European government.

In the wake of the anti-Semitism debacle in the British Labour Party, the obligatory inquiries will be made, solemn reports will be written and the culprits will be reprimanded, rebuked or excluded, upon which all will be forgotten and everyone will carry on as usual. It will change nothing, least of all the influence of the radical Left on mainstream leftist parties.

While the sordid ideas that are entertained by some in the European Left came out in the open in Britain on this occasion, this is most certainly not the last time we will see such a “crisis” revolving around the airing of some of these ideas, as the radical Left’s influence becomes more and more apparent, not only in Britain, but across the European Union. No one should harbor any doubts as to whether this is a British phenomenon — it most certainly is not, as anyone who follows Scandinavian politics can ascertain.

At any rate, whatever the outcome, for British Jews it is all too little and too late and the Labour debacle is only a political symptom of what has already become an undeniable fact on the street: Hate crimes against British Jews are at an all-time high. A report released on Sunday showed that there has been an increase of 50 percent in violent crimes against British Jews in the past two years and 1,000 anti-Semitic incidents in 2015 compared to 938 in 2014. Violent crimes constituted 196 incidents in 2015 compared to 126 incidents in 2014.

In other parts of the U.K., Jews are not faring any better. Almost 20 percent of Jews in Scotland have said that they have been victims of hate crimes. In Glasgow, home to the majority of Scottish Jews, more Jews are leaving or fearing to identify as Jews in a city, which has become increasingly hostile, something that culminated in 2014, when the Glasgow City Council decided to fly the Palestinian flag in what it said was a show of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Just as elsewhere in Europe, these developments are more likely than not to result in an even greater exodus of Jews from the European continent. Israel will be the richer for that and Europe the poorer. This leaves the Europeans with nowhere to escape from their irresponsible politicians. But they should ask why Israel and the Jews continue to be an almost clinical obsession to the point where Jew-hatred trumps national security. It would be very interesting to hear the answer.

Africa and Israel Share a Common Enemy in Radical Islam

Global terror attacks dating from 9/11, London, France, Belgium, Kenya, Pakistan and the ongoing Boko Haram in Nigeria as well as many other wars across many nations of the world all point to a similar source, Islam.  In the wake of the European migrant crisis the door has been opened to a new wave of terrorism that can affect most countries in Europe.

According to the demographer Michèle Tribalat, there are about 20 million Muslims in Europe, with some 5 million of them in France. This amounts to roughly 8% of the population of France. The USA, UK, and Germany have 5% respectively.

Both the Charlie Hebdo along with another attack at a Paris kosher market days later, was carried out by French Muslims that were North African and West African Migrants. Well before the attacks, which left 17 dead, the French were discussing the possibility that tensions with the country’s own Muslim community were leading France toward some kind of armed confrontation.  Europeans would have never handled such a massive in flux of Muslim migrants at any other moment in their generally xenophobic history. The movement of Muslim migrants coincided with a collapse in European birthrates, which has given the current immigration a nearly unstoppable momentum.  With the rise of modern political Islam, which injected Islam with a radical ethos, the migration crisis has now become a threat to world peace.

How can it be Curbed?

There has long been a growing political relationship between the Israeli government and most sub-saharan African countries. In these ties lie the solution and shield against the scourge of radical Islam.  Those African countries at war with radical Islam have found Israel to be an experienced and reliable partner. Beyond security, Israel is seen as an ally with little historic baggage and with little interest in undermining the sovereignty of African nations.

The ties between African-Israeli relations can be traced back to the dying embers of colonialism in the mid-1950s. This was followed by a formal recognition of relations through the establishment of official channels. One example is the setting up of the Israeli Embassy in Accra, Ghana in 1956.

From the beginning of its inception, Israel’s own war against Arab nationalism made it a necessity to search elsewhere for partners. Israel being encircled by hostile Arab countries gave it the impetus to build relationships with the newly independent African countries (as well as in Iran at that time). It is important to note that Israel’s motives to provide aid to Africa were driven by ideology, as opposed to the post-colonial guilt motives of the British and other nations.

In the 1970s due to many anti-Israel votes cast by African nations at UN-Conferences, Israel’s political motives moved from being ideological to pragmatic. Israel began to target only African countries where it had clear strategic or economic interests the Israeli presence grew at a fast pace.

The nature of African-Israeli relations has been determined by key changes in the global geopolitical arena. After the burden of colonialism had been lifted off African shoulders, Israel embarked on establishing diplomatic missions based on a twofold policy of diplomacy and technical cooperation.

Israel Moves Beyond Europe by Signing China Agreements

While Israel continues to be vilified around the world, most recently by the U.N. Human Rights Council (which puts on the same circus every year at its month-long session, when it singles out only Israel for condemnation), Israel continues to build and strengthen diplomatic and trade relationships.

The second annual meeting of the Israel-China Committee for Cooperation in Innovation was held on Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, hosting an 80-member Chinese delegation, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, and including three ministers, nine deputy ministers and 14 university heads. Israel and China signed 13 bilateral agreements, one of them a 10-year multi-visit visa that will facilitate business and tourist travel between Israel and China. The only other countries that China has such an arrangement with are the U.S. and Canada, which shows just how highly China values its cooperation with Israel.

Furthermore, a delegation of that magnitude, both in size and seniority, clearly shows that China considers Israel to be an important partner and that all the condemnations mean very little once you are outside the U.N. building in Geneva. Those who realize that it is in their own interest to cultivate relations with Israel look past the ritual denunciations and relate to Israel on a bilateral basis.

One important outcome of Tuesday’s meeting, which can hardly be overestimated, is that Beijing has shown interest in beginning free trade negotiations with Israel. Such an agreement could potentially double bilateral trade from $8 billion to $16 billion.

“I was delighted to hear today from Vice Premier Liu that China is prepared to begin free trade agreement negotiations with Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters at a joint press conference. “This is a momentous development and we are ready to do so right away.”

The closer trade ties Israel cultivates with countries such as China and India, with whom Israel also enjoys very good relations, the less Israel will have to rely on trade with the European Union with its cognitive war, boycotts and deeply anti-Israeli sentiments. However, the European Union is still Israel’s primary trade partner, with trade in 2014 amounting to over $30 billion.

When it comes to the EU, the problem is not just the anti-Israel sentiment. The EU is caught in an economic downward spiral, which is only going to worsen in light of the current migrant crisis and problems with Islamic terrorism — problems that, as the recent attacks in Brussels clearly demonstrated, the continent is ill equipped to deal with. This means that with time, the European Union will very likely become a much less interesting partner.

Also, very importantly, the highly anticipated increase in flights between China and Israel will commence next month, as China’s Hainan Airlines begin operating three weekly flights between Beijing and Tel Aviv. Israel’s El Al Airlines already operates three weekly flights on the same route. There is a huge untapped market for tourism in China, with Chinese travel abroad booming. One can find Chinese tourists in even the smallest European outpost, but Israel has so far not tapped the potential of Chinese globetrotters.

“To say that not much has been done to bring Chinese tourists to Israel is not true. It would be more correct to say that almost nothing has been done,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said last July.

According to a report in Haaretz, in 2014 about 32,000 Chinese nationals visited Israel, up 29% from 2013. The upward trend continued in 2015. During the first five months of 2015, 18,700 Chinese tourists visited Israel, a 35% increase over the same period in 2014. However, considering the existence of 107 million Chinese tourists, Israel is benefiting from a very small piece of the pie. This is now likely to change dramatically with the new visa agreement and the increased flights from Beijing.

More than ever, Israelis should start learning Chinese in order to facilitate the growth in both trade and tourism that these new agreements in tourism and trade are likely to bring. There is much to be said for moving beyond Europe.

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)