Migrants bring antisemitic sentiments from home countries, experts warn

Migrants bring antisemitic sentiments from home countries, experts warn

Published: May 16, 2024 11:03pm

Migrants from countries with deeply entrenched antisemitic and anti-Israel ideologies are moving to North America and Europe, and while some are looking to integrate into the great American melting pot, experts are warning that many are retaining the unaccepting beliefs that many from their homeland hold.

"When I look at what's going on today this explosion of what looks like sudden antisemitism, it's not so sudden. It's decades of indoctrination," Somali-born women's rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali said this week during an interview with Ben Shapiro.

"Before I had even met any Jewish person or knew of the existence of Jewish people as human beings, I was programmed to think of Jews as monsters – as a synonym for the devil," Ali, a former Muslim, said.

The deep-seated hatred of Jews in the Muslim world began well before the most recent conflict. A 2010 Pew Research Center poll in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, all of which are Muslim-majority nations, showed that at least 95% of respondents viewed Jews "unfavorably." The numbers are still stark in other Muslim-majority nations, albeit not as intense as in the countries immediately surrounding Israel. For example, in Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan, at least 73% of respondents viewed Jews unfavorably, while 10% or less of respondents viewed Jews favorably.

Following the brutal Oct. 7, 2023, massacre, the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, support for the "Palestinian cause" increased by 16 points to 92% while support for normalized relations with Israel cut in half from 8% to 4% across the Arab world, according to series of polls taken in Arab countries before and after the Oct. 7 attack by the Arab Center Washington DC, a nonprofit research group. 

Ali said that serious Islamists have the goal of establishing a society based on Islamic law, but there are two primary schools of thought to establish it. One is through jihad, a religious war typically waged by terrorist organizations, and the other is the "long-term game" of gradualism, which is a soft power tactic wherein immigration is used to change demographics and increase Islamic influence over time.

Marketing and psychology professor Gad Saad, a Jewish immigrant who fled to Canada from Beirut as a child with his family during the Lebanese Civil War, said on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast last week that the increase in antisemitism is "the outcome of having an immigration policy that has let in people that don't share our foundational values."

While there are "tons of Muslims" who want to integrate into Western society, Saad said the issue is that accepting immigrants who do not hold antisemitic beliefs is a "statistical game," considering how a significant proportion of the population of some countries hold antisemitic beliefs.

The immigration policies combined with what Saad calls "suicidal empathy," where people feel bad for people who may be fundamentally opposed to them, are creating problems on a larger scale when it comes to antisemitism.

Other experts, such as Heritage Foundation Center for Education Policy Senior Research Fellow Jay Greene told Just the News that there are three factors contributing to antisemitism in schools: ethnic studies curriculums, activist teachers and an importation of foreign antisemitism.

"Some of the difficulty we've had controlling our borders and very large numbers of immigrants coming from countries that have hostility towards Jews is producing that hostility in our schools," he said.

More than 45.2 million migrants – about a fifth of whom are undocumented – live in the United States, making up more than 13% of the population, per the American Immigration Council. While migrants from Muslim-majority countries constitute a minority of immigrants in the United States, the story is different in European nations.

Nearly 70 million people, or about 15% of the population in the European Union are non-EU citizens or foreign-born, per the European Commission, the executive body of the EU. In 2023, the top three nationalities of first-time asylum seekers in the EU were Syrian, Afghan and Turkish. 

While data about the perpetrators of antisemitic attacks in Europe was not readily available, surveys of Jewish communities in Europe indicate that a growing number of attackers are of Arab or Muslim background, per the American Jewish Committee.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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