Zoe Strimpel Zoe Strimpel

Britain should follow Germany’s lead in weeding out anti-Semites

A demo against anti-Semitism in Munich (Credit: Getty images)

On the surface of it, Germany’s new pathway to citizenship sounds like a rare dose of sense from the one country in the Western world whose modern history means it still understands why Israel has a right to exist.

One surefire short-hand for establishing who means us ill is by singling out those who mean our Jews ill

The shake-up makes it easier to get German citizenship, allowing people to apply five rather than eight years after they arrive in the country – and just three years for those with good language skills. But for die-hard anti-Semites, the process will get harder, with questions that may involve naming the date of Israel’s founding and showing knowledge of Germany’s commitment to Israel, its laws punishing Holocaust denial and even the requirements for joining a Jewish sports club. 

Given the extraordinarily obvious link – Islamism – between obsessive hatred of Israel and animosity towards Jews in general, such questions should help to weed out those migrants who pose a danger to national security. ‘Antisemitism, racism, and other forms of contempt for humanity rule out naturalisation,’ Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told Spiegel last week.

Britain, meanwhile, is in the grips of a migration crisis caused by our inability to sort those intent on causing us harm while charging us for the privilege, from those who want to work hard and embrace Western values. One surefire short-hand for establishing who means us ill is by singling out, or at least trying to single out, those who mean our Jews ill. And the top card on the deck of anti-Semitic beliefs? Israel as illegitimate, demonic, and land-grabbing, of course. Demand that refugees, asylum-seekers and those seeking citizenship, many of them from Muslim-majority countries, spell out why Israel was founded, including the headline dates and numbers of the Holocaust (and maybe even the expulsion of the Jews from Britain), and what forms contemporary anti-Semitism takes. To really make sure you send the bad lot running, force them to avow commitment to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) official definition of anti-Semitism, which includes calling Israel a racist endeavour or denying its claim to existence. 

It’s not that Israel per se is the centre of the universe, of course. But the terror cells that pose a credible threat to the UK all have links to Islamism. Every member of these organisations will (and does) pledge death and destruction to Jews and Israel if given half a chance. Some, like those who attack Jewish businesses, synagogues and people in religious Jewish garb, have already begun; since October 7th, according to the Community Security Trust, there have been more anti-Semitic attacks and incidents of Jew hatred in the UK this year than in any of the previous forty years.

We could save ourselves many sinister headaches by following Germany’s lead immediately. Except we won’t, and more precisely can’t, because the Blob that makes such rules is so wrapped up in layers of rubbish about ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ that it can’t possibly see that anti-Semitism is its own thing – and the real litmus test for ill-intent.

It’s fine that we ask people what the English Civil War was about, or what Scotland’s national flower is. But how about also asking why Britain signed the Balfour declaration, and what the Kindertransport was? Admittedly a British citizenship test can’t have loads of questions about a tiny minority like the Jews, but that tiny minority has once again proved – since October 7th – to be the eye of a very nasty storm indeed. At least one mandatory question demanding the barest respect for Israel as a state would weed out the worst – their loathing of the land of Zion is so extreme, and any endorsement so forbidden, that either they’d just fail or their hand would ache for years to come. Lumping anti-Semitism in with anti-racism is as malign as it is stupid – the vast majority of anti-Semites and Israel haters in the UK today would be happy to say they are avowed anti-racists. Gone are the days when skinheads posed the real threat. 


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