Jacob Heilbrunn

Germany and the Jewish Gene

 It's taken years, but Germany has finally found its anti-immigrant tribune. His name is Thilo Sarrazin. He happens to be a member of the Social Democratic Party and the German Bundesbank. Sarrazin is making waves with his new book Germany Is Abolishing Itself. According to Sarrazin, "all Jews share the same gene" and Muslim immigrants are making Germany "dumber." He adds, "The intellectual potential of society is shrinking rapidly and immigration is not the appropriate answer . . . Those coming in from Islamic countries are posing a threat to the European cultural model."

Actually, it sounds like Sarrazin may have abolished himself. Not surprisingly, chancellor Angela Merkel, as cautious and conventional a politician as there ever was, is calling upon the Bundesbank to oust Sarrazin. In consensus-oriented Germany that means his hours, not his days, are numbered. Meanwhile, Der Tagesspiegel and other outlets are portraying Sarrazin himself as the victim of a politically correct culture and decrying the measures that are being instituted against him by the Berlin attorney general for allegedly breaching laws forbidding "hate speech." 

His defenders have a point. The truth is that Germany could use a good, healthy debate about multiculturalism. Immigrants do pose a problem. But at the same time, the low fecundity rates in Germany mean that it's totally reliant on them in the future. The problem right now is that many Islamic immigrants refuse to integrate into Germany society. Like much of good, liberal western Europe, Germany is in a bind.

And the Jewish question? One might think that Germany had enough of a rap sheet on this issue to avoid speculating any further about Jews and race. Why a German official would indulge in such speculations about Jewish ancestry is beyond me, but, as one Israeli pundit observes, Sarrazin does have plenty of company, not least in America, where the Christian right, eager to hasten Armageddon, has adopted Israel as its pet cause. 

According to Haaretz columnist Akiva Eldar,

Jewish genetics is apparently a hot topic now because it turns out that John Hagee, the Evangelist preacher whose name recently made headlines as the one who funded Im Tirtzu and decided to withdraw his support for the organization, is an expert on Jewish genetics. In his book, "Who is a Jew?" Hagee claims that Hitler was a half-Jew and a descendant of Esau. In May 2008, at the height of the U.S. election campaign, a tape was distributed in which Hagee claimed that Hitler fulfilled the will of the Lord to bring the Jews back to the Land of Israel, in accordance with the Biblical prophecy. The Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, decided to disassociate himself from Hagee's public support.

 

A few weeks earlier Hagee was the guest of honor of the city of Ariel. The pro-settler news outlet Arutz Sheva described the "tribute ceremony" by Hagee's supporters in the sports hall named in his honor. "Hundreds of Ariel residents, led by city officials and Mayor Ron Nachman, were moved by the outpouring of love from the Christian friends of Israel and responded in kind with warm applause and embraces, which reached a peak with the singing of the Israeli and U.S. anthems."

Such events make Germany and Sarrazin look like a model of rationality.