Arutz Sheva Interview:
'The Strange Death of Europe' - and what it means for Israel

British journalist Douglas Murray, warns that EU's great experiment in mass migration is dangerous precedent for countries everywhere.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Muslims pray outside of city hall in the town of Clichy, near Paris.
Muslims pray outside of city hall in the town of Clichy, near Paris.

Mass migration – particularly illegal immigration – has become, perhaps, the defining political crisis for the West.

Concerns over such migrations helped catapult a reality television star into the White House, and have divided the European Union even more than the global financial crisis of the late 2000s and the subsequent austerity programs.

While some have argued that the various crises stemming from the recent waves of mass migration are a temporary aberration, British journalist and commentator Douglas Murray believes the issue is here to stay – and indeed will only grow in importance in the coming years.

"This is going to be the single biggest issue in an age where anyone can move anywhere,” Murray said in an interview with Arutz Sheva. Murray came to Israel to participate in the "Israeli Conservatism Conference".

Murray’s 2017 book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, was recently translated to Hebrew and released in Israel, highlighting growing concerns in Israel over mass migration and its political and security ramifications.

"It is vital that an Israeli readership learns the depth of what is currently Europe's problem, because I think that in the years ahead this is going to get infinitely more complicated. This country [Israel]... has very good reason to worry about Europe,” Murray said.

Europe’s political establishment, by virtue of its lingering guilt over the Holocaust and a refusal to consider the potential dangers of mass migration, has engaged in a social experiment on the grandest scale, Murray argues.

"Our entire political class in Europe has decided that because it's so complex, we have to all agree that it is going to go fine. And I'm saying, 'What if it's not okay? What if this all goes horribly wrong?' The answer that I tend to get from the political establishment in Europe and even most of the media is 'It can't go wrong. It has to go right. Otherwise we've screwed the whole thing up.'”

"An analogy I like to give on this is: to move this number of people from this far away this fast into a place that didn't actually have populations that wanted this to happen is analogous to trying to find the vaccine for something and not doing any tests before using on your only child. It's a crazy thing to do. We don't have loads of continents to try this on, and I think it's very unwise to try a controlled experiment on the only thing you have."

At its peak, the flow of migrants into Europe saw thousands of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, landing every day on Greek and Italian coasts. Most, Murray notes, were not legal refugees or qualified for asylum – even under the EU’s own rules.

"When I was writing the book in 2015-2016 the flow [of immigrants] was at its height. That was seeing thousands of people arriving every day on the Greek and Italian coastlines."

"By 2015-2016, most people had no asylum right. This is the European Union's own figures."

"The figures showed that most of the people coming had 'No more right to be in Europe that anyone else in the rest of the world.'"

While the stream of migrants has slowed since the 2015-2016 peak, this has come at a significant cost to the EU, Murray continued, with Europe funneling large sums of cash to Turkey, in effect a bribe, to encourage the Turkish government to block migrants from setting out for Europe from its territory.

"The reason why the boat landings [in Europe] have slowed is because the European Union is paying a massive bribe - hundreds and hundreds of millions of Euros as a bribe - to President Erdogan in Turkey to stop the flow. We bribe him to stop the boats leaving. He's actually doing what he could have done at any high point of the crisis, which is literally stopping the movement through Turkey that allows them to then leave by boat to the Greek islands."

Despite the obvious difficulties presented by mass immigration – which Murray notes is largely done illegally – the political establishment in much of Europe, particularly Germany, ignores the problems it creates, while some critics of mass immigration polarize the issue by accusing all migrants of violence.

"People who claim that everyone who arrives is going to be violent, are of course, are obviously crazy and it is a deeply dishonest way to portray it."

"You have to look at the big picture, and the big picture is a big mess. Most things happen because of a screw up and this is one the monumental screw ups of all time."

Nevertheless, there is a growing awareness of the unsustainability of the open-door migration policy, though Murray notes that popular opinion on the issue has been slower to shift in some countries.

"The trajectory in every country in Europe is exactly the same. Everyone is at different stages along the same path, and the path doesn't change. For instance in France, this book did very well, and it wasn't controversial because even the French left agrees with a lot of what I am saying."

"One of the most obvious things we should have learned by now is that if you import the world's people, you also import the world's problems. That means you're going to have start contending with things you just hadn't thought about."

As for the roots of support for – or at least a hesitancy to challenge – open-door immigration policies for mass migration from the Middle East, Murray cited not only residual collective guilt for the Holocaust, but an “existential tiredness”, as well as the transformation of traditional religion in the increasingly secular West into a progressive faith advocating “social welfare activism”.

"The guilt, the tiredness - the existential tiredness - and the sense that the story has run out. There's a reason for it. Only by understanding these deeper conundrums can you understand the depth of the problem. Europe's post-Holocaust history is everywhere. It is why you see people at train stations in 2015 in Munich and elsewhere welcoming the migrants coming off the trains as if they were heroes returning from war or the football team that's just won the World Cup."

"Why? existential guilt. They think that they're alleviating by doing this. This simply doesn't fall out in the ways that people have predicted."

"The lesson we in Britain have learned from the Holocaust of European Jewry is, 'Don't be mean to Islam'."

Murray also pointed out the dangers he saw in certain strains of "secular Judaism" which have been transmogrified into "social welfare activism".

"Judaism can, like Christianity, can devolve into a form of non-believing social welfare activism. That is, people who are not very devout anymore say that basically, Jewish means being a social care activist."

"These are the sort of people who push mass migration most readily. They say 'Why not? Share with the world. And the Swedish churches, the Scandinavian churches, the Protestant churches, and to a great extent the Catholic church as well, including the Pope, they also push this."