Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels last Thursday, MK Hilik Bar (Zionist Union) warned that Islamic terror groups were taking advantage of the ongoing flood of refugees from across the Middle East into Europe, and that EU member states must learn from Israel if they are to defeat the rising specter of terrorism.
The address was made during a conference organized by the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) in collaboration with the European Coalition for Israel (ECI), under the headline “Terrorism and Security: What EU can learn from Israel”.
In his keynote speech at the gathering, Bar said the surging terrorism represented an “existential” threat, and that European policymakers must draw upon Israel’s experience in maintaining democratic values while combating terrorism.
“The reason to cooperate with Israel is simple. The terrorists are getting stronger. And no one has more experience in defeating terror than Israel.”
“As my country Israel has shown throughout its history - when the battle is existential, we have no choice but to be victorious. Ladies and gentlemen, this battle is existential.”
Bar cited the involvement of some refugees in recent acts of terror in Europe, and the active recruitment efforts by groups like ISIS among refugees.
"There is no doubt that the recent flood of refugees to Europe can be manipulated by terrorist organizations,” said Bar, “and we’ve already seen tragic examples of these tactics.”
“The Syrian civil war and the Islamic State are fueling the global jihad, and this gives some terrorists the impression that they can change the world – change our world. The clash of civilizations is here and now, and only by standing together and fighting this extremism, can we show that they are on the wrong side of history.”
The link between terrorism and the refugee crisis has, argued Hilik, represented a two-front challenge to European democracy, argued Hilik, which must balance humanist ideals with effective anti-terror policy.
“Europe is currently in a bind. There are serious dilemmas on the table. Today, you face a huge wave of refugees – this is no easy matter.”
“A humane policy towards real refugees, must be combined with a shrewd counter-terrorism policy,” said Bar, adding that state actors must both show the futility of terrorism as a tool for effecting change and the hope peaceful refugees can have for upward mobility.
“The more refugees who will see hope in their life, a bright future for their children, then less of them will even consider joining a terror organization. The lower the tolerance and concessions to terror will be, the less people will consider joining a terror organization.”