broning12_Patrick Pleulpicture alliance via Getty Images_germany immigration Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Gaza and the End of Germany’s Willkommenskultur

Concerns over migration were already on the rise in Germany, owing to a dramatic increase in asylum seekers, a looming recession, and strained resources. But Hamas’s attack on Israel, the resulting war, and a surge in anti-Semitism across the country have hardened German sentiment on immigration policy.

NEW YORK – “Too many people are coming,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently declared in an interview with the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel. The chancellor’s stern gaze on the cover underscored the seriousness of his proclamation: “We must finally deport on a large scale those who have no right to stay in Germany.”

Such an equivocal message from the head of Germany’s three-party coalition government is seen as a turning point in the domestic debate about migration. But in many ways, Scholz’s strong language reflects a deeper, long-simmering shift in policy.

In June, Scholz overruled opposition within his coalition and helped push through a major migration deal to overhaul the European Union’s asylum procedures. The newly proposed rules would enable the EU to create processing centers on its external borders. Addressing the Bundestag, Scholz declared that restructuring the “completely dysfunctional” European immigration system was a “historic” achievement.