Polls show mass migration was the number one concern of voters in the Brexit referendum.
There were many signposts on the road to Brexit. As early as 2001, the Swiss rejected access to the EU by an overwhelming 72.5%. Four years later, in 2005, both the French and the Dutch rejected a European constitutional treaty project in separate referendums. Polls indicated that similar referendums would have turned the same way in other places.
In recent years, anti-EU defiance increased. Radical anti-EU parties and more moderate Eurosceptic parties won higher and higher returns in most countries, either in national or European ballots. In some countries — Hungary, Poland, Greece — they simply won the election and took over the cabinet. In others — Austria — they almost won.
Brexit is thus not so much a revolution in European affairs as the culmination of a long and steady process.
United Europe had been popular among Europeans, and every European nation was willing to join it — as long as it delivered prosperity, democracy, stability. Global security.
This was true of the six founding nations in the 1950s and 1960s, of Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and the former Mediterranean dictatorships in the 1970s, and of the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe in the 1990s.
Things changed by the mid-1990s, however, when what had been known hitherto as the European Community was changed into the much tighter European Union. It soon became apparent, whatever the political class would say, that the more centralized the Union became, the less it could actually deliver.
Instead of the ever-increasing prosperity they had taken for granted for a half-century, many Europeans had to face zero growth, bankruptcy, and long-term austerity programs. Instead of more democracy — free expression, the rule of elected and responsible governments — they were getting more political correctness and more bureaucracy.
Instead of more global security, a new pervading sense of powerlessness in front of Russian imperialism and jihadist terror. Instead of more stability, more social disruption — especially in such essential areas as family and national identity.
The EU leadership was aware that things had gone sour and that disaffection was accumulating, but it was not mentally equipped to draw the proper consequences and find solutions.
David Cameron, the conservative Eurosceptic PM of Britain, was an exception in this regard: he had a plan, and a rather brilliant one at that. He was convinced he could have it both ways by organizing a British referendum on Europe — thus allowing the anti-EU tide to rise very high – but to win it, even by a thin edge. He would then have appeared as the savior of Europe, and be in a position to ask for a global reshaping and loosening of the European treaties.
Maybe such a calculation was sound enough in 2013, when Cameron promised to hold a referendum on the British EU membership. There was, however, a dramatic acceleration in the European and British anti-EU public opinion over the past three years. So much so that while Cameron may have been banking on 52% to 48% returns against Brexit, he got just the opposite.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought some 800,000 migrants almost overnight into her own 80-million-person country.
Several developments contributed to the pro-Brexit shift. The EU political leadership’s failure to address the global Middle Eastern and North African issues — from the rise of ISIS to the return of Russia, and from the involvement of European Muslims in jihadist massacres in Europe to the migrant crisis — and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s role in those issues were probably decisive.
Above all, Merkel’s sudden and unilateral embrace one year ago of the Middle Eastern and North African migrants and refugees changed everything. She called for the immediate admission of hundreds of thousands, even millions, to the EU on a proportional per country basis. Indeed, she brought some 800,000 migrants almost overnight into her own 80-million-person country. This move brought a wide range of intractable difficulties, including with sexual ethics and women’s rights issues.
Most other European countries acquiesced to Merkel’s call — but in fact downsized their own admission quotas to much smaller numbers. Hungary, Slovenia, and Poland flatly rejected Merkel’s guidelines.
Many Brits concluded that Eurofederalism led to reckless decisions concerning mass immigration.
Merkel’s then made a no-less-sudden and unilateral rapprochement with Turkey once it was clear that more migrants were planning to settle in the EU. She traded a promise by Ankara to tighten its borders with European countries against a promise to resume decades-old talks for Turkey’s access to the Union. In the meantime, she proposed letting all Turkish citizens into the EU as visitors — even without a visa. There are exactly as many Turks today as Germans: 80 million.
The British — who in spite of an outwardly tolerant view of multiculturalism, have more restrictive immigration laws than most other EU nations, and who never endorsed the Schengen accords about free movement in the EU — were deeply puzzled. Many of those who had wavered until then between Euroscepticism and Eurofederalism concluded that Eurofederalism was leading to reckless, ill-conceived, and unstoppable decisions in such essential fields as mass immigration.
The mess had to be checked, or at least Britain should be kept out of it. Brexit might have looked in the past a bit quixotic, and the European option might have been seen as safer. Thanks to Merkel, the proposition was now reversed.
Michel Gurfinkiel, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, is the founder and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, a conservative think tank in France.
A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.