The Mad, Mad Meditations of Monsieur Macron: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov. 20, 2018— Almost everything French president Emmanuel Macron has said recently on the topic of foreign affairs, the United States, and nationalism and patriotism is silly.
It May Not Be Enough, But Theresa May Has Done Her Best: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 16, 2018 — The drama of the British departure from the European Union is finally coming to a climax.
Can Organized Jewry in Germany Behave “Normally?”: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Nov. 6, 2018— Jews fulfill many functions and roles in European societies.
Hanukkah’s Legacy in America: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Nov. 29, 2018— The legacy of Hanukkah has played a major role in shaping the American ethos and state of mind, from the early Pilgrims through the Founding Fathers’ War of Independence and th+eir composition and ratification of the US Constitution, all the way until today.
On Topic Links
Chanukah and the Future of the State of Israel: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 30, 2018
Who Are Europe’s Most Important Politicians?: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Aug. 2, 2018
The Nazi Downstairs: A Jewish Woman’s Tale of Hiding in Her Home: Colin Moynihan, New York Times, Oct. 5, 2018
How the Jewish People Have Survived … And Why They Still Will: Tal Keinan, National Post, Sept. 25, 2018
THE MAD, MAD MEDITATIONS OF MONSIEUR MACRON
Victor Davis Hanson National Review, Nov. 20, 2018
Almost everything French president Emmanuel Macron has said recently on the topic of foreign affairs, the United States, and nationalism and patriotism is silly. He implicitly rebukes Donald Trump for praising the idea of nationalism as a creed in which citizens of sovereign nations expect their leaders to put the interests of their fellow citizens first and those of other nations second. And while critiquing nationalism, Macron nonetheless talks and acts as though he is an insecure French chauvinist of the first order.
The French president suffers from the usual dreams of some sort of European “empire” — Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler . . . Brussels? He probably envisions a new Rome steered by French cultural elites whose wisdom, style, and sophistication would substitute for polluting tanks and bombers, and who would play Greece’s robed philosophers to Europe’s Roman legions: “It’s about Europe having to become a kind of empire, as China is. And how the U.S. is.” But aside from the fact that the immigration-wary eastern and financially strapped southern Europeans are increasingly skeptical of northern European imperial ecumenicalism, can Macron cite any “empire” in the past — Persian, Roman, Ottoman, British — that was not first and foremost “nationalist”?
Would an envisioned non-nationalist “European empire” put the interests of the United States or China on an equal plane with its own? Would it follow U.N. dictates? Does Macron object to nationalism only because other nationalists are more powerful than he is, with his own brand of nationalism (whether defined as French or Europe Unionist)? And does he therefore seek competitive clout through a nationalist, imperial European project? Would nations not be nationalist singularly, but be nationalist collectively?
Macron is abjectly ignorant of history. He references the wearied bogeyman called “nationalism” that supposedly on autopilot caused the 20 million deaths of World War I. In fact, nationalism finally saved Western civilization from aggression. Recall French resilience at Verdun, British courage in Belgium, and American confidence and national pride in sending more than 2 million doughboys to Europe to stop a German kaiser from creating a German pan-European “empire.” Bolshevist internationalist dreams of a shared European Communist collective helped to ruin Russia, as Communists signed away much of industrialized European Russia to Prussian authoritarian occupiers under the Brest-Litovsk Treaty of early 1918.
What had nearly ruined Western civilization by 1918 was not nationalism per se, but rather authoritarian militarism, as embodied by Kaiser Wilhelm’s assumptions that Germany was economically, culturally, and militarily superior to its neighbors. In its cost-benefit analysis, Berlin therefore thought it would be profitable to take by force what Germany felt it naturally deserved.
Twenty years later, the very absence of British and French nationalism — whether symbolized by the Oxford Union debate of 1933 or the reluctance of French schools in the 1930s to reference the bloody heroics at Verdun — led to appeasement and a fatal reliance on a weak and a morally neutered League of Nations, a series of unenforceable arms-limitations treaties, and “international opinion.”
The League bragged of its collective wisdom and ethical clout, but it simply allowed Hitler to systematically violate the Versailles Treaty. And it stood by as Japan began annexing swathes of Manchuria, and as Italy sent its troop ships unimpeded through the Suez Canal, en route to creating its new Italian “empire” in Abyssinia. Stopping Mussolini demanded more than British “internationalism” and collectivism. It required nationalist confidence in his majesty’s vastly superior British fleet, whose battleships and carriers could have easily blown Mussolini’s expeditionary forces out of the Mediterranean before they were able to machine-gun, gas, and bomb poorly armed Ethiopians.
What saved Europe a second time, in World War II, was a rediscovery during the Blitz that the British were singular and proud people who were capable of rallying to the nationalist spirit of Winston Churchill; they no longer relied on the failed and appeasing internationalist diplomacy of Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, and the Earl of Halifax. What later restored continental Europe was the mobilized Americans who arrived confident in their country’s values and empowered by their national economic strength and frenzied patriotic civilian efforts at home.
Macron, as is faddish today in the era of Trump, sees nationalism as a toxic corruption of patriotism. That may be understandable given that in France’s recent past, Philippe Pétain (whose World War I career, ironically, was praised by Macron) hoped for an independent, nationalist, and colonial Vichy France, in league with Nazi Germany, a state empowered by anti-Semitism, racism, and colonialism.
So Macron suffers from the psychological condition known as projection in which one’s own faults and worries are fobbed off onto others as a way of assuaging one’s insecurities and guilt. Given that race-based authoritarian fervor in 1930s France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain derived from pseudoscientific ideas of genetic superiority, and the notion that citizenship was based on race, it may be natural that Macron is defensive on the topic of European-style “nationalism.” Perhaps it’s comforting to blame Europe’s prior race-based dictatorships on a more generic “nationalism” that all countries are supposedly prone to…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
IT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH, BUT THERESA MAY HAS DONE HER BEST
National Post, Nov. 16, 2018
The drama of the British departure from the European Union is finally coming to a climax. Theresa May has never been a compelling or even particularly convincing prime minister, but she seems to have managed the Homeric feat of getting some sort of agreement with Brussels, which her edgy and nervous cabinet has partially supported. But the defection by Jacob Rees-Mogg, head of the European Study Group, which is a good deal less scholarly and more accomplished in the political martial arts than the name or its leader’s elegant demeanour would indicate, suggests a full leadership challenge to May is imminent. I suspect that the unambiguous leavers will tank May, and would find Boris Johnson (former mayor of London and foreign secretary) and Rees-Mogg equally acceptable, and that the remainers in the governing party, the former followers of prime minister David Cameron and his chancellor, George Osborne, would find Rees-Mogg more trustworthy and less abrasive than Johnson, and that Michael Gove, who had his falling out with Johnson after the Brexit vote, will swing it to Rees-Mogg.
The problem May has had is that neither her followers nor Europe thought she was really serious about leaving. Cameron certainly was not, and assured everyone that Britain would never vote to leave. So, having promised “full-on treaty change,” he got a piffling and conditional concession on benefits to migrants from Brussels, less as I wrote at the time, than Neville Chamberlain brought back from Munich. The country revolted and Cameron and Osborne were out. With one British prime minister having gone to the wall, the Europeans had to treat the whole business more seriously, and did finally make some substantive concessions to May. If Cameron had had these, he would have won his referendum. But as always happens in such contentious issues, the blood rises on both sides, and having voted narrowly to leave, the British are not now going to be satisfied with much beyond a common market with minimal political integration — the two-tier Europe I have always advocated, in Their Lordships’ House and when I was a London newspaper chairman.
In this sort of negotiation, the side threatening to break the association can only get the terms it needs to stay in the association if the other side is sure that they are not bluffing. If, as appears the likeliest outcome, May cannot hold her party, an unambiguous leaver will take her place and will say what is acceptable to Britain, failing which, the U.K. leaves Europe on March 29 and will not pay one euro of departure penalty. Au revoir, Auf wiedersehen, Arrivederci, and Vaya con Dios.
The basic problem with the European Union is that it attempts to put the whole continent, from Portugal to Poland and from Sweden to Greece, excepting only Norway and Switzerland, in a political straitjacket. The authorities in the so-called government of the European Union in Brussels answer neither to the toothless European Parliament in Strasbourg (the only legislature in the world since the last days of the Habsburg Empire that has more translators than lawmakers), nor to the major national governments of the Union (Germany, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain). Every sane person in Europe and elsewhere who has an interest in Europe, strenuously admires the spirit of continental fraternity, reconciliation and reciprocal cultural respect that now motivates all of the EU countries. A millennium and more of conflict along cultural lines, up to the horrible hecatombs of the World Wars that began in Europe and could be resolved only by the applied force of the United States, and in the Second World War the Soviet Union as well, has ended. All the distinguished civilizations that fought in Europe, and often in their overseas adventures also, have settled into a celebration, well-earned, of what their civilizations have done for all mankind (humankind if we must).
But politically, the European Union is an infestation in the Brussels government of the EU of bearers of ancient Belgian and Dutch grievances against the great European powers for their condescension and at times outrages, and they now take too much pleasure in telling the Germans, British, French and Italians what to do. The Germans are accustomed to regimentation and as the greatest power in Europe, possess the national weight to alleviate the burden if necessary. The French and Italians are not accustomed to regarding government as anything but an irritant, often oppressive, almost always stupid, usually transitory, and not an institution that deserves any more adherence than one’s self-interest requires. The British like to obey laws, but have never had meticulous official instruction on the minutiae of their lives and will not accept it now. Even King John did not try to exercise the authority of Brussels before signing the Magna Carta in 1215.
The British will not stand for this unceasing cascade of authoritarian directives from Brussels, purporting to decree everything from the number of newspapers in a delivery-person’s hand-off to a news agent, to how to stack vegetables in supermarkets, to a one-size-fits-all condom. The entire European project stumbled at the point where it had either to remain a common market among sovereign countries, or merge altogether into one mighty confederation with one currency and central government but with devolved powers to regional or previously national governments, or the two-speed Europe described above. In failing to make that choice and straddling, it ceased to be democratic…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CAN ORGANIZED JEWRY IN GERMANY BEHAVE “NORMALLY?” Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
BESA, Nov. 6, 2018
Jews fulfill many functions and roles in European societies. For many centuries they served as scapegoats for majority populations, and anti-Semitism has long been an integral part of European culture. The Jews’ symbolic role as quintessential stranger has declined since the massive influx of Arabs and Africans into Europe, as has their characterization as somehow “exotic.”
Jews are often early indicators of societal problems. Regular verbal and physical attacks on Jews by Muslims have drawn attention to several of the many problems brought into Europe by significant segments of these immigrant groups. In the wake of the Holocaust, new roles have emerged. These include the Jew as the typical victim and Jews as the benchmark of society’s morality on some issues.
The murder of Jews by a Muslim in a Paris supermarket in January 2015 made more French Jews reflect on the idea of leaving their country. Manuel Valls, who was PM of France at the time, said: “France will not be France without the Jews.” The underlying message was clear: If Jews increasingly leave France because they feel threatened, a factor legitimizing French democracy would begin to disappear.
President Emmanuel Macron has also said that the experiences of French Jews can be indicators of the country’s overall wellbeing. At the annual dinner of the CRIF, the French Jewish umbrella organization, in March 2018, he said that anti-Semitism is the “opposite of the republic” and the “dishonor of France.”
The legitimizing role Jews have been assigned with regard to societal issues is most prominent in Germany. Since the 1990s, German governments have allowed Jews from Russia to immigrate into the country even though those immigrants had no historical connection with it. That influx numbered around 200,000, which made them by far the largest group in terms of origin in German Jewry.
The symbolism of Jews living in Germany is palpable. If Jews are increasingly present in the country despite its horrendous past under the Nazi regime, one can infer that Germany has become a “normal” democracy. This has led to occasional proud declarations that Germany is the only European country with a growing Jewish population. In recent years, Germany’s organized Jewry has been shrinking; it now numbers fewer than 100,000.
Nowadays, on average, four anti-Semitic incidents are reported per day in “normal” Germany. There are strong indications that the real figure is substantially higher. Official statistics falsely attribute almost all attacks to right-wing perpetrators, a fallacy that was exposed by the country’s Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Felix Klein. He said physical attacks against Jews by Muslims are far more numerous than what is recorded. Still, distorted statistics continue to be published.
A rather insignificant recent event seemed to perturb the supposed “normalcy” of Jewish existence in Germany. About 20 Jews created a Jewish section in the right-wing populist and anti-Islam AfD party. None of these people held positions in major Jewish organizations, but the German Jewish community was nevertheless aghast. Seventeen Jewish organizations came out against the Jewish AfD group. That is tantamount to almost one Jewish organization for each of its members. The umbrella organization, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called the AfD “racist and anti-Semitic.” That may be true for some of its leaders, but not for all of them, and certainly not for a sizable proportion of its voters.
Partly due to the overreaction of organized German Jewry, the initial meeting of the small Jewish AfD group garnered major national media interest. It might have been sufficient if the umbrella organization had issued a statement simply stating that a few individual Jews do not represent the community at large. Since the September 2017 elections, the AfD has been the third-largest party in the German parliament and thus the main opposition. It currently attracts about 15% of voters. The AfD is shunned by all the other parties, who accuse it of having racists and neo-Nazis in its midst. The AfD is presented as purely negative, creating the false impression that all the other parties are purely positive.
Yet there are signs that some Christian Democrat (CDU) politicians want to collaborate with the AfD. In Meissen, a town in the Federal State of Saxony, elections for the mayoralty took place in September 2018. In the second round, the AfD candidate withdrew in favor of the Christian Democrat, who was elected. The CDU lost heavily in the 2017 parliamentary elections, and their support in the polls has declined even further. Thus additional breaches of the boycott of the AfD can be expected in order to hold onto power in some locations. (The same pattern has already been seen with the Socialists [SPD], who have entered into coalitions with the extreme leftist party, die Linke. Die Linke has many former communists in its ranks.)
The Jewish AfD group’s initiators invited Beatrix von Storch, the deputy chair of the party’s parliamentary faction, to their opening meeting. She said that for many Jews, Muslim anti-Semitism is a big theme. She added that for those people, the AfD is a natural home. She also said the AfD is open to Muslims. If one analyzes the German reality, it is not the AfD that has created the greatest threat to the future of Jews in the country. The huge shadow over Germany was caused by the mainstream parties, the CDU and the SPD. Their joint governments let in millions of immigrants without much selection in recent decades, the majority of whom are Muslim…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
HANUKKAH’S LEGACY IN AMERICA
Algemeiner, Nov. 29, 2018
The legacy of Hanukkah has played a major role in shaping the American ethos and state of mind, from the early Pilgrims through the Founding Fathers’ War of Independence and their composition and ratification of the US Constitution, all the way until today.
Hanukkah sheds light on Judeo-Christian values, which have imbued the United States since the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. On October 16, 2018, the US Postal Services issued its annual Hanukkah stamp, portraying a menorah, which commemorates the 167 BCE rebellion of the Jewish Maccabees against the powerful and oppressive Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV.
On December 8, 2017, President Trump stated, during a candle-lighting at the White House, “The miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of Israel. … The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have endured unthinkable persecution and oppression, but no force has ever crushed [their] spirit and no evil has ever extinguished [their] faith.”
On December 14, 2016, President Obama held a candle-lighting at the White House, where he stated, “We take heart from the Maccabees’ struggle against tyranny, [that] even in our darkest moments, a stubborn flame of hope flickers and miracles are possible. … George Washington was said to have been stirred by the lights of Hanukkah after seeing a soldier with a menorah in the snows of Valley Forge.”
In December, 1993, a cinder block was hurled through a window of a Jewish family home in Billings, Montana, because the family had displayed a menorah. The response by the 80,000 residents of Billings was, “Not in our town.” The Billings Gazette published a full-page photograph of a menorah, which was photocopied by local businesses, and pasted on billboards and on windows of thousands of homes in Billings. In addition, scores of people marched on Billings’ main street, holding menorahs. And since 1994, an annual Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony has been held at the state capitol in Helena, Montana.
The West Point Military Academy displays a statue of Judah the Maccabee alongside other outstanding military leaders, such as Joshua, King David, Alexander the Great, Hector, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon.
In 2018, the US and Israel are Western democracies that adhere to the legacy of the Maccabees, displaying allegiance to liberty and morality, while refusing to retreat in the face of threats, pressure, and seduction. Both are unwilling to sacrifice long-term realism and conviction on the altar of short-term opportunism and gratification. And they stand defiant in face of ruthless and cunning rogue regimes, which benefit from the Western tailwind of appeasement, vacillation, wishful thinking, and oversimplification.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
Chanukah and the Future of the State of Israel: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 30, 2018—History, the study of cause and effect in the annals of humankind, has been a serious challenge for honest historians.
Who Are Europe’s Most Important Politicians?: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Aug. 2, 2018—”Who is the most important European alive today?” I asked in early 2010. Dutch politician Geert Wilders, came my answer, because “he is best placed to deal with the Islamic challenge facing the continent.” I even raised the prospect of his emerging “as a world-historical figure.”
The Nazi Downstairs: A Jewish Woman’s Tale of Hiding in Her Home: Colin Moynihan, New York Times, Oct. 5, 2018 —A search for a lost masterpiece uncovered a woman’s harrowing account of escaping deportation, and possibly death, while spying on a Nazi at close range.
How the Jewish People Have Survived … And Why They Still Will: Tal Keinan, National Post, Sept. 25, 2018—Morning had already clanked to life when we walked into town. Tractors bouncing down the gravel main street kicked up dust that churned in the day’s first hot breeze, blending with the scents of Galilean summer rosemary, cypress and lavender, a fusion that has since animated Israel in my mind. I can recall it easily, even from the distance of the United States.