Posted tagged ‘Europe’

European leaders, facing growing public unease, toughen up on immigration

January 19, 2018

European leaders, facing growing public unease, toughen up on immigration, Fox News,  Adam Shaw, January 17, 2018

(A good overview of rising anti-migrant views in Europe. — DM)

Thousands of migrants packed into Greek island

Looking for answers as to why the once welcoming E.U. is keeping migrants in horrific conditions, activists on the ground told the Post that they believe it’s part of the new change in tone, with European leaders sending a message to potential migrants.

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As politicians in America and across the globe lined up last week to condemn President Trump’s reported remarks calling certain African nations “s—hole countries,” there was a somewhat muted response in Europe — a sign of how the political winds of immigration are blowing.

Europe is a continent filled with leaders happy to speak out in condemnation of the U.S. president, but the silence last week was noticeable — with the New York Times describing a “ringing silence across broad parts of the European Union, especially in the east, and certainly no chorus of condemnation.”

But a continent spooked by a populist revolt still bubbling in its parliaments and roaring on its streets, many of Europe’s politicians are still struggling with an influx from developing countries, or fighting for their political lives as they fend off challengers running on doing just that.

Europe has been wracked by a continent-wide migration crisis since 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel threw open Germany’s borders to a wave a Syrian refugees — telling Germans: “Wir schaffen das!” [We can do this]

Germany

While Merkel was applauded worldwide – and immediately given Time’s Person of the Year – refugees and economic migrants from other countries, along with a wave of terror attacks and other crimes and social problems, flooded into the continent. Merkel’s poll numbers caved, and she was forced to shift right to appease the anti-migrant sentiments.

In December 2016, she pushed for a so-called “burqa ban” and promised that the 2015 migration surge “cannot, should not and must not be repeated.”

Her Christian Democrats (CDU) nonetheless took a hit in September’s national elections, while the anti-migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged, and the woman described just a few years ago as the “chancellor of the Free World” was left fighting for her political life. Her party now looks to convince reluctant former coalition partners, the left-wing Social Democrats (SDU), to form another coalition and keep her in power.

An initial draft of a potential coalition deal includes a hard cap of approximately 200,000 refugees a year — a significant decrease from the more than a million refugees that flooded into the country in 2015 — a sign that migration will be a decisive factor in whether Merkel survives.

Eastern Europe

Other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, have been taking a strong line of migration for years. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have been particularly muscular in asserting their own sovereignty in dealing with immigration issues — despite opposition from E.U. officials.

Hungary has erected a border fence amid a host of border security measures — and even had the Trumpian chutzpah to ask the E.U. to pay for half of it. For pro-open borders left, outspoken Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become their bogeyman, using language that makes Trump’s appear almost timid.

In an interview with Germany’s Bild, this month, Orban referred to some migrants “Muslim invaders,” and called multiculturalism “an illusion.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has built a border fence and asked the E.U. to pay for half of it. (AP)

“If you take masses of non-registered immigrants from the Middle East into your country, you are importing terrorism, crime, anti-Semitism, and homophobia,” he said in a follow up interview this week.

Orban also made reference to the mass sexual assaults on New Years’ Eve 2015 in Cologne, Germany, as well as other problems attributed to the wave of migration from Africa and the Middle East.

“[In Hungary] there are no ghettos and no no-go areas, no scenes like New Year’s Eve in Cologne. The images from Cologne have deeply moved us Hungarians,” he said. “I have four daughters. I can not help my children grow up in a world where something like Cologne can happen.”

While Orban is perhaps the most outspoken of Europe’s political leaders, other more moderate leaders are tilting in Orban and Trump’s direction.

France, United Kingdom

Europe’s establishment breathed a sigh of relief in May, when French centrist Emmanuel Macron comfortably beat right-wing and anti-migration Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election. Macron’s comfortable win was seen by many analysts as a sign that the seemingly unstoppable 2016 populist wave, which gave the world Brexit and President Trump, was finally crashing upon the rocks.

But Macron has rejected an open-arms approach to migration, attempting to find himself a middle ground between Merkelism and Orbanism. In a New Year’s Eve speech, he admitted: “We can’t welcome everyone, and we can’t work without rules.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has come under fire for taking a tougher stance on economic migrants. (AP)

His government has also taken a tougher line on economic migrants, opening himself up to criticism from his own party, who have accused him of being too tough and catering to the right-wing. According to Reuters, opponents point to a new bill that would increase detention times and lead to the deportation of anyone not classified as a refugee from a warzone.

But Macron followed this up Tuesday with a visit to the former “Jungle camp” at Calais — a sprawling refugee camp at the port to the United Kingdom that was deconstructed in 2016.

In a speech at the site of the former camp on Tuesday, he promised to be sure it did not return. In a meeting on Thursday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, he is expected to demand a renegotiation of the border arrangement with the U.K., including more money from the British and for them to take on more refugees.

That push is unlikely to be well-received in the U.K., where the decision to leave the European Union was largely motivated by migration-related issues and a need to take control of borders.

In 2016, Britain allowed in child asylum seekers from Calais who had family members in the U.K. But outrage and mockery followed when pictures appeared in British newspapers showing what one Conservative MP described as “hulking young men” presenting themselves as children.

Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said this week that France’s migration problems are France’s to solve and that Macron should stop playing hot potato.

“If they are illegal immigrants, France should get rid of them, if they are people claiming refugee status, France should process them,” Farage said in an interview with the BBC. “It’s actually desperately simple but the French don’t want to do that and the truth of it for the last 10, 15, 20 years the French have been quite happy for camps to develop and for people to climb on the back of lorries to go to England, and then it’s our problem.”

Austria

A key motivator for many Western European politicians are impending elections. While Merkel is scrambling for survival in Germany, across the border in Austria, a right-wing government was formed in December led by the 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz — whose center right People’s Party (OVP) campaigned primarily on a tough stance on migration, and formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

Austria will take over the presidency of the E.U. Council in the summer, and Kurz said in an interview published Wednesday one of his top priorities will be “border control to stop illegal migration to Europe.”

But far from looking for conflict, Kurz told German newspaper FAZ that the continent’s view on migration is now much closer to his own.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with his German counterpart Angela Merkel this week. (AP)

“There has been a lot of movement in recent years. For example, the German position is now much closer to ours than it was two years ago,” Kurz said. “Many states have moved in the right direction. Now we need a focus on proper protection of the external borders of the EU and not just the constant debate about the distribution of refugees within the European Union by quotas.”

As Austria turns rightward, and Germany struggles to form a government, all eyes will soon move to Italy, where voters will go to the polls in March in an election dominated by discussions about the E.U. and migration.

Italy

There, the populist Five Star Movement leads the polls, although its reluctance to form a coalition (and with it polling at approximately 27-30 percent) the most likely outcome appears to be a right-wing coalition led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. While Forza is a relatively moderate right-wing party, its path to government lies in a coalition with further right parties, including the Northern League — which has campaigned strongly for control of migration flows into the country.

Yet even current left-wing Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s government is far from an open borders free-for-all. Gentiloni’s cabinet includes Interior Minister Marco Minniti who has been credited with overseeing a massive drop in migrants into Italy from Libya by striking controversial deals with the Libyan government to strengthen security and the Coast Guard in the Mediterranean.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia look likely to form a coalition after Italian elections in March. (AP)

Humanitarian groups are seeing these debates play out on the ground too. The Washington Post offered a glimpse into a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, where migrants wait in limbo to be shipped back via a deal signed between the E.U. and Turkey in 2016.

“The first thing you notice is the smell: the stench from open-pit latrines mingling with the odor of thousands of unwashed bodies and the acrid tang of olive trees being burned for warmth.

Then there are the sounds: Children hacking like old men. Angry shouts as people joust for food,” the Post reports.

Humanitarian groups have expressed concern for squalid conditions at refugee camps on Greek islands. (Reuters)

Looking for answers as to why the once welcoming E.U. is keeping migrants in horrific conditions, activists on the ground told the Post that they believe it’s part of the new change in tone, with European leaders sending a message to potential migrants.

Eva Cossé, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told the Post that the message was simple: “‘Don’t come here, or you’ll be stuck on this horrible island for the next two years.’”

Trump keeps Iran nuclear program, waives sanctions – for the last time

January 12, 2018

Trump keeps Iran nuclear program, waives sanctions – for the last time, DEBKAfile, January 12, 2018

Among the other entities blacklisted for sanctions are the Revolutionary Guards Corps cyber unit for repressing social media networks to suppress protest.

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US President Donald Trump Friday extended the waivers on Iran nuclear sanctions and kept alive the 2015 deal, but stressed this was for the last time – unless US and Europe can reach agreement on Iranian enrichment and ballistic missile development.  The US gave Europe 120 days to agree to overhaul the deal before the next deadline in May, or else the US would pull out. The US also imposed sanctions on 14 Iranian non-nuclear entities, including the powerful head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, for human rights abuses against anti-government protesters. Among the other entities blacklisted for sanctions are the Revolutionary Guards Corps cyber unit for repressing social media networks to suppress protest.

The Trump administration also wants the “follow-on” deal to eliminate the “sunset clauses” of the current nuclear agreement, under which Iran is allowed to resume enrichment when the deal expires, and expanded inspections that could trigger re-imposed sanctions if Iran failed to comply.

The West’s shameful response to the Iran protests

January 9, 2018

The West’s shameful response to the Iran protests | Anne’s Opinions, January 8th 2018

Iran protests continue

In my earlier post about the Iran protests I mentioned the limp response from both Western governments and Western media. Melanie Phillips picks up on the weak institutional response from the West, saying:

… utterly risible the gloss initially put on these protests by the western media – those outlets, that is, that even bothered to report the demonstrations when they first erupted – that the issue which has brought Iranians onto the streets is merely economic privation.

They said this because the media reflects the European/Obama view that the Iranian regime is not an enemy but an ally. How then can they acknowledge that the Iranian people are rising up against oppression?

The Obama/EU axis and its media supporters have consistently dismissed or denied Iran’s role as the world’s principal sponsor of terrorism. They have ignored or downplayed its march to regional hegemony. They procured or applauded the shocking nuclear deal which enables this fanatical Islamist regime –– which has been at war with the west since 1979 and which openly declares its genocidal intent to wipe out out Israel – to become a nuclear armed power in ten or fifteen years’ time: a deal which, though sanctions relief, has also funnelled money to the regime to enable it to step up its terrorism and embed itself further in the region.

The result has not been merely that the free world has been placed in hugely increased danger. The European/Obama axis also abandoned and betrayed the Iranian people who have been suffering under the cruel tyranny of a regime which oppresses women, jails dissidents and hangs gay men from cranes.

If people are to rouse their courage to pit themselves against the might of a regime that can kill and crush them, the support of the rest of the world is absolutely crucial. So far, though, Trump is alone in offering such support. Apart from Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson feebly and pointlessly tweeting his “concern”, Britain and the EU have been silent. They are not supporting the people of Iran against the regime. They are not trying to weaken it. How can they? They have helped empower it. As have their cheerleaders and Obama sycophants in the media.

Melanie Phillips continues on this theme in a further post on Europe’s shameful silence on the Iran protests, in which she also excoriates Barack Obama and his administration for empowering the Ayatollahs through the nuclear deal:

The people have been calling for “Death to Khamenei,” Iran’s supreme leader, “Death to Rouhani,” Iran’s supposedly moderate president, and to “End the clerical regime!” Revolutions against tyrannical oppressors require extraordinary levels of courage and determination. We know from Soviet Union dissidents how desperately such people need to know the world is with them and to hear their oppressors put on notice that their behavior is being watched.

Support for the protestors from London

 

The very worst thing for those pitting their lives against tyranny is silence from the rest of the world. That’s what tyrants depend upon to stamp out the sparks of freedom.

President Trump stepped up to the plate by repeatedly tweeting support and encouragement to the protesters and issuing warnings designed to undermine and weaken the regime.

But from all those progressive folk in the West who never stop parading their anti-fascist credentials and signaling their support for the persecuted and for human rights there has been… silence.

The media tried to dismiss the uprising as merely an economic protest. Instead of condemning the regime for killing and jailing protesters, the media condemned Trump for supporting them.

The British and EU governments, with their vast and sordid financial ties to the regime, have given zero support to the revolt, offering merely bromides about the need to avoid loss of life. In the US, former Obama administration staffers have been desperately playing down the uprising.

Obama’s Middle East coordinator Philip Gordon called on Trump “to keep quiet and do nothing” in response to the protests.

The Iranians, he claimed, wouldn’t want Trump’s support. His threat to end the nuclear deal, his unconditional support for “Iran’s biggest adversaries, Saudi Arabia and Israel” and his recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would give the Iranians reasons to unite against him.

Gordon thus stupidly conflated the Iranian people with the Iranian regime.

It’s the regime that is against America on all these issues. The Iranian people, by contrast, have no intrinsic prejudice against Israel, have no reason to reject the recognition of Jerusalem and are unlikely to lose sleep over the ending of the nuclear deal, nor America’s alliance with the regime’s foes in Saudi Arabia.

For the protesters were also shouting: “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! Our life only for Iran!” They don’t support the regime’s aim of regional and global domination. They want Iran to be run for the benefit of Iranians.

For this, they desperately need Trump’s support. They want to know that the US won’t support the regime. Obama did that, and it hurt the Iranian people.

Obama thus bent over backward to give Iran a free pass. According to Politico, his administration stymied an FBI-led operation to shut down Hezbollah’s drug-running, terrorism- financing racket.

In the 2016 prisoner swap deal with Iran, he released several men who his own law enforcement agencies believed posed a danger to national security.

And in the 2009 Green Revolution, Obama abandoned the Iranian people by refusing to give the protesters support.

All of this was to secure the nuclear deal – which has merely empowered Iran to use the money released by sanctions relief to strengthen its terrorist infrastructure and step up its malign and aggressive meddling in the rest of the region.

If the Iranian uprising is stamped out, it will be because of the absence of support from Britain and Europe. Their silence makes them complicit with a genocidal regime at war with the West and has caused them shamefully to betray a brave people fighting for its freedom.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, himself a former Prisoner of Zion at the hands of the brutal Soviet regime, agrees with the Melanie Phillips’ position, writing in the Washington Post that the West should stop dithering and support the Iranian protestors:

As an opinion piece in the New York Times recently put it, the best way for the U.S. government to help the Iranian protesters is to “Keep quiet and do nothing.”

Fortunately, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have already shown themselves unwilling to follow this advice. Even so, it is vital to understand why failing to support the protesters at this critical juncture would constitute a moral and strategic mistake — one of potentially historic proportions.

Consider what happened in 2009, when Iranians came out in large numbers to denounce their country’s rigged presidential election. The response they received from the American government was decidedly tepid. The priority of then-President Barack Obama was to reach an agreement with Tehran over its nuclear program, and he and his advisers feared that they would alienate the regime by vocally supporting its detractors.

Yet subsequent events have proved these views completely wrong. This policy of non-interference discouraged protesters and reinforced the regime at the very moment when the opposite could have led to genuine change.

My experiences as a political prisoner and my decades of involvement with democratic dissidents around the world have shown me that all democratic revolutions have some elements in common. It is the drive of ordinary citizens to free themselves from government control over their thought, speech and livelihoods — to shed the burden of having to conform in public despite their private misgivings and grievances against the regime — that has propelled dissidents and revolutionary movements around the world, from Communist Russia to the Arab Spring to today’s Islamic Republic of Iran.

Any regime that refuses to respect its citizens’ most basic rights, and especially the right to think and speak freely, can maintain its power only by intimidation and force.

Dissidents know the penalties of speaking out but are compelled more by the desire for freedom than by fear. They are willing to brave the consequences, including the loss of their livelihoods, physical freedom and even their lives, to gain the liberty to speak their minds. Revolutions take place when enough people simultaneously cross that fateful line between silent questioning and open dissent, between cowering in fear and standing up for freedom. Once they do so, the regime can no longer contain the upsurge of opposition and must either begin to liberalize or collapse.

This is why a policy of silence on the part of world leaders is so misguided. What matters to Iranians debating whether to cross this decisive threshold is how much they dislike their own government, as well as their knowledge that the free world — those who share the basic principles for which they are fighting — stands behind them in their moment of truth.

… Our leaders must not be misled by the argument that publicly siding with Iran’s dissidents will give the regime an excuse to blame the protests on foreign meddling or crack down even harder on dissidents. The government in Tehran will do these things no matter what, since a regime as threatened as Iran’s is right now will take any steps in its power to deflect and suppress opposition.

Yet, world powers should go even further than this. They should warn Tehran — and thereby reassure protesters — that it must respect its citizens’ rights if it wishes to continue receiving benefits from their countries. Articulating a clear policy of linkage would put pressure on the regime to make genuine changes and give hope to protesters that their sacrifices will not be in vain.

These sterling words from Natan Sharansky stand in stark contrast to the utterly pathetic reaction from Britain’s establishment, particularly the Labour Party whose leader has never met a terrorist he couldn’t like.

Here’s a tweet from a spoof Jeremy Corbyn account, but the link is no spoof:

And more:

Even the leftist Independent calls on Britain to support the protestors and condemns the equivocation of the Labour Party:

Anyone with a conscience, meanwhile, knows that the Iranian government hangs gay people, tramples on women’s rights, has a poor human rights record and sponsors terrorism. It is not difficult, in a contest between such a regime and the right to free expression, to know which side is wearing the whiter hat.

Ms Thornberry’s warning that Westerners should not “simply impose our views” on other countries is the most appalling moral cowardice. There is nothing “Western” about universal human rights, and all representatives of the British people should stand up for them.

But let’s not just concentrate on the Labour Party who, after all, are not in power. What about the British government itself?

Allister Heath in the Telegraph laments Britain’s non-response:

What’s wrong with us? Why isn’t there loud, universal support from all shades of political opinion, in Britain and across the West, for the anti-regime protesters in Iran? Why such reluctance to encourage these brave young men and women who are risking their lives by taking on the theocrats?

Have we forgotten the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, or is it that our elites are now so embarrassed by Western values that they can no longer relate to those in other countries who also yearn for freedom and democracy?

Scandalously, but unsurprisingly, Mr Corbyn has yet to speak out about the protests: he was quick to condemn Donald Trump’s commonsensical recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but has nothing to say about the murder of dozens of Iranians.

So much for the hard-Left. Why are the Tories and the (clearly hopeless) Foreign Office almost as silent, in effect aligning themselves with the worst of European foreign policy, despite the liberating potential of Brexit?

Why has Boris Johnson been so uncharacteristically mealy-mouthed? Why is the British government still clinging to the absurd notion that the Iranian nuclear deal was a good idea, rather than a shameful exercise in appeasement which ended up propping up an illegitimate regime while lining the pockets of a few European companies?

I understand that Boris feels he must tread carefully after the disastrous Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair, but it is deeply disappointing that Mr Trump’s foreign policy towards Iran is far more ethical than Britain’s. We need a Kennedy-esque oration, a “we are all Tehranis” moment from our Foreign Secretary to give the rebels the kind of moral support they desperately need.

The Americans get this: Mr Trump – yes, Trump, the president despised by so-called liberals the world over – has adopted exactly the right tone in recent days, and Nikki Haley, his ambassador to the UN, has been superb and now looks like a future Republican presidential contender.

The reality is that there is no moral ambiguity when it comes to the Iranian protests, no shades of grey, no trade-off to be had for reasons of realpolitik. There are the good guys – the young, brave counter-revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the brutes who have ruled their country for so long – and then there is the regime, a barbaric and corrupt mob that has brought a once great society to its knees.

The protests were precipitated by economic chaos, as is often the case, but quickly mutated into open attacks on the regime. … In social terms, there has been an explosion in drug abuse, mental illness, depression and atomisation.

Most encouragingly, the protesters are furious that the regime is spending so much on financing terrorism and on its wars in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, rather than on its own people. They have been saying so, clearly, in demonstrations around the country.

This remarkable message – a powerful counter-blast to the pernicious idea that the Middle East is somehow different, that none of its people want democracy, individual liberty or toleration – is far more radical than the demands made during the 2009 uprising. If any country is ready for a real dose of modernisation, it’s Iran.

True, the protesters are disorganised and they disagree about much, but they deserve our support, and that of all of the global bodies supposedly concerned with human rights which have been pretending not to notice what has been going on (they are only interested in the “right” kinds of rights violation, that is those by Western countries).

We cannot be sure that a new, successful counter-revolution would not lead to chaos, but Iran doesn’t need an authoritarian regime to prevent tribal warfare and the Islamists are totally discredited, so the omens are better than they were in Afghanistan or Libya.

What is certain is that we’ve failed the Middle East appallingly in recent decades. We mustn’t also betray Iran again. Its dissidents need a clear signal that the world would be delighted to work, when the time is right, with a new government in Tehran. Foreign Secretary, are you listening?

The only foreign representative who does seem to be listening and is not afraid to express an opinion is the US Ambassador to the UN who overtly threatened the Iranian regime:

Let’s just hope that the world does not restrict itself to just “watching”.

Kristallnacht, and Our Modern-Day Approach to Antisemitism

November 11, 2017

Kristallnacht, and Our Modern-Day Approach to Antisemitism, AlgemeinerVladimir Sloutsker, November 10, 2017

(Please see also, Family History by our own Anne in PT. She focuses on the Kristallnacht and later experiences of members of her family who were living in Germany. Here is a short video documentary on Kristallnacht:

— DM)

A store damaged during Kristallnacht. Photo: German Federal Archives via Wikimedia Commons.

Kristallnacht is another important reminder that the Holocaust did not begin with the death camps; that’s where it ended. Rather, it began with words, the singling out of one group of people and far too many in society looking the other way in the face of such hatred. Nobody is born to hate; they learn to hate.

Third, we must recognise that oppression is not a uniquely Jewish problem, and that what starts with the Jews, seldom ever ends with the Jews. When we consider the predicament of other minorities, racial or religious, hatred and bigotry is rarely far behind. The Jewish community should consider itself a partner in a wider struggle, and cooperate with other faith groups in the battle for their right to exist peacefully.

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Seventy-nine years ago, Nazis across Germany and Austria razed synagogues, smashed windows and murdered almost 100 innocent Jews in a violent pogrom. Kristallnacht — or the “Night of Broken Glass” — is so named to describe the shattered glass that littered the streets the next morning. In the weeks that followed, approximately 30,000 Jews were transported to concentration camps — a sorrow foreshadowing of what would soon ensue.

On Kristallnacht’s 79th anniversary, I am compelled to address the rising tide of antisemitism sweeping Europe, reaching levels not seen since the end of the darkest chapter in Europe’s history.

In the first half of 2017, some 767 antisemitic attacks were recorded in the UK alone. This represents the highest figure since monitoring began in 1984 — and, staggeringly, was a 30 percent increase from 2016. In the meantime, violent assaults on Jews this year have risen 78 percent compared with the same period in 2016.

The above figures are broadly replicated in other major Jewish communities throughout Europe, including France and Germany. Even in the U.S., according to a recent survey by the ADL, there has been a significant spike in antisemitism across the country.

Kristallnacht is considered by many to represent the transition from the harassment of Jewish communities to outright violence against them.

Seventy-nine years later, many Jews across Europe are once again singled out because of their race — with Jewish property, institutions and even cemeteries, coming under assault.

Clearly, a new way to combat this tide of hatred is required.

Until now, the international community has focused attentions on ‘minimizing’ the problem. This is inherently problematic; it enables us to label a reduction in antisemitism as a ‘success.’ What is needed is the eradication of antisemitism completely. To achieve this, we must be more proactive, smarter and more creative.

As I have said before, I believe that there are five key areas of focus for which all global citizens, not just the Jewish community, should pursue.

First, we must adopt a universal definition of antisemitism in Europe. The Israeli Jewish Congress (IJC) — an organization I co-founded to support Jewish communities —  has advocated for this for some time. Defining the problem is the first step to eradicating it.

In this regard, I commend European countries, including the UK, Germany, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, for adopting the all-encompassing International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. This definition accepts that the delegitimization of Israel and attacks on Zionism can also manifest as antisemitism. If we cannot define what we are trying to defeat, how can we defeat it? Therefore, I would call on all IHRA Member States to adopt this definition of antisemitism.

The second necessity is that we promote the value of education in understanding the scale of the problem. This program should not solely focus on the history of antisemitism, bigotry and the Holocaust; we should also touch on the vital contribution of Jewish people and texts to the wider cultural and economic prosperity of Europe.

Kristallnacht is another important reminder that the Holocaust did not begin with the death camps; that’s where it ended. Rather, it began with words, the singling out of one group of people and far too many in society looking the other way in the face of such hatred. Nobody is born to hate; they learn to hate.

Third, we must recognise that oppression is not a uniquely Jewish problem, and that what starts with the Jews, seldom ever ends with the Jews. When we consider the predicament of other minorities, racial or religious, hatred and bigotry is rarely far behind. The Jewish community should consider itself a partner in a wider struggle, and cooperate with other faith groups in the battle for their right to exist peacefully.

Fourth, recognizing that antisemitism and online hatred represents a major challenge today, we need to develop communications strategies that are fit for the digital age. Whilst social media channels are used as platforms for inciting racial hatred against the Jewish community, these platforms can also be used to reach new audiences — and encourage them to be advocates. We must develop engaging and comprehensive strategies to use these tools effectively.

Fifth, we need to energize the global debate on the roles and responsibilities of large technology firms to prevent the sharing of hateful commentary. We can utilize the pre-existing legal frameworks across Europe, as well as supporting modernization efforts to ensure that legislation is fit for the digital age. But the internet knows no state borders, and so our work with technology firms must be conducted at the international level.

In a landmark address before the European Parliament last year, former UK chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, described antisemitism as a “mutating virus.” Containment is not enough. It is high time we find an antidote.

Kristallnacht was a murderous example of the capacity of humans to escalate from harassment to violence. Yet the EU was built on a foundation of tolerance and openness. For this reason, it is the responsibility of European governments — and European people — to reconcile this foundation of tolerance with an unequivocal commitment to eradicating harassment and violent antisemitic racism at its source.

Vladimir Sloutsker is the president and co-founder of the Israeli Jewish Congress (IJC).

Lessons from Europe’s Immigrant Wave: Douglas Murray Cautions America

July 24, 2017

Lessons from Europe’s Immigrant Wave: Douglas Murray Cautions America, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, July 24, 2017

Douglas Murray has long voiced his concern about the growing influence of Muslim culture on the West. The associate editor of Britain’s Spectator, a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and the founder of the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think tank on radical Islam, he has built an international reputation for his opposition to the demographic changes of the West and the threats to its traditions. In his latest book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (Bloomsbury, 2017), he attacks all of these subjects as they relate to the current crisis of migration from the Middle East.

It is a controversial book, particularly for Americans and Jews, but one which also makes important arguments against the multiculturalist ideal. That ideal, which once led much of domestic policy across Europe and the United States, has proven not only a failure, but a threat to the values and national security of Western civilization.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism recently spoke with Murray about his book and the concerns that drove him to write it.

Abigail R. Esman: As an American, a Jew, and an immigrant myself to the Netherlands, there are aspects of your arguments against immigration and asylum that are troublesome to me. I come from a country where we are all immigrants, or our parents or grandparents were likely immigrants. You talk for instance of families where “neither parent speaks English as a first language,” yet my husband is Australian and I am American and neither of us speaks Dutch as a first language. So naturally, I come at these arguments with some concern. Are you saying, basically, close the borders?

Douglas K . Murray: It’s only for me to diagnose what’s happening – to see the truth about what is going on. Policy makers will make their own decisions. I have obviously broad views on it, which is that I think you can’t continue at the rate we have now, and I think you have to be choosy about the people you bring in. But you are right, and there are two groups of people who have had trouble with some of the basic things in this book: one is people of Jewish background, and others who come from nations of immigrants, like America. But Britain isn’t a nation of immigrants – we have been a static society with all the benefits and ills that this brings. And I think it is dishonest to say it is the same thing. I realize people who are predominantly Jewish have a particular sensitivity to it, but I think that that’s a particular issue. And why do we say one migration is just like the other It’s like saying because two vehicles went down the same road they are the same vehicle.

ARE: How is it different?

DKM: In the UK, when Jewish migration happened more than a century ago, the main thing was integration, integration into the society, wanting desperately to be part of British society. Why do synagogues in the UK have a portrait of the Queen? And after services, they often sing the British national anthem. It’s very moving. It’s an effort to demonstrate this is what we are and this is what we want to be. You’d be hard pressed to find a mosque with a picture of the queen who sing the anthem.

ARE: That element of integration is crucial, I agree. In America, in fact, immigrants in the past and often even today are eager to give their children Anglicized names: “Michael,” not “Moishe,” “Henry,” not “Heinrich.” Yet you do not see the name changes in Muslims these days. Why do you think that is?

DKM: Because there is less of a feeling to integrate. They want to stay with the country they’ve left but not deal with its economics. Some people find it flattering – that people want to move to your country – they say well, it shows what a wonderful place we are. No, it shows that your economics work better.

ARE: You also write about Muslim enclaves in Europe where “the women all wear some form of head covering and life goes on much as it would if the people were in Turkey or Morocco.” How is that different than, say, Chinatowns, or Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in America and say, Belgium, where women wear wigs and men have peyas, or sidelocks?

DKM: The example of Chinatown-like places is a good comparison. These are places that are mini-Chinas, they are enjoyed and liked by people because they are a different place. Well, if people want to have a mini-Bangladesh, that’s one vision of a society. It’s not the vision we were sold in Europe. It was not meant to be the case that portions of our cities were meant to become totally different places. In the 1950s the British and other European authorities said we have to bring people into our countries and we will get a benefit in labor. But if they had said that the downside is that large portions of the area would be unrecognizable to their inhabitants, there would have been an outcry.

And the issue of them being different from Hasidic communities – you’re right, they are similar. You can go to Stamford Hill in North London and see most of the men in hats and so on and that’s because that’s an enclave that wants to keep to itself. That raises questions: one, people don’t mind that, for several reasons – one is the recognition that Orthodox men don’t cause troubles. We don’t have cases of Orthodox men going out and cutting off people’s heads. If four Jewish men from Stamford Hill had blown up buses some years back there would be concern about these enclaves.

And also those enclaves are not growing. If it was the case that these enclaves were becoming areas where all the city was hat-wearing Orthodox Jews, then people would say wait, what is that? You can applaud that or abhor it, but it’s important to mention.it.

ARE: In the Netherlands, which has some of the toughest immigration policies in the world, people from certain countries are required to take “citizenship” courses before they can even enter Dutch borders. They have to learn the language, they have to learn about Dutch values, and that no, you can’t throw stones at Jews and gay people and that gay marriage is legal and women wear short dresses. Would you recommend other countries take on the Dutch policy of citizenship courses?

DKM: I make this point in the book. You say we could have done more and better, but the fundamental thing is that none of it was ever expected in the first place. No one ever thought that we would be in the situation we are now in. We didn’t expect them to stay. That’s a very big misunderstanding. Why wouldyou ask people to become Dutch citizens if you expect them to go home in five years? Why if you only expect them to stay in Britain for only 10 years? But then we realized they would stay and then we said, “we have to let them practice their own culture.” But for us to have acted as you suggest we would have had to know [at the time].

So yes, I think it’s a bare minimum for Europe to have the Dutch policy, even at this very late stage. I’m of the inclination that this is too little too late, but I wish everyone luck with it.

ARE: What about Yazidi women, Syrian Christians?

DKM: Again, it comes down to the Jewish question – because people think that every refugee is like a Jew from Nazi Germany. But if you were to think of a group that was facing an attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth then yes, you’d have the Yazidis. But there are people on all sides of the Syrian civil war, which are a minority of people coming to Europe – these are people fleeing sectarian conflict, but none of them are fleeing an effort to wipe them out as a people. So the lazy view, and it is quite often pushed by Jewish groups which I think is a mistake – is to suggest that it is similar to Nazi Germany. And I wish more care were taken in this.

ARE: Is this in your mind a way of stopping radical Islam? Because so many of the radicalized Muslims are actually converts. How would it help?

DKM: We know that people who convert to anything tend to be fundamentalist. But the important thing is, if you were pliable to be converted, available to be converted, then it raises the question of what kind of Islam do we have in these countries? If it were people finding Sufism, rather than hardcore Salafism, maybe it would be different. I have a friend who is a Muslim who was on a trip some years ago who told me the story of introducing a Muslim woman to one of the senior clerics at Al-Azhar and she wouldn’t shake his hand. He asked her why not. She said, “Because I’m Muslim.” So he asked her how long she’d been a Muslim, and she said “Six years.” He said, “I’ve been a Muslim for eight decades.” And then he turned and said to his friend in Arabic, “What kind of Muslims are you making in Britain?”

ARE: One thing the American Muslim community seems to have over its European brethren is its successful integration into society. Yet at the same time, some of the worst of the radicals are in fact American-born. We have people like Linda Sarsour, who wears the mantle of feminism, but who is really a Trojan horse for the Islamists. She has said things like “Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community. It is not to assimilate and lease any other people in authority.” What are the dangers of that kind of message?

DKM: I once spent an evening with Linda Sarsour. She is a very unpleasant, very radical girl. Filled with hate. I was the one having to defend America to Americans in an American audience against an American opponent. What she told that night was all lies, which you would tell either because you are dumb, which she isn’t, or because you want to spread propaganda, which she does.

I just think she is of a type. There are various sides to the issue that are important. There’s an “us” question and a “them” question. The “them” question is, what do people like that believe, what are they doing and how vile are they? But in a way, the “us” question is bigger. Why do we let them do this? What is wrong with America at this time in its history that an obvious demagogue like her can end up leading a feminist march [the 2017 Women’s March]? That’s an illness of America. She’s just a symptom of that.

ARE: And similarly, the Rushdie affair was effective in quashing further expression and criticism related to Islam. And Charlie Hebdo took that to an extreme. We haven’t had anything that severe, but there were the South Park threats and the attempted attack on the Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland. You blame European politicians and media for failing to recognize that those who were shouting “fire” were in fact the arsonists. This seems to be a global challenge – that any criticism or critique of Islam gets shouted down as inherently bigoted. In the U.S., the Southern Poverty Law Center places Maajid Nawaz on a list of “anti-Muslim extremists” for criticizing some tenets of the faith and advocating modernization and reform. In Europe the facts are very pessimism-causing. At the same time, though, there was certainly support for Charlie Hebdo, though you seem to deny it in your book, after the shootings. What’s the proper response to that form of a heckler’s veto?

DKM: I agree with the point. The only ways to reject the assassin’s veto is for civil society to be stronger on the question, for governments to ensure that people deemed to have ‘blasphemed’ are protected (as in the case of Rushdie) and that those who incite violence against them (such as Cat Stevens during the Rushdie affair) are the ones who find themselves on the receiving end of prosecutions. That and – obviously – ensuring that blasphemy laws aren’t allowed in through the back door via new ‘hate speech’ laws and the like.

ARE: In the chapter on multiculturalism, you describe interest groups which “were thrown up that claimed to represent and speak for all manner of identity groups.” These self-appointed voices then become the go-to groups for government. To keep the money flowing, they make the problems facing their community appear worse than they really are.” Is that a universal behavior for interest groups? We certainly see that in the U.S. with CAIR and ISNA.

DKM: Every group is vulnerable to that. With every human rights achievement, there are always some people left on the barricades. And the ones who linger on the barricades linger on without any home to go to. And you get these people who are stranded after it’s over and they have to hustle as if everything was as bad as it once was. Sometimes they are telling the truth; sometimes they wave a warning flag, but for the moment it seems particularly in America every group is claiming that this is basically 1938. It’s a tendency of every commune or group that wants awareness raised.

But it’s true, it’s especially prevalent of Muslim groups because if you keep claiming that you are the victim, then you never have to sort out your own house. And the groups that come to Europe and America, they never have to get their house in order if they spend all their time claiming they are victims of genocide and persecution and so on. And this is a familiar story.

ARE: So what would be your lesson, then, for America, especially in a book which clearly is about Europe?

DKM: Well, it is about Europe, certainly, but it’s connected to the debate America is now beginning to have. The first is to be careful with immigration. We’ve all had the same misunderstanding, the same thought that our societies are vast, immovable, unchanging things to which you could keep bringing people of every imaginable stripe and the results will always be the same. And I think that is just not the case, depending on the people who are in them. So we must take care with what kind of immigration we encourage, and at what pace, and that is something America should be thinking of, as everyone else should.

But America will have a harder time with this, because everyone in America has this vulnerability we don’t have in Europe, which is that we are all migrants. And you have the sense of ‘who am I to keep anyone out?’

ARE: I don’t think that’s the American view. I think it’s more that we all became part of this fabric, and we expect that the new immigrants will, too. But not all of them do.

DM: The whole thing actually seems to be unraveling, more than in Europe. In Europe, we don’t like to think in terms of racial terms. But all anyone in America talks about is race.

ARE: I don’t think so….

DKM: Maybe; but your vision of original sin in America seems to have become all so overwhelming. Your leading cultural figures, like Ta-Nehisi Coates, have this image of America born in terrible sin. The Atlantic’s front cover recently was all about slavery. You would get the impression that slavery only ended about 12 months ago. You are going over and over this in America – this endless sense of original sin. You are discussing reparations for slavery in 2017. You’d be hard-pressed to find publications in the UK calling for reparations to our past. Find me a mainstream publication that runs such a thing in Europe, even of WWII reparations.

So it’s symptomatic of something badly wrong at the structure of the public discussion.

ARE: Which suggests that we should do what?

DKM: What you have to listen out for is very straightforward: are the people raising such issues raising them because they want America to improve, or because they want America to end? I think this is a very central issue. Are you speaking as a critic, or as an enemy of the society in question? If you think the society can do no good, then you are speaking as an enemy. If you think there are things that have been done, that are wrong, that should be righted, campaign for them, speak out for them. Sometimes if you’re lucky you can get a posthumous rectification. But it sounds to me like a lot of this talk is from people who hate America. They don’t want to improve it. They want to end it.

So the lesson is – be careful about immigration. Be choosy. And another is a pretty straightforward one which is to work on the people who are there not to fall into the victim narratives of their special interest groups. And to focus on the “we.” I’ve always felt more optimistic for America in this regard, for the same reason I feel more optimistic than others do about France: because I think there is a very specific identity there, which it is possible to become a part of. I think it’s something other Western European countries, have not accomplished in the same way. So basically to strengthen their own identity.

ARE: Do you consider yourself a pessimist?

DKM: I think in Europe the facts are very pessimism-causing. I think it would be a strange person who would look at 12,000 people landing in Lampedusa, all young men, all without jobs, all without futures, and think, ‘That’s going to go really well. These are going to be just like the Jews of Vienna. These are going to be the receptacles of our culture.’ I don’t see it happening.

A Replacement of Population is Taking Place in Europe

June 14, 2017

A Replacement of Population is Taking Place in Europe, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, June 14, 2017

People-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs’ ships, which then reach Italian seaports. Another legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia’s economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.

One cannot compare the migrants to the Jews fleeing Nazism. Pope Francis, for example, recently compared the migrants’ centers to Nazi “concentration camps”. Where are the gas chambers, medical “experiments,” crematoria, slave labor, forced marches and firing squads? These comparisons are spread by the media for a precise reason: shutting down the debate.

By 2065, it is expected that 14.4 million migrants will arrive. Added to the more than five million immigrants currently in Italy, 37% of the population is expected to be foreigners: more than one out of every three inhabitants.

First, it was the Hungarian route. Then it was the Balkan route. Now Italy is the epicenter of this demographic earthquake, and it has become Europe’s soft underbelly as hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive.

With nearly 10,000 arrivals in one recent three-day period, the number of migrants in 2017 exceeded 60,000 — 48% more than the same period last year, when they were 40,000. Over Easter weekend a record 8,000 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean and brought to Italy. And that is just the tip of the iceberg: during the summer, the number of arrivals from Libya will only increase.

A wooden boat carrying migrants waits to be escorted to the Topaz Responder vessel, as members of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station make a rescue at sea on November 21, 2016 in Pozzollo, Italy. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A replacement of population is under way in Italy. But if you open the mainstream newspapers, you barely find these figures. No television station has dedicated any time to what is happening. No criticism is allowed. The invasion is considered a done deal.

In 2016, 176,554 migrants landed in Italy — an eight-fold increase since 2014. In 2015, there were 103,792. In 2014, there were 66,066. In 2013, there were just 22,118. In the last four years, 427,000 migrants reached Italy. In only the first five months of this year, 2017, Italy received 10% of the total number of migrants of the last four years.

There are days when the Italian navy and coast guard rescue 1,700 migrants in 24 hours. The country is exhausted. There are Italian villages where one-tenth of the population is already made up of new migrants. We are talking about small towns of 220 residents and 40 migrants.

One of the major aspects of this demographic revolution is that it is taking place in a country which is dramatically aging. According with a new report from the Italian Office of Statistics, Italy’s population will fall to 53.7 million in half a century — a loss of seven million people. Italy, which has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, will lose between 600,000 to 800,000 citizens every year. Immigrants will number more than 14 million, about one-fourth of the total population. But in the most pessimistic scenario, the Italian population could drop to 46 million, a loss of 14 million people.

In 2050, a third of Italy’s population will be made up of foreigners, according to a UN report, “Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Decline and Aging Populations“, which designs a cultural melting-pot that could explode in cultural and social tensions. The level of arrivals will fall from 300,000 to 270,000 individuals per year by 2065; during the same period, it is expected that 14.4 million people will arrive. Added to the more than five million immigrants currently in Italy, 37% of the population is expected to be foreigners: more than one out of every three inhabitants.

In addition, the humanitarian-aid system has been hit by new scandals. “The investigative hypothesis to be verified is that subjects linked to ISIS act as logistical support to migration flows”, was a warning just delivered in front of the Schengen Committee, to the Italian anti-mafia and counterterrorism prosecutor, Franco Roberti. There are now judges investigating the connection between the migrants’ smugglers in North Africa and the Italian NGOs rescuing them in the Mediterranean. People-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs’ ships, which then reach Italian seaports. Another legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia’s economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.

Only 2.65 percent of those migrants who arrived in Italy were granted asylum as genuine refugees, according to the United Nations. The other people are apparently not fleeing wars and genocide. Yet, despite all this evidence, one cannot compare the migrants to the Jews fleeing Nazism. Pope Francis, for example, recently compared the migrants’ centers to Nazi “concentration camps“. One wonders where are the gas chambers, medical “experiments,” crematoria, slave labor, forced marches and firing squads. Italian newspapers are now running articles about the “Mediterranean Holocaust“, comparing the migrants dead by trying to reach the southern of Italy to the Jews gassed in Auschwitz. Another journalist, Gad Lerner, to support the migrants, described their condition with the same word coined by the Nazis against the Jews: untermensch, inferior human beings. These comparisons are spread by the media for a precise reason: shutting down the debate.

To understand how shameful these comparisons are, we have to take a look at the cost of every migrant to Italy’s treasury. Immigrants, once registered, receive a monthly income of 900 euros per month (30 euros per day for personal expenses). Another 900 euros go to the Italians who house them. And 600 euros are needed to cover insurance costs. Overall, every immigrant costs to Italy 2,400 euros a month. A policeman earns half of that sum. And a naval volunteer who saves the migrants receives a stipend of 900 euros a month. Were the Nazis so kind with their Jewish untermenschen?

The cost of migrants on Italy’s public finances is already immense and it will destroy the possibility of any economic growth. “The overall impact on the Italian budget for migrant spending is currently quantified at 2.6 billion [euros] for 2015, expected to be 3.3 billion for 2016 and 4.2 for 2017, in a constant scenario”, explains the Ministry of the Economy. If one wants to put this in proportion, these numbers give a clearer idea of how much Italy is spending in this crisis: in 2017, the government is spending 1.9 billion euros for pensions, but 4.2 billion euros for migrants, and 4.5 billion euros for the national housing plan against 4.2 billion euros for migrants.

The Italian cultural establishment is now totally focused on supporting this mass migration. The Italian film nominated at the Academy Awards last year is Fire at Sea, in which the main character is a doctor treating the migrants upon their arrival. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi carried with him 27 DVDs of the film to a session of the European Council. Italy’s commercial television channels produced many television programs about the migrants, such as “Lampedusa“, from the name of the Italian island. 100,000 Italians even took the streets of Milan for a “rally of solidarity” with the migrants. What “solidarity” can there be if half a million people have been rescued by the Italian government and the whole country seems determined to open its doors to all of North Africa?

Winston Churchill was convinced that the Mediterranean was the “soft underbelly” of Hitler’s Europe. It has now become the soft underbelly of Europe’s transformation into Eurabia.

Trump to Germany: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

May 29, 2017

Trump to Germany: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way, PJ Media, Michael Walsh, May 28, 2017

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

What the president understands, and the Europeans pretend not to, is that Russia is no longer the direct menace it was during the days of the Fulda Gap, and that the real menace to Europe and NATO (which, by the way, includes the Islamicizing state of Turkey) is Islam, and its ongoing invasion of the historic lands of Christendom. If you think that’s a joke, and that it can’t happen in France, Italy or Britain, ask the Anatolians, the north Africans and the Albanians how that worked out for them.

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Quick, name the worst leader in western Europe. Yes, it’s a tough call: it’s either whoever the leader of Italy is this week, plus whichever socialist is temporarily in charge of France, plus the your-name-here chinless wonder domiciled at 10 Downing Street in London. But surely the prize goes to Frau Kartoffel herself, German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel, who’s been in office since 2005 and, alas, shows no signs of leaving any time soon.

On his visit this past week to Europe, President Trump spoke some hard truths to our European allies, but none spat it out more quickly than Merkel, to the absolute delight of the Trump-hating New York Times. It is a cold day in hell when the Times speaks fondly of any German, but here it is:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most influential leader, has apparently concluded that the United States of President Trump is not the reliable partner her country and continent have automatically depended on in the past.

Clearly disappointed with European leaders’ inability to persuade Mr. Trump to publicly endorse NATO’s doctrine of collective defense — or to agree to common positions on Russia, climate change or global trade — Mrs. Merkel said on Sunday that traditional alliances were no longer as reliable as they once were, and that Europe should pay more attention to its own interests “and really take our fate into our own hands.”

To which let me add: it’s about time. I’ve spent a good deal of my life in Germany, speak the language, and raised my children there; my most recent book, the best-selling The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, concerns not only the Frankfurt School of Marxist philosophers and the cultural havoc they wrought in America, but the musical and literary cornerstones of German culture itself, including Goethe and Wagner.

If it took Trump’s typical bluntness to finally get the message across that the Europeans are now responsible for the mess of their own making, good. Germany in particular has coasted under the American nuclear umbrella for decades, allowing it to a) concentrate entirely on rebuilding its domestic economy, infrastructure and social welfare state and b) thumb its nose at American warmongering imperialism. It’s one of the least attractive aspects of the German character; the gratitude that the immediate postwar generation felt for our having rescued them from Hitler and the love Germans felt for all things American have vanished. In their place has come a churlish, we-can-take-it-from-here mutter that does not become them.

Formerly known as Christendom (Wikipedia)

What the president understands, and the Europeans pretend not to, is that Russia is no longer the direct menace it was during the days of the Fulda Gap, and that the real menace to Europe and NATO (which, by the way, includes the Islamicizing state of Turkey) is Islam, and its ongoing invasion of the historic lands of Christendom. If you think that’s a joke, and that it can’t happen in France, Italy or Britain, ask the Anatolians, the north Africans and the Albanians how that worked out for them.

Speaking on the campaign trail after contentious summit meetings in Belgium and Italy, Ms. Merkel said: “The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over. This is what I experienced in the last few days,” she said.

Given this new context for international relations, she said, “that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands — of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia.”

Welcome back to the 19th century! As the gorilla in the middle, Germany has always been forced to deal with the West (in the form of France and French culture) and the East (Russia); the result was two world wars and the deaths of millions. The European Union was essentially a response to the lingering question of how to prevent the great ape from escaping its cage and having dinner in Paris a month or so later. Worse for Merkel, although born in Hamburg, she grew up on the wrong side of the East-West German border and so was raised in a state that was at once a communist dictatorship and a swaddling socialist experiment, one which beat the sense of personal striving out of the people and replaced it with a dull conformity.

That dullness is now embodied by Merkel, a dull, uninspiring leader with no vision for the future and, childless, with no personal stake in it. Somewhere in hell, Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker are having a good laugh about their perfect revenge on the capitalist West. Sure, it took their own destruction to pull it off, but what could be more German than that?