Bring on the Brexit: The EU Deserves to Crumble

The doomsayers are wrong: It’s not the EU’s self-perpetuating elites that are Europe’s last defense against totalitarianism; their disdain for public opinion is more likely to feed fascism.

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A campaigner wearing a Vote Leave t-shirt and holding a British Union Flag stands on a Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament, London, U.K., June 15, 2016.
A campaigner wearing a Vote Leave t-shirt and holding a British Union Flag stands on a Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament, London, U.K., June 15, 2016.Credit: Luke MacGregor, Bloomberg
Amiel Ungar
Amiel Ungar

Should supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign win the day this Thursday there’ll be aftershocks aplenty — and Israel too will feel the pain. Yet paying a short-term price will be worth the long-term gain: a victory for Britain’s exit from the EU is a preferable outcome both for Israel and Europe. 

Diplomatically, Israel is better off negotiating separately with 28 foreign offices than with the European foreign service — the EEAS. As Michel Gurfienkel, the founder and president of the Jean Jacques Rousseau Institute, perceptively wrote: "the EU’s decision-making process, at French insistence but with British acquiescence, is based on the principle of unanimity or near-unanimity rather than on majority opinion."

Once France adopted a pro-Arab policy, for reasons of grandeur and later due to the increasing weight of its Muslim minority, it could use its position as part of the bloc's traditional motor to accentuate the EU's anti-Israel diplomatic tilt. The current French-inspired international conference to which the EU foreign ministers have subscribed is a case in point. After an anti-Israel vote, some of Israel's friends within the EU rush to explain that they disagreed but had to go along with the resolution to be good Europeans. For Israel it would be beneficial to rob them of this excuse.

The EU foreign service with pretensions to represent a great power status unflaggingly pummels Israel to compensate for Europe's prostrate behavior towards the likes of Turkey and Iran. The EU intervenes in our politics by engaging and empowering NGOs from one side of the political spectrum and thumbs its nose at our sovereignty by illegally building houses and roads in disputed areas whose ultimate disposition can only be decided by direct negotiations.  

It is hard to feel benevolence towards a body whose representatives at UNESCO voted for a resolution that denied a Jewish connection to Jerusalem. It is difficult to take their condemnations of anti-Semitism at face value when Jews in Europe are compelled to take off their kippot and pull out their mezuzahs to disguise their identity and protect their safety.

The music that emanates from the corridors of Berlaymont is that the nation state is an anachronism. Israel, by providing a counter-example, angers the mandarins of Brussels. 

Another Brussels subtext is that the people cannot be trusted to govern themselves but must always be under the tutelage of Eurocrats who will draw up rules and celebrate their acquis, public opinion be damned. If the voters decide "unwisely", as in the French and Dutch referenda, then they can be ignored and major change such as a European foreign ministry will be Orwellianly minimized into a "tidying up exercise". The referenda far from serving as a reality check merely confirmed the Euro elites in their conceit that popular consent is not only superfluous but dangerous. An analogous debate is taking place in Israel: democratically-elected Knesset majorities are branded as fascist included by an ex prime minister (Ehud Barak) who himself, when in power, tried to ram through a surrender deal after he had already lost his Knesset majority. A vote for Leave would have a salutary effect on Israel's internal debate.

When Europe takes measures inimical to Israel's security, it naively or hypocritically passes it off as tough love. High Representative Federica Mogherini said earlier this month, “What I am worried about is the security of Israel and the sustainability of the situation on the ground.”

Allow us to reciprocate the European concern for sustainability. Europe clearly needs the wake-up call of a Leave victory, because the current situation there is ‘unsustainable’. The Euro currency crisis grinds on; unemployment and particularly youth unemployment darken the economic horizons. In terms of providing security, the essential task of any polity, Europe has failed to allocate sufficient funds to guarantee the security of its eastern member states against Russian revisionism. 

By ditching nationalism and religion Europe has deprived itself of the antibodies that helped defend it against totalitarianism. It replaced them with an ersatz Europeanism that resonates only with the elites. As a demographic basket case, Europe has created a void that is being filled by those who flaunt their contempt for European values.

The Remain side warns that if the EU crumbles the successor could be fascism. But can a Europe that is primarily solicitous about dead, not living, Jews really be expected to bar the door to fascism? The reverse perhaps is true. Just as a self-perpetuating Italian elite lacking any accountability paved the way to fascism, so a Europe whose leadership is epitomized by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament speaker Martin Schulz, cannot provide a bulwark against fascism. 

No less an European insider than Poland's ex premier and EU Council Chief Donald Tusk warned his colleagues: "Forcing lyrical and in fact nave Euro-enthusiastic visions of total integration... is not a suitable answer to our problems." Tusk gets it on the basis of the Polish experience. The problem is that he remains a minority. The elites keep dishing out more Europe even after sustaining electoral defeat. May we be preserved from their arrogance if Remain should somehow squeak through.

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