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Jewish World Review
June 7, 2005
/ 29 Iyar, 5765
Let’s congratulate the national peoples of Europe for their courage
Don’t be disturbed by the stories from France and the Netherlands that a motley coalition of communists and neo-Nazis have defeated the EU constitutional referenda. The restoration of the principle of self-government to the various European nations is the best news for the Jews to come out of Europe since the acquittal of Dreyfus.
The fact is that the European “superstate” was founded on one idea: nationalities cannot be trusted with a state of their own. A majority of Frenchmen or Dutchmen must not be permitted to decide on their own economic and foreign policy lest well, lest the heavens fall. Under the new European constitution, a panel of unelected experts would take all decision-making power away from individual national groups. The Dutch, the Germans, the French, the Czechs would surrender their ability to govern themselves in the interest of something higher. What, exactly, that higher value might be was never explained but if one opposed it, one was a “xenophobe” or a reactionary.
So the national peoples of Europe were about to surrender their states. Needless to say, the notion that, of all people, the Jews should be allowed alone to have a state in which they could govern themselves and choose their own leaders under the rule of law was an outrage to the “European Idea.” To the extent that the European Union continued its march against national self-determination, Israel’s legitimacy would be eroded.
Now, at least for a time, the people of two European countries have stopped this march of progress and Israel has a reprieve. Enjoy it and celebrate it but understand how narrow an escape Israel has had.
The European Constitution would have cemented in place a corrupt, self-satisfied and self-regarding governing elite in place over the heads of the people a permanent, unelected government that could rule unchecked by any mere majority, whose inefficiency would be matched only by its sanctimony. In fact, the closest thing we’ve seen to this kind of government was the administration of Yasser Arafat, installed by well-meaning and idealistic Oslocrats over the heads of the Palestinian Arabs, who were given little choice but to vote in favor of Arafat’s coronation (a story well told in the Israeli magazine Azure). Such a supranational government would have no choice but to eagerly embrace the one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It would remind them of themselves. And the spectacle of Jews demanding rights for themselves that Danes were no longer permitted would have been an affront that could not be tolerated. This time it would be the Europeans who would lead, not simply connive at, the campaign to declare Zionism as a form of racism.
Let’s take this moment to congratulate the national peoples of Europe for their courage in averting this kind of rule and support the rights of people everywhere to national self determination.
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Sam Schulman Archives
JWR contributor Sam Schulman, a New York writer, is formerly publisher of Wigwag and a professor of English at Boston University. You may contact him by clicking here.
© 2005, Sam Schulman