After WWII there was a determination in Europe to never let such a catastrophe recur. Ultra-nationalism in one country lead to its own destruction and the deaths of millions. From the ashes of WWII Europe arose the ideal of a United Europe, one in which all countries would be accepted within their agreed borders, but the borders themselves would be open to movement of persons and trade. Ultimately this ideal lead to the EU, with its common currency in the eurozone and its free transit in the Schengen zone.
But, now the tide is turning. What caused this reversion? Mainly four things:
- The economic issue. The countries of southern Europe have been unable to keep pace with the development of northern Europe; the southern tier of countries in the EU, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and especially Greece have fallen so far behind and accumulated such debt, that in order to save the euro from default or see Greece go bankrupt, Germany had to rescue Greece and other countries to the tune of hundreds of billions of euros. This is a process that cannot be continued.
- The migration issue. The civil war in Syria and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen, has unleashed a flood of Muslim migrants who have overwhelmed the capacity of most European countries to absorb them.
- The terrorism issue. To the migration issue has been added the terrorism issue. The shooting attacks in Paris, and the ramming attacks in Nice and Berlin are harbingers of things to come. As the Islamic State is defeated in its center in what was Syria-Iraq, it will gradually spread its tentacles throughout the Muslim diaspora in order to terrorize and try to take over.
- The nationalism issue. The sense that the citizens of the member countries of the EU are losing their national sovereignty to the distant and unrepresentative bureaucrats of the EU has resulted in a reaction against the EU.
These issues, including the migration of several hundred thousand East Europeans from within the EU to Britain, have triggered the vote in the UK in favor of Brexit. The British people do not want to have their country run from far way by citizens of other countries that do not have their interests at heart. They feel they are losing control and so have turned against the tide. With the vote in the Parliament for the Government of PM Theresa May to go ahead and trigger clause 50, that allows for members to exit the EU, the die is now cast.
With the surprise election of Pres Trump in the USA and now the rise of right-wing parties and candidates in Europe, the tide can be said to have turned. For example, Marine Le Pen of the Front National in France is now said to have a good chance to become President of France, since the conservative Republican Party candidate Fillon has been caught in a nepotism scandal and the socialist candidate is not viable. Even if she does not win, this is the beginning of a trend in which her appeal to French nationalism (stopping immigration and returning the franc in place of the euro) could cause a quickening of the reverse tide.
What will this mean for the Jews? It will mean that in an age of increased nationalism in Europe, the Jews will once again be threatened. But, perhaps they will be less threatened than the Muslims (Marine Le Pen claims her party is not anti-Semitic). The irony will be that while the clash between the Muslims and the renewed nationalists in Europe may increase (“the clash of civilizations”), the Jews only escape will be to Israel, thus strengthening the State. This will not be a repeat of the 1930’s, but an entirely different scenario, the outcome of which cannot be predicted.