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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

What did we really expect? The steady increase of EU powers has been consistently inversely proportionate to this institution’s legitimacy. When was the last time in European history that we saw an institution’s increasing influence over our lives being matched by our increasing apathy towards its functioning? Today’s election results were simply a correction of a growing schism between the EU and reality.

In the UK such a political anomaly was accompanied by another; the first national electoral victory for a party other than Labour or the Conservatives. Unfortunately, the insurgency was spearheaded by a decidedly right wing party, a trend emulated across much of Europe. The worst part, it’s not closet racists and looneys who are voting for these parties but many normal working people. The years of branding anything anti-immigration as racist, any eurosceptic as a little-Englander, have really come back to bite the political establishment in the ass. Especially so on the left who really through their lot in with a no borders melting pot vision of the world that the EU offered. In reality however, this world is restricted to a small, young and privileged minority. The few with little attachments, some financial security and language skills are free to flounce around Europe to their hearts desire. Meanwhile, those less mobile suffer from increased competition over limited resources, those from southern and eastern Europe forced to emigrate make do with precarious jobs abroad while their governments rely on their departure as a solution to their failing economy.

But immigration is good for the economy isn’t it? Yes, overall, but good for who is another question and often it’s the rich who skim off the cream. But with no real left wing party to point this out, we end up blaming the immigrants themselves. Likewise, despite a plethora of points from which they could take their pick, no one on the left seems to dare criticize Europe, either from fear of being associated with racists or an ongoing attachment to some long lost ideals.

It’s not just the eurocrats in Brussels who have been living in a bubble,  but the left all over Europe. In dreaming up a new border-less community of different peoples coming together, we’ve abandoned our own to the fate of the free market. It’s time to get back to reality.

 

robbiepacker@gmail.com

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That Israeli interior minister, Eli Yishai, last Friday in an interview with the Isreali newspaper, Maariv can claim “This country belongs to us, to the white man”, demonstrates the staggering ability of this modern world to echo the most abhorrent excesses of 20th century racist doctrine in the very state founded by those fleeing such persecution.

This isn’t just a case of an extremist grabbing headlines, such inflammatory and blatantly racist statements are the norm for various members of the Israeli government including the prime minister himself who claimed recently that “The breach of our borders by infiltrators could threaten the Jewish and democratic state (…) we will begin by removing the infiltrators from South Sudan and move on to others”.

Nor is this a case of politicians talking tough in order to garner votes. Just this month draconian legislation was passed allowing anyone attempting to enter of having entered Israel illegally to be imprisoned for up to three years. Furthermore, anyone helping migrants or providing them with shelter could face prison sentences of between five and 15 years.

Perhaps most worrying is the stoking of public anger against African immigrants, the latest direct consequence of which has been the firebombing of a house containing 10 Eritreans. Politicians such as Eli Yishai and Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union shamelessly associate African immigrants with viral diseases, HIV and criminality while sources from Israel´s very own health ministry clearly state that “99.9% of the migrants who come to work in Israel are not infected with any unique disease whatsoever” and a recent parliamentary committee recently found the percentage of crimes committed by foreigners to be 13.5% although they make up 28.5% of the population.

Despite the apparent contradictions, maybe in the end we should not be surprised: name the only two nation states in history to be explicitly based on ethnicity – Nazi Germany and Israel. Eli Yishai said he was speaking out of “love for my country”, but let this be a wakeup call for all Israelis who really love their country. Instead of perpetuating centuries old hate Israel must break from its past and embrace secularism, for a Jewish state – Judaism being the only major religion strictly based on lineage – will never be at peace.

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