Will History Repeat Itself?


I am dumbfounded. I admit the American tenacity for sticking its collective head in the sand is beyond my comprehension. I have yet to see a single news story this month on this side of the Atlantic about the European Parliament elections and the sea-change results that occurred there. You would think since there are more people in the E.U. than the U.S.A., and since we have historical and military ties with institutions like NATO that it would warrant discussion. You would think.

The European Parliament which holds the E.U. together and has increasingly flexed its muscle over the continent was elected over this past weekend. TheĀ  results were troublesome on several levels and raises a serious, potentially bloody, question; will history repeat itself?

1/4 of all seats will be held by parties against a strong E.U. or against it all together. The first openly neo-Nazi (a person who calls Hitler “a great man”) will be taking his seat in the parliament as will many fascist and nationalistic parties. In Britain, for the first time in history, a party UKIP – which is totally against the E.U. – came from nothing to beat the three major parties in an absolute drubbing. The National Front Party (which many believe is fascist leaning) in France totally swept into first place as well. Right-wing/nationalist parties won in Denmark, Austria, Finland and Hungary. The Neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn in Greece scored well. You get the picture.

There has been a steady rise in anti-Semitism in Europe. Over the weekend, a Jewish museum in Brussels was attacked killing four people. Also, Jews outside a synagogue in Paris were attacked as well. For Americans this may seem trite as over the same period we had a mass shooting every single day. We’re use to that level of violence – and don’t seem to care about that either. What I wonder though is if we are setting a collision course that we historically have already traveled down before.

I’m not convinced all right-wing/nationalists are anti-Semitic. A lot of them are just fed up with the status quo and I can’t say I blame them. In Israeli reporting and government assessment, everyone tends to get grouped together but I think this is a mistake. This tactic becomes a self-fulling prophecy as nothing ticks people off more than calling them anti-Semitic just because they showed dissent. You do that enough and you turn them anti-Semitic or at least put them in the place where they don’t care one way or the either. In America, I see this last point being pertinent. People under-40 are overwhelmingly not relating to Israeli policies and resent being labeled anti-Semitic when they speak up. The image of Israel is losing ground here.

Between the two World Wars there was a corrupt elite with mass unemployment – which we have now. There were two clashing ideologies, back then it was Fascism vs. Communism and now it is Nationalism vs. Free Market Capitalism which with globalization was predictable. Back in the 20’s, 30’s, there was a Russia trying to re-assert itself and a Middle East in major transition. Both of which we have now.

I’m not saying we’re heading toward genocide. It will take a lot more to get to that point and hopefully we never will. I can see in the current climate though that Jews – and Arabs – become the new whipping boys as national powers try to reassert themselves. As the song says, “Everything Old Is New Again”.

Categories: Everyday Life, France, israel, Politics, religion, travel, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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