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July 23, 2014

New EU “Conclusions” on Israel and Gaza

The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, comprised of the 28 EU foreign ministers, regularly issues “conclusions” on a variety of international issues.  Yesterday’s “Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process” show greater EU understanding for Israeli positions and an end to the EU’s patience with Hamas in Gaza.

The most significant change from the previous Conclusions of December 2013 is the demand that “all terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm” and the call for “the Palestinian government to take charge of the Gaza Strip.”  The EU wants President Abbas’s so-called “unity” government to replace Hamas and maintain a monopoly on the use of force.

Significantly, the EU condemned Hamas for calling “on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields.”  Israel has been highlighting this war crime by Hamas and now the EU has endorsed Israel’s position. EU Flag

The EU noted that Israeli military operations “must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.”  However, the conclusions do not assert that Israel has acted disproportionately or contrary to international humanitarian law.

For the first time, the EU included a paragraph about “events in the wider Middle East [which] pose serious threats to the EU” and warrant a re-statement of the EU’s “fundamental commitment to the security of Israel.”  For too long and in too many European capitals, diplomats promoted the fallacy of Israeli-Palestinian peace as the key to peace throughout the Middle East.  Perhaps the inclusion of regional threats in “conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process” demonstrates a new EU consensus that the Iranian nuclear program, the civil war in Syria, and the growing threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) hinder Israeli-Palestinian peace and not the misguided reverse.

The EU’s “peace parameters” changed with respect to refugees.  The word “realistic” was added and now states that the EU expects “A just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the refugee question.”  The change seems to be a nod towards Israel and an expression of frustration with the Palestinian Authority’s negotiating position on refugees.

Do the new EU conclusions represent a sea change? No. But the tide may be turning.

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May 29, 2014

American Racists Embrace Gains in Europe by Far-Right Parties

pat-buchanan

Pat Buchanan

Figures ranging from far-right pundit Patrick Buchanan to white supremacist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute are embracing the gains made by far-right and extremist parties in Europe during elections to the European Parliament in May.

The Americans who are saluting the results of the elections believe that the gains by the nationalist and far-right parties indicate that Europeans have rejected increased immigration and multiculturalism in favor of a return to traditionalist values. Some also argue that Europeans are more interested in the ardent nationalism and patriotism exhibited by Russian leader Vladimir Putin than in integration and liberal Western values.

Buchanan, who predicted the results of the elections in Europe in a May 23 column, argued that the rise of far-right parties means that Europeans want to preserve their “separate and unique ethnic and cultural identity.” Buchanan further asserted that the gains made by far-right parties signal a return to “traditionalism and cultural conservatism, reverence for the religious and cultural history and heritage of the nation and its indigenous people.” Buchanan has hoped for the same in the U.S. In numerous books and columns, he has argued that America is being destroyed by “Third World” immigrants and that the country needs to maintain its white European heritage.

In his comments on the European elections, Matt Parrott, a founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, agreed with Buchanan and asserted that Europeans are more interested in Putin’s nationalism than in America’s liberalism. He laments that white supremacists in America will be “be forced to patiently wait on the sidelines” while traditionalist ideals and openly nationalist politicians come to the forefront in the rest of the world. He suggests that America’s extreme right learn from the advances made by their counterparts in Europe.

In a podcast, Richard Spencer, the head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute, spoke with Roman Bernard of France about how anti-EU sentiment had become a “bogeyman” for far-right parties in Europe. They believe that anti-EU sentiment is “negative politics” and that Europeans should be focusing on creating “white consciousness.” White supremacists on both sides of the Atlantic hope that whites in Europe and America will become “racially aware” and promote their own ethnic interests.

Anti-Semite David Duke put a different spin on the European elections, which reflects his virulent anti-Jewish views. Duke asserted that European voters had rejected two ideologies that Jews allegedly force on them—immigration and globalization.

American white supremacist activists would like to see extreme-right parties and ideologies become more appealing to the mainstream in America. They see Europe as a model for making that happen but acknowledge most Americans are not inclined to accept “white nationalism.”

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