EU silent about its motivation when it comes to manifest bias against Israel

Israeli flagWhen I was in law school, I applied for to myriad law firms for a job.  I had good grades (and ultimately ended up with offers from prestigious law firms), but what remains in my memory forever is a rejection letter I got from one rather insignificant law firm:

Dear Ms [Bookworm]:

Thank you for your inquiry about a position at our firm.  There are many reasons why we cannot hire you.


Many of my classmates agreed that this won the award for rejection letter of the year.

I am beginning to suspect that someone at the European Union must have gotten a glimpse of that letter.  It’s certainly one way to explain the EU’s response when two scholars, one Israeli and one American, wrote to the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, asking why it was honoring agreements with Morocco that included extra-national territory it had occupied since 1975, while refusing to honor any dealings with Israel that include “occupied” territory:

Many Israelis have long felt that the European Union is biased against them. Two legal scholars – a former Israeli ambassador and an American Jewish international law professor — think they’ve found the perfect case to prove the claim: A new fishing deal, signed between the Europeans and Morocco, which applies beyond Morocco’s internationally recognized borders, taking in the territory of Western Sahara, even though Morocco invaded that area in 1975 and has occupied ever since.

The two scholars are now challenging EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to explain why the agreement, in not excluding Morocco’s occupied territory, doesn’t prove that the EU is holding Israel to a double standard.

The EU insists that any agreement it signs with Israel explicitly exclude the settlements in the “occupied” West Bank, the scholars noted in a letter sent last month to Ashton’s Brussels office. So why don’t the same constraints apply in the case of Morocco? This blatant inconsistency shows “an official double-standard practiced by the EU,” Professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University and Israeli ex-ambassador to Canada Alan Baker charged.

The EU’s response, written by one of Ashton’s minions, is identical in spirit to that long-ago rejection letter I once received:

The EU’s response, authored on Ashton’s behalf by the managing director of the union’s external action service’s Middle East and Southern Neighborhood department, Hugues Mingarelli, read: “With regards to the allegation of using double standards for Israel and Morocco, our analysis is that the two cases are different and cannot be compared.” No further explanation was given.

That is precisely the kind of rejection letter that comes from a bureaucratic entity that cannot bring itself to state the obvious:  “With regards to the allegation of using double standards for Israel and Morocco, the answer is simple:  we are both antisemitic and terrified of Muslims.  Thank you for your inquiry.”

England’s welfare state is a victim of its own success

It’s no wonder Brits, contra Obama, want out of the EU.  Aside from exerting nit-picky control over every aspect of British life, the EU makes it virtually impossible for Britain to stem the endless tide of immigrants coming in, legally or not, and immediately getting public benefits that are not available to the Brits themselves.

Here are two articles and a video regarding that problem.

First, a woman talks about living the lush life on her benefits.

Second, some fed-up Brits raise their voices in protest song:

Third, a shy, unlikely voice emerges to oppose, not just the welfare state, but the lies that the ruling class tells about the welfare state.

“Keynes” and other back-pats

Here’s a Robert Samuelson article, “bye bye Keynes” that should give us all pause: the arguments he uses to write Keynes’ obituary are arguments that we all posited in our own excoriation of Keynes in years past, in response to a string of commentators, ranging from A to Z.

I’ve been reviewing our last few years at Bookworm Room and I think that we all deserve a round of huzzas and raised beer mugs or wine glasses, whatever is at hand. We’ve been so right about so many issues, be it “Keynesian”economics; anthropogenic global warming; the Islamist threat; U.S. fossil fuel reserves; “green” energy; Iraq; Obama; the EU’s collapse…and on and on und so weiter.  Sometimes, our prescience has preceded events on the ground by years.

To all of you Bookworm guests and, especially, to Bookworm, our hostess: I’m so d*** proud to know you! I am so much smarter for having enjoyed the many experiences of your insights and commentary.

Idle EU thoughts that lead inevitably (in my mind) to government sanctioned tribalism

A few years ago, those in the know were telling us in no uncertain terms that the EU model was the future — and that America had better get used to playing second fiddle to the economic giant that a united Europe presented.  I found it hard to imagine that Europe would ever be able to overcome rivalries and tribal allegiances that span centuries, even millennia.  I also did not believe that the socialist model, which might work in a small, homogenous culture, would be able to sustain a vast economic federalism.  Watching what is happening in Europe now tells me that my common sense was infinitely more valuable than anything scholars and economists had to offer.

The whole EU collapse has gotten me thinking about tribalism.  One of America’s greatest strengths, right up there with the Constitution and the continent’s natural bounty — is that tribalism didn’t take hold here as it did in Europe.  From the beginning, we were too fluid a society.  As soon as we got a good hate going against one immigrant group (the Irish, for example), two things happened:  First, America’s lack of a class system, economic flexibility, and geographic mobility, resulted in significant numbers of the hated group leveraging themselves up into the middle and working class.  Second, a new hated class invariably came on board (e.g., Jews or Italians or Puerto Ricans or Asians), restarting the same cycle.

This malleable system, with hatreds that couldn’t last long enough to become entrenched, was aided by our participation in two popular 20th century World Wars.  (I use the word “popular” to distinguish them from the Korean War, which was greeted with exhaustion, and the Vietnam War and Iraq, which the Left used to create social divisions.)  As Israel proves daily, boot camp is the best melting pot of them all.  During the World Wars, the Brooklyn Jew and the Minnesota Swedish farm boy might not have liked each other, but they came into contact in structured environment, and fought for the same cause.

One of the most poisonous things the Left has done to America in the past 40 years is to create institutional tribalism.  Instead of a distant government that kept grinding on, whether old immigrants hated the Irish or the Jews or the Italians or the whatever, the Left got the government involved in designating victims.  Suddenly, the government is focusing like a laser on blacks and gays and differently-abled and whoever else is the Leftists’ victim célèbre.  We now have a government that doesn’t discriminate against blacks, it discriminate for them (and for all the other designated victim classes, women included), with equally heinous results.  Government should be above the tribal fray, not creating it.

Before anyone calls me on it, I know perfectly well that our Constitution, as originally written, did get involved in tribalism by treating Southern blacks as a separate class.  I don’t think I need to remind anyone, though, what a horrible outcome that official discrimination had.  Both the early Constitution and the Jim Crow era (when the South decided to perpetuate the Founders’ original mistake) are perfect illustrations of the disasters resulting from allowing governments to pick one tribe and discriminate against another.

As an aside, the only reason women haven’t been destroyed by this government discrimination is because of kids.  Children have needs that, so far, our government isn’t meeting, so Mom still has to act like a responsible grown-up.

Tribalism is dangerous.  Legislated tribalism is disastrous.

New World Order *UPDATED*

Britain, which has shown a certain lack of spine when it comes to the Islamists on its shores, nevertheless stood up to Al Qaeda representative Abu Qatata.  Britain, however, is no longer a sovereign nation.  It handed over its sovereignty to the EU, which gets the final say in matters.  And the EU thinks it was grossly unfair to prevent Qatada from getting his money:

European judges today overturned an order freezing the assets of Abu Qatada, the radical Muslim cleric, on the ground that its implementation breached his fundamental rights.

The ruling in the European Court of Justice is a further blow to the Government’s counter terror policies after the Law Lords’ judgment that suspects held under control orders must be given details of the allegations against them.

Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden’s “spiritual ambassador” in Europe, was added to a United Nations sanctions blacklist freezing the funds of associates of Bin Laden, al-Qaeda or the Taleban.

The ruling today means that Qatada, currently being held in a top security prison pending deportation, will regain access to his accounts and any other assets in two months and ten days if the British Government does not appeal.

Even if one assumes the hypothetical that Abu Qatada is merely a British resident with bad ideas, and that Britain shouldn’t have deprived him of his money, I find it tragic that Britain is no longer a sovereign nation.  Despite her stupidity in some things (the slave trade, letting her stubbornness lose America, siding with the Arabs in the Middle East, imperialism), she still had a shining moment as a light among nations (abandoning the slave trade, advancing the Enlightenment, holding out against Napoleonic and Nazi hegemony), and it hurts to see her as nothing more than a European vassal state.

UPDATE:  By the way, will there still be an England when the women are swathed in mandatory Burkhas or when a Belgian bureaucrat sits at 10 Downing Street?

The Orwellian police state in Europe expands

The quest for ever greater bureaucratic efficiency, especially in a Europe without borders, means that Britain’s local Big Brother database is probably going to be released to the whole of Europe:

Britons could find themselves forced to prove they are innocent of crimes abroad after the Government agreed to EU-wide access to its ‘Big Brother’ databases.

All 26 other member countries will be able to check against sensitive personal information held on driver registration, DNA and fingerprint computer systems.

Where there is a match, a suspect-could be extradited to face trial abroad or – at the least – be forced to explain their movements or provide an alibi.

I’m sure Brits are comforted to know that the EU is keeping an eye on things.

EU’s liberal fascism strikes again

I won’t comment.  You know what I’m thinking:

They have amused us, angered us and sometimes – just occasionally – they have actually made us buy something.

But now the end could be in sight for adverts which use sex to sell after they came under the unforgiving gaze of Brussels.

And, this being the EU, it is not simply raunchy advertising that is in danger. Any campaigns which are deemed sexist might have to go.

That could mean an end to attractive women advertising perfume, housewives seen in the kitchen and men doing DIY.

The new rules on sexism and inequality in advertising come in a report by the EU’s women’s rights committee which has been adopted by the European Parliament.

It wants anything which promotes women as sex objects or reinforces gender stereotypes to be banned.

Such a move would send shockwaves through the industry.

It would probably prevent images of models – male and female – in a state of undress, even when they are advertising underwear.

You can read more here.

And I changed my mind.  I will add one comment.  I think we live in a sexually saturated society, and I’d like to see that change.  Having angry bureaucrats in Brussels, who have a victim mentality about women a la Gloria Steinheim, using massive government power to make that change really scares me.

Life in the bureaucratic state

People around the world are facing food shortages but, in the magical bureacracy that is the EU, food is being destroyed for being a millimeter off of Brussels regulations:

A market trader has been banned from selling a batch of kiwi fruits because they are 1mm smaller than EU rules allow.

Inspectors told 53-year- old Tim Down he is forbidden even to give away the fruits, which are perfectly healthy.

The father of three will now have to bin the 5,000 kiwis, costing him £1,000 in lost sales.

Speaking yesterday from the stall in Bristol he has owned for 20 years, Mr Down said: ‘It’s total nonsense. I work hard enough to make a living without all these bureaucrats telling us what we can and can’t sell.

‘They’re saying I’m a criminal for selling this fruit, but the real crime is that all this fruit will go to waste  –  all because it’s 1mm too small.

‘It’s a terrible waste, particularly when we’re all feeling the pinch from rising food prices and I’ve got to throw away this perfectly good fruit.’

This is life in a world regulated, not by the marketplace of real sellers and buyers, but by the government.  This, incidentally, is what Barack Obama would like to bring to all of us, since his fellow travelers are all statists — people who want the government to play an overarching role in our lives, including in the marketplace.

A little AP editorializing

Ireland stymied the EU’s latest effort to turn all of Western Europe into a lock-step bureaucracy, the ultimate Nanny state. That’s not the news. You already know that. What I wanted to blog about for a sec was the very first sentence in the AP news story (emphasis mine):

Substantial election returns showed Friday that Ireland’s voters have rejected the European Union reform treaty, a blueprint for modernizing the 27-nation bloc that cannot become law without Irish approval.

Is the author suggesting that the Irish are troglodytes, content to remain in their boggy, primitive past, and mean enough to drag the rest Europe into the same economic backwaters? I hope not. It’s my understanding that Ireland currently has one of the most dynamic economies Europe has to offer. Perhaps Ireland, which once before saved civilization, is trying to do so again, before the EU creates a completely stultifying regime, non-representational bureaucratic nightmare that destroys national economies and identities.

Some quick hits from the Brits *UPDATED*

Britain’s Telegraph has three interesting articles, and the London Times one:

Read about the vast difference between Britain’s and France’s socialized medicine. I’d certainly like to know what accounts for the difference before I start making changes to the American system. Color me skeptical, but I bet Obama, who shows himself to be remarkably ignorant about so many things, doesn’t know.

Speaking of the NSH, here’s one man’s story of what happened to him when he tried to improve his treatment for cancer. It’s a reminder that a whole bunch of socialism is less concerned with getting a good deal for all and much more concerned with making sure that some guy over there doesn’t get a better deal.

One British columnist offers a good analysis pointing to a McCain victory in November.

And some good news: Although it’s for the wrong reason (shock collateral damage in the form of Muslim deaths), some of the most outspoken clerics in the Islamic world are starting to turn on Al Qaeda. (H/t Danny Lemieux, who read it at Flopping Aces.)

UPDATE: You have to read this one too: Melanie Phillips’ marvelous op-ed about the way in which the British body politic is trying to bamboozle Brits into ceding all national power to the European Union (and the way in which plucky little Ireland is the one thing that stands in the way).  Phillips also disclosed the really dirty little secret, which is that the horses have already left the barn:  the EU controls most of British day-to-day life already.

A reminder that European democracy is something of a myth

In America, we think of historical Europe as a place were voiceless mastered were ruled by high-handed aristocrats. We assume that those days are over, wiped away by war, revolution, and the simple passage of time. The European Union, however, periodically provides timely reminders that Europe is still ruled by high-handed authoritarian figures who ignore the masses, ostensibly for the latters’ “own good.” As it happens, this new aristocracy isn’t one of blood, though; it’s a political class made up of well-attired Leftists:

European Union countries agreed in Lisbon to approve the union’s new constitution Wednesday, and today Denmark’s parliament is expected to do the same, reports Politiken newspaper.

The news was released via the Liberal Party’s newsletter and indicated a majority of political parties are ready to ratify the treaty for Denmark. There was no press release or conference held for the move, which will effectively put an end to any possibility for a referendum.

Many experts had previously expressed their belief that a majority of Danes might vote against the treaty if a referendum were held. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a staunch supporter of the EU treaty, will now be spared any difficulties from such an occurrence.

The original treaty was recalled for revision three years ago, after referenda in the Netherlands and France voted against ratification. But experts also say that Denmark’s current move to ratify the treaty without a public vote goes against tradition and poses a democratic problem.

‘Politicians with the “yea” parties have an obligation to put the treaty debate up for discussion,’ said Marlene Wind, head of the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for European Politics. ‘They haven’t done that, and now their failure to get the EU issue on the agenda almost looks like a scandal.’

And if you wonder why I accuse these new tyrants of being Leftists, look at who is defending this move that will destroy individual freedoms around Europe:

Michael Aastrup Jensen, the Liberal Party’s EU spokesperson, denied that the treaty was slipped in behind the public’s back.

‘All of us in parliament agreed that this was the most talked about treaty ever,’ he said. ‘We’ve had hearings, written blogs and debated it on our homepages, and there’s been over 500 formal parliamentary questions put to the government about it. So I’m not buying the claim that this has been done in silence.’

Note how talking about it is, in Jensen’s mind, just as good as actually letting the little people vote on the damned thing.

If you’d like more information about the new European aristocracy, one as cavalier of the “little people’s” rights as the old one, and one that is every bit as damaging, you should read three books:

Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It

Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within

Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan

And while I’m on the subject of Europe, a word about Poland, a country that continues to distinguish itself in the post-War era with a social conscience that other countries should envy and would do well to copy.  In today’s Warsaw Voice, there is a moving article about the April 15 ceremonies honoring the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, an act of staggering courage that the Polish President Lech Kaczyński beautifully describes:

“World War II witnessed a lot of heroic deeds,” Kaczyński said. “But the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising stands out even amongst heroic deeds. The ghetto insurgents weren’t fighting for victory but for honor. They resolved to fight in what was a hopeless situation. Living conditions in the ghetto are best summed up by the fact that 100,000 of the initial 450,000 people sent here died from hunger, disease and German oppression within a year,” the president said, referring to the Nazis cramming 450,000 people into an area of less than four square kilometers in the spring of 1941.  (Emphasis mine.)

A speech such as this one constantly reminds us that Europe, like all countries, manages to encompass the best of man and the worst of man.  I can only up that in the upcoming and inevitable culture war between Europe and the radical Islamists the European elitists have invited in, a humane, but strong, Europe emerges, one that is willing to fight honorably the the continuation of a civilized, pluralistic Western culture, rather than the dark side of Europe, one that gleefully slaughters those it classifies as lesser and different.