EDITOR's NOTES: “Nationalism is like alcohol: it gives you a buzz, but you have a terrible hangover when you wake up
The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which created the Economic European Community and laid the groundwork for the current European Union is an occasion to reflect on the past but mainly to look at the future of the EU as we are witnessing worrying phenomenoms, in particular the rise of populist, naltionalist and sometimes anti-Semitic parties in several countries of the continent, but also the ongoing terrorist threat.
Europe is not only a free market for goods, it is also a common experience of shared values promoting peaceful cooperation, respect of human dignity, liberty, freedom of religion, democracy, equality and solidarity among European nations and peoples.
But the rise of extremist parties and the possibilty that some of them come to power is a frightening prospect for Jews in Europe. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who led a rabbinical conference in Rome, warned this week that a ‘’tolerant attitude’’ of European governments toward extremism in countries where there are many manifestations of anti-Semitism could lead to a mass exodus of Jews from these countries. ‘’It is superfluous to say that a country ruled by an nti-Semitic party is a red line. If we reach that situation we will call on the Jews of Europe to flee from those countries,’’ he said.
The rise of extremist populist parties is probably a consequence of the lack of understanding by many Europeans of the benefits of a united Europe.
“Nationalism is like alcohol: it gives you a buzz, but you have a terrible hangover when you wake up,” wrote European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.
Let’s hope that Europeans will understand the dangers and that the spirit of the Treaty of Rome will survive Europe's identity crisis....