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In the U.K. and in Israel, a Shift Toward Ultranationalist Isolationism

Unlike the British, Israel doesn’t need a referendum to declare its disengagement from Europe and the West. It's well on its way.

The shock caused by the British public’s decision to leave the European Union is still fresh. The fall of the world’s stock markets and the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron are just the beginning of a long and tortuous separation whose consequences cannot yet be assessed. Is the entire EU on the brink of disintegration? Will Britain itself continue to be the United Kingdom? What are the vote’s implications for international coalitions — those bound by free trade agreements and those formed in order to wage war on terror?
At this point, all that can be done in the face of these portentous musings is to examine the reasons for the decision to leave. The direct cause was Cameron’s hasty promise to hold a referendum in a bid to placate rivals within his party, a promise that ultimately led to his resignation. But it was nationalist and ultranationalist undercurrents, isolationism, racism and a desire to retreat from a Europe thronged with Syrian refugees, together with an unwillingness to keep taking part in international military operations, that formed the ideological and cultural foundations for the vote to leave. These foundations are apparently shared by a majority of British citizens.
These foundations are not unique to Britain; they can be found today in most European states. Nor is the United States a stranger to isolationist ideology that seeks to distance the superpower from intervention in global crises and which is characterized by racist and xenophobic trends that are apparent in the very candidacy of a figure like Donald Trump.
The ultranationalist and isolationist undercurrents that separated Britain from Europe are flowing in Israel as well, and they do not remain below the surface. Israel, it seems, doesn’t need a referendum or official decision in order to declare its disengagement from Europe or the West. Its policy and identity as the last occupation state in the West is a de facto declaration. But unlike Britain, Israel needs the support of international coalitions for its survival.
The ultranationalist isolationism that Israel flaunts is not a defensive wall against international boycotts and sanctions, but rather a wall of paper. In Europe the racism, xenophobia and hatred of minorities cultivated by extreme right-wing movements still run up against powerful liberal and humanitarian dams. In Israel these dams are collapsing. Britain’s decision must not be seen in Israel as a model for emulation by those who believe the state can exist as an island. The ultranationalist right must not be allowed to turn Israel into a state imprisoned in a solitary confinement of nations.

Haaretz Editorial
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.727101



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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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