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Monday, February 3, 2020    Volume XI, No. 4727    Yom Sheini, 8 Shevat, 5780    

Why Brexit Matters:  Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, January 31, 2020
Goodbye to the Demoralised Past. Hello, World: Melanie Phillips,, Jan. 31, 2020
Israel, United Kingdom Building a ‘New Strategic Relationship’:  Eyton Halon, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2020
What Does Brexit Day Mean for British Jews?: Stephen Oryszczuk:  Jewish News, Jan. 31, 2020


Why Brexit Matters
Michael Brendan Dougherty
National Review, Jan. 31, 2020

Because European Union business runs on Brussels time, the United Kingdom will be leaving the EU at precisely 11 p.m. GMT Friday. (If you’re in New York and want to tip your glass to our newly sovereign friends, that’s 6 p.m. EST.) In my own, perhaps peculiar view, Brexit is the most important moment for democracy since 1989.


If the European Union were merely the European Market, Brexit would be foolish: The United Kingdom has enjoyed a kind of privileged access to the Common Market because it retains its own powerful currency rather than the Euro, which in reality is managed on behalf of Germany and against the interests of Southern Europe. But the European Union is not just a market but a political project, really a kind of institutionalized utopian project.

European Council president Donald Tusk said, “I fear Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilization in its entirety.” It’s easy to point and laugh at such an extravagant statement, but Tusk was verbalizing the incredible challenge Brexit presents to a certain kind of European mind, a mind conditioned to the idea that democracy inheres not in popular sovereignty — democratic peoples governing themselves — but in the elite administration of human rights, insulated from democratic passions and prejudices.

It is this worldview that has shaped the construction of the European Union. The EU is governed by an unelected Commission and an unelected Court, both joined to an elected Parliament with no real legislative power. Can you impeach a European commissioner? Can you vote for one? Or vote to remove one? No, non, nein!

The European project that the Commission promotes and protects is guided by a spirit of ever-closer union, not the laws and treaties it makes. The European Union does not respect votes that go against that spirit, such as Ireland’s vote against the Lisbon treaty; instead, it forces reruns. It does not respect its own commitments, either: Angela Merkel’s welcome to 1 million refugees and migrants in 2015 totally blew apart the supposedly solemn Dublin Accords. It plays favorites: The pro-EU Emmanuel Macron is allowed to temporarily blow through the budgeting and debt requirements imposed on member states, but those same requirements are enforced with fervor against populists such as Italy’s Matteo Salvini. And it has no qualms about interfering in the politics of its member states: During the Euro crisis, recalcitrant national governments in Italy and Greece were replaced by a combination of pressure from above in the form of the Commission and the European Central Bank, and from sideways in the form of captured native interests. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]


Goodbye to the Demoralised Past. Hello, World
Melanie Phillips, Jan. 31, 2020

At 11 pm this evening, the United Kingdom will have left the European Union. These are words that, throughout the nightmare of the past three and a half years, those of us who were solid Brexiteers feared we might never be able to say.

From the moment in 2016 that Britain voted by 52-48 per cent to leave the EU, the political, intellectual and media Remainer establishment threw everything they had into stopping Brexit and reversing that people’s vote.

The issue itself bitterly divided families and sundered friendships. The unprecedented onslaught on fundamental democratic principles set parliament against the people, undermined trust in the judiciary and helped provoked an electoral upheaval which may have contributed to a fundamental reconfiguration of the British political landscape.

The bitterness and divisions engendered by this horrible experience will take time to dissipate, if ever.

The arrogant and egoistic Remainer establishment, with minds sealed shut against any challenge to their world-view, have learned precisely nothing from their defeat. They will now blame Brexit and those who voted to leave the EU for absolutely every disadvantage Britain may now suffer, however irrelevant it may be to the issue.

For many of those who voted Brexit, the iron has entered their soul. Abandoned by the entire political establishment, vilified, insulted and abused by the media and intellectual nomenklatura as racists, xenophobes and imbeciles, they have now learned they are not powerless against this vicious cultural behemoth. They defeated it, not through violence or extremism but through the simple power of their own voice and vote: through democracy, decency, and rationality.

And empowered by the realisation that there are many millions like them in this great movement of resistance, they are already beginning to challenge the everyday abuses of power and outright repudiation of reason now occurring through the witch-hunts against anyone who fails to conform to the dictates of identity politics or post-science fictions: the dogma enforced by the inquisitors of anti-democratic, anti-west, anti-humanity globalism.

Others, however, are simply drained and exhausted by the titanic battle to leave the EU, and now want instead to pull up the drawbridge against any more political controversy. Of which, alas, there will be plenty. For leaving the EU will open up the real argument for which the Brexit battle was merely a curtain-raiser. Now Britain has to hammer out its long-term relationship with the EU.

And now comes a particular danger. The transition period of at least eleven months, during which the UK will remain bound by EU rules while no longer being a member, means that for this period the UK will be at the mercy of anything the EU might do to damage it. For the EU, the battle now merely moves up a gear. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]


Israel, United Kingdom Building a ‘New Strategic Relationship’
Eyton Halon
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2020

Israel and the United Kingdom are building a "new strategic relationship" driven by soaring bilateral trade and deepening ties in various sectors, according to a new report.

The increasing strength of the relationship, the report by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) states, is symbolized by soaring bilateral trade between the two countries. Trade increased by 72% from $6.1 billion in 2012 to $10.5b. in 2018, and the UK is now Israel's third largest export market, surpassed only by the United States and China.

The Brexit referendum and ensuing uncertainty has seemingly not dampened the trading spirit, with Israel becoming the first country to sign a post-Brexit continuity trade agreement with the UK.

Since the June 2016 vote, 65 Israeli companies have established or increased their activity in the UK – creating 1,500 jobs. Today, more than 500 Israeli firms have a physical presence there. During the same period, Israeli investors have injected more than $500 million into the UK.

Highlighting the UK's desire to access Israel's innovation ecosystem, the establishment of the UK Israel Tech Hub in 2011 at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv was the first special tech-focused mission of its kind. By 2018, the hub had generated 175 partnerships worth £85m. ($110m.), estimated to have contributed £800m. ($1.04b.) to the UK economy.

Commercial cooperation in cybersecurity has grown, too, with an increasing number of UK banks and finance companies working with Israeli cybersecurity teams to protect their operations.

"In just a few years, Britain-Israel relations have been transformed," said BICOM CEO James Sorene. "Bilateral trade is booming with an increase of 72% in six years. But beneath the stats, there is evidence of extensive collaboration in cybersecurity, fintech and healthcare."

In 2018, the UK imported Israeli pharmaceutical products valued at over $2.8b., largely from drugmaker Teva.

BEYOND EXPANDING commercial ties, Israel is estimated to be Britain's third largest arms supplier. Recent acquisitions have focused on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), anti-tank guided missiles, fighter jet-targeting systems and flight training systems. Demonstrating shared defense interests, the countries have increasingly cooperated on matters of security, intelligence, training and weapons development.

In addition, government-to-government cooperation in cybersecurity has remained strong. The report cites one senior UK official describing cybersecurity collaboration as a "first-order partnership."

"I have seen the vast potential for UK-Israeli collaborations," said UK Ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan. "Our two countries complement each other’s strengths. There is potential to do even more, including after Brexit. Trade is already over $10b., and the UK is Israel’s biggest trade partner in Europe." … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]


What Does Brexit Day Mean for British Jews?
Stephen Oryszczuk
Jewish News, Jan. 31, 2020

Today is Brexit Day – when the UK officially leaves the European Union.  In the days leading up to 31 January, experts have been quick to reassure that the country’s withdrawal from the European Union will not adversely affect Jewish life here.

This follows several meetings with government ministers, most recently with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, to discuss a range of issues, notably Jewish religious slaughter (shechita) and kosher food pricing, including post-Brexit tariffs, imports and exports, non-stun labelling, and abattoir certification.

Other areas of concern discussed included visas for security and care staff at Jewish institutions, the UK’s post-Brexit sanctions regime, the continuation of existing European funding for Jewish organisations, and a future UK-Israel trade deal.

Interestingly, the Board of Deputies – which initiated last week’s meeting with Barclay – said Jewish representatives pushed the case for “ensuring that the UK retains its reputation as an inclusive society after Brexit”.

Board vice president Amanda Bowman described these as “the key issues arising for the Jewish community from Brexit” after the meeting, which was also attended by representatives from the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and Shechita UK. “We were able to thank Mr Barclay for the government’s action on a range of issues and ask for additional work on a few additional matters leading up to and following Brexit,” she said. “We were very pleased to hear his strong commitment to working with us.”
Barclay later tweeted that the government “looks forward to working with the Jewish community to make Brexit a success for all parts of our country”. But does he and the government still have work to do?

Privately, several Jewish representatives all told Jewish News that their Brexit fears had been assuaged by ministers over several months. One said: “With the Tories’ commanding new majority, we’re really not worried.”

On trade – until now covered by an EU-Israel deal – there was an early win in February last year, when Israel and the UK signed a bilateral post-Brexit deal replicating the existing EU agreement. Had that not been forthcoming, it could have impacted on Israeli goods, religious items and even UK-Israel flights.

By the summer, there were still some areas of concern, enough for Jewish groups to list these publicly. One such concern was sanctions, since the UK’s and EU’s list of terror groups subject to financial sanctions have not covered the same organisations. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]


For Further Reference:

Boris Johnson Heralds ‘Recaptured Sovereignty’ after Brexit:  Eleni Courea, Politico, Jan. 31, 2020 -- Boris Johnson hailed the “dawn of a new era” as the U.K. leaves the European Union.

Podcast:  A Breakdown of Brexit:   Siraj Hashmi, Washington Examiner, Jan. 31, 2020 -- Brexit is finally here. On Jan. 31, at 11 p.m. GMT, the United Kingdom left the European Union after 47 years of membership. Katherine Doyle and Tom Rogan from the Washington Examiner analyze what lies ahead for Britain and the EU as the two sides finally break free from each other.

Brexit: UK Begins New Chapter Outside European UnionBBC News, Feb. 1, 2020 -- European leaders have expressed sadness at the UK leaving the EU, with France's Emmanuel Macron emphasizing Britain's "unrivalled ties" with the French.

Brexit Consequences for the U.K., the EU, and the United States:  Kimberly Amadeo, The Balance, Feb. 1, 2020 -- Brexit is the nickname for "British exit" from the European Union. The U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.

EU's Battle After Brexit: Brussels Faces Fight to Prove the 'Doomsters' Wrong Without the UK:  Peter Foster, The Telegraph, Feb. 1, 2020 -- When Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 it felt to many observers that the bloc’s economic and political foundations were crumbling before their eyes.

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Prof. Frederick Krantz, Editor (Concordia University)

Machla Abramovitz, Publications Editor

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