Those of you who have read the first two installments in this mini-series on European anti-Semitism will have, it's hoped, no trouble following the analysis here. The overall argument that spans all three installments is divided into 8 major parts, PART I, PART II, and so on. Parts I - III were set out in the initial installment; the lengthy Part IV took up all of the second installment; and what follows are Parts V - VIII. It will have helped if you've read those first two installments. If you haven't, you're urged to at least run your eye over both before tackling the argument here.
Another thing worth noting. This mini-series on EU anti-Semitism is something of an interlude in a much larger, wide-ranging project that began a few weeks ago: specifically, systematic comparisons between the US and other democracies, mainly in West Europe, and what --- for good or bad --- explains certain unusual American traits, cultural and institutional, that add up to what the admirable British weekly The Economist calls "American exceptionalism." The first buggy article in that larger series appeared in November, and the various constituent parts that comprise American exceptionalism were set out schematically there. With this interlude on European anti-Semitism now done, we will return to that more ambitious project starting with next article, taking up where we left off: the nature and evidence for the first American exceptionalism, a built-in suspicion --- again, for good or bad --- of big government. This suspicion, as the series showed in an exchange with a British visitor, stands out even when the comparative focus is narrowed to just the English-speaking democracies --- the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.
So far, remember, the widely held suspicion in American politics was documented by concentrating on political institutions: a separation of powers at the center, an unique role for the courts in American politics, and a powerful federalism that has no rival even in Canada or Australia --- though tiny Switzerland's is comparable. When that larger, much more ambitious project resumes in the next article, you'll find several systematic comparisons of governmental spending --- all sorts as a percentage of GDP, including social expenditures --- in the US and EU democracies. Survey evidence will also be set out that documents why Americans are overwhelmingly satisfied with the relatively low levels of expenditures, again for good or bad . . . education and defense the two big exceptions, both policy-areas where the US outspends all other democratic countries, percentage wise or absolutely.
In the meantime, shift your attention to the rippling outbreak of anti-Semitic racism in the EU once more.
PART V. THE CAUSES OF THE NEW EUROPEAN ANTI-SEMITISM
More significantly, for all its virtues, the San Francisco Chronicle
article on the incendiary anti-Semitism in the EU never gets around to pinning down and illuminating the root causes of its new outbreak and rapid spread there. Their analysis stays largely on the surface.
To get down to cases, the Chronicle
journalists rightly note that anti-Semitism has been embedded in European life for over a thousand years or more --- actually, it's much older than the start of the Middle Ages to which the article makes reference, but no matter. That's not the problem. The problem is that the journalists are more or less content to observe that the new anti-Semitism, besides having ancient roots in European life, is rationalized in the media and elsewhere these days as anti-Israeli criticisms and then stop there. The root causes run much deeper. They're not just an outward sign of recurring historical influences, much as there are links to traditional European anti-Semitism; nor are the they confined to hostility toward alleged Israeli menaces to world-peace (huh?). Instead, they fester in the turbulence and social conflicts that surround the belated and externally imposed changes that the EU countries are being forced to implement . . . reluctantly, at a snail's pace in some countries like France, Italy, and Germany, more vigorously in Holland and Scandinavia, and with full-tilt tendencies in Ireland and Britain.
Most Europeans recoil from these changes and manifest worry and pessimism about them. This isn't just speculation. As PART IV in the previous buggy installment showed, the growing "gloom and pessimism" among the EU populations are captured faithfully by Eurobarometer
, an official EU pollster group that probes public opinion in the 15 member-states twice yearly. [For that earlier buggy summary of its latest findings, published in November 2003 click here.
Specifically, the gloom and pessimism that Eurobarometer found pertain to national and EU institutions alike as well as to each country's economic prospects . . . especially as the comfy welfare-state almost everywhere comes under forced changes, highly unwelcome. Less than half of the EU population even believes now that the EU itself is a good thing --- sentiments that reflect growing alienation among the national publics on display for years now and that the new EU constitution, drawn up over the last two years, was supposed to dispel. Not so. In early December 2003, the splits across the 15 member-countries --- as well as among the 10 new ones set to join next year --- were sufficiently sharp and far-reaching that the summit-conference of the heads of government, which was supposed to cap the two-year work by signing the final document, broke down in stalemated acrimony. As for overcoming the alienation of the publics, they weren't consulted once during the two-years of closed-door bureaucratic work on the proposed constitution. Come to that, few of the 15 existing member-states even intend to hold referenda on the momentous changes at stake. That is not the way the EU operates. Essentially a club of governments and technocrats --- the latter under the supervision of the EU executive commission --- it operates with largely tête-à-tête secrecy and at best very limited democratic supervision by the EU Parliament.
For the national publics, it's worse. Kept at bay by EU policymaking --- which entails intricate, astonishingly detailed regulations that intrude deep into the daily lives of individuals, business firms, employees, and national governments --- they have little say, if any, over those intrusions. Come to that, as survey evidence repeatedly shows, most Europeans don't understand how policies are shaped and administered by the tangle of EU institutions.
I fear you are correct about the bastions of the French cullinary tradition.
"Le Fast Food" is as attractive to French households as it is to those of other nationalities, the good up and coming French chefs are all working in London these days and the bistro is indeed dying out. Having said that, there are quite a few making a living out of the 2-hour lunch break. Should you make it to the Riviera I will introduce you to one such restaurant that does an excellent 4 course lunch including wine and coffee for €12.50 (or about $100 at todays exchange rates :) ) - I expect you to show your gratitude by inviting me to the local ** Michelin restaurant in return so we can verify the status of the fourth bsation.
Just to set the record straight Finland was another country that, although allied with the Nazis, did not hand over any of its own Jews to the Nazis. Its record wasn't perfect in that it did hand over eight Austrian Jewish refugees (see http://www.thankstoscandinavia.org/press%20release_finnish%20pm%20apologizes.htm for the apology) and may have handed over a number of Soviet POWs, including jewish ones, in exchange for Finnish-named Soviet POWs captured by the Germans; but overall it is clear that Finns never cooperated with the Nazis other than in a limited military sense.
PS in your article responding to my claims of angloshperic exceptionalism you said I lived in Italy, which is untrue as I reside on the French Riviera, close (and at this time of the year easily mistaken given the hordes of Italian tourists) but no cigar.
THE BUGGY REPLY:
Francis: Thank you for the clarifying comments about Finland, something I didn't happen to know. It's gratifying to learn it. That then makes two German allies, Finland and Bulgaria --- plus possibly Franco-Spain, never at war with the Allies --- that refused to cooperate with Nazi genocide.
The French Riviera --- you live there, huh? My mistake. I thought you owned a huge king-size castle on the other side of the border, complete with a retinue of Sicilian and Sardinian servants trained at a special school for Discretely Docile House-Staff in London. Let's hope that you at least have an Italian sous-chef working in your kitchen.
French cuisine --- which was still a wonder when I first went to Europe as an undergrad to study in Germany in 1959 --- has long fallen on evil days. Alas. The backbone of French food was first and foremost wives and mothers in small towns and cities, who spent hours each days going to markets and preparing big mid-day and evening meals; now most French women live in big cities and work and are as exhausted at the end of the day as the men. Scarcely any of my French female students at Bordeaux University in the mid-1970s knew even how to cook. A second backbone was about 10,000 small family-run bistros; virtually all have disappeared since the 1950s, victims of the growing affluence of the French who found for the first time they could buy cars, houses, secondary-homes, trips to Club-Med, big TVs, and the like, rather than spend the little discretionary income they once had at nearby momma-poppa bistros. A third bastion, young men --- who would toil for years as browbeaten apprentice-chefs at slave-labor wages in the hope that one day they might have their own restaurant --- found that they could get lots of decent paying jobs elsewhere without being screamed at all day long by temperamental head-chefs, full of edgy worries that they'd lose a star when a Guide Michelin inspector showed up. As everyone knows, when that happens, you have to commit hari-kari French-style. Honor requires it. Small wonder that most of those slaving away in French restaurants these days appear to be North Africans.
That leaves only the fourth bastion --- the very expensive restaurants, about 300 in number, that get stars in the Guide Michelin. If you're willing to spend $100 - $150 apiece for a meal, you'll do OK. Essentially, they're for about 50,000 very rich French and whatever well-heeled tourists happen to be passing through.
It's a shame. No doubt there's someone at work in the National Front ready to prove it's all the fault of the Jews or the Arabs or Mickey Mouse or the Idiot-Texan in the White House.