All of the votes have been counted and it is official as 52% voted yes to Brexit and 48% voted to remain in the European Union (E. U.). Along with the Brexit yes vote comes news that Prime Minister Cameron will resign, as he stated, “But the British people made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction. I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months. But I do not think it would be right for me to try and be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.” Well, he said the if vote went against his preference that he would pass the torch, and the good news is we will have another national vote for new leaders to…
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Israel and Turkey announced Monday the terms of a deal ending years of diplomatic stalemate between the eastern Mediterranean countries and heralding the normalization of ties.
Addressing one of the most controversial aspects of the deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip would remain in place following the deal but that Turkey would be able to send supplies to Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Netanyahu made the comments in Rome, broadcast live in Israel, after Israel and Turkey agreed on the highly anticipated pact. His Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim, made a simultaneous announcement in Ankara.
The earthquake caused by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union swiftly dislodged David Cameron, forcing him to announce he would step down, and is now in danger of bringing down another party leader – Jeremy Corbyn. Hilary Benn’s sacking kicked off what has now been termed “Project Jexit”, with eleven more members of the shadow cabinet leaving office in a series of staggered resignations and demands that Corbyn make way for a pro-EU candidate. More resignations are expected to follow today, with trade unions and activists still standing behind their man despite MPs rising up against him. Tom Watson has returned from Glastonbury and will hold crisis talks with Corbyn today, while the Labour leader will confront MPs tonight as they debate a motion of no confidence in him at what should be a very interesting PLP meeting. We’ll be charting everything that happens today on our liveblog.
As Labour suffers a paroxysm of mutiny, the Tories have a Government to keep steady and a Brexit to deliver. George Osborne sought to reassure the markets ahead of their opening this morning that Britain is “open for business”, but didn’t distance himself from any of the doom-laden predictions he made about Brexit during the campaign. The Chancellor insisted it will not be “plain sailing in the days ahead”, and suggested he would not bring in an “emergency” Budget packed with cuts and tax rises, but that this responsibility (and when to invoke Article 50 as part of the Brexit process) would fall to the next Prime Minister. He also indicated he would address his own role in the Conservative Party “in the coming days”, clarifying how long he will stay as Chancellor, and whether he would stand for the leadership. I’ve been talking to Tory MPs over the last few days, and found few rate his chances: “I’m not entirely sure there is time to do the repair job [for his reputation]” one former supporter told me.
Osborne has been offered a career lifeline by the Leave campaign, with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove reported to be keen for him to becomes Foreign Secretary or Chancellor in their “unity Government”. However it remains to be seen if this offer will be taken up, given how fiercely the Chancellor fought against Leavers and the idea of Brexit. Could he really negotiate something he argued vociferously against during the campaign? One other option open to him is to support a “stop Boris” candidate, most likely to be Theresa May. Justine Greening has suggested that Johnson and May should make a deal in order to bypass the need for a leadership contest, writing on ConHome: “Every day we spend on a leadership contest is a day that would be better spent getting on with making the most of Britain’s new future outside the EU.”
Johnson, like the Chancellor, has called for calm as the nation considers the task of negotiating Brexit. Writing in today’s Telegraph, he warns that the “negative consequences” of an EU exit are being “wildly overdone” by those who seek to overturn the result, and stresses that those campaigning for Leave wish to retain a free-trade relationship with the EU and remain part of the single market. But will Brussels be keen to help them? The Brexit vote seems to have left EU leaders feeling rather sore, with the Czech government calling for the removal of Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU President, for his failure to stop them voting Leave. The EU met for the first time without Britain yesterday, and Matt Holehouse suggests they’ll now treat Britain like Greece. Rancour may remain for a while, but one realization is dawning on Europe: leaving the EU could get rather popular.
Up to now, most of the anti-boycott activity has been basically defensive. It assumes that Israel can be vindicated by providing relevant information. Either one complains that the anti-Israel activists are misrepresenting reality, by lying or omitting relevant facts or whatever. Or one complains that there are other countries that obviously deserve to be targeted in the alleged respects, but Israel alone is picked out for criticism and attack. Both strategies fall under the rubric “It’s not fair!” They are so familiar as to need no further elaboration here.
Unfortunately, such strategies are of limited utility: they work only with institutions that are obliged to be fair. Thus misleading reports in foreign media can be combated if those media are committed to standards of fair reporting. Likewise, foreign governments and parliaments can be held to standards laid down in their own legislation. Much excellent work is being done in both regards, often by organizations making the most of limited means (see the list in the earlier article). This sort of work is also essential for keeping Israel’s friends on board, reassuring them that the accusations against Israel are undeserved.
Regarding the anti-Israel activists themselves, however, defensive strategies are ineffective. These people have no intention whatsoever to be fair; they treat information offered on behalf of Israel with derision. To deter them and drive them off, one must use strategies that fall under the rubric “This is going to hurt you more than us!” There are at least five ways of making such people feel uncomfortable and even miserable, as we shall see. Four of those strategies were already detailed in the previous article and here we shall add a fifth: Delegitimization. Let us review them, each in turn.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received a standing ovation on Thursday when he told the European Union Parliament in Brussels that rabbis in Israel were calling for their government to poison Arab water sources. On Saturday, he was forced to retract that statement, admitting that it had no factual basis.
On Thursday, Abbas said that criticism of Palestinian incitement was unjustified as, “The Israelis are doing this as well… Certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Abbas’s remarks, calling them a “blood libel”.
“In Brussels, Abu Mazen (Abbas) showed his true face,” said the statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office. “Someone who refuses to meet President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu for direct negotiations and spreads a blood libel in the European Parliament falsely claims that his hand is extended in peace.”
On Saturday, Abbas’ office issued a retraction.