Good morning. In just over 24 hours, America will go to the polls in the darkest, strangest election in living memory. Over the weekend FBI director James Comey, who provoked such fury last month with his last-minute announcement of an extra thread in his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, announced that she is now again in the clear. Democrats are furious because they think he threw the election into chaos for nothing; Republicans because they think he is under “political pressure”. Either way, it will be a great relief to Mrs Clinton and her team.
Will she win? Who knows? This election has been so full of surprises that Nate Silver, the stats wizard who correctly called the 2008 and 2012 elections but initially gave Mr Trump a 3 per cent chance of winning the Republican primary, is openly building room into his predictive models for substantial polling error. There are some good signals in the noise for Mrs Clinton, including a higher than expected early voting turnout from Hispanics and African-Americans in key states. MrTrump has reportedly fallen into “despair”, with his campaign in chaos and his aides finally having wrestled him away from his Twitter account. Still, as Fraser Nelson warns: “Humans are unpredictable…America will find out soon enough.”
In Britain, the week dawns as it always does these days: murky and Brexity. Theresa May is in India to negotiate a trade deal, but that is already off to a rocky start. Indian ministers want her to relax visa rules, in particular student visas. Indian students enrolling in UK universities has dropped from 40,000 to 20,000 in recent years. Mrs May has rejected any action on that front. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt has pointedly kept open the possibility of calling an early General Election if peers or (perish the thought) MPs manage to impede the passage of an Article 50 Bill.
A number of Conservatives including Nicky Morgan and Dominic Grieve are said to have told the PM they will not back it unless she spells out what kind of Brexit she wants – and, perhaps, if it’s not the kind they like. They do have leverage: legal minds including the Attorney General believe appealing the case to the Supreme Court could end up gutting the government’s powers of prerogative, which top judges are said to despise. Still, their difficulty will be in deciding just how pernickety they can be before it starts to look like obstruction. There seems to be little appetite among the potential rebels to actually block Article 50; the real challenge may be in the House of Lords.
An early election would come with many interesting twists, but here’s one I’ve not seen much discussed. John Strafford, chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy and a veteran of local Conservative politics, believes any MP seen as attempting to impose conditions on the passage of an Article 50 bill would be in danger of deselection by their famously pro-Leave local associations. In the past, central office has often exerted pressure on local parties to keep its favoured candidates in place. Perhaps in this instance there are some MPs on whose behalf it would be disinclined to intervene.
Meet the packs of new Nazis, posing as Righteousness and Virtue, pursuing new exterminationist policies against Israel and, right after that, the Jews.
“In Nazi Germany,” noted Brendan O’Neill in the Wall Street Journal, “it was all the rage to make one’s town Judenfrei.”
“Now a new fashion is sweeping Europe: to make one’s town or city what we might call ‘Zionistfrei’ — free of the products and culture of the Jewish state. Across the Continent, cities and towns are declaring themselves ‘Israel-free zones,’ insulating their citizens from Israeli produce and culture. It has ugly echoes of what happened 70 years ago.”
The Nazis said “kauft nicht bei Juden“: do not buy from Jews. The slogan of these new racists is “kauft nicht beim Judenstaat“: do not buy from the Jewish State. The Nazis repeated “Geh nach Palästina, du Jud“: Go to Palestine, you Jew. Racists in Europe shout “Jews out of Palestine!”
Let us take a look at who they are. The city council of Leicester, for one, recently approved banning products “made in Israel.” Think of that: a city without Israeli products. This is not Nazi Germany in 1933; this is a British city under Labour leadership in 2016. Two Welsh councils, Swansea and Gwynedd, blocked commercial partnerships with Israeli companies. In Dublin, a well-known restaurant, Exchequer, decided not to use the Israeli products. The Irish town of Kinvara became “Israel-free”. In Spain, the town of Villanueva de Duero no longer distributes Israeli water in its public buildings. The French city of Lille froze an agreement with the Israeli town of Safed.
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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) declared that it is “appalled by the accelerating extinction of media pluralism in Turkey,” and referred to Cumhuriyet (“The Republic”) as “the latest victim of ‘never-ending purge’ of Turkish media.”
Raids on Cumhuriyet‘s offices and the arrests of its journalists are attacks on freedom of speech. More tragic is that Cumhuriyet was established in 1924 as a result of the victimization of the Armenians in Turkey.
Cumhuriyet, originally an Armenian business — the “Matosyan Printing House” — was seized in 1924 from Vahan Matosyan, an Armenian businessman who had to leave Turkey for Switzerland because he did not feel safe in the face of the Turkish government’s genocide against its Christian population.
Cumhuriyet’s founder, Yunus Nadi, also a lifelong writer for the newspaper, had before that written for Rumeli, a publication of the Ottoman Turkish Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the group that committed the 1915 Armenian genocide.
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