SPOTLIGHT: TRUMP AND THE â€˜SPECIAL RELATIONSHIPâ€™
It was 1946 when Winston Churchill coined the term â€œspecial relationshipâ€ to describe the uniquely close ties between the U.S. and UK: diplomatic, military, cultural, linguistic, economicâ€¦ and yes, historic. The transatlantic amity dates back to the mid-19th century, when the two countries â€" one the worldâ€™s dominant empire, the other an ambitious former colony destined to be an empire of its own â€" began to find it both natural and convenient to work together. It says something about the fluidity of geopolitics that this particularly close partnership could take form just decades after the two countries fought a pair of bloody wars.
Could it all be reversed even more quickly with the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency? After the presumptive Republican nominee took direct slaps at both British Prime Minister David Cameron and newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan in an ITV interview Monday, British political commentator John McTernan suggested in The Telegraph that the threat to the British-American relations would be very real indeed with Trump in the White House. And it goes beyond any personal animosity between the Republican frontrunner and Cameron. â€œThere is no conceivable British prime minister who would be able to fake respect for Trump's intellect and strategic insight. It is, fundamentally, what a Trump victory would mean: a triumph for nativism and isolationism. The strategic response would be for Britain to pivot to Europe and the new defence axis would be the one that has always, in a way, made more sense: integration with France,â€ McTernan writes.
No doubt global coverage in the coming months will include a region-by-region, country-by-country look at what a Trump presidency would mean for the rest of the world. His campaign, as Dominique Moisi noted last week in French daily Les Echos, is the first major challenge to Washingtonâ€™s internationalist policy in the past 75 years. It is just one part of what makes Trumpâ€™s candidacy so, wellâ€¦ special.
DOZENS KILLED IN BAGHDAD BOMBINGS
Two bombings in the Iraqi capital, including a suicide attack in a crowded market, have killed at least 44 people. Reuters says that initial reports indicate a woman suicide bomber carried out the market attack in a Shia neighborhood in northern Baghdad.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Syrian truce talks resume in Vienna
- U.S. presidential primaries in Kentucky and Oregon
- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
EU REPORT: TURKEY VISA DEAL RAISES TERROR RISK
A European Union report warns that the recent deal to ease Turkey visa requirements in exchange for stemming the flow of migrants will increase the risk of terrorist attacks, The Telegraph reports.
POPE FRANCIS INTERVIEW
In a rare interview, Pope Francis told the French Catholic daily La Croix that â€œidolatry of money,â€ is causing much of the suffering in the world. He also denied that there is a â€œfear of Islamâ€ in Europe. Read more in our Extra! feature.
MAJOR TREASURE OFF ISRAEL COAST
Israelâ€™s Antiquities Authority has confirmed a major discovery by divers of ancient Roman artifacts from a merchant ship that sank near Caesarea roughly 1,600 years ago, The Jerusalem Post reports.
â€" ON THIS DAY
Anne of Denmark and Trent Reznor are linked to May 17. See more in our 57-second shot of history.
WARREN BUFFETT TAKES BIG BITE OF APPLE
Investment guru Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) has divulged a more than $1 billion stake in Apple Inc. Reuters notes that while some had recently suggested that the tech firm was overvalued, Buffettâ€™s vote of confidence may be a sign Apple has joined the ranks of more mature companies, such as Microsoft or Intel.
MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE WINNER
South Korean novelist Han Kang was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for â€œThe Vegetarian.â€ The BBC reports that the work of her English translator, Deborah Smith, is also particularly noteworthy.
Mohamed al-Rufai, a magistrate, and his wife Fawzia, a teacher, live in Misrata, a coastal city in Western Libya. In spite of the countryâ€™s lingering unrest after the 2011 Libyan revolution, the two have remained in their hometown, determined to make the best of a trying situation. â€œAt 19, Maryam is the youngest of their three children; fluent in English, she dreams of becoming an interpreter, but finds the social environment for women in Misrata stifling. "I stay at home like a dead person," she says, a hint of rebellion in her voice. "Society judges you down to the air you breathe." When driving the family car, even with her mother, she feels under siege. "Boys are staring at us and call out to us at crossroads. Some even provoke accidents just to force us to get to know each other!" she says, fuming. "I look at my society with anger. I can't even go out for a coffee with friends, live a normal human being's life."
Read the full article: A Libyan Familyâ€™â€‹s Quiet Resilience.
â€" MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
In Mexico, A Motorized Rickshaw Challenge To Uber â€" El Informador
Big Data Will Change How We Borrow Money â€" Les Echos
LAST EYE FROM 19TH CENTURY
The worldâ€™s last living witness of the 19th century is 116-year-old Emma Morano of Verbania, northern Italy, who was born in 1899. Morano â€" whose first love was a soldier in World War I â€" once worked in a jute mill, hasnâ€™t left home in years and eats three raw eggs a day.
â€" Crunched by Cynthia Martens
A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.
BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.
Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.
The incident at the cemetery
They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."
There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.
It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.
The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.
The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender
Crimes against Jews are rising
Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.
Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.
Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.
And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?
Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously
This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.
Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.
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