DOREEN WACHMANN COLUMN
Can we risk losing our independence?

THE use of 'Hitler' in an argument is always bound to cause controversy, as people react to what they regard as the trivialisation of the Holocaust.

Yet, despite repeated warnings for decades over this issue, top politicians keep on doing it.

Last year, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu caused mayhem when he alleged that Hitler only decided to exterminate the Jews after being so persuaded by the Mufti of Jerusalem.

More recently, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone was suspended after defending Hitler as a 'Zionist' for wanting the Jews to go to Israel in 1932 - 16 years before there was a country called Israel.

That's a guy who claims he knows Jewish history!

Now the more recent former Mayor of London Boris Johnson has entered the fray by using the Hitler card when comparing the European Union's desire to construct a European superstate with that of Napoleon and Hitler.

But before we shout down Johnson for playing a "nasty, nasty game", as Yvette Cooper claimed, we should think again and realise that just maybe Boris might just be expressing genuine political concerns.

Coincidentally, I opted for Brexit the same weekend as Boris did, but probably for totally different reasons.

For me, there was definitely no political ambition involved.

What prompted me to want the UK to leave the EU - an issue over which I had been previously undecided, although the previous year I had warned of the Babel effect of the EU as national identities become suppressed - was the news in February that the new right-wing Polish government wanted to introduce a law making it criminal for anyone anywhere to imply that the Poles bore any responsibility for Nazi atrocities perpetrated on their soil.

And it wasn't just Jewish Polish historians like Professor Jan Tomasz Gross, who had documented the fate of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, who were being targeted by the proposed law.

The Polish government was also attacking articles published in the UK and films produced in America which could remotely seem to cast aspersions on the Polish record on Nazism.

I was quaking in my boots. Just a couple of months previously, I had prefaced my interview with Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich with a reference to Polish 'historic antisemitism', mentioning 'antisemitic violence' against Holocaust survivors who attempted to return to their Polish homes.

Were the Poles now out to get me and bung me into prison for what I had written, I frantically wondered?

I live in Britain, where we have laws guaranteeing free speech and where Holocaust revisionism is repudiated. But, then my mind began to sketch out a nightmare scenario, which could indeed become a realistic possibility.

In response to the current immigration crisis, right-wing governments are coming into power all across Europe.

Since I opted for Brexit in February, Austria's right-wing party has won an electoral victory. Angela Merkel faces a right-wing backlash for her German policy of unfettered immigration, as do leaders everywhere in Europe.

What if these right-wing governments became the majority in the EU and were able to take over its vastly unaccountable bureaucracy and impose laws on all its member states?

It would then be too late for Britain to protest and regain its sovereignty. Hitler and Napoleon would indeed have loved a hugely-unaccountable bureaucracy, like the EU, to further their expansionist aims.

In February I did not use the H word, but I did warn that "a nightmare scenario would be if, in the next few years, more ultra-nationalist parties would gain power in the European Parliament and turn the immense bureaucratic institution into a highly-potent totalitarian empire with no need of military conquests to spread its anti-democratic doctrines".

Two weeks later I also referred to the opposite danger of the large Muslim immigration into Europe, possibly giving extremist Islamic parties power in the EU.

I warned: "Should either of these extremes take over and contemplate world domination, they would have a ready-made empire waiting for them in the largely unaccountable EU bureaucracy."

Maybe Boris is not so far off the mark in his reference to Hitler.

Last week another Jewish newspaper claimed that British Jews would be more likely to vote to remain in the EU because they preferred the 'security' of the status quo than a "leap into the unknown".

Jews in eastern Europe in the 1930s also preferred the supposed security of the status quo to a leap into the unknown.

When we vote next month, we should think about not what the EU has done since its inception, nor about the immediate possibly harmful, short-term economic effects of Brexit, but about what type of Europe will have sovereignty over Britain in the days of our children and grandchildren.

Can we take the risk of losing our independence to such a disastrous possibility, which could encroach on our rituals of shechita and brit mila?

Or should we take the opportunity to regain our British sovereignty now before it is too late?

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