By Rossella Tercatin
The results of the milestone referendum that stated that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union left most Italians shocked and saddened. Italian Jews are not an exception: after the news broke, social networks were flooded with disappointed, sad or angry comments regarding the British decision.
To express the feeling of deep concern over the future of the European political project was the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Renzo Gattegna.
“The Europe that we used to know, the one that was born from the ashes of the Second World War, the free, open and inclusive Europe that was imagined and built by our forefathers, is now threatened. We are heading towards some difficult months and all the moderates of Europe are being called to cooperate to avoid other ugly surprises that could put the most important attainments of democracy in danger,” he said. He called for all European nations to contrast populism and the resurgence of xenophobic groups.
“It is also time, for all the Jews of Europe to remember the values that are our values and to make them relevant and spread out in the places in which we live: democracy, tolerance, respect for the diversity of opinions and choices, passion for culture and research, strive for the freedom of expression and for social justice, humility, transparency and honesty. Without these values, not only a single nation, but the whole Europe will be threatened, as well as every Mediterranean country, including Israel, the only, precious example of democracy in the Middle East, which risks remaining isolated,” Gattegna further pointed out.
Commenting on the outcome of the referendum on Facebook was also a member of Parliament and former president of the Jewish Community of Milan, Emanuele Fiano.
“Behind Brexit, there is failure. We must continue believing in Europe and we must change it for better. We need a more just Europe, or there are going to be other Brexits. Berlin, listen up, may history be a teacher.”
Emeritus director of McKinsey and Corriere della Sera columnist Roger Abravanel blames fear and ignorance.
“Populists always need a common enemy: in Mein Kampf, the enemy were the Jews, in the case of Brexit, it was immigration. The British saw hordes of immigrants reaching European shores on TV and got deeply scared,” he told Pagine Ebraiche on Friday.
The economist, who is a member of the Jewish Community of Milan foresaw months of political and financial turbulence. “The markets will continue to go down and populist parties will be strengthened.”
Fear, ignorance, populism are to be blamed, but also European leadership, “which has not been able to find a common political ground.”
By Rossella Tercatin