Speaking in support of the UK’s continued presence in the European Union, on which a referendum is being held today, Prime Minister David Cameron recently argued that without Britain the EU will move in an even more anti-Israel direction, and Jews should therefore vote against “Brexit.” Jonathan Neumann responds:
Is Israel better off with Britain remaining inside the EU? The question might better be asked as follows: would it be better for Jews as a whole? Chief among the issues the EU will surely take up of keen interest to the continuance of Jewry in Europe are the possibility of future restrictions by the EU on kosher ritual slaughter and circumcision as well as the flows of migrants into Europe, some of whom have already targeted Jewish businesses.
The prime minister is probably right that Britain may be able to play a role tempering the EU’s negative diplomatic stance toward Israel from within, and might be a voice against rules that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Jews to live in Europe. Indeed, if the EU’s current policies toward the Jewish state are the outcome of Britain’s positive influence, one dreads to think what the EU might do were Britain to leave. But the primary concern of Britain’s Jews will not be this issue but rather the general set of concerns Jews share with their fellow Britons over the economy, immigration, and sovereignty.