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Striking Out   

“I no longer understand if we have a shared understanding of what a strike is” 

Photo: AP Images

Striking Out

California has a propensity for turning right and wrong on their heads, so it was a rare victory for sanity when lawmakers struck down a bill obligating universities to provide unemployment insurance benefits to staff who walked out in protest over arrests of pro-Palestinian protestors.

University staff argue that the arrests and suspensions of demonstrators amounted to unfair labor practices and therefore justified the strikes.

Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who is Jewish, emotionally recounted her grandparents’ Holocaust experience and expressed her anger at campaigners calling for the deaths of more Jews, adding, “I no longer understand if we have a shared understanding of what a strike is.” That’s probably the polite way to put it. Something like, “Overpaid academics with an anti-Israel agenda should certainly not be entitled to compensation for their virtue signaling” would better describe the situation.


That’s the drop in illegal immigrants coming from Mexico since President Biden signed an executive order to shut the southern border, a development hailed by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This rare policy victory is unlikely to save Biden in November, but serves as proof for immigration hawks — and squirming progressives — that deterrents work.

The Balkans Beckon

At this time of year, Israelis would normally be flocking to destinations like France, Spain, Ireland, and Turkey. But with anti-Israel hostility at record levels in these countries, tourists are looking elsewhere. The Balkans, including Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece, have seen strong demand from Israelis looking to vacation in places where they don’t have to hide their identity or encounter pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Airlines are capitalizing on this, and both Israeli and European carriers are adding flights on routes to southeastern Europe. Of course, lower prices and shorter flight times also factor in to people’s choices of destination, but it seems to be the frosty relations abroad that have primarily driven travelers to warmer climes.

“Truss is toast.”

The optimistic prediction of a Tory stalwart-turned-independent challenging short-lived former PM and economic wrecking ball Liz Truss in her ultra-safe rural seat in Eastern England. Though independents rarely win parliamentary seats, ex-soldier James Bagge hopes the combination of Truss’s unpopularity and the seat’s deep conservative instincts could see him beat Labour. At the very least, he could split the right-wing vote and let Labour in through the middle, hence his confidence that his candidacy spells doom for Truss. Few tears will be shed if she loses; many Tory MPs blame her for their dire polling and voters hold her responsible for higher mortgage rates that they are now paying.

Who’s Up

Egypt, which received €1B in EU funding to boost its economy and help curb migration from the region into the EU. A pleased President Al-Sisi said that “Egypt has proven that it is a reliable partner in facing common challenges and in a way that achieves security and stability in our regional neighborhood.” Egypt is also a Western security ally and a key mediator in the Gaza conflict. This deal further cements its position as a strategic buffer between a frightened West and volatile East.

Who’s Down

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal Party lost a by-election in one of their safest seats. The Liberal Party is trailing the opposition Conservatives in the polls; their current numbers suggest electoral oblivion. Neither changing his spokespeople nor passing a tax-and-spend budget have boosted Trudeau’s ratings. He looks set to become yet another incumbent hammered by inflation and community tensions following the war in Gaza, making him likely to join the UK’s Rishi Sunak, France’s Emmanuel Macron, and Joe Biden in this club of political ignominy.

Centrist Collapse

The first round of France’s parliamentary election is over, and there’s one standout trend — voters have abandoned the center.

President Macron’s centrist alliance has collapsed into third place, with 20.7%, behind the far-left New Popular Front (NFP), which received 28.1%. Marie Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) surged to 33.5%, and her party’s electoral pact with the center-right Les Républicains, who are at 10%, means her protégé and party president, Jordan Bardella, has an outsized chance at securing an overall majority in next week’s runoffs, and becoming prime minister. The charismatic 28-year-old provides just the smooth and youthful finish Le Pen was seeking for her rehabilitated party.

Macron will likely struggle to legislate his agenda in a majority-right parliament. The election, which he called in an attempt to stem the surge of the right following their success in the European elections, has (as many of the president’s despairing aides feared) boomeranged spectacularly, and National Rally is stronger than ever. The party scooped up disaffected conservatives in rural areas who were worn down by inflation, and fearful of rising Islamist extremism and uncontrolled immigration. Much like Britain’s Brexit supporters, these provincial voters felt patronized by smug urbanites, who viewed their concerns as ignorant bigotry.

Leaders from the left-wing NFP alliance have instructed their candidates who finished third in seats where the National Rally have a chance of victory, to pull out of the race and unite the left-wing vote to defeat the right.

Gabriel Attal, the 35-year-old prime minister appointed only six months ago, looks set to lose his job. As for the president? National Rally’s opponents hope a Bardella premiership will scare voters off an eventual Le Pen presidency. A crushed Macron will cling to that hope as he seeks to reinstate his authority over a clearly divided and restive country.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1018)

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