To Jeremy Corbyn and His Ilk, Israel Is an Enemy That Must Be Crushed

In Britain, notes Daniel Johnson, the waving of the Union Jack is increasingly greeted with “condescension and disdain or worse” in elite circles, although EU flags seem entirely acceptable. And for members of the Labor party, there is another favored flag:

[No] animosity greeted the unprecedented (though by no means spontaneous) flag-waving that erupted at the Labor party conference last month. Not that any member of what was once the party of Clement Attlee and Tony Blair would be seen dead waving a Union Jack. No, the eruption of flags brandished by the far-left delegates who now dominate the largest “progressive” party in Europe elicited no censure. That’s because they were Palestinian flags.

The flags alone were disturbing enough. But the context made them even more provocative. The Labor party has been embroiled in the burgeoning scandal of left-wing anti-Semitism ever since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015. Last summer, new revelations of institutional prejudice against Jews or extreme attitudes to Israel, together with attempts by the leadership to suppress criticism or to purge the critics, made the front pages almost daily. . . . In his speech to the conference, Corbyn announced that his first act on becoming prime minister, on day one, would be to recognize Palestine unilaterally as a sovereign state. . . .

[Corbyn] personifies the pathology of the left throughout the West, admittedly in an extreme form. For hardline leftists, Israel is the archetypal enemy of the archetypal victims: Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. . . . The existence of Israel is a challenge even to liberal Europeans, because its proud defense of its national identity and independence calls into question the internationalism of the EU. But for the hard left, Israel is not merely an awkward anomaly, to be alternately chastised or cold-shouldered. For them, Israel is an arch-enemy that must be crushed. . . .

If Brexit goes badly—as it may well do, given the malice of Brussels and the muddle of Westminster—then the public will blame the Conservatives. Britain could elect a Labor prime minister who is not only unfit to lead his country, but who hates it so much that he has refused to sing the national anthem. . . . One might suppose that if Corbyn were to find himself at 10 Downing Street, the mandarins of Whitehall would sabotage any attempt by his government to carry out extremist policies. But that assumption does not hold water.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party (UK), United Kingdom

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy