The UK’s Labor Party Has Made Progress, but It’s Still Divided over Israel and Jews

Oct. 27 2021

During the last week of September, Britain’s Labor party held its annual conference—a more substantive event than an American party convention. A year and a half have passed since the more moderate Keir Starmer took over the party leadership from the hard-left, obsessive Israel-hater Jeremy Corbyn, but the issue of anti-Semitism is still a live one, as Luke Akehurst reports, and indeed has come to symbolize the struggle between Corbyn’s faction, known as Momentum, and Starmer’s more mainstream supporters:

Even though Israel was only the subject of part of one short one-hour floor debate and a few fringe meetings, everything else the party does at its annual meetup reflects a political division in which the handling of anti-Semitism, and particularly anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, is a major factor. . . . The easiest way to work out which faction someone supports is the lanyard they are using to hold their conference pass. An unofficial Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) lanyard and you know the wearer is very likely to back the Corbynite group Momentum, an official one . . . and you know he is more likely to back Keir Starmer and the Labor to Win grouping.

Even the notorious hecklers during Starmer’s speech, though their slogans may have focused on the £15 minimum-wage demand, held up red cards distributed by “Labor against the Witch-hunt” (of anti-Semites), and a placard saying “Stop the Purge” (of anti-Semites).

[Thus they continue the] rhetoric of three years ago around anti-Semitism being a “scam,” “purges,” “witch-hunts,” and Zionist conspiracies to stop Corbyn from becoming prime minister. They may be increasingly marginalized and removed from power within Labor, but even if they are in the political wilderness, it’s not a healthy thing for them [to remain part of] the British body politic.

Starmer also managed to enact a series of procedural reforms that will make it far more difficult for a figure like Corbyn to take over the party again. Moreover, the conference passed a general policy statement—over the objections of the Corbynites—that condemned both Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and Israeli air strikes on Hamas rocket-launchers. Although this is surely an improvement over Corbyn speaking of Hamas and Hizballah as his friends, perhaps the new-and-improved Labor party isn’t quite a friend of the Jewish state either.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Fathom

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

The End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the Rise of the Arab-Israeli Coalition

Nov. 30 2022

After analyzing the struggle between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors since 1949, Dan Schueftan explains the current geopolitical alignment and what it means for Jerusalem:

Using an outdated vocabulary of Middle Eastern affairs, recent relations between Israel and most Arab states are often discussed in terms of peace and normalization. What is happening recently is far more significant than the willingness to live together and overshadow old grievances and animosities. It is about strategic interdependence with a senior Israeli partner. The historic all-Arab coalition against Israel has been replaced by a de-facto Arab-Israeli coalition against the radical forces that threaten them both. Iran is the immediate and outstanding among those radicals, but Erdogan’s Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, Syria—and, in a different way, its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood—are not very far behind.

For Israel, the result of these new alignments is a transformational change in its regional standing, as well as a major upgrade of its position on the global stage. In the Middle East, Israel can, for the first time, act as a full-fledged regional power. . . . On the international scene, global powers and other states no longer have to weigh the advantages of cooperation with Israel against its prohibitive costs in “the Arab World. . . . By far the most significant effect of this transformation is on the American strategic calculus of its relations with Israel.

In some important ways, then, the “New Middle East” has arrived. Not, of course, in the surreal Shimon Peres vision of regional democracy, peace, and prosperity, but in terms of a balance of power and hard strategic realities that can guardrail a somewhat less unstable and dangerous region, where the radicals are isolated and the others cooperate to keep them at bay.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Tablet

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Middle East, Shimon Peres, U.S.-Israel relationship