The UK’s New Prime Minister Has a Strong Pro-Israel Record. But What Will This Mean in Practice?

Sept. 19 2022

While the world’s attention has been focused on Britain’s new king, the country also got a new prime minister just two days before the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Toby Greene investigates Liz Truss’s approach to both domestic politics and diplomacy—which he argues are not unlike those of Margaret Thatcher—and how these will shape policies toward the Jewish state:

In Truss’s mental map of the world, in which decent, honest, sovereign, free-trading nations are pitted against aggressive authoritarians, Israel sits firmly in the former category. Israel’s inclusion in Truss’s list of “friends and allies” in her October 2021 conference speech was not an isolated example, with Israel referred to repeatedly as an example of a (non-EU) democratic partner that excels in innovation.

Truss’s attitude towards Israel cannot be separated from that of her party, in which a view of Israel as a democratic, economically successful, and strategically significant partner has become increasingly dominant.

Whilst Israel is a pariah for significant chunks of the [British] left—and bursts negatively into the public eye during periodic rounds of violence [in the Middle East]—for the right this is more grist for the mill in the culture wars. Conservative pro-Zionism helps expose Labor’s internal rifts over the legacy of [its former leader Jeremy] Corbyn, who got the party bogged down in his anti-Semitic anti-Zionism.

Like much of Truss’s politics, her philo-Semitism carries echoes of Thatcher, whose cabinet famously included more “old Estonians than Old Etonians.” . . . . But that does not guarantee plain sailing for UK-Israel relations under a Truss premiership. First there is the issue of Iran. While Truss talks tough on Iran, like many Western leaders, she is unlikely to stand in the way of the Biden administration’s determination to return to the [2015 nuclear deal], which Israeli leaders and U.S. Republicans will complain is disastrous.

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: Jeremy Corbyn, Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II, United Kingdom

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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 Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism