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

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.

Read more at Fathom

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

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy