How the British Labor Party Denied Jews Their Place in Politics

Oct. 30 2020

From 2015 until April of this year, the hard-left parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn—a man who called Hamas and Hizballah his friends, was possessed by an obsessive hatred of Israel, and who more than once veered into expressions of undisguised contempt for Jews—led the UK’s Labor party. Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) yesterday released its long-awaited, and damning, report on the party’s anti-Semitism, which flourished in the rank-and-file under Corbyn’s watch. Corbyn naturally dismissed the report by downplaying the issue, and blamed those who complained of anti-Semitism as the true problem. For this reaction, the current Labor leadership promptly suspended him.

David Hirsh analyzes these developments in light of what he terms “the Livingstone formulation,” after the former London mayor Ken Livingstone, one of the most egregious members of the Corbynite left:

I first named the Livingstone formulation in 2006 after Livingstone’s bizarre spat with a Jewish journalist, whom he accused of being like a Nazi. Instead of apologizing, Livingstone came back with the aggressive counteraccusation against those who said his late-night ranting had been anti-Semitic: “For far too long, the accusation of anti-Semitism has been used against anyone who is critical of the politics of the Israeli government, as I have been.”

The Livingstone principle [thus] says: if Jews complain about anti-Semitism on the left, then you should begin by assuming that they are making it up to silence criticism of Israel or to smear the left. It is an anti-Semitic conspiratorial fantasy because it doesn’t just say that Jews sometimes get it wrong, but that they know full well they’re wrong and they say it anyway to increase their power. The Livingstone formulation is the key mode of anti-Semitic bullying mobilized against Jews on the left. It treats Jews as alien to the left and treasonous.

Huge responsibility for Labor anti-Semitism must be borne by those who did not share the crank politics but who nevertheless allowed them to take the leadership of the party. There are the layers of activists, politicians, and intellectuals who think that anti-Semitic politics was radical Communist chic; then those who think it was really all about Palestine; and those who though [Labor members] should rally around the leadership; and those who thought the Zionists were just as bad [as anti-Semites]; and those who thought we should all get along; those who were afraid to get into the fight; those who wanted to keep their jobs and their influence; . . . and those who don’t really think Corbyn was anti-Semitic but now believe that Labor won’t have a chance if it doesn’t keep the Jews happy.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

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

How Israel and Its Allies Could Have a Positive Influence on the Biden Administration’s Iran Policy

Nov. 25 2020

While the president-elect has expressed his desire to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, this should not in itself cause worry in Jerusalem; it has never been the Israeli government’s position that a deal with Tehran is undesirable, only that the flaws of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration outweighed its benefits. Thus Yaakov Amidror, Efraim Inbar, and Eran Lerman urge Israel to approach Joe Biden’s national-security team—whose senior members were announced this week—to urge them to act prudently:

To the greatest extent possible, such approaches should be made jointly, or in very close coordination with, Israel’s new partners in the Gulf. These countries share Israel’s perspectives on the Iranian regional threat and on the need to block Tehran’s path to nuclear weapons.

For Israel, for Iran-deal skeptics in Washington, and for her partners in the region, the first operational priority is to persuade the incoming U.S. national-security team to maintain full leverage on Iran. Sanctions against Iran should not be lifted as a “gesture” without a verified Iranian return to the status quo ante (at the very least) in terms of low-enriched-uranium stockpiles and ongoing enrichment activities.

In parallel, there may emerge a unique opportunity to close ranks with the French (and with Boris Johnson’s government in London) on the Iranian question. On several issues (above all, the struggle for hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, against Turkey), Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi, and Paris now see eye-to-eye. On Iran, during the negotiations leading to the [deal] in 2015, the position of France was often the most robust. In 2018, President Macron was willing to reach an operational understanding with Secretary of State Pompeo on [key issues regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities].

Last but certainly not least, it should be clear to the incoming U.S. national-security team that any attempt to negotiate must be, can be, and (as far as Israel is concerned) firmly will be backed by a credible military threat.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: France, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, US-Israel relations