The Current Leaders of the British Labor Party Sat Idly By While Anti-Semites Took Over

When Keir Starmer assumed leadership of the UK’s Labor party this spring, it was a clear sign that the party was turning away from the far-left, anti-American, and anti-Israel turn it had taken during the five previous years, when Jeremy Corbyn was at the helm. Starmer has also shown willingness to counter the problem of anti-Semitism, which infested Labor during Corbyn’s tenure. Last week, in the wake of a government investigation into anti-Jewish prejudice and harassment in the party, Starmer even suspended his predecessor. But Daniel Johnson isn’t willing to let him off the hook just yet:

Corbyn and the Labor left . . . are not the only ones who are culpable. So are all those in leadership positions who remained silent when Jewish members of the party were persecuted, who failed to act when whistleblowers were bullied, or who were complicit in concealing the extent of anti-Semitism. The present deputy leader, Angela Rayner, still defends him as “a fully decent man.” Most of the present shadow cabinet are guilty of collaboration. And that includes the leader.

Sir Keir [did not] protest when Corbyn himself was found to have hosted an event at which that lie [that Zionism is the new Nazism] was the main theme, or when he defended an anti-Semitic mural, or when he was found to have attended a wreath-laying ceremony for the terrorists who carried out the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes, or any of the other scandals that resulted in an exodus of the party’s leading Jewish MPs. The evidence against Corbyn has long been overwhelming—yet such was the atmosphere of intimidation created by Momentum, [the pro-Corbyn group within Labor], and other far-left organizations that few dared to speak out. Luciana Berger, for example, lived in fear of her life and was forced out as an MP while pregnant. She has not forgiven Sir Keir’s failure to support her.

Just a year ago, Keir Starmer was still in denial about all these things. Has he now seen the light? Or is he engaged in yet another damage-limitation exercise? Never mind about Jeremy Corbyn—he is yesterday’s man. The anti-Semitism of the far left, however, is a problem for today and tomorrow.

[There are] serious questions—existential questions—that have yet to be answered. Is Sir Keir himself fit for office? Is the Labor party fit to be the official Opposition? Is anti-Semitism now a fixture in British politics? Is this country, which stood alone against Hitler, still a safe place for Jews to live?

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

 

Iran, America, and the Future of Democracy in the Middle East

Nov. 23 2022

Sixty-two days after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, the regime has failed to quash the protest movement. But it is impossible to know if the tide will turn, and what the outcome of the government’s collapse might be. Reuel Marc Gerecht considers the very real possibility that a democratic Iran will emerge, and considers the aftershocks that might follow. (Free registration required.)

American political and intellectual elites remain uneasy with democracy promotion everywhere primarily because it has failed so far in the Middle East, the epicenter of our attention the last twenty years. (Iraq’s democracy isn’t dead, but it didn’t meet American expectations.) Might our dictatorial exception for Middle Eastern Muslims change if Iran were to set in motion insurrections elsewhere in the Islamic world, in much the same way that America’s response to 9/11 probably helped to produce the rebellions against dictatorship that started in Tunisia in 2010? The failure of the so-called Arab Spring to establish one functioning democracy, the retreat of secular democracy in Turkey, and the implosion of large parts of the Arab world have left many wondering whether Middle Eastern Muslims can sustain representative government.

In 1979 the Islamic revolution shook the Middle East, putting religious militancy into overdrive and tempting Saddam Hussein to unleash his bloodiest war. The collapse of Iran’s theocracy might be similarly seismic. Washington’s dictatorial preference could fade as the contradictions between Arab tyranny and Persian democracy grow.

Washington isn’t yet invested in democracy in Iran. Yet, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has often noted, American hostility toward the Islamic Republic has been damaging. If the theocracy falls, Iranians will surely give America credit—vastly more credit that they will give to the European political class, who have been trying to make nice, and make money, with the clerical regime since the early 1990s—for this lasting enmity. We may well get more credit than we deserve. Both Democrats and Republicans who have dismissed the possibilities of democratic revolutions among the Muslim peoples of the Middle East will still, surely, claim it eagerly.

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More about: Arab democracy, Democracy, Iran, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy