Tag: United Kingdom
The recent British election was a disaster for incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party.
Sir Gerald Kaufman was more than just another veteran Labour politician. Having entered the House of Commons in 1970, he was the longest-serving parliamentarian of any political hue... And, as an Orthodox Jew, he should have been revered by the Jewish community. Instead, when he died last month aged 86, not a tear of sadness touched the cheek of British Jewry.
The British decision to uncouple from the EU, expected to take effect by 2019, was not unqualified good news for Israel: Britain, along with Germany, has been among Israel's most stalwart diplomatic allies in the EU and its voice within the decision-making forums of the EU will be missed, particularly on the vexatious question of the "Middle East Peace Process"...
If it was true that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, Jeremy Corbyn would be an Israel-hating, antisemitic, Holocaust-denier. The newly elected leader of Britain's Labour Party would vehemently deny he is any of the above, but some of his best friends are one or more of these things.
My belated entry to the Twitter-sphere was prompted by a late-night BBC political chat show which featured a highly articulate Muslim apologist. She argued passionately that, by abusing free speech, Charlie Hebdo had itself incited the attack which killed eight of the magazine's staffers. My tweet to the programme's host expressed surprise that the killing of four Jews in a related attack at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris had been forgotten so soon.
I was unprepared for the swift response that my tweet elicited from "Porky Scratchings", who urged the television host to ignore the Jews... "Not the bloody Jews," he/she wrote. "It's always about the Jews. They just seek publicity."
Transcending sentiment and pragmatic impulses was Thatcher's hard-nosed perception that the qualities of the Jewish community coincided precisely with her own aspirational vision for Britain: self-help and hard work, ambition and endeavour, enterprise, personal responsibility and social justice.
Britain's Labour Party has suffered two cruel blows over the past six months. First, it lost power after 13 years in office. And then, following a protracted campaign to replace the defeated Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it found itself with Ed Miliband as its leader.
Tony Blair is a rare exception to the European rule. He has genuine boots-on-the-ground knowledge of Israel and the Palestinian areas - the West Bank in particular - and he has the political courage to reach beyond the clapped-out political cliches. He has sympathy for both sides, but his concern for the Palestinians is not uncritical. Rather, it is realistic and practical.
With the Conservatives dominant in the new ruling configuration, there are signs that the relations with Israel might be rebalanced. For although there are no evident differences in policy between the major parties, there are certainly differences in atmospherics. That is what Israeli diplomats are detecting and that is what they are fervently hoping for.