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17/08/2017
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General Election: Results

henry@alondon.net (09/06/2017)

An indecisive victory for May and the Tories leads to a hung parliament, while British Jews and Israel have many reasons to breathe a sigh of relief now that Corbyn will not be PM

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Theresa May delivers a speech in front of 10 Downing Street following an indecisive win in the General Election

Instead of consolidating public opinion under the Tory banner, Prime Minister May’s snap General Election has hamstrung her leadership before the toughest negotiation the UK has faced in decades.

This is the second “own goal” by the Tories since Cameron’s Brexit referendum last year, and yet more confirmation that the outsider populism that is rocking American politics is doing the same in Westminster.

With 6 seats fewer than the 326 necessary, the Conservatives will be partnering up with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to form a majority in Parliament. Labour made a significant and unexpected gain of 29 seats and Jeremy Corby was reportedly less than 3,000 votes away from becoming the next prime minister.

Meanwhile the Scottish National Party lost almost a third of its seats, a considerable blow to those hoping for a second Scottish independence referendum.

That Theresa May will go on as PM without losing a single cabinet member gives this outcome a different veneer depending on who you ask (especially if you ask May, who skirted a questions about her losses in front of No. 10 this morning), but it is likely that the overall victory will be appreciated by many leaders of the British Jewish community and Israel.

While the British Jewish community has a strong history of left-leaning politics, Jeremy Corbyn has left many of these voters disaffected thanks to his extremely poor-handling of an anti-Semitism scandal that lasted for most of 2016.

If the suspension of multiple high-ranking Labour leaders, including MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the need for the lackluster Chakrabarti Report, and outright defiance by the Labour Friends of Israel doesn’t say enough about Corbyn’s handling of the problem, former advisor Harry Fletcher’s critique of the head of Labour ought to seal the deal:

“Jeremy believes he is completely non-discriminatory”, Fletcher wrote in April for the Sunday Times, adding that Corbyn had believed that it was his positions on Israel that garnered criticism from the British Jewish community. “But t wasn’t. It was about discrimination. Jeremy did have an antipathy towards Israel. But the criticism he received was because of a pattern of behavior that was perceived by the Jewish community as anti-Semitic."


Jeremy Corbyn (source: Peter Nicholls/Reuters)


On the other hand, Theresa May’s government adopted a new working definition of anti-Semitism put out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance last year, and promised to fight back against the rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK.

Understanding why Israelis should celebrate May remaining prime minister is simple: Corbyn as PM would be a nightmare for Israeli/UK diplomacy.

Setting aside May’s repeated stance against illegal settlement building in the West Bank, the current PM has adroitly stressed the relationship between the UK and Israel as one of trade, something that the Israeli tech and bio-medical industries can speak to, and something that worried British business can appreciate as Brexit looms.

Meanwhile, Corbyn’s history of praising organizations such as the Irish Republican Army in the 80’s and Hamas in 2014, and his virulent anti-Western interventionist stance suggests that he would be far less interested in hearing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fears regarding the Iranian nuclear plan.

Considering the turmoil that has gripped British politics since the Brexit referendum a year ago, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ had this to say:



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