Updated, Friday, May 6
Thursday, May 5, elections were held in Great Britain for four mayors and 124 local councils.
The two major British parties are Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, and the Conservative party, headed by David Cameron, the current Prime Minister.
These two leaders know that these local elections are critical to national elections yet to come.
British-born journalist Jonathan Cook (above) lives in Nazareth, Israel, where he writes The Blog from Nazareth. Cook, now 51, has served as a Middle East correspondent for major publications. He knows this link between local and national elections.
His latest posting, The True Anti-semites, Past and Present, examines the May 5 local elections, one of which was in London, where the Labour candidate for mayor was Sadiq Khan (left), a member of Parliament and a Muslim with family roots in Pakistan.
In a tight race, Sadiq Khan defeated his Conservative opponent Zac Goldsmith, 41, the son of a billionaire financier.
Reuters reported: “Khan, the son of a bus driver, became London’s first Muslim mayor on Friday, seeing off a Conservative challenger who attempted to link him to extremism and securing a much-needed victory for his opposition Labour Party.”
Writing before the election, Cook found a familiar “generated anti-semitism” dominating local elections, in which the Labour and Conservative parties will wage political combat.
Specifically, he warned:
We are desperately in need of some sanity as the British political and media establishment seek to generate yet another ‘new anti-semitism’ crisis, on this occasion to undermine a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party before the upcoming local elections.
Cook has seen this rodeo before, three times before, as local and national politics in Britain are drawn into the game of yet another “new anti-Semitism” fear.
The players change, but the game is the same, the one in which Israel and its backers, evoke the fear of “a rising anti-Semitism”, a fraudulent move intended not to confront a non-existent rise in prejudice, but to cover up the sins of Israel’s occupation conduct.
Cook looked back at three periods when Israel’s supporters in Britain increased their “new anti-Semitism” smears to attack Palestinian supporters who dared to criticize Israeli policies.
In each case the smears, “despite being patent nonsense, were successful enough that [they] cowed the few critical voices in the media – and terrorised senior editors at the BBC into supine compliance with Israel’s narrative.” (emphasis added).
These campaigns are designed to make Israel the victim of prejudice to deflect attention from the true nature of the occupation of Palestine.
It works this way:
Anti-Semitism is undoubtedly present in non-Jewish populations, one of many senseless prejudices that harm the human community.
Anti-Semitism is also useful as a smokescreen of fear and intimidation that obscures the true battlefield in Palestine.
Ever sensitive to any sign of prejudice, and already knowing how to play its role, Britain’s media is led by its collective hand by pro-Israel minders.
The instructions are clear.
Look away from the smokescreen, my loyal compliant clients. Focus instead on yet another “crisis” of a “rising anti-Semitism”.
It works in Britain and it works in the United States, even among the circles of moral leadership.
Watch for another round of debates dealing with the smokescreen of anti-Semitism during the United Methodist General Conference, May 10-20, in Portland, Oregon. If past conferences are any indication, Israel will be well represented there.
Back in the Mother country of Britain, the question must be raised: What makes this current “crisis” so different this time?
When Corbyn won leadership of the Labour Party in September, 2015, he was already well known as an angry opponent of the occupation.
After his election, Corbyn began to revive Labour “as a party of social justice”. That is not what Britain’s “elites” want to happen. Like their counterparts in the U.S., the British establishment exercises control over its two leading parties.
A major part of that control is a foreign policy that does Israel’s bidding. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (1997-2007), a former Labour leader, eagerly jumped on President George W. Bush’s Iraq war bandwagon.
With Corbyn now Labour leader, Cook writes that the “elites” who control the Conservative Party have a goal: Defeat Corbyn and return the Blairites to leadership.
Their weapon of choice is Corbyn’s passion for “Palestinian rights and social justice”. Sounds strange, but in this “time of economic austerity”, the Blairites argue Britain must join hands with its Jewish brethren at home and abroad.
Israel and its supporters in the UK are only too willing to help fuel the hysteria generated by the fear that a ‘Corbyn-led government would be bad news’ for an Israel ‘committed to destroying any hope of justice for the Palestinians”.
Norman Finkelstein, the American Jewish scholar whose career has been dogged and harassed by pro-Israel forces in the U.S., continues to be a strong analyst on Israel and our politics.
In a recent interview with Britain’s Open Democracy, Finkelstein said:
Our Corbyn is Bernie Sanders. In all the primaries in the US, Bernie has been sweeping the Arab and Muslim vote. It’s been a wondrous moment: the first Jewish presidential candidate in American history has forged a principled alliance with Arabs and Muslims.
If this sounds familiar to U.S. Democrats and Republicans, it should, since the threat of a Bernie Sanders presidency to the cozy U.S.-Israel partnership, is well understood by the leadership of both U.S. political parties.
Barring divine intervention, Sanders is no longer in a position to win his party’s nomination. It remains, however, absolutely essential that he keep running hard in the race for delegates right up to California, June 7, and to the July 25-28, convention.
Sanders will bring a respectable number of delegates to Philadelphia. Under his leadership, they will be in a position to remind Hillary Clinton that the phenomenon of Bernie Sanders is not going away.
With her focus already on reelection in 2020, a President Clinton would have to remind her good friend Bibi Netanyahu that she would like to raise his annual military budget another billion or so.
But, she would have to say, “Sorry Bibi. You know I still have these Sanders people watching me. If I am not careful, they will be back in 2020 with Bernie or someone else threatening my quest to serve eight-years “.
She would then have to add, “See what Jeremy Corbyn has been doing to the British establishment? You do not want to see another Jeremy Corbyn in the White House. Do you?”
The picture of Jonathan Cook is from his web site. The picture of Norman Finkelstein is from YouTube. The pictures of Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan are from Wikipedia.