Over recent weeks I’ve focused on keeping readers apprised of relevant and interesting stories that might be a bit off the beaten path of Australian media. And in this vein I’ll begin with the brewing revolt within British Labor over Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the 13 November terrorist atrocity in France.
As you might recall, Corbyn is an unreconstructed Leftwing radical with a serious track record of hostility towards Israel who recently (and incongruously) won election to the leadership of the British Labour Party. His initial response to the slaughter in Paris was so outrageously tune-deaf that it triggered a furious backlash amongst his own shadow ministry.
The Independent, a British newspaper not noted for its hawkish sympathies (to put it mildly) ran a front-page article under the headline
“Jeremy Corbyn is a ‘f***ing disgrace’, Labour shadow minister tells journalists after angry meeting”.
It turns out that Corbyn expressed misgivings about the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy adopted by British police in the event of a terrorist attack on British soil. According to media reports, the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition considered this to be a “quite dangerous” and “counterproductive” policy that might lead to “war in the streets.”
Never mind precisely that war in the streets is what was happening 10 days ago in Paris when jihadi terrorists slaughtered 130 innocent people and wounded another 300. I’ve written before about the dangerously delusional myopia that afflicts Jeremy Corbyn’s view of the world. Just because you pull down the blinds and doesn’t mean the ravening wolves have gone away. And Corbyn’s reaction to the atrocity in Paris brings to mind a paraphrase of that famous Trotsky quote: just because you’re not interested in the jihad doesn’t mean the jihad isn’t interested in you.
But there is enough residual sanity within British Labour to ensure that many of Corbyn’s parliamentary colleagues were less-than-impressed with the Neville Chamberlain-esque instincts of their Leader. At a closed-door meeting the demand was raised that Corbyn should withdraw from his planned appearance at a ‘Stop the War Coalition” fundraiser in London.
This cascade of criticism – both within Labour and amongst the public – soon caused Corbyn to rethink his position, and he ended up telling the party’s executive committee “strictly necessary force” was acceptable – whatever that means.
Corbyn has led Britain Labour Party so far down garden path to electoral oblivion that some are theorizing that he truly never wanted to be Leader in the first place. As the Business Spectator points out:
“Westminster is largely hostile territory for Corbyn. Only 14 of the 232 Labour MPs he now leads voted for him. He was elected with more than 250,000 votes from ordinary party members outside Westminster, from the length and breadth of the country.”
Whether this theory is true or not, Corbyn’s trials and tribulations are something to watch because his leadership is an issue of substantial significance to pro-Israel persons everywhere.
Meanwhile the other side of the Atlantic was the scene of a serious defeat on the BDS front when the American Anthropological Association (AAA) voted to boycott Israeli universities. The ballot took place at the Association’s annual conference in Denver and the BDS motion passed by a depressingly large margin of 1,040 in favour with only 36 opposed.
The lopsidedness of the boycotters’ victory is all the stranger in light of the diametric opposite result that occurred at last year’s AAA conference in Washington DC. In December 2014 a similar pro-BDS motion crashed and burned with only 52 votes in favour out of 700 attendees. It appears our adversaries have had a very busy 12 months to engineer a reversal of fortune of that magnitude.
On a happier note, last week Intel introduced its new 6th generation computer processors, and per usual, the company’s Israeli R&D team played a central role in their development. Going by the name ‘Skylake’, these new chips are 2.5 times faster and have much lower power consumption than those in use five years ago. According to some estimates this should allow some devices to triple their battery life.
In a statement to the Jerusalem Post, Intel marketing manager Ilan Hochman said:
“We are very proud that a significant part of the development happened here in Israel, in our Haifa lab”.
We also feel the urge to kvell.
But back to the less edifying side of the news, last week Israeli authorities made a decision to outlaw a branch of the Islamic Movement on the grounds of collaboration with Hamas and incitement of violence. The group’s leader, Sheikh Raed Salah was found several years ago by a British court to have propagated antisemitic rhetoric that includes blood libel allegations against Israel. Britain several years ago because of his firebrand antisemitic rhetoric. And six Israeli Arabs were also arrested on charges of seeking to join the Islamic State.
I assume many readers saw the op-ed last week in The Australian by noted author and Islamic reformer Aayan Hirsi Ali advocating the wide adoption of Israeli security tactics and procedures. But while she was very good in print, she’s even better on TV, as this Fox News video clip will attest.
Hirsi Ali made so much sense that even the head of Germany’s internal security service agreed that Israel is the model to emulate. During an interview on German TV, Hans-Georg Maassen, chief of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution – noted that in Israel, soccer matches and concerts go on despite threats of terrorism. Maassen was speaking one day after a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled due to a suspected bomb.
So there you have it, the civilized nations of the world need to unite in a common struggle against the barbarians who seek our common destruction. But unfortunately far too many Europeans, Americans and even Australians – largely on the left – insist on continuing their strange-bedfellows alliance with ultra-conservative Islamic radicals.
Written by Ted Lapkin – Director of Public Affairs for the Zionist Federation of Australia