The country knew by 10pm on Thursday night that there had been a political bloodbath.
Contrary to all the opinion polls putting Labour and the Conservatives level the Exit Poll published at 10pm told a different story; the Conservatives had won a crushing general election victory. Labour had lost many seats and the Liberal Democrats had virtually disappeared.
An Exit Poll is pretty trustworthy and within minutes of its announcement the British Pound was surging on the financial bourses. The United Kingdom had voted for stability.
All that was left to be decided was the scale of Cameron’s victory (the Conservatives finally ended up with 331 MPs, Labour 232, the Liberal Democrats just 8) and which MPs had lost their seats. Famous names were about to disappear from the political scene.
The Liberal Democrats won 56 seats in 2010 but were heavily punished due to Nick Clegg’s pre-2010 election promise that he would abolish tuition fees for university students. He reneged once he was in coalition with the Conservatives.
For those supportive of Israel the demise of the Lib Dems is sweet. If the Israeli army was called on to defend Israelis from Hamas’ rockets Nick Clegg would call for an arms embargo on Israel.
And one has to question how Clegg can lay claim to any morals after not sacking David Ward who suggested that Jews had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.
After minimal admonition from his party leader Ward was free to continue as a Liberal Democrat. Pleased to report that Ward has now been swept away politically by the good people of Bradford East.
And the good people of Bradford West swept away the Respect Party’s George Galloway. Maybe they felt that Galloway was far more concerned with Tehran West than Bradford West.
It would be nice to think that Bradfordians also felt uncomfortable with his venomous anti-Zionist rhetoric (he declared Bradford an Israel-free zone) and were concerned for Bradford’s small Jewish population.
It was also goodbye to Simon Hughes and Bob Russell, two more anti-Israel Liberal Democrats swept away in the political tsunami.
Meanwhile, Labour lost 24 seats from last time! Much of Labour’s Parliamentary party is still anti-Israel and Labour’s main anti-Israel firebrands survived, including the likes of Gerald Kaufman, Andy Slaughter and Richard Burden who has met with Hamas. Labour also added Rupa Huq to their anti-Israel numbers.
For five years Labour has been isolationist on the foreign policy front. It voted not to assist the Syrian people being slaughtered by Assad.
There was, however, one country on which Labour was not isolationist: Israel. Precious parliamentary time was wasted by Labour MPs these last five years smearing Israel as evil and debating, and voting for, a future Palestinian state.
But despite the election results there is no room for complacency for British Jews. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) have virtually swept away Labour in Scotland. They grew from six to an astonishing 56 MPs!
The SNP like to paint themselves as supportive of multiculturalism but there is, again, one country they are not too accepting of: Israel.
These are SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s words to the ‘Ending Scottish Arms Trade with Israel’ conference only yesterday:
“As you may be aware, during the recent conflict in Gaza the Scottish Government wrote to the UK Government urging an embargo on arms sales to Israel. The Scottish Government is a firm friend of Palestine and we will continue to press this issue after the election.”
An SNP council also once voted to ban Israeli books in its libraries.
No doubt the SNP will soon be joining forces with Labour, what’s left of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party to attack Israel.
In the meantime the average hard-working grassroots pro-Israel activist can enjoy some well-earned schadenfreude at the demise of Galloway and Ward.
Another two fingers go up to British Jews.
Today’s Sunday Times cartoon doesn’t work on any level, but you can see how it came about.
Over the last month certain British commentators have been writhing around in pure ecstasy at the prospect of the Israeli electorate moving to the right. Some of the commentary has made me wince with even Jewish commentators hinting that Israel has shifted to the far right; the connotation being that Israel has finally become a fully fledged fascist state, the antithesis of what would have been expected after the horrors of Nazi Germany.
But, sadly for them, Israel actually shifted to the left in the recent general election. All those columns that certain journalists wanted to write about “the fascist State of Israel” will never see the light of day now. The time they spent concocting the most vile aspersions to cast on Israel has been wasted. Guardian and Independent newspaper columnists have had to, on the whole, hold their fire since the election. Labour politicians like Richard Burden MP have been forced to hold off tweeting the most nastiest denunciations of Israel.
But for some reason The Sunday Times, of all papers, couldn’t hold off publishing Gerald Scarfe’s vile slur of a blood libel with its depiction of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a callous murderer of innocents, including Palestinian children.
And then there’s the context. Not only is it Holocaust Memorial Day today but it is also just two days after The Commentator broke the news that Liberal Democrat MP David Ward had specifically attacked “the Jews” on his website by writing:
“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”
And by juxtaposing the Holocaust with the West Bank and Gaza Ward is actually mocking what happened to the Jews in the death camps, whatever sympathy for them he tries to evince in his statement. The West Bank and Gaza are no Auschwitz, Mr Ward, even though many a Jew hater has tried to equate them.
Ward is not fit to be an MP, but what is more disturbing is the groundswell of support he seems to have had and his comments have flushed out just how nasty his supporters are. For example, under the clip of Ward’s appearance on Sky you can read:
“Israel is worse than Hitler” and “Is Hitler the new Moses?” These are your supporters, Mr Ward.
I also got tweeted this from Mash’al Hanif in response to one of my tweets about the Sunday Times cartoon:
Well, yes, Mash’al, it does hurt, but it hurts mainly because I always thought the UK was a comfortable place for Jewish people to live. I still do, but that nonsensical Sunday Times cartoon has rocked that certainty ever so slightly.
But I am also grateful that although I deeply feel Jewish I, however, feel no religious obligation to dress as a more religious Jew and, therefore, exposing myself to the horrors of what the Sunday Times cartoon might compel a person with a violent bent towards Israel and/or Jewish people to carry out. Another Toulouse comes to mind.
And, I’m sorry, Mash’al, but it wasn’t me who targeted the Prophet Muhammad. And nor would I. And for that matter it wasn’t Jewish people either, although Mash’al’s comment goes to show how the initial rumour that the maker of that horrendous film depicting Muhammad in such an unseemly manner was Jewish has now achieved permanence.
After the last week one can see why the Jewish people have traditionally moved around so much, forever trying to evade the animus that certain parts of society have always held for us.
(Thanks to The Commentator which also broke the news of the cartoon and thanks to Chas Newkey-Burden who has written so meaningfully about David Ward MP and those like him who think that its the Jews who should be held up to higher scrutiny after having lost six million people in the Holocaust.)
Posted in anti-Semitism, Holocaust, Israel, Jews
Tagged auschwitz, Benjamin Netanyahu, David Ward MP, gaza, Gerald Scarfe, holocaust memorial day, Israel, liberal democrats, Richard Burden MP, Sunday Times, The Commentator, west bank