One politician in the spotlight for British Jews and for Israel is Sir Kier Starmer, the new head of Britain’s Labour Party.
He has begun reshuffling his Shadow Cabinet, and we begin to see clues about the future Labour Party.
The signs are not promising.
After the recent UK election, Labour remained in shameful opposition, partly as a result of becoming the first party to be investigated for impropriety since the British National Party, a far-right organization.
Labour’s “crime” was its wholesale adoption of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment in both word and action. It led to a major exit of many veteran Laborites.
Sir Kier Starmer has promised to maneuver the leaking Labour boat to safer waters.
But is he a good knight, or a wily politician?
He made one appointment that immediately jarred on Jews in the know.
Naz Shah is the last person sensitive British Jews would want to see as the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion, basically an anti-racism minister. At least, not for their community.
I am not sure that the citizens of Rotherham are too impressed with her since, during the awful exposure of gang rapes of local white girls by Pakistani gangs, Shah, born of Pakistani parents, tweeted, “those abused girls in Rotherham just need to shut their mouths for the good of diversity” back in 2017.
But it is what she tweeted back in 2014 that concerns both UK Jews and Israelis about Starmer’s judgment. Naz Shah, MP, and potential minister in a future Labour Government, gave her considered solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem. Move all Israeli Jews to America.
“America,” she said, “has plenty of land to accommodate Israel as its 51st state.”
In her tweet she expresses the thought that without those pesky Israelis “the Middle East will again be peaceful (was it ever?) without foreign interference.
In Naz Shah’s eyes, we Israelis are “foreign interference.”
Sounds awfully like Jeremy Corbyn, don’t you think?
Shah fits perfectly into Starmer’s global view. Both are members of Labour Friends of Palestine. Neither have balanced their foreign policy by being members of Labour Friends of Israel.
Why would they, do you think?
We saw Palestinian flags being waved in one of Starmer’s campaign videos.
Don’t look for an Israeli flag. You won’t find one.
No bias there, right?
We can expect Starmer to pay lip service to the injustice suffered by British Jews. He may even recruit members of his Cabinet to join him in uttering soothing words to British Jews. These will be needed to soften the hammer blow when the Equality and Human Rights Commission deliver their findings on the widespread anti-Semitism at all levels of the party he now leads.
Luke Lakehurst, a former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, , “Whilst all this is likely to be cause for comfort for those of us who care about anti-Semitism, those of us who support Israel shouldn’t expect dramatic shifts in party policy, and a return to the heyday of the Labour leadership’s warmth towards Israel shown by Blair and Brown,”
Although Starmer promised the Jewish community that he would leave no stone unturned in his fight against antisemitism, he also said, “It isn’t realistic to expect the reversal of the policy changes Corbyn brought in of settlement boycotts and an arms embargo.”
In other words, “Watch out Israel! We’re coming for you!”
This is confirmed by his choice to be his Foreign Secretary.
Lisa Nandy in 2018 became the chairperson in Labour Friends of Palestine. Although she called herself a “Zionist,” - possibly the only Zionist ever to be a prominent member of LFP - she promised to oppose what she calls, “the illegal occupation of Palestine” and the “blockade of Gaza” while, at the same time, supporting BDS by tweeting against businesses “profiting from the occupied Palestinian territories.”
No Jews in Judea & Samaria for the new Labour Foreign Minister.
Clearly, Nandy is a Corbyn groupie. He’s gone. His policies live on in Starmer’s Labour Party.
The new Labour Shadow Foreign Minister opposes the Trump peace plan and wishes to replace it with a No Israel policy of endorsing the Palestinian “Right of Return” objective, thereby annihilating Israel by swamping the Jewish State with a tsunami of Palestinian Arabs.
And this Zionist assumes that her “Three commitments to a Palestine policy” is based on high principles of international law and human rights.
Unbelievably, Lia Nandy received more votes of support by the Jewish Labour Movement than Starmer – 51% to 45%.
The JLM is the hard left Jewish group that remained in the Labour Party supporting their leader throughout the frightening reign of Jeremy Corbyn. They still have a voice in Labour today.
British Jews remain uncertain about life in a Starmer-led Labour Britain, but Israelis can be certain of one thing.
Starmer may not lay wreaths on the graves of Palestinian terrorists, but a Labour Party under Sir Kier Starmer will not be much better than the one under Corbyn.
Barry Shaw is the International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’