A Tale of Two Parties:
Keir Starmer’s Resurrection of British Labour vs. Joe Biden’s Failure to Revive the Democrats
by Norman Berdichevsky (October 2020)
At the first convention of Germany’s Social-Democrats in 1890, Chairman August Bebel warned fellow party members that “Anti-Semitism is the Socialism of Fools.” His advice has been dutifully followed by the present chairman of the British Labour Party, Keir Starmer, currently enjoying a huge wave of popularity, surpassing that of Conservative leader Boris Johnson in recent polls. This remarkable recovery followed only seven months after the dismal performance of the party in the December, 2019 parliamentary elections in which it suffered the worst defeat since 1935.
Over on the other side of the Atlantic, Bebel’s advice has been dutifully ignored by long time party hack Joe Biden (47 years as an elected official on the Democratic slate, including 8 years as Vice-President), without a single attribute or achievement other than being the least disliked candidate in a field of fellow extremists seeking to enshrine retrograde policies (under the rubric “Progressive”) of identity politics, and ignoring many party platforms of the past.
The current Democrat positions include sacrificing its traditional support of Israel, along with embracing ultra-radical proposals to dismantle the American system of government and its constitution by abolishing the Electoral College, packing the Supreme Court with at least six new justices (FDR’s failed initiative from 1936-37), a Green Agenda designed to grant priorities and undefined “reparations” to individuals belonging to selected favored “minority” groups and rejecting energy independence by eliminating fracking and all fossil fuels. Joe Biden has either sidestepped criticism of these proposals, tacitly agreed, or refused to comment while hiding out in his basement– the same formula he has used in avoiding charges of the deep inroads of anti-Semitism in his party.
What had been a general parallel path of the American Democratic Party and the British Labour Party on many questions of both national and international importance has been demolished. Starmer’s chosen path of reality, compromise, and accommodation has been widely praised in the British media and reflected in the polls. Instead of blind confrontation with the Conservative government of Boris Johnson on the model of the Democrats’ inability to deal with any issue requiring compromise with the Trump administration, Starmer has called for “a roadmap to lift restrictions in certain sectors of the economy” in order to emerge from the many onerous restrictions imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Starmer has declared that “the government is trying to do the right thing. And in that, we will support them.”
Following the December, 2019 election, the confrontation within the party took only a few months to mature and explode. Labour’s disastrous performance in the 2019 election changed the political landscape and forced Starmer to confront Ms. Rebecca Long-Bailey, who had been the front-runner in the early stages of selecting a new party leader. Ms. Long-Bailey angered Starmer by sharing an interview with Labour-supporting actress Maxine Peake who had tweeted a spurious claim that the US police who killed unarmed black man, George Floyd, used “tactics learned from the Israeli security services,” thus igniting again the issue of antisemitism that had plagued and embarrassed the party under Corbyn (see New English Review, January, 2020).
This kind of garbage still passes as legitimate on the websites of the Far Left in the UK. and United States, but Starmer recognized it for precisely what it was . . . substituting the modern State of Israel for every evil in the world to replace the old anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish bankers, capitalists, pornographers, landlords, merchants, and currency speculators. He dismissed her immediately, rejected her plea for an emergency meeting to explain her actions, sending shock waves through the leftist cults in the UK. Ms. Long-Bailey admitted she was “incredibly upset” at being dismissed as shadow education secretary for sending the approving tweet endorsing Maxine Peake’s claim. Long-Bailey’s approval of the interview, in which Peake also talked about her new film and her support for Jeremy Corbyn, led Jewish groups to demand she delete her tweet and apologize. Instead, she first sent another message saying she did not endorse “all aspects of the article”, only later, after additional pressure, withdrew the charge entirely, (standard procedure for all such anti-Semites).
Imagine if the Democratic leadership had demonstrated the same audacity and vision to do precisely the same with the notorious Muslim congresswomen who delights in spreading anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish propaganda, and an ultra-Leftist clique supporting Bernie Sanders’ policies. Through such American congressional representatives as Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, working in tandem with Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, and “activist” Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the women’s marches of 2017 and 2019, many American Muslims have gone along with what can be called an alliance with the political Far Left that encourages them all to view themselves as “victims of racism.”
Jewish leaders in the Democrat Party are still to a considerable degree insulated from a furious Jewish reaction as occurred in the UK. The vast majority of American Jews continue to blindly subscribe to the inherited “wisdom” of their grandparents in the 1930s, misidentifying with the Democrat Party’s ever-more exaggerated mythical utopian dreams of a better world through so called “progressive” policies.
The Far Left in the now defeated Corbynite wing of the Labour Party and among almost all the “hopeful has-beens” who sought nomination for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party were unable to motivate voters with any positive and/or patriotic message showing the least sign of national pride. Instead, they attempted to seek “reconciliation” with every dictator left on the international stage. This means Hamas, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Iran under the Mullahs, North Korea, far left regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and the IRA. All of these should have long ago made such candidates in the US and UK unfit for consideration as a possible Prime Minister or President.
In the most charitable explanation of his policies, Corbyn proved to be an enabler of the rabid anti-Semitic view that flourished around him since he became leader. He continued to insult many old-time members by his participation in wreath-laying memorial ceremonies for convicted terrorists who had committed atrocities against British and Israeli civilians.
If this were not enough, Labour’s “Corbynistas” ignored criticism from their most traditional working-class supporters in the industrial heartland of the Midlands, the North of England, Wales, Ulster, and Scotland. These areas had all lost many jobs through globalist policies enjoying long term support by well-off cosmopolitan voters in affluent areas and which catered to the “identity politics” supported by the Liberal Party, the most virulent opponents of Brexit. Corbyn had been unable to decide on Labour policy, wishing to appease both adherents and opponents of Brexit, and so simply left it an open question allowing supporters to choose either course. This made their electoral disaster much worse.
In the US, a similar scenario played out. Working class voters in the “Rust Belt” of the Midwest were attracted by Trump’s promises to stimulate their resource base and restore the economic viability of the industrial region after Hillary Clinton had pronounced a “death sentence” on “dirty coal”, “fracking,” and other policies that workers understood as life-lines to jobs, instead of sophisticated but inappropriate appeals about retraining in computer technology.
Did the post-election British experience have any noticeable effect among American Jews in the present electoral campaign to select Joe Biden? Apparently, none at all, given considerable Jewish support for the even more radical candidate, Bernie Sanders, a notorious Marxist advocate of far-reaching socialist policies.
Neither he nor Biden or other Democrats have yet to issue any condemnation of the notorious Muslim congresswomen who continue their shell-game scam of condemning anti-Semitism only as an extremist right-wing phenomenon. These Democrats suffer from the worst cases of Trump derangement syndrome, given the near pathological hatred of President Trump by the three most prominent Jews in the Party, notably Adam Schiff, who headed the impeachment proceedings, New York’s senator, “Chuck” Schumer, and Jerry Nadler, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
None of them and their supporters care to recall the frequent harsh criticism of Israel by former President Barak Obama and the confrontation in July, 1982 between then Maryland Senator Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Biden then led the criticism in the Senate over Israel’s prospective plans for minor border arrangements (30% of the “West Bank” territory) and threatened a total cut-off in American aid to Israel if it dared to object to American policy.
Only a short time ago, the dominant Left-Liberal political complexion of Jews in both Britain and Canada was quite similar to that in the US. Both have shifted dramatically to the “right,” still a dirty a word among left-leaning Democrat American Jews who remain isolated in their grandiose ivory, cosmopolitan towers remote from the many social and economic problems of the majority of fervent pro-Trump (and Pro-Israel) supporters. Jewish supporters of Trump are largely drawn from the Orthodox community, ex-Israelis and those Jews who are keenly aware of Israel’s major strategic role as an important American ally.
Keir Starmer’s successful formula for a Labour recovery has been totally ignored by American Democrats who will pay the price in November. The specter of the disasters of the campaigns of 1972 (George McGovern) and 1984 (Walter Mondale) hovers in the air. As if to demonstrate that the Democrats remain as utterly inflexible as ever, Nancy Pelosi has already announced (apparently having read the writing on the wall), that if Trump is reelected, she will immediately initiate new impeachment proceedings, lending additional support to Einstein’s famous definition of insanity that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
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Norman Berdichevsky is a Contributing Editor to New English Review and is the author of The Left is Seldom Right and Modern Hebrew: The Past and Future of a Revitalized Language.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast