The British political crisis and European politics: A dystopian scenario

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by Dr Alex Joffe

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The ongoing collapse of Theresa May’s government in Britain raises the possibility of new elections in which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be the likely winner. The red-green alliance between the European far left and Islamist parties threatens to create a dystopian scenario in which national identities are rapidly discarded and national security compromised by terrorism and separatism. This would represent a tremendous danger to the continent’s Jews, to Israel, and to the U.S.

The resignation of Priti Patel from the British Cabinet after leaks that she had secretly met with Israeli officials to discuss aid to Syrian refugees has thrown the government of Theresa May into even greater upheaval. Already reeling after electoral failures earlier this year and unsuccessful Brexit negotiations, there is now the possibility that May’s government could fall.

This prospect once again brings into focus demographic and electoral trends in Britain and across Europe. Earlier in 2017, the alliance between the far left and Muslim voters was not sufficient to bring a Communist anti-Semite, Jeremy Corbyn, to power as prime minister under the banner of Labour, but it might pull it off next time. In Europe, the problem is compounded by the presence of Muslim political parties that are reshaping national politics.

What are the long-term implications for Israel and the U.S.?

The promised economic and political consequences of a Corbyn victory – higher taxes, increased immigration, a renewed relationship with Europe (despite promised support for Brexit), and distance from the U.S. – may prove insufficient to repel voters. In any coming election, growing frustration with the ineptitude of Theresa May and her government, undefined anger at the “establishment,” and the desire for change will again play roles. That Corbyn, a vocal admirer of the IRA, Hamas, and Hezbollah and guest on Iranian television, is a credible politician at all says something about a sizeable portion of the British population. For British Jews especially, the message is ominous. Their concerns about rapidly rising anti-Semitism, anti-Israel bias, and terrorism are simply unimportant as electoral issues. Endlessly documented anti-Semitism within all levels of the Labour Party registers with Jews, but not with the broader electorate.

A Corbyn victory, which is entirely plausible, would be a harbinger of demographic and electoral changes throughout Europe. The “red-green alliance” of far-left and Muslim parties is nominally united against

globalization, capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism, but it is more fundamentally linked by shared anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

The alliance is comprised primarily of Communists and Greens, but also by mainstream parties such as Corbyn’s Labour Party, as well as by explicitly Muslim parties, such as the DENK party in the Netherlands, the Equality and Justice Party in France, and the NZB Party in Austria. These purport to help downtrodden Muslim minorities, but are in fact part of a network controlled by Turkey’s AKP party that organizes Muslims under an anti-assimilation platform. Belgium’s Islam party is explicitly Islamist, as is the Arab-European League. These Muslim parties and others are already reshaping local politics by functioning as voting blocs that influence mainstream candidates and by putting forward their own candidates. They are also influential in organizations such as unions. Sooner or later, one of these parties will be elected outright or will wield decisive national power in a coalition government. What might be expected to follow? Recent history suggests little reason for optimism.

The first concern is counterterrorism. On the one hand, incidents will be responded to and terrorists neutralized. But on the other, the “counter violent extremism” paradigm – which has proven only to empower clever Islamists with funding and credibility – will be expanded. This will amplify problems that have already overwhelmed counterterrorist and police forces in Western European countries. If “de-escalation” police tactics are adopted, the situation on the streets will become far worse.

But further loss of control is assured. The red-green alliance has already empowered local Muslim leaders who govern the banlieues and the hundreds of other no-go zones. Most mainstream and all Muslim parties are already opposed to assimilation as a means of national integration and favor increased immigration, ostensibly in the name of multiculturalism. Retreat from national control and national identity will accelerate.

Speaking out against these trends has already been deemed “racist” at the highest levels. Witness, for example, Angela Merkel’s collusion with Facebook and May’s promise to intensify Britain’s already obsessive policing of the Internet in the wake of recent London attacks, ostensibly in the name of preventing “radicalization.” Opposition to free speech on the grounds that it permits “defamation of religion” is already in the European mainstream and will expand further.

The parallel Muslim societies that already exist in Europe will expand and be protected by national authorities, since local authorities are too co-opted or frightened to take action. “Trojan Horse” takeovers of institutions like schools, from kindergartens onward, are already widespread. New generations of violent separatists are being both cultivated and imported, firming up voting bases for red-green alliances.

The existence of parallel Muslim legal structures beyond the reach of European states is well-established. Calls for Muslim communal autonomy and autonomous zones in Europe are increasing and, despite vociferous denials, no-go zones are proliferating. The temptation to formalize Muslim autonomous zones in the name of religious freedom or other rationalizations

will be enormous, particularly as it will have electoral backing. A German court has started the process by declaring an unofficial “sharia patrol” that polices “morality” in Muslim neighborhoods to be legal.

Eventually, policies that endorse separatism, criminality, and violence emanating from places like Molenbeek in Brussels will provide safe havens for more systematic insurgent violence. It is unclear how governments will respond to entire neighborhoods or towns effectively outside national control. Security measures such as cordon and sweep operations still seem anathema, much less preventive detention, denaturalization, and deportation. In this dystopian scenario, already problematic information-sharing between governments, the lifeblood of counterterrorism, will be disrupted as intelligence and security institutions are infiltrated by their targets, both as employees and as political overseers – a scenario already playing out in Germany and France. Intelligence and security services may even be tempted to interrupt information-sharing with their own political echelons. Democratic oversight will be shaken because police and spies will properly fear sharing information with a Home Secretary like Diane Abbott.

Predicting European red-green foreign policy is dismally easy. The convergence of traditional European, far left, and Muslim anti-Semitism and anti-imperialism has already produced an obsessive focus on Israel, the “little Satan,” and the “Great Satan,” the U.S.

Corbyn, a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, is an exemplar, as are virtually all European Muslim politicians. Leftist European politicians, such as German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, already find vocal condemnations of Israel irresistible. These will increase, both from leftist and Islamist conviction and political opportunism.

Suspension of trade, international sanctions, and legal action against Israelis are all on the cards once far left/Islamist governments wield power in Europe. This will not produce a Palestinian state, but that was never the goal. Shunning of the U.S. might not be as great, but vilification will increase and security cooperation will decline, to the advantage of the Russians and the Chinese. Blind eyes are already being turned across Europe to rapidly rising Muslim anti-Semitism and even the murder of Jews. The vehemence with which governments in Sweden and elsewhere have jettisoned their own national identities and abandoned their Jewish citizens reflects post-national eagerness to assimilate to “multicultural” ideals – that is, to norms established by immigrants, and the final expression of their loathing of Jews.

In response, the Israeli economic and diplomatic shifts to Asia and Africa will continue. Protection of Jewish refugees from Europe will become a factor in Israel’s relationship with the continent. Immigration to Israel from France has risen rapidly over the past decade, and Jews from other countries will likely join in. Jewish life in much of Western Europe will be extinct within decades. The rise of the far right and other separatist movements will also intensify, but these trends will also bode ill for national integration and for Jews.

Can anything be done to save these countries from their duly elected, suicidal fates? The U.S. stepped in twice in the past century to help save Europe from German militarism and fascism, and then a third time to protect it from Communism. Some of the same tools that pushed back Communism may be of use against the far left/Islamist force.

U.S. willingness to employ Russian-style “active measures” against European countries currently seems absent. But European problems invariably become problems for the U.S., and for Jews. In the U.S., political will and strategic daring are almost as lacking as they are in Europe. If this continues to be the case, a dystopian future will continue to unfold.

Article originally published by:

BESA Center Perspectives Paper, No. 640, November 13, 2017 The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. URL: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/britain-political-crisis/

About the author:

Alexander H. Joffe is an archaeologist and historian of the Near East. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, graduated from Cornell University in 1981 with a BA in History and received an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona in 1991. From 1980 to 2003 he participated in and directed archaeological research in Israel, Jordan, Greece and the United States. He is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Photo by Jonathan Rolande