Foreign interference in other people’s elections is rightly abhorred by all who care about national sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in other people’s internal affairs.
More so surely when the country in question is not just your ally but, as expressed repeatedly by US President Donald Trump on his recent state visit to the UK, your closest ally with whom you are in a “special relationship.”
Yet as the president plighted his troth before the Queen in Buckingham Palace last week his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was secretly pledging to US ‘Jewish leaders’ that he planned action to stop the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn PC MP ever coming to power. A blatant, brazen and wholly illegal intention to subvert British democracy. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.
A recording emerged this week of an “off the record” briefing given to the Jewish leaders in New York.
In answer to a question – itself a grotesque slander – “If Corbyn is elected, would you be willing to work with us (sic) to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?” Pompeo answers – on tape – “It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best.”
“It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”
The recordingleaked to Washington Post shows that this declaration of war against the British Labour Party was received with prolonged and stormy applause.
The Labour Party’s response was mild indeed: “President Trump and his officials’ attempts to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister are an entirely unacceptable interference in the UK’s democracy.”
Leaving aside the ugly premise that the mild mannered allotment-tending knit-your-own-yoghurt pacifist Jeremy Corbyn would countenance making “life difficult for Britain’s Jews” or that Britain’s long-established democracy and highly developed civil society would tolerate such a thing if he did, the threat, indeed intention of Pompeo is clear and may indicate that the US is already subverting democracy in Britain.
After all as Mrs Merkel already knows being a close friend of the United States is no guarantee against hostile illegal action. And it was the suave Barack Obama, not the brutish Donald Trump, who was tapping her personal mobile phone – an illegal act which has still not been apologised for and demands by Germany for the transcripts have been denied.
The apparently endless disinformation campaign against Mr Corbyn has not let up from the day and hour he became the Labour leader and no concession – indeed surrender – on key parts of his past record on the Israel-Palestine question has mitigated it. He has dropped his old stance in support of a democratic state of Israel-Palestine, dropped his opposition to the “chilling” IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and expelled and suspended some of his oldest and closest allies for breaches of that definition. But the supporters of Israel in Britain – and it would appear the United States – simply refuse to accept Mr Corbyn’s YES for an answer. He is still routinely branded an “anti-Semite” for the crime of demanding the implementation of the Oslo Agreement signed on the White House lawn more than a quarter of a century ago.
The breach of Britain’s national sovereignty is not a good look. The contempt for our democracy even less so. But ironically the most offensive thing about Pompeo’s secret speech is the cynical weaponization of Britain’s Jewish community to defeat the Labour Party. Nothing could be more hazardous for a religious minority of just 250,000 people than that. In fact you could say it is anti-Semitic to try it.
By George Galloway