Israeli leaders welcomed the news of conservative Boris Johnson’s victory in the UK general election last week and, perhaps more so, the stunning electoral defeat of the Labor party, plagued by accusations of anti-Semitism.
“This is not just a political victory, it is first and foremost a victory of values,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said. “The specter of anti-Semitism loomed large over this campaign, and the British public overwhelmingly voted against it, in what is, in our opinion, a testament to British history and values. It serves as an important milestone in the fight against hatred.”
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said he will resign after his party’s poor showing in the elections, has long been accused of anti-Semitism himself plus allowing hatred of Jews and Israel to fester in his party. He has described Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends.”
Meanwhile, Johnson is expected to make good on his campaign promise and propose legislation to undermine the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as soon as this week. This comes just weeks after President Trump issued an executive order attacking anti-Semitism on college campuses. In contrast, Labor had promised that it would “immediately recognize the state of Palestine” and stop selling weapons to Israel if elected.
Introducing a law against boycotts would have wide ranging effect in the United Kingdom and would prevent local councils from imposing boycotts against Israel, the Jewish Chronicle weekly newspaper said.
Johnson has spoken out against BDS and is considered a good friend of Israel.
In 2015 he derailed the BDS movement saying he could “not think of anything more foolish than to say that you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done, is the only democracy in the region.”