Is all this a coincidence? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Is all this a coincidence?

Israel will be holding general elections on April 9. The country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is backed into a corner due to corruption accusations, wants to win the elections by establishing alliance with the most radical groups of Israel’s rightists. The alliance that Netanyahu, who is up against strong competitors, formed with the racist "Jewish Force" and "Jewish Home," divided the Israeli lobby in the U.S. The first reactions to the alliance came from the American-Jewish Committee (AJC) and the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Netanyahu's alliance with racist and pro-violence parties is being considered as a dangerous initiative by the liberal American Jews that largely vote for the Democrats.

The law package that includes sanctions against attempts to boycott Israel, in addition to the $38-million military aid to Israel in the next decade, had passed through the U.S. Senate. The enactment of the draft requires the approval of the "House of Representatives" as well. The House of Representatives is predominantly Democrat. The young Democrats elected for Congress from the Democrat Party are demonstrating a more distant stance against Israel. The AJC and AIPAC must be concerned about the sensitive balance in the U.S. Congress being disturbed against Israel.

Intensified anti-Semitism discussions in the U.S., U.K. and France is another interesting development. The pro-Netanyahu Israel lobby in the U.S. and the Republicans are accusing Democrats of allowing anti-Semitism. The lobby has its eye on Democrat senators who voted "no" in the Senate to the draft that poses sanctions on the boycott attempt against Israel, based on the grounds that it restricts freedom of thought. The senators under inspection include Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. These names are preparing to run as president in the 2020 elections.

Yet, Sanders, one of the most popular names among the presidential candidates, is Jewish. It is known that the other candidates have supported Israel until now. Harris had shown his true colors by attending the AIPAC conferences in both 2017 and 2018. Sanders had said he did not agree with the boycott attempt against Israel, but he did not vote for the draft in question as it restricts freedom of thought.

Reports indicating that anti-Jewish attacks are on a rise in France, drawing swastikas on tombstones in the Jewish cemetery, and a person from among the "Yellow Vests" protesting the government verbally attacking a Jewish writer, ignited anti-Semitism discussions. Now the legislation of a law that includes a penalty by associating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has been opened to debate in France.

It is said that migration from France to Israel is increasing due to the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment. As for Israeli governments, they have been encouraging migration to Israel all along. Netanyahu having close relations with racist right-wing parties that are considered anti-Semitic by the Jewish diaspora, or EU-member European countries that are under the control of these parties, constitutes a complete contradiction. Racist, anti-migrant and anti-Islam parties are declaring that they are "pro-Israel."

In the U.K., nine deputies resigned from the Labor Party by accusing party leader Jeremy Corbyn of being anti-Semitic. U.S. President Donald Trump and the Israeli government are strong supporters of the U.K. leaving the European Union. Meanwhile, if the Labor Party comes to power, it seems inclined to offer the people an option to remain in the EU. Corbyn has already expressed a second referendum option. As for Israel, it is already pursuing a broad bilateral trade agreement with the U.K. after Brexit. This might be one of the factors behind the resignations in the Labor Party.

Distraction in critical matters could be part of a political game. Since we cannot call all these subsequent developments a "coincidence," we need to take a more comprehensive look at the anti-Semitism discussions in the U.S., U.K., and France.

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