British Jews base their votes on more than just the ‘Israel factor’. We are not one hemogenous bloc when it comes to our approach. These were two of the points we heard repeatedly in the lead-up to the gripping election – and both are unquestionably true.
But equally clear from last week’s result was the likelihood that the approach of Ed Miliband to last summer’s Gaza conflict and Labour’s subsequent backing for the vote on Palestinian statehood cost the party support – and possibly a seat or two – in the most populous Jewish areas of the capital. In the end, despite expectations, those seats were hardly pivotal in the overall result.
No matter how many times Labour’s Jewish party chief stressed he would have no truck with delegitimisation or spoke out against boycotts, many simply could not get past the feeling that at the moment Labour’s friendship with the state was really put to the test – during the war with Hamas – it failed.
While their disappointment at such a drubbing is obvious, one suspects many Israel supporters within the Labour Party will relish an opportunity to start afresh.
For now, though, it’s hardly surprising that many in the community will be celebrating David Cameron’s truly historic triumph.
His Government’s commitment to funding security, tackling radicalisation, his personal commitment to Shoah education and approach to the Gaza conflict [which set him apart from fellow party leaders and indeed most world leaders], won him at the very least the appreciation of many non-Tories.
This time five years ago we warned about the impact the Lib Dems might have on diluting the traditional Israel support of its new coalition partners. It’s to the Tory’s credit that these fears were not borne out – but many will be extra glad that the party of former MP David Ward will no longer get that chance.