Corbyn Victory Could Wreck Security Ties with Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a general election campaign event in London, Britain November 27, 2019. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

If Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn wins the December election, it could result in a shutdown of longstanding cooperation between British and Israeli intelligence services, according to the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph.

During a visit to London in September, Netanyahu was asked by the newspaper whether bilateral security ties would continue if Corbyn as prime minister would carry out his pledge to halt the sale of weapons to Israel and recognized a Palestinian state.

“What do you think?” was Netanyahu’s response, suggesting the answer was obviously in the negative.

The relationship between the Mossad and Britain’s MI6 and MI5 is widely acknowledged to be of great importance to both countries. The Mossad is believed to be the second largest sharer of intelligence with Britain after the CIA.

Their working together “has saved many lives — many Israeli lives and many, many British lives,” Netanyahu said in a 2017 BBC interview.

It would also probably make no difference who the next Israeli prime minister is, visa vis Corbyn and security matters.

“Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. is an anti-Semite of the oldest style,” said Yair Lapid, Blue & White’s No. 2 and a candidate for Israel’s next foreign minister.

Israel’s Labor party severed links with Corbyn in 2018, accusing him of “hostility” to British Jews and “very public hatred of the policies of the government of the state of Israel.”

A former MI6 officer told the Telegraph that a Corbyn premiership would likely see the intelligence relationship “put on hold” for the duration of his time in office.

While officials would likely maintain connections in the background, according to the former intel man, but the connection with Israel “will definitely get colder,” he said.

Danny Yatom, a former head of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, was quoted by the Express saying that intelligence cooperation would continue, though on a lower profile, until the political echelons sorted things out.

But, he said, Israel would scale back its intelligence sharing with Britain if it found the Corbyn government sharing their secrets with unfriendly actors, such as Russia or Iran.