Theresa May to be propped up by Christian Zionists

Diminished and humiliated, British Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking in Downing Street on 9 June, will have to rely on a small Christian Zionist party to remain in power.

Andrew Parsons Polaris

In a stunning upset, the British electorate moved sharply to the left in Thursday’s general election. The Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, gained dozens of seats, while Theresa May’s governing Conservatives lost their majority.

When the prime minister called the snap election seven weeks ago, polls suggested she’d win a massive majority.

Even such Labour stalwarts as Guardian pundit Owen Jones predicted that under Corbyn the party would be crushed.

But Corbyn’s ebullient grassroots campaign, built on policies of free university tuition, social justice and more investment in public services, generated enthusiasm that defied virtually all expectations.

May moves right

Diminished and humiliated, May will hang on as prime minister for now. But unable to command a majority in the House of Commons on their own, the Conservatives will rely for support on the 10 lawmakers from the Democratic Unionist Party, a Christian Zionist group in Northern Ireland which pushes extreme pro-Israel policies.

It also staunchly opposes same-sex marriage, a position that might make it more at home in America’s Bible Belt.

This means that while the British electorate embraces more progressive policies, May is likely to hunker down and move even further to the right in defiance of public opinion, including the growing support for Palestinian rights.

Who are the DUP

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was founded in the early 1970s by the late Ian Paisley, a Protestant cleric notorious for his anti-Catholic bigotry.

Paisley’s DUP opposed any change in the status quo of Northern Ireland, an entity created by the British in 1921. As Ireland struggled for its independence, the British imposed partition in order to give Protestants, largely descended from Scottish and English settlers, an artificial majority.

This “Protestant state for a Protestant people” ruled over Irish Catholics with bigotry and an iron fist.

Unionists’ violent rejection of Irish nationalist demands for equality in the late 1960s inaugurated the three-decade low-level civil war known as “The Troubles” in which more than 3,500 people were killed and 50,000 injured – nearly two percent of the Northern Ireland population.

Paisley’s demagoguery and incitement has been blamed for at least some of the deaths in the conflict.

But after almost a lifetime spent opposing accommodation, in 2007 Paisley led the DUP into a power-sharing government with the leaders of Sinn Féin – the party he had just a few years earlier denounced as a “filthy nest of murderous Irish nationalism.”

Islamophobia

Although Paisley underwent some form of transformation, many in his party have not and the DUP leadership is accused of maintaining ties with violent pro-British extremist groups, called loyalists, that carried out hundreds of sectarian murders of Catholics.

Loyalist paramilitaries endorsed DUP candidates in Thursday’s election.

After Ireland’s 1998 peace deal, the Good Friday Agreement, politicians can no longer utter open expressions of anti-Catholic bigotry of the kind in which Paisley routinely indulged.

But some of that bigotry appears to have morphed into Islamophobia. In 2014, an evangelical pastor attacked Muslims as “satanic.” The DUP’s Peter Robinson, first minister of Northern Ireland at the time, defended the comments, before eventually apologizing amid public outrage.

Friends of Israel

The DUP is a staunchly pro-Israel party – Ian Paisley himself launched the group Northern Ireland Friends of Israel in 2009.

Before this election, members of the DUP joined dozens of candidates from other parties signing a so-called “Pledge for Israel.”

The party also has its own DUP Friends of Israel lobby group in the Northern Ireland legislature.

Northern Ireland Friends of Israel co-chair Steven Jaffe explained that the party’s strong support for Israel stems in part from religious beliefs.

“Many DUP [members of Parliament] come from a Bible-believing Protestant background,” he told The Times of Israel in 2014. “They have a very sincere and positive attitude to the biblical roots of the Jewish people’s connection to the land.”

These Christian Zionist beliefs are what motivate many extreme supporters of Israel, such as the powerful US lobby group Christians United for Israel.

Since 2015, CUFI also has a UK branch. The group had been due to celebrate in London 50 years of violent Israeli occupation in the West Bank at a “Night to Honor Israel,” before it was canceled amid what it claimed were security threats.

The “Pledge for Israel” was also emailed by CUFI UK to its supporters just before the election.

Settler-colonialism

The identification also stems from the shared history that Northern Ireland was created through imposed partition, for the benefit of a settler-colonial group, against the wishes and rights of the indigenous population, just like Israel’s 1948 creation in Palestine.

The DUP “identify with Israel fighting for its survival, and they feel the international media is unfairly hostile to Israel just as they believe it was hostile to their own cause,” Jaffe explained.

Veteran Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn shed light on this sense of a common cause between Zionists and pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland, during Israel’s December 2008 to January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

Israeli society “reminds me more than ever of the unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s,” he observed. Like Israelis, unionists were a community “with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people. There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired by unreasoning hate.”

As The Electronic Intifada’s David Cronin has observed, “the racist discourse of the Protestant establishment in the north of Ireland” is “almost identical to what Israeli politicians say about Arabs.”

Israel’s justice minister Ayelet Shaked, for instance, called Palestinian babies “little snakes.” Paisley once claimed that Catholics “multiply like vermin.”

Exporting repression to Palestine

The overall responsibility for the violence lay with the British state, which propped up the bigoted Northern Ireland regime for decades.

But while the peace process ended the most violent manifestations of British repression, that apparatus of state violence has been rebranded for export to Palestine.

Several veterans of the now disbanded Royal Ulster Constabulary have been employed by the European Union to train Palestinian Authority security forces that work closely with Israel’s military occupation.

This is the same Royal Ulster Constabulary that colluded with loyalist militias on a vast scale in the murder of Catholics, and whose members are now honored by DUP leader Arlene Foster as heroes.

The morning after the vote, it is no wonder that many are describing May’s desperate deal with the DUP to stay in power as the “Bad Friday Agreement.”

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Comments

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She's toast. It's all about Brexit. Election called for bigger majority so she could more easily resist the swivel-eyed brexiteers. Now, in coalition, she's brought in remainers and has a minority government.

On top of that, a disastrous manifesto which attacked her own supporters and continued to ignore those who did not traditionally make use of their democratic rights.

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A very good summary of Northern Ireland's historical woes and the role of the DUP in fostering inequality and violence. A British government dependent on such a cohort in Parliament has reached the end of its span. The Tories are about to ditch May and choose a new leader, the country's second unelected Prime Minister in a year. And then a new election will be called, in a welter of rejected Tory policies, miserable alibis, failed negotiations over Brexit and a rising tide of disgust. At which point, a Labour victory becomes possible, and a new era in British politics can begin. This time, there'll be no Blairite faction to squander a landslide and sell the hopes of the people back to their corporate masters. Corbyn really does intend to restore popular control and to honour the dignity of the working class. There is everything to fight for, and everything to win.

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Derry is called THE PROTESTANT JERUSALEM, Jerusalem is called THE ZIONIST ULSTER.

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Ali,

Although it appears that this coalition between the Tories and the DUP is a victory of evil over Good, it is a victory of the Damned. Things may indeed get worse in the short term, however, the world is changing but not in the direction the Zionist movement would like. Irish Catholics in the Six Counties and their Palestinian Brothers and Sisters will taste Freedom soon - we must hold on to our resolve, after all this is what Allah expects of us.

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Long and arduous election campaign here in the UK but how exciting the last few days have been. Teetering on the brink of election/referendum fatigue (three in the last two years for UK, and additional one for Scotland), it seems highly likely there will be another one soon. The current administration controversially aligned with the DUP, resulting in a majority of just three, with multiple factions within the government holding widely differing views over the shape of Brexit.

Just a reminder that all the progressive parties united in opposition cannot together muster enough votes to command a majority without the support of the DUP, or any other of the Northern Ireland parties.

It's not as though there is common ground in the whole parliament. Looks like we'll be up for another one soon.
https://youtu.be/d3PKE8uTSp8

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it is so nice to learn of great Palestinian's victories and yet more and greater to come. Worth waiting another 50 years

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"such Labour stalwarts as Guardian pundit Owen Jones predicted that under Corbyn the party would be crushed."

Jones, ostensibly a leftist, gave a speech to the Jewish Labour Movement, as EI reported, and his ostensible support for Palestinian rights is shallow and cliched. Is he displeased that Corbyn, solidly identified with justice for Palestinians, did much better than expected?

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I was not around (don,t know anyone who was) for the birth of the British Empire but I am sure glad to be around to see the end of it.Just Scotland and Wales to leave and that will put merry olde England back 600 years.

My how the mighty fall .Who would have thunk it --the realm kissing ass in the US and in Brussels but smoozing with racist Christian fundamentalist bigots, (DUP) has to be the icing on the royal cake.Yup, the sun has finally set on this blessed plot , this earth , this realm , this England .And Israel is hoping the folks at CFI will help to sustain it for a thousand years---correction --930.

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