First Jeremy Corbyn then Donald Trump?

Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Donald Trump (credit: Jeremy Corbyn and the White House).

U.S. president Donald Trump has likened himself to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during WWII, but the British politician that he most resembles is probably former British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It will be interesting to see whether Trump will suffer the same ignominious fate that Corbyn suffered.

This week, the demise of Jeremy Corbyn was complete. Almost a year ago, after being humiliated at the polls by Conservative leader Boris Johnson, Corbyn resigned as leader. He was replaced by Sir Keir Starmer, and this week, Starmer suspended Corbyn’s membership in the party.

Corbyn has a long history of anti-Israel speech. He once referred to Hezbollah and Hamas as his friends. But anti-Israel rhetoric goes hand-in-hand with anti-Semitism. Under his leadership, anti-Semitism was allowed to fester and grow within the Labour party, and despite alarms raised about it, Corbyn did nothing to stop it, and he continued demonizing Israel to the point where he received Hamas’ stamp of approval.

Upon his election, Starmer promised that he would address anti-Semitism in his party and he promised to visit Israel, but his promises were met with some scepticism because it seemed doubtful that years of unbridled anti-Semitism could suddenly be turned around. But Starmer, while knowing the opposition that he would face by confronting head-on the anti-Semitism within his party, put principles and the soul of the Labour party ahead of political expediency.

If it were not for the American Electoral College, Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by three million votes, would have lost the election and would now be history, and he, like Corbyn, would have never been elected to lead his country. But thanks to an undemocratic electoral system, he ruled the U.S. for four years.

Trump is a dishonest demagogue, just like Corbyn, and he deserves the same fate. If polls are right, he very well might meet that fate, and his loss to Joe Biden is likely to be as devastating and humiliating as Corbyn’s loss to Johnson was.

If Trump is defeated on November 3rd, will the Republican party demonstrate the same courage that Starmer did? Will they censure Donald Trump and declare him unwelcome at party-sponsored events? Will the Republican party denounce the racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and sexism that festered under Trump, often initiated by him? Will the Republican party put principles ahead of political expediency? Will the Republican party reclaim its soul?

As Nick Cohen wrote, “Keir Starmer’s decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn shows a courage so many lacked when the far left ran the party from 2015 until 2019. Do not underestimate the risks he is running”. Facing the Trump supporters within the Republican party will require at least as much courage, but courage seems sorely lacking within the Republican party.

While for four years, Trump repeatedly abused the democratic institutions of his nation for the benefit of his self-serving politics of division and bigotry, elected Republicans barely uttered a word of criticism. If they suddenly find the courage to fight, they will surprise many.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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