Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of La France Insoumise, a major French democratic socialist, left-wing populist party, has accused Likud, the ruling party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of helping to ensure the British Labour Party’s defeat in Thursday’s elections.
In a short election postmortem analysis published on his Facebook page, Melenchon wrote that he did not find Labour’s defeat unexpected.
“I must admit that I am not surprised by the terrible electoral setback of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. It should serve as a lesson,” he wrote.
Melenchon suggested that there were two major “lessons” to be learned –first, that Corbyn should have committed to one side of the Brexit debate instead of promising a second referendum in which he would not interfere. “What is the use of leaders who do not commit to the future of their country? The strongholds of workers in the north…switched to the Conservatives because they guaranteed them Brexit,” he wrote.
Second, Melenchon suggested that Labour was plagued from the get-go by internal party ideological divisions which Corbyn failed to deal with. “Corbyn should have completely overhauled [the party] instead of working with it, or quit,” he argued.
Furthermore, Melenchon suggested, “Corbyn spent his time being insulted and stabbed in the back by a handful of Blairite MPs. Instead of fighting back, he remained composed. He had to face the crude accusations of antisemitism, without help, from the Chief Rabbi of England and the various influential networks of Likud (the right wing party of Netanyahu in Israel). Instead of fighting back, he spent his time apologizing and giving guarantees. In both cases, he displayed a weakness that worried voters.”
Ultimately, Melenchon concluded that Labour’s defeat was the “price” paid for its overly broad appeals and lack of backbone.
Melenchon’s analysis blew up online, with users posting over four hundred comments on his Facebook page, and spreading his remarks about alleged "influential networks of Likud" across the internet. Hugues Serraf, a French journalist and columnist for Slate and Atlantico, offered a rebuttal to the politician, suggesting that Melenchon seemed to echo the thesis put forth by former London mayor and Corbyn ally Ken Livingstone, who said Friday that “The Jewish vote wasn’t very helpful” this election," and that "Jeremy should have tackled that issue far earlier than he did."
“Labour lost because of the influence of the Je…sorry, the Zionists who had to be crushed without weakness,” Serraf sarcastically wrote.