The United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party may be able to maintain power — just barely — after disastrous results in the Thursday election cost the Tories their overall majority in the House of Commons. But things could have been much worse for Prime Minister Theresa May had it not been for Jewish voters in key constituencies, or districts.
The Conservatives performed especially poorly in London, but were able to narrowly hang on in constituencies with large Jewish populations. Political analysts, as well as candidates themselves, surmised that the Conservatives’ success had to do with Jewish antipathy towards Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, once called members of Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends,” and was accused of whitewashing a report into anti-Semitism within his party before naming the person who wrote the report to the House of Lords.
The national swing from Conservative to Labour was 9.5%, but in Finchley and Golders Green, the most heavily Jewish constituency in the country, it was only 4.1%, allowing Conservative MP Mike Freer to remain in office. Freer pointedly thanked the Jewish community in his victory speech for “sticking with me.” Districts like Hendon saw similar results, the Times of Israel noted.
In those districts, the Jewish Chronicle’s Marcus Dysch wrote, “Jewish voters made their feelings towards Mr. Corbyn abundantly clear, and withheld from him two seats which could, with the odd vote going differently elsewhere in the country, have been absolutely vital.”
The Conservatives, in a likely coalition with Northern Ireland’s strongly pro-Israel Democratic Unionist Party, will have 328 seats — two more than the 326 needed for a majority.