While no convincing evidence has yet to be presented to the public after two years of US authorities looking into the possibility that the Russian state tried to influence the 2016 US election and/or colluded with the Trump campaign, many in the US continue to justify anti-Russian sanctions and other anti-Russian legal mechanisms based on these “election meddling” allegations. Based on the levels of emotion surrounding the “Russiagate” issue, one would think that the same people who fear Russian election meddling would be equally upset when clear evidence of a foreign head of state openly meddles in a foreign election process in a similar western state. The truth however is rather different.
Yesterday, Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following Tweet censuring Britain’s political opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) August 13, 2018
In response, Corbyn wrote the following condemning the policies of Netanyahu,
Israeli PM @Netanyahu's claims about my actions and words are false.
What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.https://t.co/H5nXqi3pnU
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) August 13, 2018
The nation state law sponsored by @Netanyahu's government discriminates against Israel's Palestinian minority.
I stand with the tens of thousands of Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel demonstrating for equal rights at the weekend in Tel Aviv.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) August 13, 2018
Far from some secret coordinated action, the leader of Israel’s attempt to influence British electoral opinion and Corbyn’s reactive criticism of Netanyahu which may well influence some public opinion in Israel is being conducted in the open in the form of a Twitter war of words. And yet no public officials or their spokespeople in mainstream media are discussing the open election meddling.
The only conclusion one can draw from the fact that a verbal missile launched by the Israeli leader against the UK opposition leader has not been met with voices of concern about “foreign election meddling” can only mean that those accusing Russia of doing the same don’t actually care about foreign election meddling – instead they care specifically about Russia.
Indeed, it is not only Russia that is unfairly singled out when it comes to “election meddling” but when it comes to giving speeches to expats on foreign soil, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also been singled out. Why is it that Barack Obama was allowed to campaign in Germany before a mixed audience of Americans and German well-wishers in 2008 but Erdogan was not allowed to do the same?
It therefore seems that a revulsion to public campaign speeches by foreign leaders as well as both true or false allegations regarding foreign election meddling are not so much motivated by the actual acts in question but instead by concerted efforts to single out certain nations while giving others a pass. Extrapolating matters further, while Russia has been accused of having a hand not only in the Trump election victory in 2016 but also in the 2017 French elections, Britain’s Brexit vote, the Catalonia independence referendum, the 2017 Mexican election vote and this year’s Italian elections – it is becoming increasingly de rigueur to merely blame Russia for meddling in any election that even may go against the incumbent status quo. Having any evidence to justify this is seemingly surplus to requirements.
While many in British and Israeli social media are discussing the Corbyn/Netanyahu row based on their views on both men’s policies and track records, no one is pointing out that a foreign head of government is clearly trying to influence British electoral opinion. Furthermore, as Benjamin Netanyahu has excellent relations with the current Russian President, it is surprising that no one is accusing Netanyahu of acting in Russia’s interest in trying to meddle in the electoral opinions of the UK public on the basis of his friendship with Vladimir Putin.
Because of this, both Benjamin Netanyahu and Jeremy Corbyn did the wider world a favour by openly exposing how few people actually care about electoral meddling even when it conducted via a public Twitter war. The true motivation for the Russiagate “scandal” is therefore self-evidently a collective opposition to Russian foreign policies among North American and European policy making elite. This attitude indeed predated the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Russiagate therefore appears to be just another excuse for policy making elite to continue to agitate for further anti-Russian measures, most notably sanctions.
It is for this reason that many are looking for “Russian meddling” where there appears to be none yet are ignoring Israeli meddling when it is happening in the open.