Britian’s big election is a sign of our own in the US

What do Dearborn, Mich., and the town of Rochdale in rainy northern Britain have in common?

Quite a lot, it turns out — despite the 3,600 miles between them.

Mired in post-industrial economic slump, they each have populations of about 110,000, many of whom are Muslim.

Which goes a long way towards explaining the disproportionate role played by the Gaza war in national politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

As elections looming in the US and UK, many issues weigh heavily on the minds of voters.

A mosque is overshadowed by tall residential towers in the British town of Rochdale, which like Dearborn in Michigan boasts a large Muslim population who are likely to vote with Gaza in mind. Heritage Images via Getty Images

Immigration, in the form of illegal boats across the Channel in Britain and America’s porous southern border; inflation; healthcare; jobs and the economy.

But the Gaza war may be the one that trumps them all, not because it is important to the majority, but because it is fetishized as a super-issue by an increasingly militant minority.

When it comes to the Jewish state, the July 4 British election could be seen as a dry run for America’s November poll.

Just take a look at Mexico, where the Israeli embassy was literally set on fire this week, ahead of its presidential election on June 3, in which Jewish candidate Claudia Sheinbaum is expected to triumph.

Which is why over the next month, American political strategists will be closely watching the race for Number Ten, particularly the role of places like Rochdale.

Labor party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has resisted calls from the progressive-Muslim alliance to demand a ceasefire. AP

The town has been leftwing since 1958.

In February, its Labour Parliament Member died, forcing an early by-election, a dry run of sorts for July 4.

Enter George Galloway, leader of Britain’s Workers Party who’s notorious for his fedora hat as well as his friendship with Hamas.

Three of Galloway’s four wives have been Muslim and the arch-leftist has long allied himself with the faith’s radical elements. In 2009, he gave £25,000 to Hamas.

He has attempted to declare Bradford, another heavily Muslim town in the north, an “Israel-free zone” and refused to debate former Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy back in 2013 when he learned Levy holds an Israeli passport.

Galloway ran to represent Rochdale in March and won. His victory sent shock waves through the Labour party.

For months, party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, had resisted calls from the progressive-Muslim alliance to demand a ceasefire.

Galloway secured a base that was almost entirely Muslim. This was a form of revenge.

A man throws a stone as demonstrators clash with riot police, during a pro-Palestinian demonstration to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Anadolu via Getty Images

Does Rochdale foretell trouble for Labour on July 4? Does Dearborn bode ill for the Democrats? Last week, Labour broke with the United States to endorse the International Criminal Court case against Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense chief.

This week, a leaked video showed Angela Rayner, the Deputy Labour leader who leads another heavily Muslim constituency, begging a group of Islamic leaders to support her in the general election, vowing to recognize a state of Palestine.

Back to Dearborn. In April, on the annual Iranian Al Quds day rally, local firebrands gave inflammatory speeches and encouraged the crowd to chant “death to Israel” and “death to America.”

The imam Usama Abdulghani praised Ayatollah Khomeini for branding Israel “an evil settler project” and “a cancer.”

President Biden’s Gaza policy has seen him both support Israel’s right to defend itself — and withhold crucial arms. AP

Dearborn’s citizens are 54% Arab-American and the town served as a centerpoint for the Rashida Tlaib-led “uncommitted” campaign against Prez. Biden back in February.

Rochdale boasts a 36% Muslim population, but is just one of many northern towns in which radical Islam has a foothold. Whereas just 1% of Americans are Muslim, in Britain they are six times that number.

One photograph summed it up: in front of a derelict building stood a billboard promoting Akhmed Yakoob for mayor, with the slogan: “lend Gaza your vote.” A recent survey found that 46% of British Muslims supported Hamas.

In my country and yours, Muslim minorities, which themselves contain sizable fundamentalist minorities, are not large enough to determine elections by brute force of numbers.

But they matter in battlegrounds like Dearborn, as well as in terms of party unity, which is crucial when it comes to winning races.

Rochdale MP George Galloway is notoriously anti-Israel and once refused to shake the hand of an Israeli at a university debate. AFP via Getty Images

After Oct. 7, President Biden despatched two aircraft carriers to support Israel — then came under increasing pressure from the leftist wing of his party.

With one eye on the upcoming election, he threw bones at the progressive-Muslim alliance, beginning by saying that Israel was going “over the top” and ending by withholding shipments of arms.

Labor leader Starmer has followed a similar pattern, withstanding pressure to demand a ceasefire but pledging to halt Britain’s tiny quantities of weapons sold to Israel.

Recently, a British website appeared called “the Muslim vote,” which bills itself as “pro-democracy” and “anti-genocide.”

Even though Britain’s Muslim population is far larger than here in the US, the behavior of its Muslim voters will be closely watched by American political strategists. PA Images via Getty Images

Supported by several dubious groups, it encouraged Muslims to vote for whatever party advanced their collective interests.

This piled the pressure on Labour to bend to Islamist demands.

They may be few in number, but such is the drive of Muslim fundamentalists that they are molding the politics of the international left far beyond any other major campaign issues.

Thanks to social media, the factions are guiding the course of popular culture — and perhaps the future of our two great nations.

Jake Wallis Simons is the editor of the Jewish Chronicle and the author of “Israelophobia.”

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