Many democratic governments have a Labor Party. It usually follows a left-wing ideology, supporting such causes as trade unions. Most of these governments are aligned in the Socialist International. Formed in 1951, this is a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor political parties.

Comrades, you can start blowing your harmonica now!

The Labor party of both Israel and the United Kingdom belong to the organization – and each of these respective labor parties are currently in opposition to the ruling party of the given country.

Herzog

Four Labor-party MKs recently praised Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog‘s intention to challenge Defense Minister Ehud Barak for leadership of the party. Herzog is the son of former Israeli President, Chaim Herzog.

MKs Amir Pertz, Eitan Cabel, Daniel Ben-Simon and Raleb Majadele said however, in order for Herzog to be taken seriously by Barak, Herzog’s announcement must be accompanied by “meaningful leadership actions” such as resigning from his role in opposition leader, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s party.

Labor was the only Jewish faction to have MKs vote nay on the new bill requiring new Israeli citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a “Jewish and democratic” state.

Miliband

And the Labor-party of another country too has made its way into today’s post and that country is Britain.

OneJerusalem.com was poised to send a Mazal Tov to Ed Miliband, who was elected over his brother David on September 25, the first ever Jewish leader of the 110-year-old British Labor party. Now we are revoking the prestige of his receiving a OneJerusalem.com Mazal Tov and instead: “tisk tisk…”

The young Jewish leader, formally Secretary of State for the new British Department of Energy and Climate Change, harbors an opinion of Israel which sadly deviates from the pro-Zionist leanings of former prime ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, also Labor party blokes.

In Miliband’s keynote address to the Labor’s annual Manchester conference earlier this month, the MP told his party that they should feel pressure to “strain every sinew” in ending Israel’s naval (and aerial) blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Jewish country’s “attack on the Gaza flotilla was so wrong.”

Louise Ellman, a Labor MP from Liverpool and chairwoman of the Jewish Labor Movement, told the Jewish Chronicle (the main Jewish newspaper in England):

“It was very disappointing that his conference speech criticized Israel without mentioning Hamas rocket attacks on civilians”

She said,

“It’s important for Ed to show he is evenhanded on the Middle East, and the first things he must do are support the universal jurisdiction legislation, show he is opposed to boycotts and support a negotiated peace agreement.”

The Labor party is favored by most British Jews, so Miliband’s stance has brought to that atmosphere a tinge of concern.

One party insider said:

“These are serious issues requiring serious answers,”

He said,

“Ed’s not about to make up policies on the fly just to answer a reporter’s questions. Moreover, there are a significant number of pro-Israel members of his shadow cabinet.”

The 40-year-old politician isn’t THAT bad though, he did issue the following statement to Labor Friends of Palestine:

“The major instrument for influence at our disposal in relation to the Middle East is trade policy. I am against blanket boycotts of goods from Israel. But Israel, and all countries in the region, must live up to the commitments they have made to respect human rights as part of trade agreements. The EU must be tough enough to ensure that these commitments mean something.”

Ed and David Miliband’s late father, Ralph Miliband was a war refugee from Nazi Poland, who came to England in 1940, a Marxist and professor at the London School of Economics. He has gone down as one of Britain’s most beloved left-wing intellectuals.

The Miliband’s mother, Marion Kozak, now 75, escaped genocide and deportations in Poland and fled to Belgium, where she was hidden by a Christian family.

Upon immigrating to London, she became an advocate of groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Miliband’s older brother, the 44-year-old David, former foreign secretary, has established a track record for pro-Israel engagement.

Author of “A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel Robin Shepherd”, feels that analysis cannot account for Miliband’s “baseline political values.”

“Miliband comes from left of the Labor Party, which is instinctively hostile to Israel, and if he becomes prime minister, like all others, he will defer to the interests of the Foreign Office and the European Union, both of which have that as their default position as well,”

Shepherd told the JTA.

“I don’t see a lot of maneuverability there.”