According to US media reports, Pompeo made his remarks during a closed-door meeting with American Jewish leaders, where he was asked if Corbyn “is elected, would you be willing to work with us to take on action if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?”
To which Pompeo replied: “It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It's possible. You should know, we won't wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It's too risky and too important and too hard once it's already happened,” according to the Washington Post, which published the leaked recordings.
The Labour Party has been accused of being anti-Semitic, as some party figures have made comments targeting Jews. Corbyn himself has been criticized for accusing Israel of human rights abuses against the Palestinians, but the Labour leader says he wants to see justice for the Palestinian people.
“Mr. Corbyn has consistently fought for Palestinian rights in the face of widespread opposition from politicians in both the United Kingdom and the USA. The Israeli government does not want to see 'Prime Minister Corbyn', nor does the US government. It is against their interests in the region,” Matt Turner, commentator and former Evolve Senior Editor stressed.
The commentator also said that Pompeo “will be doing his utmost to stop Jeremy Corbyn (from) becoming Prime Minister, as Corbyn represents a break away from the interventionist foreign policy consensus that Donald Trump and the USA represent”.
Freelance journalist Alex Tiffin believes it's important that Mike Pompeo's comments about “pushing back” on Jeremy Corbyn shouldn't be overlooked.
“The United States has a long history of interfering in other countries' political affairs when they don't like things. You only have to look at Venezuela recently for evidence of this,” said the journalist. “It smacks of hypocrisy after all the US intelligence community accused the Russian government of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.”
Journalist and columnist Danielle Ryan noted that these remarks shouldn't be taken as a meaningless comment, as there's enough reasons to believe that “Pompeo was entirely serious about the US taking steps to hurt Corbyn's chances and probably is doing so in an underhanded ways already.”
Just last week US President Donald Trump, during his state visit to the UK, named several candidates that he believed would do “a very good job” if elected to the post of British Prime Minister, including former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit minister Dominic Raab.
This prompted Jeremy Corbyn to lash out at Trump for interfering in the UK's internal affairs:
“President Trump’s attempt to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister is an entirely unacceptable interference in our country’s democracy.” Corbyn tweeted.
President Trump’s attempt to decide who'll be Britain’s next PM is an entirely unacceptable interference in our democracy.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) 1 июня 2019 г.
The next PM should be chosen not by the US president, nor by 100,000 unrepresentative Tory party members, but by the British people in a general election.
Trump eventually turned down a meeting with the Labour leader, after Corbyn refused to attend the state banquet at Buckingham Palace honouring Trump.
Tiffin said that Trump's actions and Pompeo's comments only shown that they don't take Corbyn seriously, but this is a mistake on their part:
“What they are ignoring, however, is the fact that Mr Corbyn retains a strong backing and has every chance of being elected as UK prime minister should a General Election be held. Current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said this himself yesterday,” Tiffin explained.
Both journalists agreed that this story hasn't received much coverage, either in the US or the UK, while Ryan called this hugely hypocritical, especially considering how much press the alleged Russian meddling in the US vote got, despite never being proven:
“What's really interesting about Pompeo's threat - and it most certainly is a threat - is that there has been so little coverage of it in the US media. [...] Evidently, American journalists are not interested in becoming outraged over foreign meddling when it is Washington doing the meddling. Of course, that is nothing new, the US media is so rarely honest about Washington's interference in the domestic affairs of so many countries around the world -- but one might have thought there'd be slightly more interest given the intended target this time is Britain,” Ryan said.
Speaking about what relations between Washington and London would be like should Corbyn become Prime Minister while Donald Trump is still in office, Tiffin insists they would “change dramatically”.
“The US won't have a partner willing to jump at their request but one that starts pushing back. Given how badly President Trump takes rejection, I think we could expect relations to deteriorate rapidly.”