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November 25, 2014 1:31 pm

UK Israel Activists to Demonstrate Against Opposition Leader Ed Miliband’s Speech to Pro-BDS Organization

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Ed Miliband, Jewish leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, has been criticized by UK Jews over his stance on Israel. Photo: Wikimedia

Pro-Israel activists in the UK have announced a demonstration outside a conference center in central London tomorrow night, where Ed Miliband, the Jewish leader of the opposition Labour Party, will address the annual dinner of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME,) a lobby group known for its visceral hostility towards the State of Israel.

The demonstrators, organized by activist organizations Sussex Friends of Israel and Pro-Israel Response Group, will demand “that the Labour Leader stand up to his principles and longstanding pledge to British Jews for a two-state solution and against all boycotts.”

Miliband, who has been dogged by collapsing approval ratings ahead of next year’s British general election, has faced increasing opposition from within the Jewish community over his stance on Israel. As The Algemeiner reported in October, Miliband was fiercely criticized by Maureen Lipman, a leading British Jewish actress with longstanding ties to the Labour Party, or his support for British recognition of a Palestinian state independently of any negotiations with Israel.

Reports that Ms. Lipman is sending a message of support to tomorrow night’s demonstration could not be confirmed.

Following Lipman’s remarks, Miliband issued a forthright condemnation of anti-Semitism, declaring the need for a “zero tolerance approach.” He also delivered a powerful speech to the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) group, in which he condemned Hamas for failing to renounce violence and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

One activist involved with the plans for tomorrow night’s demonstration told The Algemeiner that “If I had been at the LFI speech,  I would have given Ed a standing ovation.” However, the activist, who asked not to be identified, added that “Ed can’t have it both ways. That’s our message.”

The controversy over Miliband’s appearance at the LFPME dinner stems from that organization’s support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel – a stance roundly rejected by Miliband – as well as its positive attitude to what is euphemistically called the “one-state solution.” This formulation is code for the elimination of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state, an outcome that could only be achieved by the military conquest of the Jewish state.

Additionally, there is concern that LFPME is pushing to criminalize British Jews who volunteer for the IDF, despite the fact that the UK and Israel mutually benefit from healthy military, trade and diplomatic ties. In a recent Facebook posting, Mark McDonald, an LFPME coordinator, drew an explicit comparison with the terrorists of the Islamic State organization, writing, “if it is now illegal to go to Syria and fight should we also arrest those who left the UK to fight for the Israeli army and then committed war crimes in Gaza?”

“We are concerned that speaking at the LFPME dinner will be interpreted by many as an endorsement of their positions,” Sussex Friends of Israel spokesperson Fiona Sharpe told The Algemeiner. “It is vitally important that as the leader of the Labour Party and someone who will be running for Prime Minister in 2015, there is no ambiguity about Mr Miliband’s stance vis a vis a two-state negotiated settlement in the Middle East and his views on the continued delegitimization of Israel through the campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions.”

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  • Ray Packham

    Writing of the “One state solution” Cohen says this…….”This formulation is code for the elimination of the state of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state, am outcome that could only be achieved by the military conquest of the Jewish state.”
    Whist that might be the current position, given the short-sighted intransigence of the current Israeli government, it does not follow, contrary to what he seems to be saying, that common sense will not eventually prevail. Any rational observer, not blinded by Zionist ‘hasbara’, can see that the solution is a true secular democracy, encompassing all of historic Palestine, where all are equal before the law, no matter what their religion or ethnic origin.

  • Robert Weintraub

    Please note that the pro Palestine energy in Europe whether from Sweden, France or Spain is coming from the left.

  • Hillel

    If we use their logic then Tony Blair and the entire British armed forces commited war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan or perhaps the Falklands. How about Ireland. We need more Jews like Milliband perhaps we’d all disappear and let the Muslim rule, hey? At least Jews defend their ethnic group in Israel. Which ethnic group is Muslim from Pakistan or Algiers or Somalia, for instance, defending in Syria when they rape, torture or behead innocents. Look at what is flooding into Europe and what’s going on there not at what Israel does to defend itself. All you white fellas in Europe wanted to eradicate Jews now what have you got?!

  • Eric R.

    The Millibands are self-hating Euro-Socialist kapos in the mold of former Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky.

  • ted weiss

    the issue is that in Britain like in Us
    the labor is leaning towards the palestininan narrative
    There is a shift in public opinion due to the heavy muslim immigration .
    In Us the center left Democratic Party has more and more arab activists as members , hence the current hostile to Israel US Obama policy .

  • Zyx

    Milliband is really out of his mind. Who needs enemies with Jews like him? Like all leftist parties in Europe and elsewhere the Labor is in a very bad shape and Milliband is ready to do anything to try to save it at the expense of Israel if necessary. The more the left is declining the more it is getting radical. There is a good chance his next move will be in support of the ISIS.