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September 27, 2021 3:34 pm

UK Labour Leaders Condemn Anti-Israel Motion Passed at Annual Party Conference

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

People attend Britain’s Labour Party annual conference in Brighton, Britain, September 26, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

A resolution condemning Israel for the “ongoing Nakba in Palestine” and calling for a ban on British trade with Israeli settlements was approved at the UK Labour Party’s annual conference on Monday, drawing a rebuke from party leaders.

Brought to vote by the Young Labour section of the party, the resolution condemned “the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarized violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.

It also pledged to support sanctions against Israel, and called for Labour to “adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel, including stopping any arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights and trade with illegal Israeli settlements.”

After the vote, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told the Jewish News that the leadership “cannot support” the motion, a sentiment backed by party leader Keir Starmer.

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“We owe it to the people of Palestine and Israel to take a fair and balanced approach that recognizes there can only be peace through a safe and secure Israel existing alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state,” Nandy said. “It does not address the issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a comprehensive or balanced way.”

MP Steve McCabe, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, called the motion “grossly inaccurate and morally repugnant,” and said it did not represent the party’s longstanding support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Separately, in a conference vote on Sunday, over 73% of delegates voted to establish an independent complaint procedure for claims of racism, spurred by a report into antisemitism in the party.

Starmer called the rules change a “decisive and important” moment, saying, “we’ve now closed the door on a shameful chapter in our history.

The change helped prompt Louise Ellman — a Jewish MP who left the party in 2019 over its handling of antisemitism under former leader Jeremy Corbyn — to announce her return to Labour on Monday.

“I am confident that, under the leadership of Keir Starmer, the party is once again led by a man of principle in whom the British people and Britain’s Jews can have trust,” Ellman said in a statement.

“Keir has shown a willingness to confront both the anti-Jewish racists and the toxic culture which allowed antisemitism to flourish,” she continued. “In beginning the process of stamping out the poison of antisemitism, he has demonstrated leadership and, crucially, action. He has my full support.”

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