Overwhelming Labour Party support for condemnation of “Israel’s continuing illegal actions”

JVL Introduction

In a context of sustained attacks on the left in the Labour Party and an ongoing purge of members including many Jewish socialist members the outcome of the debate on Palestine was astonishing.

A motion condemning “Israel’s continuing illegal actions” was passed overwhelmingly on 27th September.

In a statement issued to Jewish News shortly after the motion was overwhelmingly passed by delegates in Brighton, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: “We cannot support this motion.”

She added, refering to Labour’s generalised, platitudinous support for “a just, lasting peace” that “We condemns all actions [such as this motion] that are making that goal more difficult.”

We can only marvel at her and Starmer’s continued contempt for the membership.

This article was originally published by LabourList on Mon 27 Sep 2021. Read the original here.

Labour conference passes Young Labour Israel and Palestine motion

Delegates at the Labour Party annual conference in Brighton have today passed by a show of hands a composite motion on Israel and Palestine put forward by Young Labour that condemns “Israel’s continuing illegal actions”.

Moving the motion, Young Labour’s Jawad Khan said that the motion would “bring us one step closer to finally ending the shameful century of British complicity and the denial of the right to self-determination, liberation and return”.

Also addressing the annual party gathering ahead of the vote this afternoon, Labour Friends of Israel chair Steve McCabe argued that the motion was “too shouty, too angry, too one-sided and not at all focused on the search for peace”.

He told the conference delegates that it was “completely hostile to the people of Israel”, adding: “If Labour had adopted this approach in Northern Ireland, we would never have got to the Good Friday agreement.”

Commenting after the vote, McCabe said: “This motion is completely unacceptable, grossly inaccurate and morally repugnant. It does not represent Labour’s longstanding policy in support of a two-state solution, backs the toxic BDS movement, which singles out the world’s only Jewish state and propagates the apartheid smear.

“It will undermine the process of rebuilding Labour’s relationship with Britain’s Jews and with Israeli progressives who are fighting for peace, coexistence and reconciliation. This vote shows that there are still too many in the party who remain unhealthily obsessed with Israel. We must continue to work to restore our party’s proud tradition of support for Jewish self-determination and the state of Israel.”

The motion passed without the need for a card vote today. It comes after delegates passed rule changes on the legally mandated recommendations of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission on Sunday evening.

The EHRC published a report on antisemitism within the party last year, finding Labour responsible for “unlawful acts“. The rule changes passed this week include provisions for the establishment of an independent complaints process.

Below is the full text of the Israel and Palestine motion passed today.

Composite one – Israel and Palestine

Conference condemns the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarised violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.

Together with the de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building and statements of Israel’s intention to proceed with annexation, it is ever clearer that Israel is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination.

Conference notes the TUC 2020 Congress motion describing such settlement building and annexation as ‘another significant step’ towards the UN Crime of Apartheid, and calling on the European & international trade union movement to join the international campaign to stop annexation and end apartheid.

Conference also notes the unequivocal 2021 reports by by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch that conclude unequivocally that Israel is practising the crime of apartheid as defined by the UN.

Conference welcomes the International Criminal Court decision to hold an inquiry into abuses committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.

Conference resolves that action is needed now due to Israel’s continuing illegal actions and that Labour should 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.

Conference resolves to support “effective measures” including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli government that are illegal according to international law; in particular to ensure that Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends the occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of Palestinian people, as enshrined in international law, to return to their homes.

Conference resolves that the Labour Party must stand on the right side of history and abide by these resolutions in its policy, communications and political strategy.

Young Labour
Wolverhampton South West CLP


See also Matt Trinder’s report in the Morning Star Labour members overwhelmingly back motion in solidarity with Palestine

Comments (22)

  • Jan Brooker says:

    The current Labour leadership will completely ignore the vote. Unsurprisingly [at the time of writing] there is no report of this on the BBC or in The Guardian. There’s a short report in the ‘i’. What is NOT reported in the MSM is as important as what they CHOOSE to report [and the slant they give it]. “Shaping the narrative” as Chomsky says.

  • Margaret West says:

    I am disgusted by Lisa Nandy’s opposition!

    The factual events condemned by the motion were also identified by the Israeli Chief of Police in his condemnation of
    MP Itama Ben Gvir for stirring up violence in Jerusalem .

    See
    https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20210515-itamar-ben-gvir-the-ultra-nationalist-accused-of-stirring-up-violence-in-jerusalem

    Ben Gvir promotes a policy of hateful intolerance –
    rooted in the xenophobia of the late Meir Kahane the far right extremist.

    It is not this motion from the Labour Party which stands in the way of peace – it is the “Kahanists” and their like including all who tolerate them.

    Steve McAbe has a nerve to talk of the “Good Friday agreement” when LFI is as intolerant of other voices of the Jewish Community as the “Orange Order” ever were of
    Roman Catholics in the Christian Community.

  • Steven Bliss says:

    Jan Brooker is right – the almost complete failure of the media to report this is a classic example of the ‘propaganda model’ that Chomsky analyses.

  • We must celebrate that this motion was introduced by YOUNG labour. They are the voice of tomorrow and when us old creeps with our unthinking acceptance of what authority tells us the YOUNG will grow up and carry the concepts of socialism onward for many years. To borrow from an unfortunate Nazi song “tomorrow DOES belong to the young” and fortunately the YOUNG would seem to be more able to use their own intelligence on important issues more than their brainwashed seniors have ever done.

  • DAVID JONES says:

    No wonder Jess Barnard is on the leaderships hitlist. What’s the betting Jawad Khan will soon be served with a “NOI” and then, auto excluded.
    What a party!
    Bravo to Young Labour.
    I see no mention of the passing of this motion in the MSM – no surprise.
    Is it me, or does anyone else think Nandy is beginning to sound like Oswald Moseley on speed?

  • Well done Labour members for passing this motion – – – despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

  • Sean O’Donoghue says:

    McCabe..” This vote shows that there are still too many in the party who remain unhealthily obsessed with Israel.”……well not really, it is concern for Palestinians, which McCabe doesn’t deem worthy of a mention

  • John Noble says:

    McCabe..” This vote shows that there are still too many in the party who remain unhealthily obsessed with Israel.”……How out of touch or significantly blind to what he does not want to understand and on that subject which he wants others to believe him implicitly, an untrustworthy sad con man who attempts to disguise that actually, he is unhealthily obsessed with the Israeli government.

  • John Coates says:

    If Labour Friends of Israel and Steve McCabe cannot see that they increasingly stand on the wrong side of history, then, history will judge them harshly.
    Let us celebrate Young Labour, their integrity and their courage, in bringing this motion to Labour Conference.
    Their example shows the way forward.

  • Peter Jenner says:

    The motion mentions the arms trade. But, relations go beyond this and extend to ongoing military collaboration between the UK and Israel. Both the UK and Israel (and Saudi Arabia) are important ‘allies’ of the US.

    https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-05-15-how-the-uk-military-supports-israels-combat-operations-against-palestinians/

    As long as Israel serves US interests in this strategically important part of the world it will continue to be supported, no matter how it acts towards the Palestinians. It is the role of the ‘Israel lobby’ to ensure that this relationship is maintained.

    The UK establishment has, ever since Suez, seen its interests wedded to US hegemony.

    Any perceived threat to US imperialism – and the Zionist project to which it is linked – is not allowable, which is why the Corbyn project had to be destroyed.

    ‘Antisemitism’ was the weapon of choice. One reason it worked is because it enabled those parts of ‘the left’ enamoured of identity politics to be manipulated.

    It is the role of international civil society to pressurise governments into seeing that support for Israel – at least as presently constituted – to be more
    trouble than it is worth.

    This motion goes a small way in that direction – and is to be welcomed.

  • Miriam Yagud says:

    Passing this motion is confirmation that members REALLY MEAN TO ACT on the strong support expressed in a previous pro Palestinian motion that was passed with an overwhelming majority at conference 3 years ago.
    The significance of this particular motion is that it empowers members to take action locally AS THE LABOUR PARTY.
    If we believe society can be transformed from the bottom up then that goes for the Labour Party too.
    Who cares if the cynical grey politicians ignore it…we won’t.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Yes Jan, omission is also a black propaganda technique of course. Anyway, I just this minute did a quick search, and apart from the i, the MSM appear to be completely blanking it, despite the fact that it’s actually a ‘double’ story – ie that conference voted for the motion by 2 to 1 on the one hand AND that Nandy then said – presumably speaking for the leadership – that ‘we cannot support this motion’ on the other. But then again, if the MSM DID cover it, no doubt it would be spun in a way that reflects negatively on the motion and the large vote in favour of it.

  • George Peel says:

    McCabe compares Palestine, to N. Ireland.

    Where is Southside Labour’s Mo Mowlam? Who, in Southside Labour, is going to go to Israel/Palestine and negotiate a ‘Good Friday Agreement’?

    The answer is, there is no one. No one with neither the courage nor the integrity – or negotiating skills – to put themselves in that position.

    That was why that motion was passed so overwhelmingly.

    Solidarity, with Young Labour, the Palestinian people and their Israeli supporters!

  • John McGeechan says:

    Not one single progressive change that would have affected vested interests, was voted through. No PR – unions clearly knobbled, no 15 pound minimum wage and threshold for leadership candidates raised to 20% , virtually guaranteeing the left will never be able to stand a candidate again (Sure, it’s still one person one vote, but for candidates they get to choose)

    So why is the Israel vote not a winner in my mind ? well it is on the face of it,except that only if you think the establishment cares about the Palestine question or indeed anti-semistism, they of course care about neither , unless it gives a political advantage. That’s why I am sure that they are happy that the motion DID pass, so that they can dust off and use the AS smear, whenever they need it.

    All in all a depressing conference, that further confirms that all institutions including the LP and unions have been knobbled by the elites.

  • bob cannell says:

    Here in Bradford this is a very live political issue. As is Islamophobia in the party. Which by being ignored is allowing unsavoury individuals to manipulate themselves into positions on the back of tokenism. We need a general strategy to manage all forms of discrimination. Not this ridiculous single focus on ‘anti-semitism’ which has been hijacked for sectarian political purposes. Another example of a lack of strategic management.

  • Margaret E Johnson says:

    I read the young Labour Motion. It could have been worded better I think, with more impact, but essentially the meaning be the same. Having it dismissed in this fashion is depressing though not entirely unexpected. I wonder how much Steve McCabe really understands about the Irish and Northern Ireland and how “Beyond the pale” came to be a standard English saying after the invasion of Ireland by the Orange Prince. Israel’s invasion of Palestinian Territories after 1948 is entirely “Beyond the pale”.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    The significant thing is that it didnt just scrape through – it was passed by a big majority. Which says something very significant about the degree to which Israel’s behaviour evokes widespread criticism, not just on the left. The leadership may have made their contempt for a conference vote clear, but caving in to ‘leadership’ cowardice and authoritarianism doesnt have to be inevitable. Surely the challenge now is to put it up to the party establishment and make sure conference policy is fought for at branch and constituency level.

  • Mohammad Nafissi says:

    Good to see the Labour Conference highlight the rank and file’s continuing solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli occupation and state-led terrorism.
    But for the sake of truth, sanity, justice… and a just settlement, the resolution should have questioned Hamas’s ethically unacceptable and strategically disastrous terrorist acts.

  • John Spencer says:

    Good for Young Labour. And due credit to the delegates who voted overwhelmingly for the YL motion. It rather takes the shine off the orchestrated welcome for Louise Ellman on the conference floor. Palestine remains the issue.

  • John Bowley says:

    This nigh miraculous motion fundamentally acknowledges the plain facts of the State of Israel’s cruel oppression of the indigenous people on the land, some of which Palestinian land has been forcibly annexed and illegally occupied with continuing Israeli settlement building backed by brutality.

    Dodging of facts is ultimately counterproductive for all, including Israel.

    The froth of hypocritical rage from Labour Friends of Israel is as expected. It is interesting to read within it sly confusing of factual criticism of Israel with widely stretched smearing with so-called antisemtism against the critics, or repeaters of facts, and to observe the threats against our free speech.

    Good internationally-minded British Jewish Labour Party colleagues have been victimised to silence them over Israel in a truly antisemitic purge.

    It is also interesting to observe the muted and cowardly public response,
    of traditional uselessness, from Labour Shadow Nasty Nandy, when the righteous defiance of oppression is done together at the Conference.

  • Alan Marsden says:

    Great stuff. McCabe’s response is despicable and delusional.

  • Bernard Grant says:

    I agree with Jan Brooker, the Leadership will do nothing.
    He didn’t say a single sentence on the subject in his 1.5 hour long speech.
    We will not forget that and remind him regularly and ask the question, “What actions are we taking against the Apartheid State of Israel”?

Comments are now closed.