UK Labour party labels Israel an ‘apartheid state’

Party leader Keir Starmer will distance himself from resolution while winning separate vote making it easier to purge Labour of anti-Semites.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

At its annual conference, delegates of the UK Labour Party passed a motion on Tuesday calling for international sanctions against Israel and labeling it an “apartheid state.”

“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,” said the motion.

The motion added “Conference resolves to support ‘effective measures’ including sanctions, as called for 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 the Palestinian people, as enshrined in international law, to return to their homes.”

Notably, the resolution did not mention the two-state solution, Labour’s traditional position.

The motion cited reports by human rights organizations B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch to accuse Israel of apartheid.

The resolution gained traction within the party’s local branches through the efforts of Young Labour and the Campaign for Labour Democracy, both of which support former party leader Jeremy Corbyn. British media reported that the Israel motion was the seventh most popular topic for debate.

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Following the vote, Steve McCabe, the chair of Labour Friends of Israel told The Guardian, the resolution “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.”

The UK-based Jewish News reported that party leader Keir Starmer and Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy will distance themselves from the resolution.

Starmer was elected head of the Labour Party in April, 2020 when Corbyn stepped down from the leadership following Labour’s disastrous showing in the 2019 elections. Starmer later suspended Corbyn from Labour following a damning report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on anti-Semitism in Labour.

In a separate development, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Starmer’s camp won a pivotal vote by a decisive 73 percent majority to overhaul Labour’s disciplinary process to bring it “in line with reforms called for by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission following its damning report into Labour’s antisemitism crisis.”

According to the Chronicle, “The rule change removes any political interference in disciplinary and complaints cases and is due to be up and running by January, 2022.”

In a statement, the Jewish Labour Movement called the change, “a moral, legal and political imperative.”

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However, the statement added, “But passing this rule change alone is not enough to detoxify party culture. The reaction both inside and outside Conference today shows there is still a huge amount of work to do for Labour to become a truly safe and welcome space for Jewish people.”

The conference, in Brighton, ends on Wednesday.