Labour bans Israel sanctions debate

A man in a suit and tie

Labour leader Keir Starmer has relentlessly purged the party.

Steve Parsons PA Wire

UK Labour officials have prevented a party debate on sanctions against Israel, which had been planned for Thursday night.

The officials claimed that the discussion could lead to “anti-Semitic behavior.”

A motion, passed by a local Labour branch, calls for Israel to “end its violation of the human rights of Palestinians” and for the UK government to “impose legal sanctions on Israel,” specifically an end to arms sales and “trade with illegal settlements.”

The motion also called for “an end to the illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.” You can read it in full below.

But Kim Bolton – chair of the Hove and Portslade Constituency Labour Party (CLP), near Brighton in the south of England – ruled that members would not be allowed to even discuss the motion.

The discussion “would undermine the party’s ability to provide a safe and welcoming space for all members, in particular Jewish members,” a regional party officer had advised her, Bolton stated.

That officer was Scott Horner, Labour’s South East regional officer.

“I support that view,” stated Bolton of Horner’s advice.

“The motion from Goldsmid and Hove Park branch requesting sanctions against Israel risks opening a debate that will stir up internal conflict in our CLP and may lead to further anti-Semitic behavior,” she claimed, without explaining what the alleged “anti-Semitic behavior” had been.

Neither Horner nor Labour Party headquarters replied to requests for comment.

Collage shows two different men

Labour’s Hove MP Peter Kyle (left) is an officer in lobby group Labour Friends of Israel. Regional official Scott Horner (center and right) said sanctions on Israel would make Jewish members feel unwelcome.

Ironically, Bolton and Horner’s statements in themselves demonstrate anti-Jewish sentiment.

They assume all Jewish members of Labour will be pro-Israel and opposed to sanctions against the violent, racist state of Israel.

Local sources told The Electronic Intifada that Bolton was renowned as a right-winger.

But one source said it was likely she was doing the bidding of the local right-wing Labour lawmaker, Peter Kyle.

Kyle is one of the vice-chairs of Labour Friends of Israel, a pro-Israel lobby group with close ties to the Israeli embassy in London.

It was Hove CLP that in 2019 proposed a landmark motion on Palestine to Labour Party conference, which passed almost unanimously.

“How things have changed”

That motion called for sanctions on Israel, to recognize the Nakba of 1948 in which 800,000 Palestinians were expelled by Zionist forces and called for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

“How things have changed since 2019,” one local Labour Party member lamented.

“Now we can’t even discuss it,” the member said.

Local members are “really pissed off,” the member explained.

Becky Massey, a second Brighton area source, told The Electronic Intifada that it was exactly because of the Hove CLP’s leading role on Palestine solidarity that officials were purging the local branch.

“No wonder Labour have had to have such a big clear out in Hove,” Massey said.

Last year The Electronic Intifada revealed that Massey – a leading Brighton-area Palestine solidarity activist – was expelled from Labour after the Board of Deputies of British Jews – a pro-Israel lobby group – sent the party a hit list of activists. The Board demanded that the activists be kicked out of Labour.

Since Keir Starmer – a right-winger and self-declared supporter of Zionism – became Labour leader last year, he and his allies have relentlessly purged the party of the left and the Palestine solidarity movement.

Starmer has handed more and more powers in the party over to Israel’s lobby – even hiring a former Israeli spy to work in his office.

But a recent poll found that 61 percent of Labour Party members still support BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, while only 8 percent oppose it.

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As a social anthropologist with nearly four decades of research experience of Israeli policies towards Palestinians in both Israel and the Israeli Occupied Territories, I am a fierce critic of Israel's colonial settler policies in the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights and its apartheid policies in '48 Israel and Jerusalem. As such I am a strong supporter of BDS. It is clear that the Labour party has been taken over by a Zionist shock force and that the only ethical thing to do at present is withdraw from the Party. I would prefer, however, to be expelled for taking a principled stance. Any suggestions of how to do so?

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‘Starmer’
LP Members need to know about Starmer’s history over the past 5 years, his efforts to get rid of the best Leader we have had and who was a True Socialist.
He was part of the PLP Coup to get rid of Corbyn and that was after Corbyn had won the Leadership by a huge majority, Starmer became a member of Owen Smith’s campaign team to challenge JC for the Leadership but luckily JC won and even increased his majority.
It was Starmer that helped to press for the People’s Vote, knowing full well that it was undemorcratic, he nevertheless pressed on, with other anti JC MPs joining in, eventually John McDonnell was persuaded to go along with it, so Corbyn reluctantly gave in, (this gave the MSM including the BBC the ammunition to say JC was unclear on his position) and this cost us hundreds of thousands of natural LP voters, switching to the Tories and losing us the last election, since then he has spent all his time blaming Corbyn for the loss.
He took £50.000 from Trevor Chinn a well known Israeli Lobbyist, he sacked Rebecca Long Bailey on a Lie, that she was spreading a Conspiracy Theory, there was plenty of evidence that many US States were sending State Troopers to Israel to learn Crowd Controlling Techniques (see link at bottom of comment). He’s doing the same now against Corbyn who hasn’t broken any LP rules and was right about the exaggeration of the numbers of antisemites in the Labour Party.
Starmer apologised to some of the staff from the Labour Party Headquarters who had purposely not dealt with AS cases so as to make Corbyn look as if he wasn’t on top of it, yet at the same time, they were suspending Corbyn’ supporters on spurious reasons, he then gave these traitors £600.000 of Members money, against the advice of the LP Lawyers, who said they would have lost in Court. In all this time, he has failed to mention or do anything about the LP Leaked Report on what was happening at LP Headquarters. Why???
No members should support him.

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I can tell you that YOU do not represent the people that elected you to office.So my suggestion to you is to resign your post and actually go work for the Israeli’s. You seem to have buried your heads in the sand.You can’t see the atrocities that they inflict on innocent harmless Palestinians. RESIGN NOW!!! Find a job as a dustman cos you don’t deserve the job that you are holding at present

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Now Britain has two conservative parties: the Labour (Zionist) Conservative Party and the Conservative Tory (Zionist) Party. George Orwell: "...the whole aim of...[Labour]...is to narrow the range of thought" [and speech].

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Well, to Glenn Walker Bowman (above) just write to Starmer telling him you support BDS and view Israel as a racist, colonial State. You'll be suspended. The enormity of this is stunning. Labour is now a racist Party which supports without demur the imprisonment of 2 million people, including a million children in the Gaza Strip, upholds Israel's breaches of international law, connives with the messianic entitlement which underpins Israel's claim to Palestine, does nothing to further Palestinian rights, brings no pressure for serious moves to establish an autonomous Palestinian society and gags, suspends and expels its own members for taking a humane stand against settler colonial violence and oppression. Labour cannot represent justice in any vein. It cannot stand for the best in human nature. It is siding with a regime which denies the Palestinians their humanity. No one should be in any doubt, Labour pays lip service to democracy and justice only because it would lose all support if it didn't; but it has no deep commitment to either. At its heart is a totalitarian mentality. Banning this debate is not about protecting Jews (why should Jews be afraid of debate? - many welcome it), it is using the excuse of potential anti-Semitism to silence criticism, to restrict the exchange of ideas, to prevent activism, to ensure, in short, Labour is a Party fully in support of capitalism, great wealth and power, conformism to the US view of the world and opposed tooth and nail to the possibility of fundamental economic and social change in the direction of equality and openness. And this is Labour in opposition. In power, it would be worse. Abandon Labour. Stand by Palestine. Support BDS and join Corbyn's peace and justice movement. We can sweep Labour aside. It is moribund, intellectually and morally hollowed out. Bury it , dance on its grave and embrace true justice, democracy, equality and a humane future.

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A lesson from World War II, yet unlearned: do not expect a Semitic people, Palestinians, to go quietly into Oblivion.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London.

At The Electronic Intifada he is associate editor and co-host of our podcast.