In the latest chapter of the UK Labor Party’s internal dispute over Israel and Palestine, party officials blocked a debate on sanctions against the occupying state. Members were expected to discuss a resolution yesterday calling for sanctions against Israel, but top officials intervened to prevent the discussion from taking place for fear that it would provoke “anti-Semitic behavior.”
The motion was to be debated in the Howe Labor Party and the Portslate constituency (CLP) near Brighton in the south of England. The local Labor Branch called on Israel to “end Palestinian human rights abuses” and for the UK government to “impose sanctions on Israel”, particularly for arms sales and “trade in illegal immigration.”
Several key studies concluding that Israel adheres to apartheid were cited in the motion to support policy change toward the occupying state. A report released by Human Rights Watch in April concluded that Israel had “crossed the line” to be branded as a state that commits crimes against humanity through racist practices, citing one study.
Although there were no obvious issues with the motion, the CLP leader decided that he would not even allow members to discuss it.
Read: British MP calls for action against Israel; Civilian casualties will increase in Gaza
A regional party official advised that the debate would “harm the party’s ability to provide a safe and welcoming place for all members, especially Jews,” the president told Electronic Indipada. It was alleged that “the proposal by Goldsmith and the Howe Park branch to demand sanctions against Israel will provoke an internal conflict in our CLP and a debate that could lead to further anti-Semitic behavior.” No further explanation has been given, or a motion calling for specific sanctions against a state that claims to be racist by key human rights groups would open the door to “anti-Semitism.”
Critics point out that the position taken by the chair is anti-Semitic, considering that all Jewish members of Labor will be pro-Israel and oppose sanctions against the violent and racist state. One of the examples listed in the Labor Party’s anti-Semitic definition of comparison is the comparison of Israeli policy with Jewishness as a form of anti-Semitism.
Labor leader Gear Stormer has repeatedly criticized his stance on Israel and Palestine, blocking the debate on the motion. Last week, Stormer warned that he was in danger of deepening divisions within Labor and provoking mass dissent if he did not demonstrate his commitment to genuine political change in Palestine and the growing suffering of Islamist populism.
Earlier this month, Stormer pressured Prime Minister Boris Johnson to defend a Palestinian state during the G7 talks in Cornwall. Speaking from the mailbox during “Questions to the Prime Minister”, the Labor leader used his final question to highlight Israel’s recent occupation of Gaza and the occupied West Bank, while urging Johnson to establish a sovereign Palestinian state.