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.
Wolverhampton South West CLP