UK Labour leader Starmer denies Israel is an apartheid state. Tell him he’s wrong: Do not vote Labour in 5 May 2022 local elections
Nureddin Sabir, Editor, Redress Information & Analysis, wrires:
Keir Starmer, the British Labour Party’s Israel flag-waving leader, has publicly rejected Amnesty International’s branding of Israel as an apartheid state.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle (JC), Britain’s leading Israel mouthpiece, Starmer was asked whether he agreed with Amnesty’s branding of the Zionist state. The JC put the following to him:
“The heart of Labour’s difficulties with Jews lies in its feelings towards Israel. In February, Amnesty International branded the country an “apartheid state”… Many Labour members, especially on the left, enthusiastically embraced this label.
“Did Sir Keir agree with them? ’No. I’ve been very clear about that,’ he says, without missing a beat. ’That is not the Labour Party position.’ He presented his stance at the Labour Friends of Israel lunch before Chanukah, he adds, which was strongly and unapologetically pro-Israel.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH0sInRmd19zZW5zaXRpdmVfbWVkaWFfaW50ZXJzdGl0aWFsXzEzOTYzIjp7ImJ1Y2tldCI6ImludGVyc3RpdGlhbCIsInZlcnNpb24iOjR9fQ%3D%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1512015624335155209&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.redressonline.com%2F2022%2F04%2Fuk-labour-leader-starmer-denies-israel-is-an-apartheid-state-tell-him-hes-wrong-do-not-vote-labour-on-the-5-may-2022-local-elections%2F&sessionId=76ff0e8679ab9246743b522e194e9d346a9852dd&siteScreenName=redress&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=500px
Starmer is proud of his Israel allegiance and is seen by many British campaigners for justice for the Palestinians as an Israeli asset. In so being, he follows in the footsteps of Labour’s former deputy leader, Tom Watson, who in November 2018 – fresh from a trip to Israel, organised and paid for by the Israeli embassy in London – assured the Zionist lobbyists that he is unmatched in his servility. Addressing Labour Friends of Israel, he delivered “an impassioned pro-Israel speech” – so impassioned, in fact, that he burst into song, braying “The people of Israel live”, or Am Yisrael Chai in Hebrew, the Israeli news website Ynet reported at the time.
According to the JC, “Sir Keir and his Jewish wife, Victoria, are members of St John’s Wood Liberal Synagogue and are bringing their children up with a sense of Jewish identity. He has repeatedly vowed to tear out antisemitism ‘by the roots’.”
However, for Starmer “apartheid”, mere criticism of Israeli behaviour, and calls for sanctions to compel Israel to respect Palestinian rights all seem to amount to the same thing: “anti-Semitism”. This is deliberate conflation of very distinct terms. Coming from a “human rights lawyer”, it can be seen only as part of a strategy to shield Israel from any criticism, no matter how well founded.
It is a strategy that has gone as far as to delete from the record the democratic wish of Labour Party members to support sanctions against apartheid Israel. According to the news website Skwawkbox,
The Labour Party has surreptitiously deleted all reference to day three of its 2021 annual conference from its YouTube channel – the day on which a “historic” motion calling for sanctions against ‘apartheid’ Israel was overwhelmingly passed by Labour members and affiliated unions.
The party had already cut off its YouTube stream for the duration of the debate and vote, but had broadcast other parts of the day. However, it seems the right-wing regime is determined to erase it from history completely, as the “day 3” recording is now missing from the party’s YouTube archive:
Bizarrely, the deletions appear to have been done under the watchful eye of Ben Soffa, Labour’s Head of Digital and, in what can only be described as a blatant conflict of interest, Secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. It’s time Soffa decided whether he’s a friend or enemy of the Palestinian people. He cannot be both.
So, how well founded is the branding of Israel as an “apartheid state”?
When people call Israel an apartheid state, they are referring to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law. According to the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, apartheid comprises inhumane acts “committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.
This is what Amnesty International says:
Video summary of report
Full report on apartheid in Israel
And this is how Palestinians under the rule of the racist Israeli state describe their lives under the Zionist apartheid regime:
Video (courtesy of Mondoweiss)
Israeli apartheid is far wider than the institutionalised discrimination practised against the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the preferential treatment enjoyed by the Jewish squatters in the territories.
As Cook reminds us,
- Israel has nationalised 93 per cent of Palestinian-owned land in the country so that Jewish citizens can exclude Palestinian Arab citizens;
- Israel operates vetting committees, enshrined in law, in hundreds of rural communities precisely to prevent Palestinian Arabs from living in these communities;
- Israel has separate citizenship laws – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – based on ethnic belonging;
- Israel has designed its citizenship laws to confer rights on Jews who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over Palestinian Arabs who do have citizenship and are present in the state;
- Israel has more than 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group a citizen belongs to;
- Israel defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies – the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund – whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging;
- Israel denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders; and
- Israel does not recognize its own nationality, and makes it possible to join the dominant national group (Jews) or to immigrate only through conversion.
That is apartheid pure and simple. Starmer is well aware of this. He is not an ignorant man, but maybe he is blinded by his allegiance to Israel – or else he is deliberately misleading the British public.
Perhaps one day Starmer will end up being British prime minister. That would be a calamitous day for all Britons, to be led by a man of dual loyalty – to Britain and Israel, but in which order?
It is now up to the British people to prevent such a calamity.
On 5 May 2022 local elections will take place in the UK. These will include elections for all London borough councils, and for all local authorities in Wales and Scotland. That will be a chance for the British people to signal to Starmer and his Israel lobbyist friends, loudly and clearly, that there is no place for racist- and apartheid-hugging dual loyalists at the top political table.
IF YOU CARE ABOUT JUSTICE AND HONESTY, DO NOT VOTE LABOUR IN THE LOCAL ELECTIONS ON 5 MAY 2022.
A VOTE FOR LABOUR UNDER STARMER IS A VOTE FOR APARTHEID AND RACISM.
In “British stooges”