Palestine solidarity motion deepens division in the Labour party’s ranks

Keir Starmer has already vowed to ignore the motion passed by an overwhelming majority of conference delegates.

Proletarian writers

The motion passed at the recent Labour party conference acknowledging the Israeli apartheid regime and calling for an end to arms deals will irritate the zionist Labour establishment, but will cause no major shift in the party’s alignment.

There are promising signs that the false accusations of antisemitism that the imperialist Labour party employed to scupper Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership are returning to haunt the party, threatening new splits in the social-democratic ranks.

To enliven an otherwise lacklustre party conference, some idealistic Young Labour hopefuls managed somehow to dodge Sir Keir Starmer’s guard dogs for long enough to get a motion passed condemning “Israel’s militarised violence attacking the Al-Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza”. (Labour Conference 2021 Motion, PSC, 30 September 2021)

According to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), delegates left the Labour conference in Brighton having successfully moved a motion which acknowledged “that Israel is practicing the crime of apartheid. It called for clear sanctions in response, including an end to the arms trade with Israel. It described Palestinian experience of an ongoing Nakba, and reaffirmed the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes from which they and their families were expelled in 1948 and beyond.” (PSC email, 1 October 2021)  

This motion, whilst more pacifist than anti-imperialist in tone, is enough to send alarm bells ringing for the pro-zionist party grandees. By taking a relatively progressive stance on the question of Palestinian self-determination, the motion offends grievously against the zionist IHRA definition of antisemitism in 2017, according to which simply having a discussion about the status of Israel or its egregious war crimes is forbidden. 

PSC is understandably cock-a-hoop at having got the motion through, reporting: “Within half an hour of the motion being passed, the Labour leadership said they planned to ignore it. But their problem is the motion has been passed by the overwhelming majority of delegates and had full trade union support.”

The parliamentary Labour party (PLP) will indeed ignore it, leaving it to gather dust on the same shelf as all the other progressive motions passed over the years. Young Labour will be disappointed if they entertain any illusions that the party could ever meaningfully champion the cause of Palestine. 

But trouble inside the Labour party is good news for the working class. It can only serve to spur on those workers who are coming to recognise the giant confidence trick the party has pulled for so many years in keeping the labour movement tied to imperialism.

Let Labour finally sink under the weight of its own hypocrisy and divisions, and let those principled young blades who stood up for Palestine at Labour’s conference find a more effective use for their time and energy building the consistently anti-imperialist Workers Party of Britain.

They will find a warm welcome awaits them.

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