Standing up for Palestine

Hugh Lanning writes about the launch of a new initiative, Labour & Palestine

In response to the great level of interest there is in Palestine in the Labour Party, and the need for accurate information on developments, we have recently launched the Labour & Palestine platform. As its first initiative, L&P has today – with the support of Unite, UNISON, ASLEF and TSSA – circulated this Speaking Up for Palestine statement for Labour members and affiliates to sign here.

Labour & Palestine will be a resource for Labour members and activists, supported and sponsored by organisations affiliated to the Labour Party. The purpose is to have a voice for the rights of the Palestinian people in every constituency part across the country.

Labour Party Conference 2018 overwhelmingly showed its support for the Palestinian people, including through passing a motion that concluded with a call for “an independent international investigation into Israel’s use of force against Palestinian demonstrators; a freeze of UK Government arms sales to Israel; and an immediate unconditional end to the illegal blockade and closure of Gaza.”

L&P’s focus will be on how Labour party members should harness the support this showed there is for Palestine within the Party so it becomes a proud advocate of Palestinian rights as part of Labour’s ethical foreign policy.

The obligation for supporters of Palestine in the Labour movement is not to be silenced, but to ensure Palestinian voices are heard, exposing Britain’s past role in Palestine, along with its present responsibilities towards the Palestinian people. L&P is designed to provide the information, news and arguments for supporters of Palestine within the Party to do just that – speak up for Palestine.

  • The launch of Labour & Palestine to campaign for Palestine within the membership of the Labour Party is supported by Aslef, TSSA, Unison and Unite. You can sign the statement here, plus follow us on Twitter here and Facebook here.

APPENDIX – The statement in fall reads as follows:

“As an internationalist and democratic socialist party, I believe it is the responsibility of the Labour Party to “give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people”.

An ethical foreign policy for Labour must have securing freedom, justice and equality for the people of Palestine as a priority issue. This must be done within an anti-racist framework based on the principles of equality, human rights and international law.

Labour & Palestine will stress that supporting Palestine is about supporting human rights and opposing all forms of racism including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, whilst maintaining the freedom of expression for political debate and criticism.

I support Labour’s commitment to immediate recognition of the state of Palestine and an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements.

Further, an ethical policy must recognise that there can be no end to the oppression of Palestinian people whilst there is a continuation of the occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, the denial of full equality to all Palestinians – including those who are citizens of Israel and a failure to recognise the rights of Palestinian refugees.

I believe a policy on Palestine governed by the ethics and values of support for human rights and international law will mean applying these principles to UK trade with Israel. This should include applying international law fully to the settlements and any trade agreements.

I believe an ethical policy means ensuring that no UK funds are supplied and no arms are bought or sold that are used to violate the human rights of Palestinians.

I will campaign for Labour to recognise that its duty is to support the oppressed challenging the discrimination they face and that any solution for the people of Palestine must be based on self-determination for Palestine and equality and human rights for all.”