“I will vote against and oppose this legislation at every opportunity”

John McDonnell‘s speech at Saturday’s demonstration to commemorate 74 years of Nakba in Palestine

We are here today to commemorate the Nakba, the ethnics cleansing of nearly one million Palestinians from their land, the destruction of their homes, their towns and villages to impose what is now clearly the apartheid state of Israel.

We are also here to explain, as Ben Jamal has written, that the Nakba has never ended. It goes on week by week.

This week an Israeli court has expelled Palestinians from Masafer Yatta to make way for an Israeli army training ground. Jenin is bulldozed by Israeli tractors. Settlement after settlement, illegally against UN Convention and international law, has been imposed on Palestinian village after village.

And it’s not just land that is being taken. Lives are also being taken. Tragically Shareen Abu Akleh, a respected journalist and a beloved daughter was killed by an Israeli bullet. We must condemn this outrage and demand the killer is brought to justice.

We protest to condemn this killing and we demand justice, but we also protest that this week the UK government has announced that it is to introduce legislation to undermine our protests by banning boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel and other states that abuse human rights.

I wish to make it clear that I will vote against and oppose this legislation at every opportunity I get.

I am calling on the Labour Party to oppose this legislation and all others who believe in justice and human rights. So today I commit myself and we must all commit ourselves that this struggle will not end until we secure justice, freedom and peace for the Palestinian people.


John McDonnell MP was Labour’s Shadow Chancellor from 2015 to 2019.

Image: Palestine demonstration. Author: Monte Cruz. Source: https://www.stopwar.org.uk/article/palestinian-solidarity-demonstrations-erupt-worldwide-as-israeli-violence-intensifies/ (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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