Local Labour party in Wales calls on Starmer to quit over his Gaza stance
A Welsh Constituency Labour Party has become the first in Britain to call for the resignation of Sir Keir Starmer because of his stance on the war in Gaza.
Released late on Friday November 17, a statement from the outgoing executive committee of Ceredigion CLP said: “We call on Sir Keir Starmer to resign forthwith as leader of the Labour Party for the following reasons:
“1 He refuses to support a ceasefire in the ongoing aggression by the Israeli military against Gaza, contrary to overwhelming opinion within the membership of the Labour Party and the majority of the British people.
“2 He continues to express support for the genocidal apartheid regime in power in Israel, contrary to the overwhelming opinion within the membership of the Labour Party and the spirit of recent conference decisions.
“3 He abjectly supports all actions by the US Government and UK Tory government in relation to the Middle East, failing to oppose massive amounts of arms sales and other financial support to Israel.
“4 By his recent pronouncements he is increasingly bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and jeopardising the electoral prospects of Labour candidates in elections.”
As a result of boundary changes brought about by the reduction in the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32, Ceredigion is expanding and will become Ceredigion Preseli.
There has been growing anger within Labour at Sir Keir’s refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza, instead calling for “humanitarian pauses”.
Earlier this week 56 Labour MPs including 10 frontbenchers defied the party whip and voted for an SNP amendment that called for a ceasefire. A significant number of Labour councillors have resigned from the party as a result of the leadership’s position, especially in cities and towns where there is a substantial Muslim population. In Burnley, for example, 11 of the 22 Labour councillors have quit the party and have seized control of the council from their former party after going into coalition with Liberal Democrat and Green councillors.
Last month the outgoing Ceredigion CLP executive committee issued a statement rebuking Sir Keir. It said: “We … unequivocally condemn all acts of violence affecting innocent civilians, whether committed by Hamas or the Israeli military. We believe that the inexcusable acts of terrorism recently perpetrated by Hamas represent a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
“We also unequivocally condemn as a war crime the collective punishment of a whole population of Palestinians in the Gaza strip by the Israeli regime, The current escalation of conflict must be seen in the context of 75 years of oppression and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people of the region and the steady evolution of Israel into a fully-fledged ‘apartheid’ state. Palestinian civilian casualties in the ongoing unequal ‘conflict’ in Israel / Palestine- since 2008 – have been over 20 times those of Israelis. We challenge the Labour leadership to reverse their current very public and uncritical support of the Israeli regime, to be more in line with recent decisions at the Labour Party Conference.
“At this tragic time, we would also like to express our solidarity with the large number of courageous Jewish friends and fellow socialists who have spoken out and campaigned on behalf of the Palestinian people both in the UK and Israel, including organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour, and utterly condemn any anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it occurs. In that context, we are dismayed that some in the Labour leadership and the wider Parliamentary Labour Party still continue to falsely label anti-Zionists and opponents of the Israeli regime as ‘anti-Semitic’. This ‘weaponising’ of ‘anti-Semitism’ against individual anti-racist members of the Labour Party has been a disgrace which must end and is contrary to the values and principles that we claim to uphold.
“Finally, while applauding the decision of the Welsh Government not to fly the Israeli flag over the Senedd, we reject in principle a recent circular letter from the Labour Party UK general secretary David Evans, implying disciplinary measures against members attending events held in support of the Palestnians, or even expressing the type of opinions in this statement. We believe that such ‘advice’ from a paid employee of the Labour membership risks bringing the party into disrepute and damaging its electoral prospects among democratically-minded members of the public.”
Sir Keir has defended his position on the ceasefire. Speaking at a Chatham House event late last month, he said he did not back a ceasefire because Hamas did not want one and it would only “embolden” the group.
He said a ceasefire “always freezes any conflict in the state where it currently lies”, adding: “That would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capabilities to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October 7.
He said the “scale and brutality” of the attack was an “immutable fact that must drive our response to these events”.
He described a humanitarian pause as the “only credible approach”, which would see “the urgent alleviation of Palestinian suffering”.
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