Dear Ed, this is why my love affair with Labour is over

By Kate Bearman, August 7, 2014
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I've been a supporter of the Labour Party for 20 years but my support is over.

I feel I don't recognise the party of principle and serious government that I knocked on doors and delivered leaflets for. It has let me down.

I feel Ed Miliband's and Douglas Alexander's rush to a condemnation of Israel's ground incursion into Gaza gave me no choice but to say goodbye to the party I have always voted and campaigned for.

In contrast, David Cameron deserves real credit for his objective and balanced statements on Gaza.

They have chosen to play political games with a highly complex issue

He has shown genuine insight into the horrific choices facing Israel's leaders as the country struggles to deal with a huge upsurge in Hamas rocket attacks and the discovery of the terrorist tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel.

Cameron has also shown he understands that this is part of a wider picture of turmoil in the Middle East, underpinned by a rapid rise in Islamist terror also evidenced in Syria and Iraq.

I simply don't think Labour is fit to govern when its leadership issues simplistic statements that are at odds with the realities Israel faces trying to confront a terrorist entity with an ideological commitment to genocidal attacks on the Jewish state and Jewish people.

Their reaction indicates not just a cavalier approach to how Israel can protect the lives of its innocent civilians, but a lack of seriousness about our own UK national security.

I feel profound anguish when I see pictures of dead and wounded Gazan children. It disturbs me deeply and I find it very hard to absorb. It is the tragic consequence of a ruthless terrorist movement sheltering among a civilian population and creating two sets of victims, Israelis and innocent Gazans.

How is Israel supposed to destroy tunnels without going in on the ground? What is the point in calling for a ceasefire when Israel has accepted six ceasefires and Hamas broke every one of them, the final time with a premeditated suicide bombing?

I would attack Labour for naivety if it wasn't that I suspect this is simply electoral cynicism. Labour has calculated my vote is less relevant than the five to seven per cent of the electorate who switched from Lib Dem to Labour in 2010 when the coalition was formed, who are overwhelmingly opposed to all military actions, whether British or Israeli.

They have chosen to play political games with a highly complex situation in the Middle East. They have chosen to disregard the culpability of Hamas who, undeniably, use the people they purport to represent as human shields.

So I have made my choice. Not in my name. I can't support a Labour Party that acts like this. I hope the day will come when I'm comfortable enough to return to the fold.

I have nothing but pride about my time at Labour Friends of Israel under a wiser Labour leadership. But I have been forced to choose between my party and my support for Israel. And I've chosen.

Kate Bearman is a former director of Labour Friends of Israel

    Last updated: 5:08pm, August 7 2014