Ed Miliband defends Labour support for Palestine recognition


Labour leader Ed Miliband has defended his party’s support for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Mr Miliband told pro-Palestinian activists that he was proud to support a backbench motion in the Commons last month which urged the government to acknowledge statehood immediately.

Speaking at a gala dinner for the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East group, he said recognition was “right, just, fair and in line with the values” of his party.

Mr Miliband said he “mourned” the deaths of more than 2,000 people in Gaza and Israel during Hamas’ conflict with Israel in July and August.

He condemned the murders in a Har Nof synagogue in Jerusalem last week as "outrageous", and again expressed his opposition to boycotts of Israel.

More than 100 supporters of the Sussex Friends of Israel group protested outside the dinner. Demonstrators also attended from Manchester and Glasgow. The rally was organised alongside the Pro-Israel Response Group.

SFI spokeswoman Fiona Sharpe said: "We felt it was necessary to make sure that Mr Miliband was aware of the level of our concerns.

"We were not demonstrating against him or the Palestinian people but against the support of the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel by the Labour Friends of Palestine.

"Mr Miliband has previously stated that he did not support boycotts of Israel - we hope that he made that clear at tonight's dinner."

Actress Maureen Lipman meanwhile reiterated her opposition to Mr Miliband, accusing him of “pandering to antisemitism masking as anti-Zionism”.

In a message from Ms Lipman which was read to the pro-Israel activists outside the dinner, she said: “He is vote-seeking and the Jewish vote is one and a half percent only.

“Our funding is far less important than that of the unions – and the unions have already voted for the new state.

“Mr Miliband will be joining the Jon Snow, Alexei Sayle, Miriam Margoyes, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters, and Baroness Tonge brigade – all of whom bleed for the Palestinians and refuse to recognise the impossible position that Israel has been placed in.

“Shame on you, Ed.”

The gala event in London on Wednesday evening included a performance by former Blur frontman Damon Albarn and musician Brian Eno.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive