Keir Starmer expresses 'deep concern' for wife's family in Israel

The Labour leader also said Israel must "do everything" to rescue hostages held by Hamas


Keir Starmer has said the UK stands with Israel after Hamas terror attacks in the country this week. 

Speaking on LBC yesterday, Starmer said “Israel has the right to defend herself,” and “do everything it can to get those hostages back safe and sound”. At least 150 hostages seized by Hamas terrorists are now being held in Gaza.

The Labour leader, who offered unequivocal support for Israel at the party conference earlier this week, also expressed “deep concern” for his extended family, who are in Israel.

Keir Starmer’s wife, Victoria, is Jewish and has family living in Israel. Stamer told LBC they “have a deep sense of shock at what is happening”. He continued: “I’ve never known a time of such incredible anxiety”.

He also shared that he has seen “first-hand” the effects which the conflict is having on Jewish Communities in the UK. “We stand by our Jewish communities here,” he told LBC, “and we stand by Israel internationally”. 

“[Antisemitic] attacks are not a one-off,” he said. His comments came after the Community Security Trust reported that antisemitic incidents in the UK have trebled since Hamas began their attacks.

Keir Starmer reinforced his support of Jewish communities in the UK and Israel in a meeting with the Chief Rabbi, Sir Ephraim Mirvis, today. Emphraim Mirvis thanked the Labour leader for his “unequivocal support” of the Jewish community, which he described as a “source of great comfort”.

Starmer did not, however, go as far as Suella Braveman, who said yesterday that waiving a Palestinian flag “may not be legitimate”. Starmer told LBC “it would depend on the circumstances”. He continued: “It’s very important that we don’t conflate peaceful discussion of Palestinian issues with Hamas”.

Challenged on the Israeli response to Hamas attacks, Starmer maintained that Israel “does have that right [to cut off water and electricity to Gaza]”. He said, “Everything must be done within International law”.

Starmer told LBC that Hamas “bears responsibility” for the conflict, condemning their “terrorism” and the “cold-blooded murder of men, women, and children”.

The Labour leader also criticised the BBC for their refusal to use the word “terrorists” to describe Hamas. Terrorism is “obviously what we are witnessing,” he said.

Discussing long-term solutions to the conflict, he told LBC: “We do need to get back to peace proposals and a two-state solution”, and said, “what Hamas has done has pushed that further away, and deliberately so”.

Starmer is not the only member of the shadow cabinet to express support for Israel. Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said Labour “stands with the people of Israel,” and maintained that “Israel has a right to self-defence against terrorism”.

Speaking at a Labour Friends of Israel event on Tuesday, Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, called Hamas attacks “barbaric”. “We will do everything we can to stand alongside you,” she pledged.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, and Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry, have both expressed their support for Israel.

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