Labour rejects use of ‘apartheid’ in pro-Palestine event title

The PSC was told the title of the event, ‘Justice for Palestine: End Apartheid’, had to be altered in official advertising


Labour has refused to advertise an event being held by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at the party conference next week as “Justice for Palestine: End Apartheid”. 

The event is now scheduled with the last two words removed from the party's brochure.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow ministers have repeatedly said they reject the claim that Israel is an apartheid state.

It comes as Labour Friends of Israel has issued a policy paper which says a Labour government should proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, shut down the regime’s “ideological centres” and subject its key UK-based representatives to rigorous sanctions, says a new policy briefing issued by Labour Friends of Israel.

The document, issued ahead of next week’s party conference in Liverpool, also recommends strengthening Britain’s security and economic ties with Israel, and sets out steps to restart the Israel-Palestinian peace process, including a freeze on building West Bank settlements.

The LFI briefing says Labour should welcome the warming of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, as seen in the Abraham Accords and Israel’s current diplomatic thaw with Saudi Arabia. However, it adds that this “should not blind us to the continuous efforts to demonise and delegitimise the Jewish state in international institutions, most notably the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council”.

Introducing the document, LFI’s chair Steve McCabe MP writes that the current government’s policy on Iran has been “weak”, adding: “The next Labour government must pursue three concrete policy actions. The first would be to shut down Khamenei’s ideological centres in the UK, which are spreading hatred and encouraging violence. Second, the UK should target and sanction those profiting from the Iranian regime. Finally, the UK must proscribe the IRGC with immediate effect.”

According to the briefing, Britain must “establish a task force for identifying and sanctioning Iranian regime oligarchs, elites, and proxies in the UK, just as it has in relation to Putin’s regime”.

The document says a British Labour government should try to re-start the peace process by hosting a meeting with international partners to “agree the establishment of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace”.

This would be modelled on the International Fund for Ireland established during the Ulster troubles, which helped build support for the Belfast Agreement brokered by Tony Blair in 1998. It would, says the briefing, fund a wide range of grassroots organisations that would “foster the values of peace, reconciliation and coexistence”.

The UK should also give renewed support to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to encourage “state building”, and work to end the schism between the PA-controlled West Bank and Gaza, which remains governed by the terror group Hamas.

However, this should come with an important string attached: investment in the PA must be “linked to measures to end incitement and improve Palestinian governance and human rights”.

A freeze on settlement building would be part of a series of steps designed to build mutual confidence, the briefing says, and would help Israel further normalise relations with its neighbours.

“Labour is, once again, a credible party of government. That credibility is evident in Labour’s approach to the world,” McCabe writes in his introduction, and under shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy "has returned to the internationalist tradition which has been the hallmark of our party’s periods in government from Clement Attlee to Gordon Brown”.

The document, he concludes, “reflects Labour’s shift over the past three years: a party no longer animated by the mindset of opposition but one engaged in thinking through the tough choices and responsibilities of government.” 

The LFI fringe event at the Liverpool conference will be addressed by several shadow cabinet members and the Israeli Labour Party leader, Meyrav Michaeli.  

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