Labour has reacted to Leicester City Council’s motion to condemn and boycott Israel by stressing it is not party policy.
The Midlands Council, which has 51 Labour councillors out of a total of 55, passed the motion condemning Israel for “continuing to ignore and breach international law” and “continuing its occupation of Palestinian territories,” with a resolution on removing goods from the ‘Israeli Occupied Territories.’
However, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “Ed Miliband has made clear that Labour does not support boycotts, they are not the answer and do not progress the cause of peace or help foster negotiations and dialogue.”
The motion in Leicester City Council was put forward by councillor Mohammed Dawood, and outlined that the house “recognises the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and free from incursion”, but criticised Israel for “continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s East Jerusalem and the West Bank.. its blockade of Gaza.. ” and settlements.
Conservative councillor Ross Grant accused Labour of political posturing citing the approaching city council elections as being a prime reason for bringing the motion to the fore.
“Labour wants to have this debate so it can make itself look good while the Lord Mayor has threatened to shunt questions from councillors on local issues to the back of the meeting agenda.”
On a national level, Labour Leader Ed MIliband encouraged recognition of a Palestinian State in the recent Parliamentary vote, and was a strong critic of Israel during Operation Protective Edge.
Long term Jewish Labour supporter, Maureen Lipman, recently outlined that she will not be supporting Labour, until they have a ‘mensch’ for a leader, as a result of Labour’s hostility towards Israel over the last year.
Under Miliband, Labour’s weak support for Israel impacted upon Jewish voters according to the Jewish News general election poll, which showed that 30 percent are ‘less likely’ to back Labour’, because of its stance on Israel.