Ed Miliband spoke out against boycotts of Israel during an address to Labour Friends of Palestine in which he also spoke of his pride at supporting the recent parliamentary motion on recognising Palestine.
The Labour leader was the guest speaker at last night’s dinner in Westminster, which saw around 100 Israel supporters protesting outside. They drew attention to an article on Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East’s website promoting a boycott.
Inside, Miliband said negotiations rather than boycotts are the best way forward. He condemned Hamas rocket attacks but said his party spoke out against the ground operation this summer because it feared it would perpetuate the cycle of violence and condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks.
While some within his own party had claimed the party’s support for the backbench House of commons motion to recognise a Palestinian state represented a change in party policy, Miliband insisted Labour backed it because it had always supported the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood. He said: “I was proud to support the motion to recognize Palestine” and described recognition as “right, just, fair and in line with the values” of the party.
He told his audience that obstacles to peace included settlement building and Hamas, but reaffirmed his commitment to a two state solution, with Israel the homeland for the Jewish people, and Palestine as the homeland for Palestinian people, with each state enjoying self determination and mutual recognition.
Miliband described last week’s attack on worshippers in Har Nof synagogue as “outrageous”.
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