Ian Austin was accused of being “paid by Zionists” as up to 30 pro-Palestinian activists disrupted the Dudley MP’s residents’ monthly surgery.
The noisy protesters, organised by Dudley Palestine Solidarity Group (DPSG), said they were “demanding that Ian Austin condemn the actions of the IDF who have killed innocent men, women, children, medical personnel and journalists”.
Austin twice confronted the activists for disrupting his surgery at the Paradise Centre at Buffery Park, as they chanted “shame on you”. It was later reported that one protester accused Austin of being “paid by Zionists”.
The MP said: “People have the right to protest wherever they like, but they could consider whether an MP’s advice surgery – where often vulnerable people seek private help – is really the best time and place so.”
Austin said he contacted the organiser and offered to arrange a meeting but “they didn’t want to do that, they stood and shouted at me in the park instead”.
However DPSG tweeted that constituents “have been asking for many years,” adding: “In May we respectfully attended Ian’s surgery to once again ask his position and request he openly condemns the IDF. Unfortunately he was rude, intimidating and aggressive, refusing to listen.”
Austin said one of his constituents had been “a victim of domestic violence who is being made homeless” who “didn’t want to come to the surgery with the protest taking place”.
He added: “It is a shame they wouldn’t speak as I would have explained that I desperately want to see a viable Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel as part of a two-state solution to this conflict and that I work hard to encourage the UK government to do all it can to support dialogue and negotiations.”
Jerry Langford, a DPSG spokesman, commended Austin for his work on Holocaust remembrance in the area, but said: “Ian takes what he thinks is an independent position but in reality he deals very lightly with Israeli aggression. He doesn’t talk about the illegal settlement.”