Labour MP met with Israeli envoy after spat in wake of Gaza trip

Labour MP met with Israeli envoy after spat in wake of Gaza trip

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan welcomes 'constructive discussion' after meeting with diplomat, and opens up on flurry of antisemitic comments in response

Rosena Allin-Khan
Rosena Allin-Khan

Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan revealed that she visited the Israeli embassy in London after clashing with the deputy ambassador over a recent Gaza trip.

Allin-Khan, who was an emergency doctor before she became MP for Tooting in 2016, went to Gaza and the West Bank earlier this year, to explore the issues Palestinians face when accessing hospital treatment.

She later spoke to news outlets about the “truly horrific cases, including of Palestinian babies being born prematurely, but because of permit issues mothers were sent back to Gaza shortly after birth, with some babies dying alone in hospital”.

In order to highlight the issue of families being separated because of security concerns, she took part in a “lively” debate with Deputy Israeli Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li on BBC radio “which continued in the green room”.

The diplomat later invited Allin-Khan to continue the discussion at the embassy, which Allin-Khan accepted. Last week she tweeted that it had been “a pleasure” to meet Bar-Li again, adding that it was a “constructive discussion”. However, this prompted online abuse from Palestinian supporters.

One user said Allin-Khan had been “bought by the Zionists for a bag of silver and a duplex in Marbella”. Another said she had been “bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby”. Another said Allin-Khan “wants to be the next UK prime minister, all starts at the Israeli embassy”.

Tweeting her response this week, Allin-Khan took aim not just at those who had “tried to discredit what I was saying” about Palestinian families being separated, but also at those “purporting to support the Palestinian cause”.

She said they were “spouting horrible antisemitic abuse… It’s disgusting. These views are abhorrent, but also misguided and ill-informed.”

She said both groups – those who attacked her for speaking about Palestinians and those who attacked her for meeting Israeli diplomats – were “racists [who] think they can sit behind a keyboard here in the UK and troll someone genuinely trying to help”.

Her Twitter thread received online support from Labour MP Wes Streeting as well as the CST’s deputy communications director Dave Rich, who said it “illustrated the difference between pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist”.

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