New MP criticises Board candidate’s comment about Labour’s Israel stance

New MP criticises Board candidate’s comment about Labour’s Israel stance

Wes Streeting
Wes Streeting

The new MP for Ilford North has launched a thinly-veiled attack on one of the candidates for Board of Deputies president over his comments on Labour’s Israel stance.10 Wes Streeting

Wes Streeting called for a process of “bridge building” between the community and his party after he overturned a 5,000 majority to defeat Lee Scott in Ilford North.

But in uncompromising comments, he said: “In spite of my longstanding track record in fighting anti-Semitism and also delegitimisation, I felt on the doorstep an active hostility towards me as a Labour candidate, not just from individuals but from Jewish community organisations. I will be doing my best build bridges as the MP. However what some elements of the community need to understand, given the rightward shift of Netanyahu and partners in coalition, it’s not reasonable to expect people like me on centre left and friends of Israel to be apologists.

“A one-state solution is no solution at all for peace and security of Israel let alone Palestinians. At times it feels some expect politicians to swallow the Likud line in away my friends in the Israeli labour party never would.”

Board vice-president Jonathan Arkush, who is standing for the top job, used a private email to express fears over a potential Labour victory and claimed re-election of David Cameron was in the community’s best interests.

Streeting added: “I think senior figures in the community have tried to represent Conservatives as being friends of Israel and Labour as opponents. That’s reductive, unhelpful and inaccurate.”

Turning to future relations between the community and the party, Streeting said he hoped “the bridge building can begin and can get past idea Labour is soft on delegitimisation. The Labour Party will always be friends of Israel, friends of the Palestinians.”

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