Because (among other things) 1 in 7 drugs comes from Israel
“The Labour party does not and will not support BDS”, Keir Starmer said in a speech to the Labour Friends of Israel annual lunch. “Its principles are wrong – targeting alone the world’s sole Jewish state.”
“We fully oppose and condemn illegal settlements, annexation and the eviction of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories. We believe that international law should be adhered to. But a policy of BDS would be counterproductive.
We fully oppose and condemn illegal settlements, annexation and the eviction of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories. We believe that international law should be adhered to. But a policy of BDS would be counterproductive.
It would drive people apart when we should be bringing them together.
BDS wouldn’t just hurt the people of Israel and Palestine, it would cause huge damage to the relationship between Israel and the United Kingdom, when we should be working together to tackle the great challenges of our time.
And let us remember that the relationship between our country and Israel is of huge importance. That relationship sees 1 In 7 NHS drugs coming from Israel.
It creates bilateral trade of more than £8bn and allows security and intelligence cooperation which helps us, together, counter the ever-increasing threat posed by cyber criminals and terrorists.”
Yes, but is Keir Starmer a friend to the Palestinians? Richard Burden
He is right about that. So as a Labour member for over 40 years and having been a Labour MP for 27 of those, I want to be frank about what he said in that speech.
Labour’s leader was right to use the opportunity to signal once again that there is no place whatsoever for antisemitism either in Labour or in society as a whole. When he moved to talking about Israel and Palestine, however, the speech went rapidly downhill.
Sir Keir declared himself to be both a friend of Israel and a friend of Palestine. Fair enough. Unfortunately, few Palestinians reading the speech are likely to feel that there was much equality in the friendship he showed to them.”
Richard Burden is a vice-chair of Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East. He was Labour MP for Birmingham Northfield for 27 years.