Members of Labour’s NEC and its National Policy Forum can take vital decisions on Labour’s policies on Palestine. If you want to avoid voting for anyone who doesn’t share your views on Palestine, you can consult the following table. We asked all the candidates three key questions:[A] Do you support an independent and viable Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders? [B] Do you support Labour Party policy to vote in favour of recognition of Palestine at the United Nations? [C] Do you agree that settlement building is illegal and must stop before any meaningful peace talks can be resumed?
Not all of them have replied. Two are former MPs: Ken Livingstone has a record of support on Palestinian issues. Joan Ryan does not. Luke Akehurst is director of campaigns for BICOM, the main pro-Israeli lobbying organisations.
Here are the replies so far:
Luke Akehurst – A: Yes B: No C: No *for detailed reply see comments below
Shaukat Ali – no response
Lewis Atkinson– no response
Johanna Baxter – no response
Ann Black– no response
Rob Carr – A: Yes B: Yes C: Yes
Darrell Goodliffe – A: Yes B: Yes C: Yes
Ken Livingstone – no response / previous record of support
Joanne Milligan – A: Yes B: No C: No *for detailed reply see comments below
Florence Nosegbe – no response
Kate Osamor – no response
Ellie Reeves – no response
Linda Rice – no response
Christine Shawcroft – A: Yes B: Yes C: Yes
Rajwant Sidhu – no response
Ruth Smeeth– no response
Peter Wheeler – A: Yes B: Yes C: No *for details see comment below
Darren Williams – A: Yes B: Yes C: Yes
Peter Willsman– no response
NPF – London region
Nicky Gavron – A: Yes B: Yes C: Yes
GaryHeather– no response
Catriona Ogilvy– no response
Alon Or-bach – A: Yes B: Yes C: No
Alice Perry – no response
Joan Ryan – no response Former MP – no record of support
Fiona Twycross – no response
Sally Hussain– no response
Ronit Wolfson – ‘Neither yes nor no’ (see comment below for more detailed information)
6 thoughts on “Whom to vote for in the NEC/NPF elections?”
Martin, many thanks for posting your interpretivist version of the responses you received.
I had hoped when I provided more than just a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ response to the questions that my thoughts might be published in full.
I deliberately kept my responses short, in spite of the coplexity of the issues, and see a lot of merit, for improving internal party discussion and debate on these issues, by refraining from, possibly inaccurately, characterising people’s views by being selectively reductive in your reporting of them.
For example, my response to question 3 said there should be no pre-conditions, from either side, standing in the way of peace talks between Israel and Palestine. While your characterisation of my response as a ‘NO’ is, technically, accurate, it’s very clearly not the totality of my views, and is, in my view, a misleading presentation of my considered position.
You were provided with my responses electronically so I’m unclear as to why you couldn’t just cut and paste them in to the blog.
I’m genuinely disappointed, especially given you are a former MP, that you appear to be unwilling to accept there are questions to which a simple ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ is insufficient. And even more disappointed that this would appear to have been an exercise in promoting candidates you’ve already identified as being supportive of the Palestinian cause (ref your comments about Ken Livingstone who it would appear hasn’t taken the time to respond) as opposed to an attempt to identify what Labour members standing for internal election think on these very important issues.
Others will judge whether this exercise has advanced the Palestinian cause in any meaningful way.
Here are Joanne’s replies in full. Sorry it doesn’t fit into the table formatting wise: [A] Yes, I support an independent and viable Palestinian state with the 1967 borders as the starting point. I accept though that the reality on the ground may mean negotiating land swaps.
[B] I’m a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum (NPF) and I’m not aware of this ever being discussed so I’m not clear that it’s Labour party policy. That said, my own view is that while recognition by the international community is part of the journey to statehood, there should be greater effort and energy in securing a bilateral peace settlement with Israel than in seeking a unilateral declaration of statehood. A unilateral declaration will not alter the everyday reality faced by Palestinians and Israelis.
[C] I am in favour of peace so there can be no pre-conditions, on either side, to meaningful peace talks being resumed. Settlement building in occupied territory is illegal and should be stopped but this should not be a barrier to peace talks.
I’d be very happy to hear from members directly on this or any other matter so please feel free to pass on this email, the attached leaflet (which gives more info about me) and the contact details below.
Joanne Milligan m: 07798 891637
e: email@example.com t: @jo_milligan
Ronit Wolfson made the further comment of: I support a two state solution which recognises the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the rights of the Israeli people to a safe and secure Jewish homeland.
And here are more detailed comments from Luke Akehurst:
[A] Do you support an independent and viable Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders?
Yes (with land swaps if necessary to get a deal that reassures Israel it has secure borders)
[B] Do you support Labour Party policy to vote in favour of recognition of Palestine at the United Nations?
No (I oppose unilateralist attempts to bypass a negotiated settlement)
[C] Do you agree that settlement building is illegal and must stop before any meaningful peace talks can be resumed?
No, talks should not be stopped because of this issue (the legality question is a moot point depending on interpretation of a clause of the Geneva Convention about forced movement of population, which the settlements are not; the land swaps proposed in all serious peace proposals mean some settlements becoming part of Israel).
Whilst I understand the frustration felt by candidates to ‘yes’/’no’ questions this is the situation that you are frequently presented with in politics. Votes are ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and at the end of the day what we want to know as voters is ‘will you support Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander’s policy of supporting Palestine at the UN or not? And so forth. NEC/NPF may well be asked to vote on this very issue in the run up to a new manifesto.
I don’t accept that asking for no settlement building is a pre-condition for two reasons:
1. Settlements are illegal under international law. You are therefore simply asking Israel to act legally and in good faith.
2. Settlements are themselves a pre-condition. A pre-condition made of concrete and difficult to move once there. And makes a two-state solution extremely difficult to achieve.
Netanyahu’s insistence that Jerusalem will be the ‘undivided capital of Israel’ is also a pre-condition but you can negotiate over ‘ideas’ it is much more difficult to negotiate away homes and schools built, even when they are illegal under international law.
More detailed comments from Peter Wheeler: Yes, I support an independent, viable state of Palestine. The exact borders would obviously be subject to negotiation as part of a comprehensive settlement but the pre 1967 boundaries should be the basis for negotiation.
Yes, Palestine should be recognised at the UN.
There should be a stop to illegal settlements. as with the peace process in Ireland I would not necessarily say no talks until they stop. The important thing is to get meaningful talks underway.