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British pro-Israel groups attack Labour’s call for arms sales freeze

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews [HNM News/Facebook]
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews [HNM News/Facebook]

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and Labour Friends of Israel have strongly criticised the motion passed at Labour Party conference this week calling for a freeze in arms sales to Israel.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, strongly defended UK arms sales to Israel, highlighting “military cooperation” between the two governments.

“Israel is situated in a region of unique turmoil and threat, faced with implacable enemies determined to kill civilians and ultimately destroy Israel in its entirety,” she said.

Van der Zyl added: “It is absolutely right to provide arms for the country’s defence,” she continued, adding that an arms embargo could threaten British jobs and security.

“Decreasing military cooperation, including arms sales, could endanger British civilians and assets in both the Middle East and in the UK”.

Read: Labour government would recognise Palestine as soon as it takes office, says Corbyn

The Board of Deputies president condemned the motion, which was overwhelmingly adopted by a show of hands from delegates, as “irresponsible” and “misguided”.

Meanwhile, the director of Westminster-based lobby group Labour Friends of Israel, Jennifer Gerber, called the motion “deeply disturbing but sadly unsurprising”.

“One-sided resolutions, denunciations of the world’s only Jewish state, antisemitic conspiracy theories and an abject failure to recognise the existential threats posed to Israel, show that this is a party which is no longer remotely serious about peace,” she said.

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