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UK Labour Party votes to stop arms trade with Israel 

Palestinian flags are seen at the the Labour Party conference during the motion to end British arms sales to Israel on 25 September 2019 [Asa Winstanley/Twitter]
Palestinian flags are seen at the Labour Party conference during the motion to end British arms sales to Israel on 25 September 2019 [Asa Winstanley/Twitter]

The British Labour Party yesterday voted in favour of a motion which could see Britain cease trade with Israel if it doesn’t comply with international human rights laws.

The motion, titled “Ethical Foreign Policy” was proposed by Hove Constituency Labour Party (CLP) and Birkenhead CLP, and would only come into effect if the Labour party wins the next general election and the motion is passed by parliament.

The motion included a call to “work globally for an alliance” rejecting trade agreements with Israel that failed to recognise the rights of Palestinians, and declared US President Donald Trump’s proposed peace plan – dubbed the “deal of the century” – a “one-sided attempt to destroy Palestinian rights”.

It also called on any future Labour government to apply international law on settlements in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

READ: UK MPs warn Israel is becoming an apartheid state

Hove CLP delegate Ali Brownlie Bojang said: “A Labour government’s solution should include self-determination and the right to return to their homes, protected by international law, and expressed in countless UN resolutions.”

She concluded: “As socialists, we stand always with the oppressed. Conference, I move: Free Palestine!”

The motion received a standing ovation and chants of “Free Palestine!” amidst a sea of Palestinian flags.

Jewish Voice for Labour’s Vanessa Stillwell of Dulwich and West Norwood CLP spoke for the motion, saying she supported party leader Jeremy Corbyn as the most “anti-racist leader this party has ever had”, to which she received raptuous applause.

READ: BBC defends claim that Israel is ‘ancestral homeland’ of Palestinians

The motion was passed almost unanimously by conference delegates at the end of the International Affairs session.

In response, Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) Director Jennifer Garber accused the party of being the “home of Israel-haters and anti-Jewish racists”, and described the motion’s success as a “dark day in the history of the Labour Party”.

However, Artists for Palestine UK, whose supporters include actress Miriam Margolyes and Nick Seymour from music band Crowded House, were quick to respond to LFI’s accusations.

In a tweet they said: “*Our* Jewish community welcomes the motion because we long for full rights, equality and freedom from military occupation and control, for all people in Israel-Palestine, regardless of race or creed.”

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