30 October 2014

Open Letter

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

Leader of the Labour Party

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr Miliband,

Will you be supporting a one state solution in the Middle East at some point in the future?

It has been announced that you will be guest speaker at the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) fundraising gala dinner on 26 November 2014.

Having taken a closer look at LFPME, which is supported by a number of your colleagues in the Labour party, we seriously question the ethics of your decision to attend this event as a guest speaker.

The message LFPME sends is troubling and full of old-fashioned lies and hatred.  I refer specifically to the document Peace and Security in the Middle Eat – What should Labour Party Policy be?  http://www.lfpme.org/files/LFPMEPAMPHLET.pdf

On a page entitled “How Many More Palestinians Must Die Before Israel is Brought To Justice For War Crimes Against Innocent Civilians”, the writers (Charlotte Proudmand and Mark McDonald both founders and key members of LFPME) state: “The Israeli military has targeted schools, hospitals and civilian homes in Gaza”.

This, as you will know, is a blatant lie.  There is no evidence that Israel has ever targeted civilians.  In fact the only evidence points to Hamas using civilians as a human shield for their own attacks on Israel.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said to the United Nations (UN) recently: “Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields.  It used schools, not just schools, UN schools, private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel.

As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically, but unintentionally killed.  There are heart-wrenching images that resulted, and these fuelled libellous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians”.

In the same paper, the same writers make another statement: “Peace talks soon ground to a halt after the kidnap and murder of three Israeli students in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed Hamas.  However, no credible evidence exists to show Hamas’s involvement”. 

I suggest that the statement by Saleh al-Arouri, a founder of Hamas’s military wing, claiming responsibility for the kidnapping and murders on behalf of Hamas would be enough credible evidence.  However if more evidence of Hamas’s involvement were needed, only last month Hussum Hassan Kawasme the alleged Hamas mastermind behind this despicable act was indicted in the Ofer Military Court.  There are few people left on this planet who DO NOT think that Hamas were directly responsible for this heinous act, apart that is from the LFPME.

The paper continues with similar mistruths, innuendo and fact-less nonsense including the following:

“Netanyahu’s new pre-condition as of January this year that Palestine must recognise Israel as a Jewish state.”.

“….and a transcript from a debriefing session at a military college makes it clear that many civilians were killed because Israeli soldiers were so keen to avoid risk and so careless of Palestinian lives that they cleared houses by shooting without warning.”

“The citizens of Gaza continue to experience collective punishment from Israel for the actions of what appears to be a small number of extremists”.

What is Labour Party policy when the following trope is repeated? “LFPME strives to be a proactive voluntary group in an environment long occupied and dominated by the pro-Israeli lobby”.

“If anything, the sustained slaughter in Gaza today, which already exceeds the death toll of 2009, is more ferocious and disproportionate”.

There is one specific item on the first page of the paper. A phrase is used numerous times throughout the site. This single phrase is at the very heart of all that is wrong with LFPME and in itself must cause you to question your attendance of this event and as importantly whether the Labour Party should disassociate itself from this organisation.

Specifically:

“The one state proposal is not so much unfeasible as implausible. It is a solution maybe to a different problem, but not to this one, or at least not now”.

“… or at least not now”. Then when? Perhaps sometime in the near future? Maybe as soon as you are elected Prime Minister?

Is Labour Party policy now to accept a two state solution today and advocate for the destruction of the State of Israel at some point in the future?

How long are you prepared to give Israel and the six million Israelis who live there before you think they’ve had enough time and will declare the Labour Party’s desire to see only one state in the Middle East? I suggest that this will not be an Israeli state.

Is it your intention to wait until after May’s election before fundamentally altering Labour Party policy and resorting to a ‘one state’ option?

As Prime Minister will you be telling Mr Netanyahu directly that you’ve changed your mind about Israel and its right to exist, as your statement on the LFPME website originally suggested?

This one statement, on a document supported by among others, Rt Hon Peter Hain MP, Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP and Rt Hon Lisa Nandy MP is abhorrent.   It lends credence to those that advocate for the destruction of the only true democracy in the Middle East.  Those five words “or at least not now”, perpetuate the belief of some that Israel does not deserve the right to exist and yet you intend to speak at a dinner organised by a group that endorses these words and advocates for their action.

You have an obligation as leader of the Labour Party and as a possible future Prime Minister.  You have an obligation as someone who professes to support peace and harmony in the Middle East. You have an obligation as someone who has stated on numerous occasions, your desire for two states for two people, an Israeli State living next door to a Palestinian State free from any intimidation or aggression, not just today but for all time.

By attending this dinner you are showing explicit support for this group and its messages. And by association and attendance you betray your own words.

When you stated that you would “fight with every fibre of my being to get the two state solution”, we all hoped that you intended the two states to be a lasting peace solution and not just a temporary one. What do you say now?

I await your reply and explanation with keen interest and implore you to withdraw from the event and disassociate yourself and your party from this organisation.

Yours sincerely

Simon Cobbs

For Sussex Friends of Israel

Facebook: Sussex Friends of Israel

Web: sussexfriendsofisrael.org

Twitter: @SussexFriends

 

 

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