SFI open letter and full blog to Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in National | No Comments

Israeliflag

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 fundraising gala dinner for the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) 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 participate in this event as a guest speaker.

The message LFPME sends is troubling and replete with old-fashioned lies and hatred. I refer specifically to the document Peace and Security in the Middle East – What should Labour Party Policy be? http://www.lfpme.org/files/LFPMEPAMPHLET.pdf and a second document linked to LFPME website home page called How many more Palestinians must die before Israel is brought to justice for war crimes against innocent Gazan civilians? http://www.lfpme.org/articles-p368

In the second document 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 know, is a blatant lie. There is no evidence that Israel has ever targeted civilians. In fact, all the evidence shows Hamas uses civilians as a human shields when attacking Israel. In his recent address to the United Nations Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “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 LFPME paper, the 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 constitute ‘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.

So you see, there are few people left on this planet who do not think that Hamas was directly responsible for this heinous act – apart from the LFPME.

The paper continues with similar mistruths, innuendo and factless nonsense including the following:

• “….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.”

Moreover, what is Labour Party policy when the following libellous tropes are 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.”

Yet there is one key item on the opening page of the first LFPME policy document (cited above) that demands particular attention.

It is a phrase used repeatedly throughout the document. It goes to the heart of all that is wrong with LFPME and should cause you to question not only your participation in its upcoming event but whether the Labour Party should disassociate itself from this organisation altogether.

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”.

My question is this: If not now, then when? Perhaps later? Maybe as soon as you are elected Prime Minister?

Is it Labour Party policy now to accept a two state solution today – and to 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 enough time before you declare the Labour Party’s desire to see only one state in the Middle East? If that happens, it certainly won’t 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 that you’ve changed your mind about Israel and its right to exist, as the statement on the LFPME website suggests?

This one statement, on a document written 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. 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, on numerous occasions, has stated your desire for two states for two peoples, an Israeli State living next door to a Palestinian State, free from intimidation and aggression – not just today but for all time.

By speaking at this dinner you show explicit support for this group and its messages. 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 were committed to it as 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