Labour manifesto calls for end to Palestinian rocket and terror attacks

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Jeremy Corbyn launches policy programme, which pledges to ‘immediately recognise’ Palestine and tackle anti-Semitism

Jewish News, 16 May 2017

Direct criticism of Israel has been watered down in Labour’s manifesto, amid concerns that a draft version indicated a hardening of the party’s stance.

Labour has called for an end to rocket and terrorist attacks by Palestinians, and pledged to “immediately recognise” a State of Palestine.

Revealed by leader Jeremy Corbyn in Bradford on Tuesday, the manifesto is altered from a leaked version which was accused of having an anti-Israel ‘bias’.

The final version calls for “an end to rocket and terror attacks” by Palestinians, as well as “both an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements” by Israel.

Labour says it’s “committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.” It adds that should they be elected to government Labour would “immediately recognise the state of Palestine.”

The leaked version of the manifesto highlighted the “humanitarian crisis” in Palestinian Territories, branding settlement-building in the West Bank as “wrong, illegal and a threat to the peace process”. This caused controversy after it became apparent the draft was different to the version signed off by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, that was more similar to the last manifesto under Ed Miliband.

Following the leak, The Jewish Labour Movement wrote to all members of the shadow cabinet and national executive committee involved in the final decision-making process after the uproar.

This version went further than Labour’s 2015 election manifesto, which made no mention of illegal settlements or the crisis in the Palestinian territories.

On tackling anti-Semitism, the manifesto says Labour is “the party of equality and seeks to build a society and world free from all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.” manifesto address allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, which were probed in the Chakrabarti Report, published June 2016. The commissioned report found the party is “not overrun by anti-Semites”, but made a number of recommendations, including resisting the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors in debates about Israel Palestine.

Labour’s manifesto outlines that “commissioning a report on our own party was an unprecedented step in British politics, demonstrating a commitment to tackling prejudice wherever it is found. Labour is already acting on recommendations, including reform of internal disciplinary procedures to make them firmer and fairer, and expansion of training to tackle anti-Semitism. On a matter of such importance, Labour urges all democratic political parties to do the same.