Labour leader Keir Starmer has reiterated his refusal to back a ceasefire in Israel’s ongoing onslaught against Palestinian people in both Gaza and the Occupied Territories. So far, Labour MPs with a shred of humanity have voiced their opposition to him – but have not resigned. So, is it time for politicians to start stepping down?
Starmer’s speech sums Labour up
On 31 October, Starmer gave a speech about Israel’s assault on Gaza and the Occupied Territories at Chatham House – home to think tank the Royal Institute of International Affairs:
Keir Starmer has given a speech at Chatham House stating his opposition to a ceasefire of Israel's war on Gaza.
Chatham House is funded by the UK Foreign Office, US State Department, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, NATO, Israel lobbyist Trevor Chinn and the Israeli Embassy. pic.twitter.com/rKNNDd3N8G
— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) October 31, 2023
Before the Labour leader had even arrived, people were outside protesting his stance on Israel:
People are chanting
“Palestinians are human too
Keir Starmer shame on you” pic.twitter.com/jehr5kVKxu
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) October 31, 2023
Now, outside Keir Starmer’s speech: Jewish protestors calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/zBMGWxnmJr
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) October 31, 2023
During his speech, Starmer said that:
While I understand calls for a ceasefire, at this stage I do not believe that is the correct position now.
Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately.
The Labour leader said that asking Israel for a “humanitarian pause” to let aid into Gaza was:
the only credible approach that has any chance of achieving what we all want to see in Gaza – the urgent alleviation of Palestinian suffering.
Starmer also refused to say whether he thought Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza. This was after he previously endorsed Israel cutting off power and water to the territory, and then backtracked – claiming he hadn’t meant that when he blatantly had.
Labour: a ‘vote for genocide’
Predictably, Starmer’s comments caused uproar on social media. Meanwhile, in person, Starmer was booed and called a “war criminal” as he left Chatham House:
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) October 31, 2023
As academic Philip Proudfoot highlighted, it’s high time Labour MPs started quitting the party:
Keir Starmer is now standing in front of camera and claiming “a ceasefire is not the correct position” — just disgusting beyond words.
If you are a Labour MP, and you do not resign over your leader green lighting of genocidal violence, how can you live with yourself? How!?
— Philip Proudfoot (@PhilipProudfoot) October 31, 2023
Timid Labour MPs need to resign now
As the Labour leader was defending his position, both Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and London Mayor Sadiq Khan reiterated their calls for a ceasefire.
Mr Sarwar also said past comments made by Sir Keir had caused hurt to Muslims and “any peace loving citizen”.
Speaking to BBC London, Mr Khan didn’t directly criticised his party’s leader but said: “I believe in a de-escalation of the violence not escalation, that’s why I’m calling for a ceasefire.”
Recent YouGov polling shows 76% of people support a ceasefire. Over 60 Labour MPs, including 15 frontbenchers, have called for a ceasefire, too. Moreover, with the party suspending Labour MP Andy McDonald by willfully misrepresenting his comments at a rally, other politicians should be rallying in solidarity with him.
So far, though, timidity appears to the the order of the day. With Labour now a husk of its former self, and little more than an imitation of the Conservative Party, left-wing Labour MPs should have abandoned the party a long time ago, anyway. Now, with Israel having killed thousands of Palestinian children and no end to its bombardment in sight, if these politicians continue to put their own careers before humanity, then they’re as bad as Starmer is.
Featured image via PoliticsJOE – YouTube
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