By Nick Clark
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Angry protest calls on Labour’s national executive committee to stand with Palestine

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Issue 2620
Lobbying Labours national executive committee on Tuesday
Lobbying Labour’s national executive committee on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Hundreds of supporters of the Palestinians and Jeremy Corbyn protested outside Labour Party headquarters on Tuesday.

The protest came before Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) agreed its definition of antisemitism.

Some 200 people joined the protest, calling on the NEC not to adopt a definition that restricts criticism of Israel. It was organised by Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) and a number of Momentum groups.

Speakers said that if the NEC adopted the definition, which says it is antisemitic to call the state of Israel “a racist endeavour,” it would have a chilling effect on solidarity with Palestine.

Glyn Secker from JVL told Socialist Worker that if the NEC agreed a definition restricting criticism of Israel, “Anyone who supports the Palestinian cause will be likely to be thrown out of the Labour Party.

“It will also mean that Palestinians in the Labour Party will not be able to talk about their own experiences.”

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi from JVL said it would severely restrict criticism of Israel. “You may criticise Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, you may criticise the worst excesses of the occupation,” she said.

“But you may not as Palestinians or those who support them, describe the history of Zionism.”

She called on the NEC to “listen to the Palestinian voices that you are being called upon to suppress”.

Other speakers called on supporters to continue resisting attempts to silence solidarity with Palestine, whatever the NEC’s decision.

Rob Ferguson from Free Speech on Israel said, “We need to take note of what is at stake here. The eyes of the Palestinians are watching us today.”

And British Palestinian human rights lawyer Salma Karmi-Ayyoub said, “There is an Israeli-state spearheaded campaign to destroy the Palestinian cause.

“Whatever happens on the NEC today, the battle starts now.

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