Israel row explodes as calls grow for Labour to sack hard left pro-Palestine MP

Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands has demanded that Labour remove the whip from MP Apsana Begum over a tweet in support of a pro-Palestinian campaign group.

Mr Hands penned a letter to the chair of the Labour Party Anneliese Dodds expressing concern over “anti-semitism” within her party.

This came following an exchange on X, formerly Twitter, between the Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse in East London and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) which earlier had called for a rally outside the Israeli embassy sparking outrage.

The planned pro-Palestinian demonstration follows attacks by Hamas in Gaza that killed more than 700 Israelis across the south of the country on Saturday (October 7). 

The PSC singled out the left-wing MP for “special thanks” for her “solidarity” with the Palestinian cause. 

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In his letter, Mr Hands wrote: “Just hours after terrorist organisation Hamas, killed over 1,000 people in Israel, one of your Labour MPs Apsana Begum MP tweeted her ‘solidarity’ with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). 

“This comes as the PSC announced they plan to hold a protest on Monday night outside the Israeli Embassy to ‘demand Israel end its violent imposition of… occupation, apartheid and colonisation over the Palestinian people’.

“As you will be aware the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance sets out that claiming ‘the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’ is antisemitic.

“You have said you will clean up your party, yet reports are that will not take action to suspend the Labour Whip against Apsana Begum or remove the PSC from your conference.”

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The letter continued: “The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign has been associated with antisemitism and extremist ideologies, which should be a matter of serious concern to any political party.

“To have a Labour MP publicly associating with such an organisation raises questions about the party’s commitment to maintaining ethical standards and responsible conduct within its ranks. On Tuesday 10th October the PSC are holding an event at Labour Party Conference named Justice for Palestine: End Apartheid, featuring Ben Jamal of the PSC.

“On Sunday 8th October Mr Jamal failed five times on LBC to unequivocally condemn the actions of Hamas. Sharing a platform with Jamal will be Labour MP John McDonnell, Labour NEC member Jess Bernard, and Labour donor and union leader Mick Whelan.Will you take action against those in the Labour Party or remove PSC from your conference if they faul unequivocally to condemn the actuons of the Hamas?

“And will you finally suspend Jeremy Corbyn as a member of the Labour Party after he refused to say if he condemns Hamas.

“The Jewish community has expressed valid concerns about antisemitism within the party in the past. Failing to take immediate and decisive action against a Labour MP associated with an organisation known for its antisemitic rhetoric could further erode trust and support within this community.”

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