According to the East London Palestine Solidarity Campaign (ELPSC), two local Labour parties in the area banned motions put forward by members to support a charity bicycle ride to raise funds for Palestinian children – and attributed the ban to instructions from Labour’s acting general secretary David Evans.
An ELPSC statement elaborates:
East London Palestine Solidarity Campaign understands that two local Constituency Labour Parties, Bethnal Green & Bow CLP, and Poplar & Limehouse CLP, have ruled motions in support of the “Big Ride for Palestine”, a charity event in aid of Palestinian children, as “out of order” under instructions issued to CLPs by Labour’s general secretary, David Evans.
In 2019, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, received email correspondence between council officers in Tower Hamlets, following a Freedom of Information request (FOI). The correspondence revealed that officers had refused permission for the “Big Ride”, citing the highly controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “working definition” of antisemitism. The IHRA “working definition” has no legal status.
The motion in support of the Big Ride for Palestine (attached) was submitted to the CLPs in November 2019. Due to suspension of Labour Party meetings during the pandemic, the motions were referred back to the CLPs for resubmission last month. Members were assured this was merely procedural.
However, hours before branch meetings were due to be held in December, members were informed the motion in support of the Big Ride, had been ruled “out of order” and could not be discussed. This fell under the same prohibition of motions regarding party democracy, and reinstatement of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.
East London Palestine Solidarity Campaign condemns any decision that prohibits discussion or support for a motion in support of a charity event in aid of Palestine by the Labour Party.
Last year, the Palestine Solidarity campaign warned that the adoption of the non-legally binding, IHRA “working definition” of antisemitism risked a chilling effect and suppression of solidarity with Palestine. Our proposed caveats, guaranteeing free speech on Palestine, were rejected by Tower Hamlets council.
Our warnings and worst fears have proven justified. The debate inside the Labour Party and the adoption of the IHRA “working definition” on antisemitism now appear to be the premise for prohibiting discussion and motions on Palestine solidarity campaigns
Evans committed last month to implementing in full the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) report on Islamophobia in the Labour party, though there have been no signs of any suspensions of Labour MPs and others for attacks on Palestinians’ right of self-determination, which the LMN report states is Islamophobic.
It seems that Evans’s commitment is not protecting Palestinian children either or activities to try to help them, either.
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