Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Labour to abstain on Tory pro-Apartheid bill

Starmer’s abstention habit kicks in again, this time to prevent local authority action against illegal settlements

Labour leader Keir Starmer has ordered the party’s MPs to abstain in today’s vote on the government’s ‘Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill, which amounts to a bill to ban councils from implementing a ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) policy against goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements to defend Palestinians and their homes and land – a pro-Apartheid bill, in effect, helping to prop up the racist treatment of Palestinians by Israel’s extremist right-wing regime.

Skwawkbox understands that Labour will first submit a token ‘Reasoned Amendment’ and then, if this falls as expected, has told its MPs to abstain.

Amnesty International has condemned Michael Gove’s legislation as ‘outrageous’ for its ban on local authority action on issues such as climate change and the arms trade, as well as for specifically protecting Israel from sanctions against Israeli apartheid:

This bill is an unwarranted encroachment on the ability of public bodies to pursue ethical procurement and investment policies.

It’s outrageous that the Government is trying to prevent councils from using their procurement budgets to leverage positive human rights change.

People who care about issues such as climate justice or the arms trade will be dismayed by this legislation, seeing it as a door slammed in their face.

The bill’s especially hardline position on human rights campaigns concerning Israel’s human rights record shows that the legislation is in part driven by a desire to prevent opposition to Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians.

If this pernicious bill becomes law, it will close off a key means to hold companies to account and once again show that this Government thinks little of the plight of persecuted communities around the world.

Speaking to the New Arab, Amnesty’s Peter Frankental added that the planned law is ‘clearly incompatible’ with the UK’s existing human rights obligations:

The proposed legislation is clearly incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, threatening to breach Articles 8 [privacy] and 10 [freedom of expression], and may also be in contravention of Article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Around 700,000 Israelis now live in almost three hundred settlements in the occupied West Bank that are illegal under international law and the UN Human Rights Council has condemned the Israeli government’s expressed intention to accelerate its programme in order to double the number of settlements by 2027. Michael Gove is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel and has described himself as a lifelong Zionist.

Starmer’s order to abstain is a tactic he has frequently used in order to enable Tory legislation attacking human rights, notably the ‘Spycops’ legislation to give immunity from prosecution to undercover agents and their civilian sources for crimes including rape and murder, and the Tories’ laws to make democratic protest punishable by unlimited fines and up to ten years in prison.

He has been described as a ‘long-time servant of the British security state’ whose tenure as Director of Public Prosecutions was marked by decisions not to prosecute Jimmy Savile or the police killers of Jean-Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson, and by the destruction of key evidence in the Julian Assange extradition case. He has previously declared himself to be a supporter of Zionism ‘without qualification’.

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  1. 10. Effective opposition to the Tories

    Remember that one?

    What a bunch of gutless invertebrates they are. But especially that slug smarmer.

    1. Lets not forget the role and contribution of the wormtongue cheerleaders for the Starmer junta and other similar lickspittles when doling out the “credits” for this clusterfuck.

    2. Starmer’s expulsion/disciplining of lifelong Labour members should be an eye-opener to Britain of what the EU represents, especially recalling Starmer’s toppling of and whip-withdrawal from Jeremy Corbyn. Ditto re Zionism and Israeli apartheid, adding to some of the most diabolical external interference in British democracy by a foreign power that Britain has ever seen. Al Jazeera has, as in 2017 with “The Lobby”, done an outstanding service to the British people by documenting this in “The Labour Files “. Check out both series on YouTube & they should be still available at Al Jazeera.

      It is a national scandal that these two series have been ignored by the MSM.
      The more people watch them the more people should lobby their MP to hold Israel & it’s apologists accountable.

  2. If Starmer has ordered MPs to abstain how does that square with Akehurst contacting Labour members urging them to contact their MPs to demand they support the bill?

  3. Starmer is a”Zionist withour qualification”.He is a Friend of Israel as are most of our lawmakers both Labour and Tory.
    If you are an openly declared supporter of a country which engages in Apartheid then naturally you will ,like Starmer, be in favour of any measures which prevent sanctions against the Apartheid state.
    We saw how this played out in South Africa under Thatcher. The current situation in relation to Israel is far worse. Now if you oppose Israel’s Apartheid YOU, not the purveyors of Apartheid, will be denounced as racist, you will have you name dragged through the mud, your may lose your job and if you are a member you will be expelled from Starmers Labour party.
    The only surprise in respect of the Pro Apartheid bill is that Labour will abstain. I really thought Labour MPs would have beenwhipped to support it giving Starmer an excuse to withdraw the whip on anybody who didn’t.

    1. PS He could well withdraw the whip from any Labour MP who votes AGAINST the Bill

  4. I would describe him as certifiable risk to the public generally and a fascist to boot. He must never ever get the top job.

  5. Supporters like ‘adifferentbias’ on YouTube may insist that Starmer’s abstention policy is measured and tactical, to deny the Tories election material for an attack when the vote would go through anyway no matter what.

    But the consistency of Starmer’s right-wing approach offers no hope that the worm will ever turn.

    Besides, this legislation imposes legal obligations on government ministers themselves to defend the apartheid state, which Starmer as PM could argue restricted his own government, but could not be repealed “yet” since it was even more urgent to repeal anti-union and anti-rights legislation first.

    1. darkfooter

      The so-called Starmer ‘Stans’ – those on social media projecting a hidden left-wing or progressive persona onto Starmer, and an agenda that will only emerge post general election – are the most ridiculous.

      There is nothing to suggest there is anything progressive about him. I honestly believe he was brought inside the establishment at some point in the noughties and his career has been shaped by those people ever since. .
      I don’t know if he’s a spook like some allege, but he certainly isn’t a progressive independent minded politician, with fresh ideas and a desire to implement democratic and constitutional reform in the UK. He’s more like a time serving civil servant sent to defend the status quo until the Tories get their act together again. Any majority govt led by him will be a waste of time and possibly very damaging to the NHS and public services. Not to mention the ‘Labour party’ brand.

  6. Prediction.

    Labour will not only drop ‘recognition of Palestine’ from the next manifesto (it’s been Labour policy since 2010). Party members ( call them the doormats) + conference will be furious. Not only that but if / when in power they will controversially | recognise Jerusalem as solely Israel’s capital, i.e. not accepting its dual, disputed nature with its historic West, East administrative division and competing claims.

    And they’ll likely recognise the disputed, spoil of war Golan Heights as Israeli (Six-Day War of 1967, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights has been occupied and administered by Israel) Trump’s arrogant , controversial move which Biden hasn’t undone – speaks volumes about AIPACs power in the US.

    Then there is the hypocrisy of the UK MoD; strengthening military cooperation ties with Israel – an illegal occupier – while denouncing Russia for precisely the same type of behaviour.

    Isn’t the truth that a hung parliament, in which Labour are limited by what other parties will accept, will be more left-wing than a Labour majority.

  7. Where is the diversionary Chief Turd Polisher ? Has he been asleep at the wheel, or maybe the Caribbean Sharks have nibbled him…..?

    Any minute now…..

      1. Apparently he managed to wangle a 48 hour leave chitty from the OC over the weekend.

      2. It’s gratifying to hear from you that I am occupying your thoughts. 😏

      3. Given the dire state of fare on TV these days watching a dog return to its vomit is the only entertainment available.

      4. Just as well we don’t have to pay a license fee for it then.

  8. Good to see ‘Skwawky’ @ the Liverpool Yacht Club this morning to welcome the crew & supporters of .the Flotilla’ from Norway sailing the challenge the blockade of Palestine. I hope to see more people @ St. Brides Church, Liverpool tonight, starting 1900.

  9. Right Wing Lightweight Labour brings shame upon itself.
    Latest from Jenin – Right Wing Israel attacks refugee camp and US says it supports Israel’s “Right to defend itself.”
    The US is no honest broker and puts oil, arms sales & capitalist investments in the region first.
    And when the US says jump the rest of the West says how high?
    Right Wing Israel needs to be held to account and the world needs an honest broker.
    See G.D.Smith, A 3,000 Year History of Palestine, Paul Keleman, The British Left and Zionism: A History of Divorce, and
    Bernard Regan, The Balfour Declaration.

  10. I was just researching something on the Sun’s website (re Starmer and the leadership election) and came across the following article from March 2018 in which it says the following:

    Pressure is building for the party to push through probes that have lasted months or even years in the case of Ken Livingstone – the former Mayor of London.

    Former London Mayor Mr Livingstone is still suspended from the party – almost two years after he made comments saying Hitler was a Zionist……

    The Sun then repeats the falsehood in a caption to a video just a little bit further down the page (the only difference is that this time they put it in quotation marks):

    Ken Livingstone suspended from Labour Party following claims ‘Hitler was a Zionist’

    The headline to the article was: STAIN OF ANTI-SEMITISM Labour has a backlog of 75 allegations of ‘shocking’ anti-Semitism as the row over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to clamp down on it deepens. Here’s a clip from it:

    The Sun revealed today that MPs will demand a showdown with the boss over his plans.

    They will tell the leader to hire more staff and put more resources in place to clear the backlog.

    A source told the Daily Mail they include “the most shocking anti-Semitism that would make even a committed neo-Nazi blush”.

    John Mann, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group against anti-Semitism, and Wes Streeting, chairman of the APPG on British Jews, called on the Labour boss to meet Jewish colleagues, avoid blaming allegations on a “smear campaign” and tell members to stop acting in “bad faith”.

    They also want to know when he plans to meet Jewish community leaders who called Labour a “refuge for racists” at an unprecedented demonstration of thousands in London on Monday.

    Oh, right, ‘A source told the Daily Mail……..’. Well THAT’s it then, and it MUST be true. And the culprits were obviously all reported to the police. Odd thing is though that there’s no record of any of them being charged and prosecuted!!

    I wonder why not?

  11. New New Labour should have voted for this bill, that would be honest. There’s more chance of Richard Dawkins being pope than a Stammer lead government repealing it, irrespective of the size of their majority.

  12. Meanwhile the insanity continues in the US.
    CNN reports that “President Joe Biden announced Monday his intention to nominate a former appointee under former President Donald Trump (Elliot Abrams) with a controversial past in Latin America to the bipartisan United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.”
    Here he is:
    Where will the next death squads turn up?

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