Labour MP writes of second ‘Nakba’ days after controversial Palestine rally speech

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Labour MP writes of second ‘Nakba’ days after controversial Palestine rally speech

Andy McDonald, the MP for Middlesborough tweets;'It pains my heart that 75 years on from the Nakba, we are seeing another Nakba play out before our eyes'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Andy McDonald MP
Andy McDonald MP

Labour MP Andy McDonald has claimed Palestinian’s are facing a second ‘Nakba’ – the Arabic term for catastrophe – just two days after he drew criticism for his speech at the latest anti-Israel rally in central London.

In a post on social media the Middlesbrough MP, who has been criticised for his remarks around Israel and the Palestinians, wrote:”It pains my heart that 75 years on from the Nakba, we are seeing another Nakba play out before our eyes.”

The left-winger also claimed there was “a concerted campaign to silence those who are speaking out” in support of the Palestinians.

He posted on X, formerly known as Twitter on Monday, writing:”We must and will not be intimidated. ”

McDonald, a former shadow cabinet member, who was an ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, is among the Labour MP to have broken ranks from leader Keir Starmer’s position on Israel’s response to Hamas atrocities of October 7th, by calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In a speech at Saturday’s London demo he spoke of a time “all people, Israelis and Palestinians, between the river and the sea, can live in peaceful liberty”.

McDonald tweeted he had been subjected to  “baseless and harmful accusations of ‘espousing antisemitic language'” after some interpreted his speech as being based on the “From The River To The Sea” chant, which the MP denied.

The term “Nakba” is used to describe the displacement of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 that coincided with the founding of Israel.

Jewish News understands that Labour bosses have been alerted to concerns about McDonald’s conduct around the Israel/Palestine issue.

In earlier speeches at pro-Palestine events in the north-east he has appeared on stage with speakers including known anti-Zionists.

At a Middlesborough March for Palestine event in 2016, McDonald spoke at an event at which a female speaker told the crowd “we condemn and oppose Zionism.”

Speaking himself at another rally in 2014, McDonald spoke of how “terrorists” had gone on to become Israeli prime ministers after the state was formed in 1948.

“History tells us that terrorists can become the prime ministers of sovereign stages ladies and gentlemen, ” he added in the same speech.

Jewish News messaged McDonald to ask if he supported a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine crisis.

McDonald had quit Starmer’s team in 2021 in a row over domestic policy. He announced his decision to leave the shadow cabinet during party conference.

Many interpreted the timing of the decision as an attempt to spark a wider challenge to Starmer’s leadership, but he did not spark other MPs to express anti-Starmer comments.

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