Sir Keir Starmer has said that under his leadership Labour is “unequivocally committed to a negotiated two-state solution – with Israel safe and secure and recognised within its borders.”
In a video message played at Tuesday night’s Labour Friends of Israel reception at Labour’s Conference, Starmer also said “Labour welcomes the Abraham Accords and the growing diplomatic normalisation between Israel an its Arab neighbours.”
The Labour leader also said his party “strongly supports” the planned International Fund for Israeli and Palestinian peace.
He said it was “incredibly disappointing” that the government had not got “fully got behind” the proposals, of which LFI been leading advocate.
Starmer also vowed to visit Israel with LFI saying he “looked forward” to the trip where he planned to “listen and to understand.”
The Labour leader, who had been preparing for his speech to conference today, used the video recording to provide his clearest indication yet of the foreign policy strategy for the region himself and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy were setting out.
Re-stating his commitment to “tackle the poison of antisemitism” and his determination to make Labour a “safe space” for Jewish members and the community again, he called for the support of LFI added “our work in rooting out antisemitism must continue.”
Starmer then turned to Israel stating: “Let me be clear, under my leadership Labour is unequivocal committee to a negotiated two state solution – with Israel safe an secure and recognised within its borders living alongside a democratic, independent Palestinian state.”
The Labour leader also appeared to confirm his opposition to boycotts.
In reference to the International Fund proposal he said”It is incredibly disappointing that the British government has not fully got behind the proposal. We must bring people together through initiatives – not drive them apart through boycotts. That’s the path for peace for Israelis and for Palestinians.”
Stamer also said he was “deeply heartened” to see the Israeli Labour Party “back in government under Merav Michaeli, who recorded her own video message for the packed reception at the Brighton Hilton.
He said he looked forward to attending an LFI lunch event in November.
Lisa Nandy also delivered an emotional address in person to over 500 people inside the Balmoral Room.
She said the fact that Louise Ellman had spoken, and was present in the room had left her wanting to speak more than she originally was about what the return of the former Liverpool Riverside MP meant for Labour.
She heaped praise on her “friends” Dame Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger for withstanding the onslaught of antisemitism.
But as she turned to the topic of the Middle East, Nandy restated her and Starmer’s position – and the wish for Labour to return to becoming a fair and honest broker in the region.
At one point in her speech Nandy stated that she did not believe the practice of “no-platforming” was helpful in finding solutions to issues.
She raised the example of Mo Mowlam’s visit to the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland during the troubles.
LFI chair Steve McCabe also delivered a barnstorming speech – highlighting the previous Labour government’s record of support for Israel and British Jews.
Oren Marmorstein, Israel’s deputy ambassador, also delivered a brief speech in which he suggested he was “among friends”.
Israeli Labour’s Michal Biran also recorded a message for the event.
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