Thornberry: Netanyahu ‘trying to turn Israel into an apartheid state’

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Thornberry: Netanyahu ‘trying to turn Israel into an apartheid state’

Shadow foreign secretary makes remark during Labour party conference, accusing Donald Trump of supporting 'the suppression of Palestinians'

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry speaks during the Labour Party's annual conference 2018. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry speaks during the Labour Party's annual conference 2018. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has accused Benjamin Netanyahu of “trying to turn Israel into an apartheid state”.

In her speech at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton on Monday, Thornberry also questioned how Donald Trump could lead the free world when he “supports the suppression of Palestinians”.

The Labour front-bencher took aim at the US president, in a stinging rebuke to “strongman politics,” in which she listed the Israeli premier alongside some of the world’s most authoritarian rulers.

Thornberry, who would be the minister responsible for US-UK relations if Labour took office, delivered her verdict on world leaders as Trump skipped a meeting of world leaders in New York to discuss climate change.

“Country by country, election by election, is being consumed by the resurgence of so-called strongman-politics,” she said.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin, killing with impunity from Syria to Salisbury; [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro, plunging Venezuela into ever-deeper division and misery; [Brazilian President Jair] Bolsonaro hailing Brazil’s military junta as a golden age; [Philippines President Rodrigo] Duterte boasting about killing Philippino street children; Netanyahu trying to turn Israel into an apartheid state.”

She listed others, including Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but said Trump was “the role model” for all.

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“How can you lead a free world when you are locking toddlers in cages,” she asked. “How can you lead a free world if you’re trying to take away the right of women to control their own bodies? How can you lead a free world when you are actively supporting the suppression and annexation of Palestine?”

She added that Trump was “not the leader of the free world, he is the role model, the guiding light of all those strongman politicians across the world who are trying to tear freedom apart”.

In a blistering speech, Thornberry also laid into the Saudis for the kingdom’s role in the war in Yemen, promising that Labour would immediately review all UK arms sales to Riyadh and to Israel, for their use in Gaza.

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