Report from BOD Community Briefing
MPs Ian Lucas and Graham Brady told of their empathy for Israel’s supporters’ frustration at the failure of the UK media and politicians to understand the challenges the Jewish state faces at a ‘question time’ event organised by the Board of Deputies and the Manchester Representative Council on Sunday 21st September to coincide with the start of Party Conference season.
Labour’s Shadow Middle East Minister Ian Lucas said that he was aware that, “the Israeli Government is often criticised in ways in which other countries aren’t”, whilst Altrincham and Sale West MP Graham Brady lamented a ‘blinkered culture’ in the BBC which gave a carte-blanche to Hamas whilst tearing in to Israel.
The latter particularly mentioned a report during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in which Hamas had broken a ceasefire, but the report focused on how Israel was ‘attacking’ Gaza, only mentioning that it was in response to Hamas’ breach right at the end of his report. Brady said, “There was a lot of shouting at the TV in my house when that happened”.
Ian Lucas was asked about Labour colleagues Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi, who had appeared to back boycotts and the latter had compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Holocaust. On boycotts, the Shadow Middle East Minister replied that, “The Leader of the Labour Party is very clear: We do not support boycotts.” And on Qureshi’s Holocaust comparison, he said, “She apologised for that comparison. And that apology did not come from nowhere. Our leader, Ed Miliband told her that it was unacceptable and that she would have to apologise”.
Mr Lucas said that his approach was to support the Two State solution and both the Israelis and the Palestinians: “I am a member of Labour Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine, and I see no contradiction in that. I want two states and a better future for both peoples.”