Statement on Sir Keir Starmer pulling out of RTP iftaar
Categories: Latest News
Saturday April 24 2021
MEND, Muslim communities, and Palestine activists across the country are deeply concerned by Sir Keir Starmer’s reported decision to withdraw from his scheduled attendance at the Ramadhan Tent Project iftar, allegedly following concerns that one of the organisers retweeted a tweet supporting boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli dates grown on occupied Palestinian land.
If true, this would be in direct contradiction to the Labour Party’s traditional claim to advocate for justice in foreign affairs, as well as a seeming departure from the interests and values of the party membership at large.
Numerous UN resolutions have affirmed that settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are in breach of international law. Meanwhile, support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against goods grown on illegal settlements or through other means deemed in contempt of international law are a legitimate form of democratic activism to promote peaceful change, regardless of where in the world such acts are being committed.
Furthermore, a recent YouGov poll showed that 61% of Labour members support BDS, while only 8% were in opposition. As such, the Labour leader’s decision to withdraw from the event may be seen as a unilateral shift in party policy that is in direct contradiction to the views of its own membership. So close to the upcoming elections, this will particularly damage the relationship between the party and its Muslim and Palestinian activists who have traditionally found a home in the party.
We therefore call on Sir Keir Starmer to clarify his position and reaffirm his commitment to support international justice.