Miliband: MPs call judg­ment into ques­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

ED MILIBAND’S po­si­tion on Is­rael has been at­tacked by for­mer Labour min­is­ters, Jewish party sup­port­ers and the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil.

The Labour leader has adopted an in­creas­ingly tough stance, calling Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge “wrong and un­jus­ti­fi­able” and he has at­tacked David Cameron for not op­pos­ing Is­rael’s ac­tions.

“His si­lence on the killing of hun­dreds of in­no­cent Pales­tinian civil­ians caused by Is­rael’s mil­i­tary ac­tion will be in­ex­pli­ca­ble to peo­ple across Bri­tain and in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Mr Miliband said.

Down­ing Street re­sponded: “We are shocked that Ed Miliband would seek to mis­rep­re­sent that po­si­tion and play pol­i­tics with such a se­ri­ous is­sue.”

And one for­mer Labour min­is­ter said: “Just look at his record. He likes to pre­tend he’s driven by some moral com­pass but the truth is he’s the most cyn­i­cal leader Labour has ever had. Syria, now Is­rael. He’ll sell any­one out for a vote.”

Another se­nior party fig­ure said he was “ashamed to be in the same party as this ex­cuse for a leader”.

Kate Bear­man, a for­mer Labour Friends of Is­rael direc­tor, quit the party af­ter 20 years as a sup­porter as Labour had “cho­sen to dis­re­gard the cul­pa­bil­ity of Ha­mas” and was “not fit to gov­ern”.

The JLC said: “It is not cred­i­ble to sug­gest that the sit­u­a­tion can be re­solved sim­ply by calling for a cease­fire, when over re­cent weeks Ha­mas has brazenly breached six cease­fires and abused them to per­pe­trate fur­ther at­tacks.

“This is a crit­i­cal is­sue and we hope that such an im­por­tant mat­ter will not be used to cre­ate do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal points of dif­fer­ence.”

Many Is­rael-sup­port­ing Labour MPs used the Par­lia­men­tary re­cess to avoid re­spond­ing to their leader’s stance. But on Twit­ter, Rachel Reeves MP, a Labour Friends of Is­rael of­fi­cer, praised Mr Miliband’s “im­por­tant” state­ment.

Lead­ing Jewish Labour sup­port­ers ad­mit­ted that the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing Is­rael ad­vo­cates in the party was “grim”.

Point­ing out that many of the party’s strong­est Is­rael sup­port­ers were shadow cabi­net mem­bers, one queried: “Should we tell them to re­sign over it? Un­for­tu­nately, they have to say one thing in pri­vate and some­thing dif­fer­ent in pub­lic. They are whipped. We are only nine months from an elec­tion.

“Peo­ple will not ap­pre­ci­ate a pos­si­ble fu­ture prime min­is­ter look­ing like he is point scor­ing.”

For­mer Labour MP Eric Moon­man said Mr Miliband had re­ceived poor ad­vice. “The events in Is­rael are stretch­ing his knowl­edge,” he said.

He said it had been a mis­take to at­tack Mr Cameron, and he could come to re­gret his com­ments.

There were fur­ther fears that Labour back­benchers and grass-roots ac­tivists might use the fall-out from the con­flict to con­sider stronger mea­sures against Is­rael at their an­nual con­fer­ence next month.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

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