Dear Ed, this is why my love af­fair with Labour is over

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - KATE BEAR­MAN Kate Bear­man is a for­mer direc­tor of Labour Friends of Is­rael

I’VE BEEN a sup­porter of the Labour Party for 20 years but my sup­port is over.

I feel I don’t recog­nise the party of prin­ci­ple and se­ri­ous govern­ment that I knocked on doors and de­liv­ered leaflets for. It has let me down.

I feel Ed Miliband’s and Dou­glas Alexan­der’s rush to a con­dem­na­tion of Is­rael’s ground in­cur­sion into Gaza gave me no choice but to say good­bye to the party I have al­ways voted and cam­paigned for.

In con­trast, David Cameron de­serves real credit for his ob­jec­tive and bal­anced state­ments on Gaza.

He has shown gen­uine in­sight into the hor­rific choices fac­ing Is­rael’s lead­ers as the coun­try strug­gles to deal with a huge up­surge in Ha­mas rocket at­tacks and the dis­cov­ery of the ter­ror­ist tun­nels lead­ing from Gaza into Is­rael.

Cameron has also shown he un­der­stands that this is part of a wider pic­ture of tur­moil in the Mid­dle East, un­der­pinned by a rapid rise in Is­lamist ter­ror also ev­i­denced in Syria and Iraq.

I sim­ply don’t think Labour is fit to gov­ern when its lead­er­ship is­sues sim­plis­tic state­ments that are at odds with the re­al­i­ties Is­rael faces try­ing to con­front a ter­ror­ist en­tity with an ide­o­log­i­cal com­mit­ment to geno­ci­dal at­tacks on the Jewish state and Jewish peo­ple.

Their re­ac­tion in­di­cates not just a cava­lier ap­proach to how Is­rael can pro­tect the lives of its in­no­cent civil­ians, but a lack of se­ri­ous­ness about our own UK na­tional se­cu­rity.

I feel pro­found an­guish when I see pic­tures of dead and wounded Gazan chil­dren. It dis­turbs me deeply and I find it very hard to ab­sorb. It is the tragic con­se­quence of a ruth­less ter­ror­ist move­ment shel­ter­ing among a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion and cre­at­ing two sets of vic­tims, Is­raelis and in­no­cent Gazans.

How is Is­rael sup­posed to de­stroy tun­nels with­out go­ing in on the ground? What is the point in calling for a cease­fire when Is­rael has ac­cepted six cease­fires and Ha­mas broke ev­ery one of them, the fi­nal time with a pre­med­i­tated sui­cide bomb­ing?

I would at­tack Labour for naivety if it wasn’t that I sus­pect this is sim­ply elec­toral cyn­i­cism. Labour has cal­cu­lated my vote is less rel­e­vant than the five to seven per cent of the elec­torate who switched from Lib Dem to Labour in 2010 when the coali­tion was formed, who are over­whelm­ingly op­posed to all mil­i­tary ac­tions, whether Bri­tish or Is­raeli.

They have cho­sen to play po­lit­i­cal games with a highly com­plex sit­u­a­tion in the Mid­dle East. They have cho­sen to dis­re­gard the cul­pa­bil­ity of Ha­mas who, un­de­ni­ably, use the peo­ple they pur­port to rep­re­sent as hu­man shields.

So I have made my choice. Not in my name. I can’t sup­port a Labour Party that acts like this. I hope the day will come when I’m com­fort­able enough to re­turn to the fold.

I have noth­ing but pride about my time at Labour Friends of Is­rael un­der a wiser Labour lead­er­ship. But I have been forced to choose be­tween my party and my sup­port for Is­rael. And I’ve cho­sen.

They­have cho­sen toplay po­lit­i­cal games with a highly com­plex is­sue

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