November 1, 2023
From Socialist Worker (UK)
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Keir Starmer surrounded by cops and aides, protesters in the background, illustrating a story about Starmer Palestine

Anger at Keir Starmer (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Up to 100 people protested against Keir Starmer’s support for Israeli war crimes as the Labour leader gave a speech at Chatham House, central London, on Tuesday.

Angry Protesters chanted, “Keir Starmer you can’t hide, you’re endorsing genocide,” and, “David Lammy you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

Starmer doubled down on his refusal to call for a ceasefire. “He is a coward,” one protester said. “Calling for a ceasefire is the bare minimum.”

Protester Sarah told Socialist Worker, “When people are oppressed, they always have a right to defend themselves.

“Hamas’ offer to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages is fairer than anything the Israeli state has put on the table.”

Protesters weren’t just angry with Starmer. One person, who lives in shadow foreign secretary David Lammy’s north London constituency, made a banner saying he has blood on his hands.

In his speech, Starmer painted the Palestinians’ attack on 7 October as “the biggest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust”.

He claimed the Hamas resistance group had killed Israelis because they were Jews. “Do not doubt that,” he said—in a cynical attempt to equate opposition to Zionist colonialism with antisemitism.

Starmer shamelessly said, “Hospitals must be protected and cannot become targets.” But he has backed Israel to the hilt as it bombs hospitals, schools, homes and refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.

His speech came amid a growing backlash against the Labour Party.  A survey of 30,000 Muslims, published by Med this week, shows a huge drop in support for Labour from 71 percent to 5 percent.

Almost all respondents to the survey said they’d switched support from Labour because of the party’s stance on Israel. While surveys overstate the scale of the collapse, it’s a snapshot of the depth of anger against Starmer and Labour.

Another protester said, “I’ve got family and friends in Gaza. But whether you have links there or not, what’s clear is the killing needs to stop.

“I’ve been a Labour voter growing up. I’m not sure who I’ll vote for in the next election but I’m not voting for Labour anyway.”

The protest showed its right to mobilise against Israel—and its imperialist backers in parliament.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop The War Coalition and others have called a day of action on Saturday with protests in towns and cities across Britain. In London, people are set to hold local protests and then head down to the centre of the capital for a mass rally in Trafalgar Square. 

  • Join the Trafalgar Square rally this Saturday 4 November from 2.30pm



Source: Socialistworker.co.uk