The position of Anneliese Dodds MP (Labour – Oxford East) on the massacre in Gaza has improved has a result of pressure from constituents.
But it remains wholly inadequate.
OXFORD CONSTITUENTS: Please write to Anneliese to ask her to support a suspension of arms sales to Israel, an independent international inquiry into Israel’s massacre and an immediate and unconditional end to the siege of Gaza: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Find a sample letter below.
Dear Anneliese Dodds MP,
I write as an Oxford Labour Party member who has dual British-Israeli nationality.
On 14 May, Israeli soldiers killed 62 Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, including eight children, and injured some 2,800.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the ‘slaughter’ as an ‘outrage’ which ‘demands not just international condemnation, but action to hold those responsible to account’. He called for an end to the siege of Gaza and emphasised Labour’s commitment to ‘reviewing UK arms sales to Israel while these violations continue’.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry condemned Israel’s ‘calculated and deliberate policy to kill and maim unarmed protestors’. She demanded that the international community ‘hold those responsible to account’.
These statements followed the lead of Amnesty International, which had earlier decried Israel’s ‘murderous assault’ on unarmed demonstrators and called for ‘a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel’. Amnesty International emphasised: ”The time for symbolic statements of condemnation is now over. The international community must act concretely’.
In the wake of the massacre, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran called for one such concrete step: for the UK Government to recognise the State of Palestine.
Your statement on the massacre read as follows:
Many people have contacted me with their concerns about developments in Gaza. As Emily Thornberry has said, the actions on the Gaza border have been brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified. There is a vigil tonight at 20:45-21:45, Broad Street, central Oxford.
Your advertisement of the emergency vigil was welcome and appreciated.
But your vague reference to ‘the actions on the Gaza border’ was wholly inadequate.
Presumably the ‘action’ to which you referred was — per the statements of Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry and Amnesty International cited above — Israel’s calculated massacre of unarmed demonstrators. It is deeply disappointing that, unlike your colleagues, you could not find the words to call things by their proper names.
Your condemnation of Israel’s massacre as ‘brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified’ is welcome. However, in light of this condemnation, your refusal to demand an independent investigation into possible breaches of international law, an end to the siege of Gaza and a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel perplexes.
If, as you say, Israel’s actions in Gaza were ‘brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified’, shouldn’t you call for an independent international inquiry into them?
If, as you say, Israel’s actions in Gaza were ‘brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified’, shouldn’t you call for an immediate suspension of arms sales to Israel?
If, as you say, Israel’s actions in Gaza were ‘brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified’, shouldn’t you join the UN Human Rights Council and the European Parliament in demanding an immediate and unconditional end to the illegal siege?
At present, your statement falls into the category of what Amnesty International derided as ‘symbolic condemnation’ that, absent any accompanying calls for practical measures, amounts to enabling further human rights abuses.
Without further clarification, your present position appears to amount to support for legal impunity and continued arms sales to a state that is engaging in ‘brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified’ repression.
Please unequivocally condemn Israel’s massacre in Gaza and call for:
- A suspension of UK arms sales to Israel.
- An independent international inquiry into possible violations of international law by Israel.
- An immediate and unconditional end to the illegal, immoral and inhumane siege of Gaza.
 UN Human Rights Council, ‘Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza Conflict’ (2015), para. 681(d).