A Labour Party supporter of over 20 years and former director of the influential Labour Friends of Israel group has sensationally resigned from Ed Miliband’s party this week, citing his response to the ongoing Gaza crisis, as well as other factors.
Kate Bearman, who has also praised Prime Minister David Cameron’s response, wrote in the Jewish Chronicle this week:
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.
The news is likely to come as a significant blow to Ed Miliband due to Bearman’s influential network which includes activists, members and even Labour Party donors.
The newspaper’s editor Stephen Pollard tweeted: “Inundated this am with texts and emails from Lab supporters despairing at Ed M playing politics over Gaza”.
The Labour Friends of Israel counts amongst its officers the Vice Chairman of the Labour Party Michael Dugher, as well as having members such as Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, and dozens of other Members of Parliament and Peers.
In June, Labour leader Ed Miliband gave a speech to the LFI annual lunch, claiming: “…it is impossible to ignore the security challenges that Israel faces…
“I want you to know that if I become Prime Minister in less than a year’s time, I will be proud to do so as a friend of Israel, a Jew and, most of all, someone who feels so proud to be part of the community gathered here today.”
But just two months later Miliband has been slating the Israeli response to Gaza rocket fire, and the kidnap and murder of its citizens. He has publicly stated that he opposes the Israeli action over recent weeks, a position that has been widely criticised by Britain’s Jewish community organisations.
“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.”
It is unclear as to whether Ms. Bearman will be joining another political party.