Anne Clarke: We must support Israel in this unprecedented moment of terror, pain and suffering

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Anne Clarke has written the below article for Jewish News. Click here to read the original.

London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden Anne Clarke

The events of last weekend in Israel have sickened the world, with shockwaves reverberating across the UK’s Jewish community.

Hamas slaughtered entire families and took hostage elderly people – these are crimes which nobody can ever justify and which we all must condemn.

Israelis are still uncovering the full extent of the murderous rampages, sadistic killings and kidnappings wreaked by Hamas terrorists against innocent civilians.

Indeed, the scale and cruelty of these massacres evoke the darkest days of Jewish history – of terror, pogroms, and the Holocaust.

Earlier this year I was in Israel as part of a Labour Friends of Israel delegation. Revelations about what happened at Kibbutz Kfar Aza – somewhere we visited – have been particularly

Like many people in North London, I am heartbroken: worried about the people we know, about what happens next, and the shameful spectre of a spike in antisemitic hate crimes here at home.

I utterly condemn the appalling vandalism and antisemitism against the Jewish community.

Those responsible should face the full force of the law, as should anyone using events in the Middle East as an opportunity to threaten Jewish Londoners.

We must and will always stand against antisemitism, wherever it raises its ugly head, and however people seek to justify it.

Amid the pain, we must also be crystal clear about what has happened here: an unprecedentedly brutal terrorist attack by an antisemitic group against the Middle East’s only democracy.

We must support the State of Israel and her people in this unprecedented moment of terror, pain and suffering.

Israel has the right to defend itself against these attacks, which we must recognise and affirm as others yet again seek to delegitimise the world’s only Jewish state.

Israel should make every effort to avoid civilians being put in harm’s way by Hamas which has contempt for the lives of Palestinians and Egypt must open humanitarian routes.

The deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza are tragic.

Innocent Gazans will also need aid and humanitarian support. We must always remember that the fight must be against the terrorists of Hamas, not the people of Gaza.

Last week at Labour conference in Liverpool the party took a firm stance in support of Israel.

More than a thousand people turned out to pay respects at a vigil at the Labour Friends of Israel reception, attended by the entire shadow cabinet, and addressed by Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves, David Lammy and Yvette Cooper.

Again and again, the speakers condemned those on London’s streets seeking to justify or even celebrate Hamas’s terrorist crimes, pledging to support action against them.

I was deeply moved to participate in a moment’s silence in the conference hall for the victims of the attack.

And in his conference speech, Keir received a standing ovation for his condemnation of “the senseless murder of men, women and children, including British citizens, in cold blood by the terrorists of Hamas”, as well as for Israel’s “right to defend her people”.

There is still work to be done, but these are signs of just how far Labour has come under the leadership of Keir Starmer in returning to its historic position as an ally of the Jewish community and as a friend of Israel.

At this dark moment, I welcomed the affirmation that a Labour government would finally proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation, undermining Iran’s ability to support terrorist proxies like Hamas.

In the coming weeks, the Labour Party will continue to stand up for Israel against those who seek its destruction, and will always stand up against antisemitism.