Jewish Labour councillor claims party officials trying to kick him out for stance on Israel-Hamas conflict

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A Jewish Labour councillor alleges factions in the party are trying to kick him out of his job for criticising the leadership’s position on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Martin Abrams, a Lambeth councillor, claims officials in the party have taken the first steps to deselect him for defying Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on the issue.

Cllr Abrams, member for Streatham St Leonard’s, has criticised the Labour Party leader for refusing to call for a ceasefire. Starmer has instead called for “humanitarian pauses”, much shorter periods of no fighting to allow aid to enter.

Cllr Abrams claimed: “There are strict diktats being issued from the very top of the party down which have created an ice-cold chilling effect with the aim of silencing any and all debate on the current situation in Gaza and any support for the Palestinian people.

“I have been particularly outspoken on the horrors taking place in Palestine and Gaza and the Labour leadership’s shocking refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire and as a result there are now clear attempts to deselect me as a Labour Party councillor for my views.”

Cllr Abrams claimed the first steps towards preventing him running as Labour’s candidate at the next local elections were already in progress. He said he believed factions of the party had seized control of his local Labour Party branch’s elections.

Cllr Abrams claimed these elections had been poorly run, with some members allegedly receiving ballots late or not at all.

Cllr Abrams added: “As a Jewish Labour Party councillor I was shocked and appalled by the events in Israel on October 7 but every single day since has brought even more horrors to the people of Gaza.

“I refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out and stand up against all forms of oppression and injustice.”

Dozens of Labour councillors have resigned over the party’s stance on the Gaza conflict and senior figures in Labour, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, have defied Sir Keir Starmer and called for a ceasefire.

Labour-run Lambeth council released a statement condemning the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel.

The council has also issued a statement offering its “thoughts and prayers” with “everyone affected by the horrific violence in the Middle East.”

The Labour Party was contacted for comment.

Pictured top: Councillor Martin Abrams has criticised Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on the Gaza conflict (Picture: Martin Abrams)

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