Liverpool City Council rejects motion attacking Israel

Liverpool City Council met yesterday (15 January 2014) and overwhelmingly rejected a motion which attacked Israel. The motion, proposed by Green Party councillors, sought to link and compare the situation in Israel with human rights abuses in China and Russia, citing the three countries together as “governments which violate basic human rights”. It went on to refer to “persecution of gay people, denial of the rights of indigenous ethnic peoples, and the imprisonment of opposition thinkers” without mentioning any specific examples and with the implication that all three things happened in all three countries. It called on the Council to distance the City from “condoning or tolerating the human rights violations of some participating countries, including Russia, Israel and China”  in Liverpool’s International  Festival of Business.

Speakers from both the majority Labour Group and the opposition Liberal Democrat Group condemned the motion. The movers are understood to have admitted that their target was Israel and they included the references to Russia and China to make it more difficult to oppose the motion.

The Council voted by the 74 votes to just 2 (the 2 Greens) to reject the motion. As well as an Israeli presence at the International Business Festival, Liverpool City Council recently hosted a visit by Israeli diplomats and three Liverpool Councillors went on a delegation to Israel last year.

A spokesperson for the Fair Play Campaign Group said:

“It was mischievous and malicious for the Green Councillors to seek to link Israel with human rights abuses in Russia and China. Particularly absurd and spurious was the reference to persecution of gay people when Israel is the only safe haven for LGBT people in the Middle East. The issues in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians are serious and deserve consideration in a sophisticated way, not through lumping them together with completely different global issues in a two paragraph motion. We are pleased that all the mainstream political groups on Liverpool City Council united to defeat this attempt to demonise Israel. This is an important vote by one of the UK’s largest local authorities.”


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