Author Archives: Leon Duveen

In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Good Will.

As Remainers, we have lived by the first two parts of Churchill’s famous saying from World War Two in our fight against Brexit. We have been by turns both resolute and defiant.

Now, on the verge of victory (not yet certain I know but looking more likely) we need to start looking at how we can be magnanimous and promote, hopefully, good will. To do this, we need to look at the reasons why some many areas outside the main metropolitan areas voted to leave the EU.

The lack of affordable housing, the concentration of economic development in the Home Counties …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

A response to the Conference debate on the Balfour Declaration

Shalom alechum, alsalam ealaykum, peace be with you.

Peace, Peace in the land between the river & sea is what we should be working for.

And, to put it mildly, the motion we passed at Conference on Sunday does not do that. Indeed, by passing it, it means we probably won’t get another chance to debate the Palestine/Israel conflict again for some time.

I tried to get the motion referred back to the FPC and to ask them to bring back a better, more comprehensive motion next year as the one we passed today is the lowest common denominator that is acceptable (begrudgingly) to two interest groups in the Party, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine and Lib Dem Friends of Israel.

It does nothing to say what we, as a small political party far away from the area, can do to advance the cause of peace between Palestine & Israel and, believe me, there is much we can do.

We could be learning more from groups like “Solutions not Sides”, we could be inviting speakers from One Voice, YaLa Young Leaders, Ta’ayush and similar organisations, we could be listening to those who work every day to break down the barriers (both physical & mental) between the two nations.

The motion also contains factual errors, for example, line 35 refers to “pre-1967 borders” but no such borders existed as they were Armistice Lines that marked the end of conflict in 1949, they were never meant to be the final demarcation between Israel & its Arab neighbours.

What is worse, all amendments to correct errors and improve the motion have been rejected by FCC. No reason has been given for this rejection.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

How can Lib Dems support the movements for peace for the people of Palestine & Israel?

Israeli children visit Palestinian village of Tuwani and participate in bilingual activities together - Some rights reserved by delayed gratficationThe departure of Jenny Tonge from the party will not come as a surprise to many nor, if I am honest, will there be many tears shed over it. She has, at best, been semi-detached for some time after resigning the Party Whip in the House of Lords.

However, her departure has made me think about the best way forward for the Liberal Democrats to support a peaceful resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict.

Posted in Op-eds | 68 Comments

Opinion: It is time for those who believe that violence doesn’t work to stand up

Banksy: DetailLast October, I wrote a piece for LDV called “Time to do away with LD Friends of Israel & Friends of Palestine” and other pieces on the subject on my own irregular blog.

After the tragic events of the last three weeks, with the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers being found murdered and now a Palestinian youth having been killed in Jerusalem, seemingly in “revenge”, I feel I need to speak out, even it is to “state the obvious”.

In addition to the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdair, the Israeli reaction to the kidnapping and killing of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach has cost at least six other deaths of Palestinians on the West Bank & yet unknown numbers of lives in Gaza. We here in the UK need to be strident in the commendation of the extremists on both sides who, through their rhetoric, have encouraged the violence.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Time to do away with Lib Dem Friends of Israel and Friends of Palestine

Why, in a liberal and democratic party that “seeks to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community”, do we allow two groups to flourish in the party, when they should share a common aim? I refer of course the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine and Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel.

Let me be clear and open. I have Israeli nationality and look back fondly on the ten years of my life spent living in Israel. That doesn’t mean I am uncritical of the Israeli governments, past and present, and of many of the actions and policies they have implemented over the years. I have been calling for a two state solution for nearly 40 years since I first saw at first hand the degradation and suffering in the refugee camps in Gaza. The occupation of Palestine harms both the occupied and the occupiers.

Posted in Op-eds | 41 Comments
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