Ed Davey : I stand in solidarity and support tonight with Israel and all Israelis

Those were the opening words of a powerful speech by Ed Davey at the  Vigil outside 10 Downing Street on Monday evening following the Hamas attack on Israel. Ed was there  representing our Party with Daisy Cooper. 

Ed went on to say: 

The Liberal Democrats stand in solidarity and support tonight with Jewish people across the world and we stand in support and solidarity with the amazing Jewish community in Great Britain.

And I stand in support together tonight with Tom, with Robert, with David [other speakers].  Let them hear this, the government and the opposition stand in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. This most horrendous terrorist attack by the terrorist Hamas must be condemned by everybody completely.

Let us, as we do that, remember the people who were killed. Let us mourn for each and every one of them.

The children, the women, the men who were killed in their homes, killed in their villages, killed as they came together in a festival for music and peace.

That is what the terrorists want to do. They want to kill innocent civilians going about their everyday lives and they must never be forgiven or forgotten that they impose this murderous act on Israel.

And as we mourn the people who were killed, let us remember their families. Their families in Israel who are bereaved. bereaved. Let’s not forget their human suffering, which will go on now for the rest of their lives. And let us, of course, as David quite rightly said, remember particularly the hostages, and let us all together demand, demand that they are released now unconditionally. Let them be released. There will be dark days ahead, but when we stand in solidarity, when we stand for the values that Israel has, the United Kingdom has, we will overcome terrorism, everywhere, and this most blatant act of terrorism. We will defeat terrorism, and we must also think about the safety of the British Jewish community now.

There are people who have hatred in their hearts in our country, who foster antisemitism. They must be opposed now and forever, and at this moment, it is a dangerous moment, and I want to congratulate the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London for coming together. We must all come together to fight antisemitism.

I want to thank you for coming tonight. Your voice is heard by just being here, and let us remember we will need to come together again and again as we stand in solidarity with each other.

A video of Sir Ed’s speech can be found here.<

* Simon McGrath is a councillor in Wimbledon and a member of the board of Liberal Reform.

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38 Comments

  • Steve Trevethan 11th Oct '23 - 12:12pm

    Might an opportunity to have suggested .some form of negotiation have been missed?

    The Israeli and Palestinian situation has been unstable and violent for decades and so more instability and violence seems to be significantly unlikely to resolve this tragic saga.

    Despite the deep difficulties, might attempts at encouraging négociations be worth a try?

  • Mick Taylor 11th Oct '23 - 6:56pm

    Whilst not disagreeing with one word of what Ed Davey said, it would have been better to have also acknowledged the appalling treatment of Palestinians by the Israelis too. There is never any justification for what Hamas has done or Hisbollah but collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza is not only wrong but against all the rules of the UN. Going after the militants and terrorists is one thing but Israel should be better than to indiscriminately kill men, women and children in Gaza through flattening whole areas of the Palestinian state.
    In a conflict where neither side is prepared to compromise one iota it is very difficult for those of us who abhor all war to get across the message of peace, but we must try – and so must Ed

  • @Steve, the trouble is there is a long history of ignoring agreements and peace plans, with Israel repeatedly and deliberately breaking agreements and the Palestinians seeing many plans as one-sided and thus also not feeling bound by such agreements.

    For there to be an agreement, both sides, and Israel specifically will need to be less obdurate.
    However, for negotiations to even begin, a reasonable expectation would be for existing agreements regarding Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem to be honoured; something Israeli leadership will find difficult…

  • Steve Trevethan 11th Oct '23 - 7:17pm

    Might the USA and its allies have enough power to assist the initiation of sound negotiations?

    Ditto the oil producing Arab states, preferably in conjunction with the above?

  • George Thomas 11th Oct '23 - 9:21pm

    It’s very difficult to speak about this issue because people on one side will have 50+ years of misdeeds against them and people on the other the same, with each ready to shout at you if you only talk about what has happened most recently.

    Most recently we have seen horrible terrorist actions committed by Hamas and an Israeli government minister speak about desire to lay siege to Gaza and implement collective punishment.

    Yet we need to speak about this issue in times of relative peace otherwise we give credit to those who think we only pay attention after violent moments and therefore aim to increase frequency of violent moments.

    The only thing we can strive to achieve is dignity and safety for two nations side-by-side and, without forgetting the pain that has happened, look to the future instead. There are an awful lot of children living in that part of the world who are already either the next victims of past events or the reason something greater is achieved.

  • We should not be talking about the Palestinians. The Fatah PLO in the west bank are still moderate and we can and should be talking to them. Hamas are terrorists as are Hezbollah and we should no longer have anything to do with them .

  • David McDowall 12th Oct '23 - 9:22am

    As an eye witness of the Sabra-Shatila massacre 41 years ago, I absolutely condemn the slaughter of Israeli civilians by Hamas. There are no excuses and the perpetrators should be held to account. In the case of Sabra-Shatila (2,000 approx dead or missing) the international community took no action. Nor did it take any steps to ensure the contestants upheld international law. By its inaction and permissive approach to Israel’s progressive theft of the land and subjugation of its people, it was an accomplice to continued repression and thus to the catastrophe that befalls the region now. Only inisting on strict adherence to international law has any chance of bringing about justice and reonciliation. That is our prime duty, not taking sides. So far we have abjectly and culpably failed.

  • David Foster 12th Oct '23 - 9:29am

    Ed says “we stand by the values Israel has” I am not sure what that means. Does this include violating international law and building illegal settlements? This is not the time to ramp up rhetoric but to tackle the causes of this conflict

  • Suzanne Fletcher 12th Oct '23 - 9:34am

    @MickTaylor
    Can I strongly agree with what Mick has posted, worded so well. Nothing dilutes the anguish about what has been done by Hamas, but:
    Whilst not disagreeing with one word of what Ed Davey said, it would have been better to have also acknowledged the appalling treatment of Palestinians by the Israelis too. There is never any justification for what Hamas has done or Hisbollah but collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza is not only wrong but against all the rules of the UN. Going after the militants and terrorists is one thing but Israel should be better than to indiscriminately kill men, women and children in Gaza through flattening whole areas of the Palestinian state.

  • Leekliberal 12th Oct '23 - 9:46am

    Tim – Sadly the Fatah PLO are weak, corrupt and hopelessly inadequate to protect the interests of the displaced Palestinian people.
    Israel holds all the cards and settlers continue to steal what’s left of Palestinian land. In their helplessness to oppose this onslaught, it is at least understandable that some will turn to violence with the tragic consequences we are witnessing. It is a sad commentary on humanity that after a thousand years of suffering appalling brutality in Europe, the Jewish people treat the indiginous population with such callousness when they finally gain a homeland.

  • I am truly sorry that Ed Davey feels he has to take this view. Of course the attacks were brutal, but Palestinians have been fighting for their very existence for decades and when you see the pressures they are under, it is no surprise when violence breaks out. What became of a balanced view? And what about the innocent civilians who have had their homes and livelihoods taken from them by Israeli “settlers”? I rest my case.

  • Mark Frankel 12th Oct '23 - 10:13am

    How moderate are Fatah/PLO? They still preach anti-normalisation, and Israel is having to take heavy repressive measures in the West Bank. (Too heavy, some say, but that’s beginning to look a bit different now)

  • What a missed opportunity by our leader to make a request for peace negotiations through the UN, which has the advantage of being at least theoretically unbiased. The tragic situation in Israel/ Palestine is a result of many years of incursion by successive Israeli governments into Palestinian land and the destruction of livelihoods creating the largest group of refugees in the world. Hamas behaved illegally and cruelly and offered Israel the perfect excuse to occupy yet more land in Gaza, where they are now denying essential life sustaining utilities to the civilian population. In every conflict over the years there have been far more Palestinian casualties than Israeli ones and it will be so this time. Civilian casualties are likely to outstrip military ones in Gaza. So where does the U.K. stand in all this? It is for sure that some of the weapons being used originated in this country, arriving indirectly. On 2nd November Liberal Democrat’s will be amongst the gathering outside Telford Conference Centre protesting at the manufacture and sales of so-called defence and security weapons. Come and join us as we ask the salesmen of deadly weapons to think carefully about where they are being used and whether there are not better uses of their manufacturing skills. More information from Stop the War Coalition .

  • @David Mc
    Funnily enough, the Israeli internal investigation did lay the blame at the door of Ariel Sharon, who was the Official responsible for the camp – Lebanon was under partial occupation at the time.
    They found him culpable and that he should never hold office again. That unfortunately didn’t extend to the democratic process allowing him to become PM. A situation many Palestinians saw as a betrayal of those killed in the camps.
    On this matter though, the party might well decide to stand with Israeli innocent victims but it is a catastrophic error to stand with a state that this year alone – according to Isaac Saul, a former Israeli resident – has killed 250 Palestinians 47 of whom were children – in the period Jan to Sep and before the atrocity by Hamas. It’s also a catastrophic error to stand with a country that is currently committing a number of war crimes as it retaliates.

  • Eddie Larkin 12th Oct '23 - 12:30pm

    What is happening in Israel and Palestine is heartbreaking but this has been going on for 75yrs ever since Israel declared independence in 1948 and refused to recognise the state of Palestine. Until the state of Palestine is created and acknowledged by Israel and the rest of the world we will always have the terriost carrying out the atrocities that we have seen committed this week. Looking at it from both sides, they have both got to see that this hatred for each other Can Not and must not continue and they have got to learn RESPECT

  • Jason Connor 12th Oct '23 - 1:14pm

    There are also many people in this country and some other countries near Israel who deny the right of Israel to exist as a state and Jewish people to exist. Even before the attacks by terrorist groups on Israel began, anti Semitism is on the rise again in the UK and we are seeing more unsavoury incidents since. Jewish people are also an ethnic minority group. The consequences of a war or conflict is that civilians on both sides not necessarily deliberately targeted, will lose their lives. The same is happening in the war waged by Russia on Ukraine.

  • Peter Davies 12th Oct '23 - 1:24pm

    The two state solution which is the best solution we could come up with so far appears to be dead. Palestine is split between the West Bank which is slowly being absorbed into Israel and Gaza which is completely non-viable and produces and exports nothing but violence. Can anyone see a possible future in say a generation’s time that is something for liberals to work towards?

  • Pamela Manning 12th Oct '23 - 1:49pm

    After 30 years I feel like leaving the party if it cannot have the courage to defend the human rights of all, Palestinians and Israelis. Remember these Hamas fighters will as children have lived through the trauma of the last ground incursion in 2014 and the 4 arial bombardments after and probably witnessed horrific scenes. This will have caused mental instability, Gaza is known to have high rates of mental illness with little treatment available. Current actions can only lead to even greater future violence unless Israel is forced to confront the results of its policies.

  • Tony Dawson 12th Oct '23 - 2:30pm

    I must commend my good friends Mick Taylor and Suzanne Fletcher. The horror of this Hamas must make it difficult for those most closely involved to take rational proportionate decisions. But Benjamin Netenyahu has never made a rational proportionate decision in his life.

    As the EU has just made clear, various Israeli government announcements make it seem like Netenyahu intends to respond to this heinous Hamas barbarity by inflicting ‘barbarity plus’ upon thousands of innocent Palestinian citizens in a manner which, when done by Serbians a few year ago, caused the UK and others to bomb them back to sense. There are also threats of ethnic cleansing which make what happened in Rwanda seem like chickenfeed.

    In standing firm supporting “the Jewish people”, I presume that Ed Davey will be wanting to support the increasing number of Jewish people (both in Israel and in the UK) who support the legitimate genuine rights of millions of displaced and oppressed Palestinians with more than empty lip service.

  • The Hamas attack on Israeli civilians is a war crime.
    The Israelis have a right to defend themselves, however when they attack civilian targets in Gaza, that is also a war crime.

    Both parties of the conflict should be investigated for possible war crimes at the International court for human rights.
    It is not ordinary Israeli nor Palestinians civilians that are causing this conflict, but those in power be it Hamas or Eclud.
    The right wing extremists on both sides are causing an human catastrophy.
    We need to protect the innocent civilians from those extremists on both sides.

  • Simon McGrath 12th Oct '23 - 6:53pm

    @Janet ” On 2nd November Liberal Democrat’s will be amongst the gathering outside Telford Conference Centre protesting at the manufacture and sales of so-called defence and security weapons”

    Perhaps you could explain to the Ukrainan people why you don’t think they should be able to defend themselves ?

  • Leon Duveen 12th Oct '23 - 8:01pm

    For those interested, the Parents Circle Family Forum are holding an online vigil for all the bereaved in Palestine & Israel on Sunday at 4:O0 pm UK time.
    To join the Zoom call, you will need to register
    https://parentscirclefriends.org/vigil/

  • Jason Connor 12th Oct '23 - 9:14pm

    No it’s not a misused term especially if you have been subjected to the same sort of racism other minority groups experience. Many commentators denounce Israel, by implication the Israeli people rather than the Israeli government in their attacks on here. Also anti-Semitism is also often used by the far left not just the far right. I quite often read comments such as Hitler should’ve finished the job on a labour forum when Corbyn was their leader.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 12th Oct '23 - 9:58pm

    @Simon McGrath re his comment on @Janet and the use of weapons, I am surprised he has short quoted her and her comment is very relevant to Ukrainians. She said
    “Come and join us as we ask the salesmen of deadly weapons to think carefully about where they are being used and whether there are not better uses of their manufacturing skills.”
    ie she said “Think carefully”

  • While they think carefully other nations jump in and the UK loses out. Hundreds,maybe thousands of job losses would then follow.

  • Will our leader condemn the “collective punishment” now being unleashed on the innocent Palestinians by cutting off all supplies?

  • There are some shocking “yes, but” comments on this thread. What happened in Israel last weekend was nothing short of genocide. Only an organisation trying to eliminate a population deliberately kills children. There’s no negotiating with organisations which take that view. Hamas’ position is to not to accommodate Israel in any form of two state solution – it’s to eliminate Israel, and Israelis, and that position isn’t going to change.

  • Miranda Pinch 13th Oct '23 - 10:39am

    Guy, you say “Only an organisation trying to eliminate a population deliberately kills children”. Which organisation are you referring to?
    Put aside for one moment the awful crimes of Hamas and remember the countless Palestinian children murdered by Israeli forces and settlers even the West Bank, let alone in Gaza, not to mention the many stollen from their beds at night and incarcerated by Israel without charge or trial. Even the parents are not told where.
    You are right that there is no negotiation with such an organisation/regime as it seeks not just to occupy the land of others, but to dispossess them of it. Yes what Hamas did was unexcusable, but it cannot be seen in isolation. The Israeli settler militia, fully armed by Israel runs rampant in the West Bank. Are they really any better?

  • Nonconformistradical 13th Oct '23 - 11:22am

    @Guy
    Are you assuming that all occupants of Gaza automatically support hamas?

    During the troubles did all those of Roman Catholic beliefs automatically support the IRA/Provisional IRA?

  • @Miranda. There’s no equivalence. If Hamas had its way, every Israeli would be dead. That’s the context.
    @nonconformist radical. No. The IRA reference is irrelevant.

  • While Rishi Sunak and Grant Shapps seem to be promising unequivocal support to Israel whatever it does, as it issues the most horrendous threats to Gaza’s civilian population, one is reminded of Tony Blair’s unequivocal commitment to George Bush over Iraq. And what a disaster that was. Keir Starmer’s undoubted deep knowledge of English domestic law clearly doesn’t extend to international law, as he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of “collective punishment”. Is this not the moment for Ed Davey to have his Charles Kennedy moment and remind everybody that international law is important and applies equally to Israel and Hamas and also to their cheerleaders? We stood for our values for all to see in 2003 and should do so again in 2023.

  • Israeli soldiers have never hacked little children to death. There is no comparison between Hamas brutally murdering and Israeli bombing not targeting innocent civilians.

  • Peter Martin 13th Oct '23 - 6:18pm

    It’s interesting to note the high proportion of contributors who aren’t at all in agreement with Ed Davey’s message.

    It’s the same in the Labour Party except similar comments invite a charge of antisemitism and almost certain expulsion from the Party. Many are choosing to be especially careful who they confide in. Starmer has included, in the rulebook, the phrase “Neither the principles of natural justice nor the provisions of fairness shall apply to the termination of Party membership ..”

    So there’s little point in even appealing once the dreaded expulsion email arrives. They can’t touch me BTW. I quit last year.

    Is the present day Labour Party something that LibDems really want to get too close to?

  • Mick Taylor 14th Oct '23 - 7:34am

    There is a lot of wishful thinking in this thread.
    The Netanyahu government has looked for years for an excuse to destroy the Palestinian State. Now Hamas has given him that excuse. He has never paid, and will not now pay attention to the calls for restraint from the wider world. You heard what he said. “Every member of Hamas is a dead man”. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he doesn’t mean it. As far back as Golda Meir the Shin Bet and the Mossad have carried out selective assassinations of those perceived as Israel’s enemies.
    And how is Netanyahu able to pursue this war and how is Hamas able to carry out these acts of terror? Why, because both sides are being armed by a world that wrings its hands while profiting from the arms trade.
    My heart breaks at the continued terrorism of Hamas and the continued appalling treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli Government and the settler movement. What is needed is peace talks, not more violence and war.

  • John Barrett 15th Oct '23 - 9:05pm

    Some years ago, when I was visiting the Gaza Strip with a group of British Parliamentarians, we were introduced to a young boy who had been blinded by Israeli bombing. He told us that he used to want to become a doctor when he grew up, now he said, he just wanted to kill Israelis. He was about 10 years old. A new generation of young men has grown up who have known nothing but occupation and violence, in both the West Bank and Gaza. It does not the explain the recent atrocities , but it shows why a peaceful solution will not flow from further attacks on civilian populations, nor from standing shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli Government.

  • I condemn all violence both in Israel & Palestine. The reality is that Israelis & Palestinians can’t live together. There is no Hamas in West Bank but we have seen ongoing illegal settlements & killings of Palestinians there as well in the last 5 years. A two state solution as per UN should be the only way to bring stability there and to stop killings of civilians both in Israel and Palestine. Does our leader support a two state solution as per UN?

  • Jeremy Dable 25th Oct '23 - 9:34am

    Hamas are the new Daesh. With support, and at great cost in treasure and lives, Israel will destroy Hamas. The Liberal Democrat party should then support the final opportunity that the Palestinian Authority is likely to get for a two state solution to the region. Should, this not work, there will be endless war until one side kills, subjugates or expels the other. I challenge anyone to give a different example from history where it was not possible for both parties to a territorial dispute to compromise. I deplore the equivocation in the comments above. If someone shoots at your child while holding their own as a shield, you will shoot back through their child to kill them or you and your child will perish.

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