For over a decade, the Labor Party has debated its positioning on Israel and Palestine.
Labor’s support for Israel’s existence as a Jewish state within secure and recognised borders is clear. But this is now profoundly linked to the evolution of Palestine and fidelity to the “two-state” solution to the conflict. The most recent iteration of Labor policy calls for the next Labor government to formally recognise Palestine as a state. This is bitterly opposed by many supporters of Israel here. The debate inside the party has been very divisive, reflecting the complexity of the conflict in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
The explosive violence between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, and the demonstrations and their suppression across Jerusalem, the West Bank and, for the first time in years, in Israeli cities and towns, has similarly ignited a new level of debate and division in the Democratic Party in the United States.
Unconditional support for Israel’s right to defend itself – with little if any mention of the terrible loss of life and destruction inflicted, especially in Gaza – is not tenable.
Having the ceasefire in place between Israel and Gaza will hardly end the debate over Israel inside the progressive political parties here and in America.
These two parties are not yet at breaking point over Israel. But it may be coming.