Labour MSP to create Palestine group after #ScotLab19 tackled international issues

At a conference which rallied Scottish Labour around a set radical domestic policies such as a nationalised, universally free bus service, members also looked beyond Scotland at a series of international issues.

Motions relating to both Palestine and Venezuela played a huge role over the weekend in Dundee, despite wide ranging support across the party the international debate fell slightly under the radar.

On Sunday, an emergency motion passed unanimously by Scottish Labour members condemning the actions of Israeli occupation forces in Palestine after a third child died because they wouldn’t allow Scottish-trained firefighters to reach a fire in Hebron.

Shortly before this a motion from Dumbarton CLP also passed unanimously calling for the party to condemn the coup in Venezuela and the support it has received from the Tory government, whilst standing in solidarity with the labour movement in Venezuela.

Earlier in 2019, various governments including the US said they would recognise the Venezuelan opposition leader as the countries leader after he attempted to unseat the socialist president Nicolás Maduro.

Grant Aitken, one of Scotland’s representatives on Labour’s national policy forum, told The Red Robin: “It’s good to see Scottish Labour not falling blindly into a the trap of US imperialism, the people of Venezuela and them alone should decide their future, there is no need for a repeat of a Latin American coup like the one in Chile, where ultimately it is ordinary civilians who suffer.”

The Palestinian ambassador Dr. Husam Zomlot received a standing ovation in Dundee a he held a standing room only fringe with long time pro-Palestine campaigner Pauline McNeill MSP. At the fringe the ambassador discussed the issues of Israeli occupation, and the struggles which he and his people face.

McNeil announced on Sunday that she intends to form a group called “Scottish Labour friends of Palestine and the Middle East”, a sister organisation to that which already exists in the UK party and contributes to the ongoing debate.

Speaking to The Red Robin McNeill said: “Our mission is to reenergise and reinvigorate the historical strong links and strong support in our party for the Palestinian cause, Palestinians have never needed Scotland as a friend more than it does now”, adding that the Israeli occupation had become “more brutal and more extreme”.

McNeill hoped the organisation could add to the campaign to “force Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory”, saying a Labour governments recognition of Palestine would be “absolutely crucial” to the future of the region.

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