September 25, 2017

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi addresses the Labour Party Conference 2017

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi helping to restore Labour's credibility as an ant-racist internationalist party after many recent betrayals of the Palestinian cause and its supporters since Jeremy Corbyn came under attack from Blairites and the Zionist movement upon becoming Labour leader.

Here's a transcript of the speech I've just nabbed from Tony Greenstein's blog:

Naomi: Thank you, thank you Chair. My name is Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. Despite my grey hairs I am a virgin in terms of the Conference, first-time delegate, hooray. I'm from Chingford & Woodford Green, the newly marginal constituency, where we are going to unseat Iain Duncan Smith. [loud cheers and applause] Thank you, but don't take up too much of my three minutes. Come and help us bring about a sweet Portillo moment, when the time comes.

Now, I'm here today because although I care deeply about Brexit and the debate has been excellent in some respects, I want to welcome the insertion into the NPF Annual Report section on the Middle East of the key paragraph from our ground-breaking Manifesto which referred to Israel's occupation and settlement of Palestinian land [cheers and applause]. I am so pleased that this section has been put back in after being inexplicably omitted from the NPF Report. Let me tell you my perspective on this. I'm Jewish; I come from the tradition of anti-racist and anti-colonialist struggle, a Socialist Labour tradition of international solidarity with oppressed people. [applause] This is not some meaningless David Sparks slogan out of the pages of Private Eye. It's a fundamental feature of our traditions as a party committed to justice and equality.

Oppression and discrimination are rampant in today's world. So why Palestine? Well it's not only that this year marks 50 years of Israeli occupation and illegal settlement. It's not only that this year marks 10 years of the siege of Gaza with intermittent military onslaughts against its people. This year also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, when a British foreign secretary promised the land of Palestine to the Jewish people, my people. The civil rights of the existing population, that's the Palestinians, were meant to be protected, but that turned out to be an empty promise. We Brits, all of us, have a responsibility for what occurred. Despite huge misgivings and even outright opposition from many Jews, our leaders, British leaders, facilitated founding a state which privileges Jews such as myself over non-Jews. [applause] Thank you. I've only got half a minute. Seventy years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in what for them was a catastrophe, that they call the Nakba. More than 450 towns and villages were destroyed, the world's longest-running refugee population was created. We Brits need to take responsibility for the on-going Palestinian tragedy dating from Balfour's pledge.

So in this Policy Report we call for an end to Israel's blockade on Gaza, an end to occupation and settlements [loud cheering and applause -warned that her time is up she says: damn, I'm nearly there, nearly there, thanks - more applause - OK, I've got two more sentences and my time is up, so please indulge me] and endorsement of a Palestinian state. This is the very least that we should be doing. I say this as a Jew, as an anti-racist and as a dedicated member of this revived Socialist internationalist Labour Party. And Comrades, I'm not an anti-Semite, [cheering] and Conference, and Conference, this party does not have a problem with Jews. Thank you. [prolonged cheering, applause, standing ovation] [4:45' duration of speech]

The section of the Labour Party Conference 2017 that Naomi addressed was titled something like BREXIT and Internationalism.  Apparently Naomi waved a banner identifying her (and Ian Duncan-Smith's) Chingford & Woodford Green constituency and it caught the Chair's eye and she was called to speak almost by chance.

And what a speech!  She covered most of the main points.  She covered how a manifesto pledge on Palestine disappeared and reappeared. she mentioned the key anniversaries, Gaza blockade: 10 years, occupation: 50 years, Balfour: 100 years, Nakba: 70 years and, it shouldn't have needed saying but she made it clear that the Labour Party does not have a problem with Jews.  And it is just possible that her speech was the only one for Palestine that was main event and not fringe.

So what next?  I'm guessing Labour Zionist leader, Jeremy Newmark, will take the opportunity to reprise his disgraceful attempt to close down discussion of Israel/Palestine at the University and College. So let's just see if the so-called Jewish Labour Movement tries to prevent a situation where random activists can be called to speak for internationalism at the Internationalism section of the Labour Party Conference 2018.

This is a serious point. The Labour leadership has been pandering to the Zionist movement at every possible turn and in spite of that, Naomi managed to slip through the net for an open mic spot.  My guess is that the Zionists will try to close that loophole by the time of the next conference, but let's just see....

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