Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has been criticised by Jeremy Corbyn’s friends in Stop the War for lavishing praise on Israel’s constitutional and legal commitments to civil liberties.
In an article which endorsed the highly provocative argument that Israel is a “settler, colonial state” Stop the War agreed with critics who claimed Thornberry’s speech marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – which made the establishment of a Jewish homeland British policy – “could have been written by a pro-Israeli lobbyist”.
Filmmaker and veteran Marxist Ken Loach has also attacked Thornberry’s comments. He told a ‘Labour Against the Witch-hunt’ rally on Monday night: “Sadly, Emily Thornberry didn’t distinguish herself”.
It’s no great secret that Thornberry, whose Parliamentary seat is next door to Corbyn’s, has her eye on the job currently occupied by her neighbour.
Her eventual elevation to the leadership would at least show Labour was serious about shifting its focus from winning voters in the North to voters in the South – of Islington.
But if her comments about Israel incur the wrath of Loach and Stop the War, she may find they are also frowned upon by many Labour members in Corbyn’s new-look Party.