Twickenham’s Green Party candidate labelled Israel a ‘racist’ state akin to South Africa under apartheid during a public meeting this week.
Tanya Williams was speaking at the Amnesty International hustings on Tuesday night, hosted at Teddington Baptist Church, which focused on international issues, human rights and the arms trade when she made the controversial claims.
British Jewry organisation The Board of Deputies of British Jews have slammed her ‘ignorant’ comments and called for the Green Party to distance themselves from her stance.
When asked how she would tackle breaches of international law by Israel if she were elected on May 7 she explained she would fight for effective sanctions on the country.
Ms Williams said: “It needs to be pointed out that they are a racist state and an apartheid state.
“South Africa got its act together after decades of campaigning and I hope Israel may eventually too – I think it is time to stand up to the myth that Israel and Palestine are both equal participants in this conflict.”
She then said that the UK should stop supporting Israel, both politically and from a trade perspective.
“It seems to have become politically correct, when talking about one side, to say ‘the other has done this’,” she added.
“There is a mis-match given the atrocities the Palestinians have had to suffer over many years.”
“Israel should be abiding by the Geneva Convention – it should be protecting people who are under occupation.
“Instead of which we find a very cynical and targeted destruction of the water facilities, their sanitation and their electricity – they are deliberately targeting these things to make life impossible for Palestine.
“I personally think we need to stop supporting Israel, whether that’s trading arms with them or politically, or treating them like a beacon of democracy in the Middle East which they are not.”
— Will Kelleher (@willgkelleher) April 14, 2015
Vice president of The Board of Deputies of British Jews Alex Brummer responded by blasting the comments, which don’t ally with Green Party policy, as ‘ignorant’.
He told SW Londoner: “The comments on the Middle East from the Green Party candidate in Twickenham are wholly unacceptable.
“They are based on falsehoods, ignorance and sheer prejudice against Israel and its supporters.
“Remarks like this can only fuel antagonism against the British Jewish community at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise.
“We call on the Green Party to disavow this inflammatory statement which attacked the only democracy in the region at a time when Palestinians are being starved to death at the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria under siege from ISIS murderers.”
However the Richmond and Twickenham Green Party has refused to back down and released the following statement.
It reads: “The Green Party fully endorses the comments made this week by Tanya Williams in an open forum focusing on human rights that invited a range of opinions.
“Her remarks fully reflect Green policy on the conflict between Palestine and Israel as stated in our manifesto as follows:
“‘We seek a just, sustainable and peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, based on mutual recognition of the rights to independent statehood for Palestinians and Israelis.
“We condemn human rights violations by both parties and the oppression and disproportionate use of aggression by the Israeli government against the people of Gaza.
“We seek to suspend the EU–Israel Association Agreement.'”
The hustings event was organised by Amnesty International, Twickenham & Richmond United Nations Association (TRUNA), and Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston Network Against the Arms Trade (TRAKNAT).
Pictures courtesy of Steve McCubbin, with thanks