Andrew Feinstein to challenge Keir Starmer in next UK election

Andrew Feinstein has campaigned extensively for Gaza since the war broke out [Getty]

Andrew Feinstein, a former MP from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), announced on Tuesday that he will be standing as an independent candidate in Holborn and St Pancras at the UK general election against Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Feinstein, who is of Jewish origin and a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, made the announcement at a constituency event, saying the area “needs an MP who represents the views, aspirations and needs of the people of Camden”.

Starmer has faced huge criticism in the Labour Party for his backing of Israel during the war on Gaza, leading to big wins for independents in recent local elections.

“Keir Starmer represents everything that is wrong with British politics, UK politicians and the Westminster elite. The people of Camden need an MP who will stand up to the values of opportunity, equality and fairness and end to never-ending wars,” Feinstein said.

He added that trust in politics was at an all time low, and that locals felt ignored and taken for granted.

The South African activist, filmmaker and former politician is a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and former advisor to Nelson Mandela. He is also the son of a Holocaust survivor and dozens of his mother’s relatives were murdered at the Auschwitz and Thersienstadt concentration camps.

Feinstein previously said he would challenge Labour leader Keir Starmer to a debate “at every opportunity”.

At the event, he said  that Starmer has not addressed issues such as the housing crisis, the climate emergency or “the genocide before our eyes in Gaza”.

Feinstein, who has previously lectured on genocide prevention at Auschwitz, was placed under investigation by the Labour Party in November 2021, after describing Israel as a “brutal, rogue, apartheid state, just like my home, South Africa was”.

Support for Labour

Earlier this year, a poll showed that support for the Labour Party from British Muslims has tumbled since the 2019 general election, signalling Israel’s war on Gaza could cost western leaders and politicians valuable seats.

The survey, carried out by the Survation polling group for the Labour Muslim Network (LMN), found that support for the party among British Muslims fell from 86 to 60 percent from 2019 to February 2024.

It also showed that an overwhelming majority – 85 percent – believe the position taken by British political leaders on the Israel-Palestine conflict will be very or somewhat important to influencing how they vote for at the next general election, expected later this year.

Labour is widely expected to win the vote by a landslide, despite the backlash from Muslim voters.

The Labour leadership’s repeatedly refused to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, prompting the resignations of around 100 councillors since October.

Starmer has previously defended Israel’s “right” to cut off water and power to Gaza following the Hamas-led assault on Israel on 7 October.

In January, Starmer officially dropped the Labour Party’s promise to recognise Palestine as a state unilaterally.

Shortly after the announcement of Feinstein’s candidacy, Starmer issued a statement on X warning of the “catastrophic” consequences of an Israeli offensive on Rafah and calling for a “sustainable ceasefire”.

In response, Feinstein tweeted, “How about calling for an end to arms sales from the UK to Israel? Why haven’t you commented on the findings of the ICJ which ruled that it is plausible Israel is committing genocide? Why have u done nothing to try & stop the slaughter of almost 30,000 people since October?”

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