Pro-Palestine professor launches campaign against Labour MP

Kamel Hawwash resigned from the Labour Party over its stance on Israel’s war on Gaza [GETTY]

A British-Palestinian professor is running on a pro-Gaza platform in Birmingham Selly Oak, UK—a constituency with a significant Muslim population—against a prominent Labour MP.

Kamel Hawwash, a professor at the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham and former head of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will challenge Steve McCabe, a veteran MP and chairman of Labour Friends for Israel.

Hawwash, a former Labour member, will run under the banner of Reliance, a “disruptor” group fielding candidates comprising community activists and single issue candidates across the country at the next general election.

After launching his campaign, the professor said: “Keir Starmer’s comments condoning Israel’s collective punishment of Gazans were beyond the pale. His unequivocal support for Netanyahu in the months since, which has seen more than 35,000 Gazans murdered – 70 per cent of which are women and children, has been horrifying to witness and he must be held accountable.”

“Starmer continues to ignore the daily atrocities and puff his chest out as a proud Zionist.”

Hawwash also levelled criticism at McCabe, who has held the seat since 2010, for “repeatedly failed to stand up for the views of his constituents over the past two decades”, and also for  “repeatedly refused to meet constituents to address their concerns on these issues.”

The professor resigned from the opposition party in October, shortly after 7 October, criticising its stance on the war on Gaza.

He had penned an open letter to party leader, Keir Starmer, calling him to “stand on the right side of history” and slamming him for “blind support for Israel”.

Despite comprehensively defeating the governing Tory Party in recent local elections, the Labour Party did see a fall in its votes in strongly Muslim areas, with opposition to the party’s pro-Israel stance largely recognised as the reason behind it. 

The Labour Party was polling Muslim voters as part of “damage control” efforts amid rising discontent over the leader’s comments on Israel’s right to defend itself, costing seats at the local council elections.

There has been a rise in independent candidates in light of the current war on Gaza, which has so far killed almost 35,000 Palestinians.

Former member of South Africa’s ANC party, Andrew Feinstein, signalled his willingness to stand as an MP in Keir Starmer’s own constituency, while former Labour MP George Galloway won the Rochdale by-election.

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