Leeds councillors 'gravely concerned' after reports of hate incidents linked to Israel-Palestine conflict
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The statement, issued on behalf of the party’s 61 city councillors, said they were “gravely concerned” by an “increased” number of hate incidents against the city’s Muslim and Jewish populations.
In its statement, the Leeds Labour group said it condemned “all attacks” and “stands in solidarity with all innocent civilians”.
It added: “As councillors our job is to lead the city for everyone who lives here.
“We are gravely concerned to receive reports of increased incidents of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Leeds.
“We are a compassionate city, where everybody should live their lives free from hate, and such discrimination is utterly unacceptable.
“We will work with our residents, community groups and the police to ensure people across the city are kept safe and we are clear that there is no place for hate crime in Leeds.”
The statement went on to “unequivocally condemn” Hamas’ attack on Israeli citizens and added that Israel “has the right to defend itself and protect citizens”.
Calling for an “immediate ceasefire”, it added: “Palestinians must know that the world is not just watching, but that there is international action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.
“Deliberate, indiscriminate killing of civilians is never acceptable. Collective punishment of any population is an internationally defined war crime.
“The Labour Party in Leeds and nationally will continue our strong and consistent advocacy for justice, human rights, and international law.”
The statement follows national media reports that Labour council leaders across the country held talks with Keir Starmer’s office earlier this week, amid a party backlash over his response to the conflict.
Labour councillors in other parts of the country have resigned their party memberships over the issue.
Local Labour sources have told the LDRS that while there has been upset and “strong views” among some Leeds councillors over how the Westminster party has responded, none have as yet threatened to quit the party.
In a statement, West Yorkshire Police that while it “is not currently seeing any significant rise in reports of hate crime or hate incidents linked to the Israel-Palestine conflict, we recognise that some of our local communities are feeling understandably vulnerable.”
It added: “Our neighbourhood policing teams are continuing to carry out increased visible patrols to reassure people in key areas, and we encourage anyone who is subject to any hate offence or has concerns to contact us.
“We are actively listening and working with communities and partners to ensure people feel safe and protected. Everyone has a right to live their life, and practice their religion, without the fear of targeted abuse for who they are.”