14 April, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Gaza: Ex-minister Duncan calls on Sunak to ‘flush out’ senior pro-Israeli figures from parliament

Date

Spread the love
Gaza: Ex-minister Duncan calls on Sunak to ‘flush out’ senior pro-Israeli figures from parliament

Alan Duncan said Stuart Polak and Eric Pickles from the Conservative Friends of Israel defended Israel’s illegal settlements and ‘did the bidding’ of Netanyahu in parliament

Areeb Ullah

Duncan called on Britain to end all arms sales to Israel after an Israeli attack killed seven aid workers, including three British veterans, operating in Gaza (AFP)

The Conservative Party is investigating former minister Alan Duncan after he said it was time to “flush out” senior leaders in the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) group after Israeli forces killed seven aid workers in Gaza. 

Duncan, in an interview with LBC, said senior figures from the CFI, including Stuart Polak, Eric Pickles, and Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, spent their time in parliament “doing the bidding of [Benjamin] Netanyahu in parliament”. 

The former minister also called on Britain to end all arms sales to Israel after campaigners raised concerned that an Israeli drone powered by British components was used to kill the aid workers. 

“I think the time has come to flush out those extremists in our own parliamentary politics and around it,” Duncan said on Wednesday. 

“The Conservative Friends of Israel have been doing the bidding of Netanyahu, bypassing all proper processes of government to exercise undue influence at the top of government.” 


“So what you have is a lot of people now sitting around Rishi Sunak who are giving him appalling advice. Let’s start with the head of CFI – or had been for many years – Lord Polak.

‘What you have is a lot of people now sitting around Rishi Sunak who are giving him appalling advice’

– Sir Alan Duncan, former minister

“In my view, I think he should be removed from the Lords because he is exercising the interests of another country, not that of the parliament in which he sits, joined by Lord Pickles. They’re the sort of Laurel and Hardy who should be pushed out together.”

Polak, who sits in the House of Lords, is the CFI’s honorary president and led the organisation for nearly 28 years. 

In 2017, Polak was criticised for organising a dozen private meetings between former minister Priti Patel and senior Israeli officials. 

Pickles, the current chairman of the CFI, served as communities minister between 2010 and 2015 and the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues. 

The Conservative Party confirmed to the Guardian and Politico that Duncan would be investigated by the party over his comments on LBC. 

Duncan, who no longer serves as an MP, claimed in his autobiography that the CFI had blocked him getting promoted to Middle East minister under Boris Johnson.  

A Conservative Friends of Israel spokesperson said in response to Duncan’s attack that it is “not affiliated to any political party in Israel”.

‘Stop arms sales immediately’ 

During his LBC interview, Duncan also called on Britain to end all arms sales to Israel after Israeli forces killed seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip, while working for the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity. 

Among the dead were three former British soldiers, John Chapman, James Kirby and James Henderson. The trio worked for security firm Solace Global, which had been supporting WCK in Gaza. 

Israeli drone in aid worker strikes may have used UK engine, campaigners say

Read More »

Arms experts and campaigners, however, fear that a UK-made engine powered the drone that killed the seven aid workers. 

“We should stop arms sales immediately. Anything in support of what is becoming a total catastrophe in Gaza is morally unacceptable,” said Duncan.

“And what we have to accept is that it’s not just what they are doing now that is wrong, it’s what Israel has been doing for years that is wrong because the Israel Defence Force does not follow international law, it has been backing and supporting illegal settlers in the West Bank who steal Palestinian land.

“It is that land theft, that annexation of Palestine, that is the origin of the problem which has given rise to the Hamas atrocity and the battles we are seeing.

“The trouble is that there are people at the top of our own politics who refuse to condemn the settlements and therefore are not supporters of international law.”

About the Author

More
articles