NJA Condemns Sir Keir Starmer’s Suggestion of an Arms Embargo on Israel

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) strongly condemns Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s suggestion that a Labour government would consider reviewing and potentially revoking UK arms export licences to Israel. Such a move would represent a reckless departure from the UK’s principles of supporting democratic allies and ensuring regional stability.

NJA Vice Chairman Laurence Julius remarked, “The idea of an arms embargo on Israel is not only misguided but dangerous. It betrays a long-standing ally in favour of appeasing voices that overlook the complex realities of the region. Israel’s right to defend itself against terror threats must be upheld unequivocally.”

Julius added, it also puts at risk 10,000’s of jobs in the UK aerospace industry, where the UK is subcontractor as part of a major US aerospace programme. The UK would be unable to meet its contractual commitments and raise concerns if the UK is a reliable partner on future programmes. It would also impact the UK and our NATO allies supply of defence equipment from Israel, where due to the lack of supply of critical components the Israeli defence industry would be unable to deliver equipment.”

The UK’s contribution to Israel’s arms imports is minimal, accounting for just 0.02% of its overall imports. However, the symbolism of an embargo would be significant and damaging. It would suggest that the UK is willing to abandon its democratic principles and its allies under misguided and misinformed pressure.

Starmer’s call for a ceasefire, while emotionally charged, does not address the fundamental issues at play. The ongoing conflict is driven by groups that do not recognise Israel’s right to exist and are committed to its destruction. An embargo would not pressure these groups into peace but would embolden them, knowing one of Israel’s allies is withdrawing support.

The NJA calls on all political parties to recognise the critical importance of supporting Israel in its fight against terrorism. The path to a peaceful resolution in the Middle East lies in robust support for democratic principles and allies, not in yielding to misguided external pressures.

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