Conservative Friends of Israel chair faced protest at office

  • Post last modified:March 9, 2024
  • Reading time:9 mins read

On International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, women from local groups Solidarity with Palestine Pembrokeshire and Stop the War Pembrokeshire led a rally and delivered a petition to MP Stephen Crabb’s office – who is also chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

It aimed to highlight the 12,300 children and babies as well as the 8,400 women who have so far been slaughtered in Gaza at the hands of Israel’s genocide over the last few months.

Rallying on the chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel

The rally aimed to draw attention to the genocide that is happening in Gaza and to hold the local Conservative MP in Haverfordwest, Crabb, accountable for his continued support of the Israeli government in all of its genocidal actions.

Over 50 people attended. While the numbers were smaller than the groups had hoped, they said the “feeling of solidarity and grief for Palestine were overwhelming”:

Organisers said:

What we might have lacked in numbers, was more than made up for by the commitment shown by everyone who attended.

One of the women who attended gave her personal account of the event:

I was moved by the variety of speeches, a young girl read a speech of her own, there were words from a new mother, stories told of the plight of Palestinians, passionate words about Ramadan, songs were sung and chants echoed through the streets.

Of course Stephen Crabb was nowhere to be seen when we knocked on his office doors with a petition signed by over 600 people asking asking him (as chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, and as MP) to demand a ceasefire.

Many people brought their young children, and the grief was felt at the enormity, the sickening number of child deaths.

Demonstrating in West Wales

There have been weekly protests and vigils in solidarity with Palestine in the towns of West Wales, and Solidarity with Palestine Pembrokeshire will continue to organise events and keep the focus on Crabb.

Since 7 October, local demonstrations have repeatedly marched on Crabb’s constituency office as well as targeting Marks & Spencer and Barclays bank over their support for Israel’s war and occupation in Palestine. Weekly vigils have also been held.

Weekly letters including invitations to meet with the group to discuss the situation have also been sent to Crabb. The group have recently set up a petition urging him to condemn bombings and support peace in Palestine – especially in his roles as chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel. You can sign it here.

Organisers said:

The United Nations has described Gaza as a graveyard for children. Current figures estimate that 12,300 babies and children have been killed but this is rising every day.

The devastating impact this is having on women and children makes for “gruelling reading”, the organisers said.

Israel’s devastating impact on Gazan children

Since 7 October, over 30,228 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza,12,300 of these were children and 8,400 women.

A staggering 71,377 have been injured with over 8,000 more missing & presumed dead. Women and children are having to have caesareans and limbs amputated with absolutely no anaesthetic whatsoever.

15 children are known to have died from starvation already. There has been a 300% increase in incidents of miscarriages and 19,000 children have been orphaned.

As well as this, 1.7 million Palestinians are now displaced with desperately limited access to food, medicines, and water. 1.5 million of them are crammed into Rafah because Israel has destroyed over half of all Gaza’s residential homes. That’s over 360,000 homes destroyed and Israel has also destroyed over 280 schools.

Key organiser Anna Monroe noted:

As a new mother myself, it breaks my heart over and over to witness the mass killing of so many people. I especially struggle to cope with the murder of children and babies, nearly 13,000 now. I am filled with grief and feel so helpless, so one thing I can do is to go to my MP and ask him how he can support this.

Is he OK with killing babies?

If not, why is he not only allowing but actively supporting the violence to continue? Would he support the killing of my baby?

If the answer is no, then does he think Palestinian babies are less worthy of life than mine? I hoped that us bringing our children to his office might help the gravity of what’s happening sink in.

C’mon Crabb – do the right thing

As part of delivering weekly open letters to Crabb over Palestine, this week’s letter focused on Islamophobia from within the Conservative Party itself, pointing to the controversy around racist rhetoric coming from key Tories such as Suella Braverman and Lee Anderson.

The letter went on to highlight recent incidents of Islamophobic hate speech and attacks locally in Pembrokeshire and asked Crabb, chair of Conservative Friends of Israel:

Would you support an independent investigation into racism within the Conservative Party?

Local campaigner Tasmin Nash said:

17,000 children in Gaza are unaccompanied as their parents have been killed or separated from them due to the continuous Israeli onslaught on Palestinians.

As a mother of four, I am appalled at the disregard for the universal rights of children in Gaza. An unprecedented number of babies and children have been injured and murdered over the last 150 days and despite constantly writing to our local MP Steven Crabb to call for a Ceasefire, our pleas are being ignored by Crabb, the chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel. We will continue to voice our opposition to genocide and stand for humanity.

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