Friends of Palestine chair is UK Labour’s new shadow foreign secretary

Nandy has both spoken in support for an arms embargo against Israel and has put forward a plan to combat antisemitism within her party.

Lisa Nandy (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
Lisa Nandy
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
Lisa Nandy, the UK Labour Party’s new shadow foreign secretary, has been pro-Palestinian and outspoken against antisemitism in her party.
She has supported an arms embargo against Israel and has proposed a plan to combat antisemitism in her party.
Nandy is the former chair of Labour’s parliamentary group Friends of Palestine and the Middle East and was among the contenders in Labour’s leadership race, which ended Saturday with the election of Keir Starmer.
Upon accepting his new position, Starmer promised to root out antisemitism from his party, which it was accused of under his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.
Nandy stood out during the leadership campaign for her strong statements against antisemitism and plan to eliminate it from the party.
“Antisemitism, let’s be honest, is a particular sort of racism,” Nandy said last month. “It is different to other sorts of racism. It is the sort of racism that punctures up, not down, that argues that Jewish people are privileged and powerful.”
“Because there are people on the Left who believe that their job is to challenge privilege and power, [they] therefore wrongly and disgracefully argue that Jewish people are a legitimate target for racism,” she said.
“That is what has been allowed to enter our party. It is a poison. It is the canary in the coal mine. Unless it is addressed, it will poison everything that we do,” Nandy said.
“I know what racism feels like,” she said. “I am half-Indian, and my dad has experienced racism all of his life. It should never be left to those who are dealing with this or experiencing this to fight those battles. I have stood up and spoken out over and over again.”
Labour’s failure to address antisemitism in the party has given antisemites the mistaken belief that they had a home in the party, Nandy said.
She made her remarks at an event sponsored by Great Britain’s Jewish Labour Movement, which endorsed her candidacy.
In February, Nandy tweeted a statement in support of the Palestinians, saying she had been in a leadership position in the Labour parliamentary group Friends of Palestine for seven years, first as vice chair and then as chair.
In that statement, she spoke of the need to halt arms sales to Israel and said she supported the UN’s decision to publish a black list of companies doing business with settlements and areas of Israel over the pre-1967 lines, such as the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem.
“I’ve long campaigned for businesses to act with respect for human rights, and so I welcome the UN Human Rights Council publication of business activities related to illegal settlements,” Nandy said. UK companies should not “profit from the destruction of Palestinian homes and the building and maintenance of illegal settlements,” she said.
“We cannot allow the continued selling of arms to Israel, the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, the blockade of Gaza and for Palestinian refugees to be denied their rights,” Nandy said.
She retweeted a call for action against Israel by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a pro-Palestinian and pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group.
Starmer appointed Angela Reyner deputy Labour leader, replacing Tom Watson, who stood down as an MP before the general election in December. She will become chair of the Labour Party.
Starmer also appointed Anneliese Dodds as shadow chancellor, Nick Thomas-Symonds as shadow home secretary and Rachel Reeves as shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.