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UK’s Labour suspends MP for using ‘genocide’ to describe Gaza war

Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is speaking in the House of Commons, in London, on January 24, 2024. (AFP)

British Labour Party has suspended lawmaker Kate Osamor after she said Israel’s war on Gaza should be remembered as an example of genocide in the world.

Osamor sent a message to her party members on Sunday – the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day – listing Gaza among recent examples of genocide.

"Tomorrow is Holocaust Memorial Day, an international day to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the millions of other people murdered under Nazi persecution of other groups and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and now Gaza."

Labour officials confirmed Osamor had been suspended by opposition chief whip Sir Alan Campbell, “pending an investigation.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned “the attempts by Kate Osamor to link the Holocaust to the current situation in Gaza,” describing her remarks as "disgraceful.”

In a later post on X, Osamor tweeted an apology "for any offence caused by my reference to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza as part of that period of remembrance.”

She said the situation in Gaza is a “humanitarian disaster” rather than “genocide.”

“We believe Ms Osamor was perfectly aware of what she was saying and therefore view her apology as utterly hollow,” said the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Momentum, the pressure group on the left of Labour, called Osamor’s suspension an "outrageous decision.”

It said the move “further damages Labour’s reputation for anti-racism under Keir Starmer, and should be immediately reversed.”

Starmer, the leader of the main opposition party, has so far largely concurred with UK government policy, which is also in line with the United State’s pro-Israel stance.

Britain, the United States and the European Union member states have been providing Israel with weapons and military assistance since the regime launched its war on Gaza on October 7, 2023.

Israel has killed more than 26,600 people in Gaza since early October.

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