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Ian Austin concern over anti-Israel protest in Dudley

By Pete Madeley | Dudley | Politics | Published:

Hard-left pro-Palestine demonstrators were due to protest outside Labour MP Ian Austin's office today to call for him to condemn the actions of the Israeli Government.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has been an outspoken critic of anti-Semitism in the Labour party

The event has been organised by the Dudley Palestine Solidarity Group (DPSG) and has been backed by local Momentum activists and Corbynite Labour town councillors.

It was scheduled to take place at the Paradise Centre on Buffery Park, at the same time as Mr Austin's monthly surgery, where he meets with constituents to discuss their concerns.

Dudley North MP Mr Austin has been an outspoken critic of the rise of anti-Semitism in the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, and is currently being investigated over his behaviour during a row about the party's anti-Semitism code.

A leaflet advertising the protest says: "Join us as we protest against the actions of the Israeli government.

"We demand Dudley North MP Ian Austin listens to the local and national condemnation and and speaks out on the human rights violations against the Palestinians."

Mr Austin, who is the adopted child of a Jewish refugee, told the Express & Star that he was concerned the protest could intimidate visitors to his surgery.

He said: “People have the right to protest wherever they like, but they could consider whether an MP’s advice surgery where often vulnerable people seek private help is really the best time and place.

"I contacted the organiser and offered to arrange a meeting.

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"I have not heard back, but I am worried that people might not want to come to my advice surgery with a protest is taking place, so I have told people who were planning to come that I can meet them elsewhere if they would prefer.”

DPSG spokesman Jerry Langford, said: "As a group we have long-standing concerns with the actions of the Israeli government in Palestine, and what we see as the constant abuse of human rights.

"While we understand that Ian Austin has expressed a position of working for peace in Palestine, we think that his stance on Israel is not really hard enough.

"We would expect more from a Labour MP. He is certainly always extremely vociferous where Jeremy Corbyn is concerned."

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Brierley Hill councillor Zafar Islam said he was planning to attend the protest.

Today's demonstration marks the third time protests have been organised by pro-Palestine activists in recent months.

In June a protest at Dudley Library organised under the banner 'Freedom for Palestine' fell through due to a mix up with dates. Another demonstration was planned for July.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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