Pro-Palestine campaigners lobby Ian Austin in Dudley

By Marion Brennan | Dudley | Politics | Published:

Banner-waving Pro-Palestine campaigners lobbied Dudley MP Ian Austin as he tried to help residents at one of his monthly surgery meetings.

Dudley Palestine Solidarity Group in Buffery Park

The MP twice asked for calm so he could conduct his business with the residents but he was met with calls of 'Shame on you' by the protesters who were using a microphone to make their point.

Around 30 activists from around the Black Country and Birmingham attended Saturday's demonstration organised by the Dudley Palestine Solidarity Group at the Paradise Centre on Buffery Park.

Mr Austin, an outspoken critic of the rise of anti-Semitism in the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, offered to speak to any campaigners who were constituents inside the centre but declined to take part in a public debate outside.

The protest was held on Saturday

He added he was not asking them to be quiet but explaining he was trying to listen to constituents' problems.

The MP told the group: "I'm happy to speak to people but I'm not doing it out here. If constituents want to come in and talk to me they can."

The group, which holds regular meetings and periodic demonstrations to highlight the issue of Israel’s occupation and to campaign for justice for the Palestinian people, has clashed with Mr Austin previously.

Jerry Langford, spokesman for the group, said: "Ian takes what he thinks is an independent position but in reality he deals very lightly with Israeli aggression. He doesn't talk about the illegal settlement."


He said their protest was not a personal attack on the MP but a response to opinions that Mr Austin himself had voiced on the issue.

"All of us here would commend the work he has done in making the Holocaust a significant event in the Dudley calendar. We're proud to be associated with that, and have no truck with any anti-Semitism at all," said Mr Langford.

"But we do think it is a gross error to try and portray criticism of Israel and their actions in Palestine as anti-Semitic. It's not at all about that, it's a human rights issue.

"We think he should take a critical position of Israeli. He equates the resistance of the Palestinians with the aggression of the Israelis, as though they're one and the same. It's a bit like equating the violence of the people who fought against Apartheid with the violence of the state. It's not the same.

"These are the things we find difficult to stomach with Ian. He does say he's always prepared to talk to us but he doesn't always listen."

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.


Top Stories


More from the Express & Star

UK & International News