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UK Labour MP tells of anti-Semitic backlash after plea to help Gaza kids

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Published: 6 August 2019

Last updated: 4 March 2024

After meeting with a senior Israeli envoy to get help for sick children in Gaza, Rosena Allin-Khan was labelled a “collaborator in apartheid”

EVEN AFTER A DECADE’S experience as a doctor in conflict and disaster zones, Rosena Allin-Khan was appalled at the sight of sick and dying children separated from their parents when she visited hospitals in Jerusalem and the West Bank earlier this year.

“I saw wards full of children with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen,” the Labour MP said. “I met children undergoing chemotherapy without their parents to support them. In a neonatal unit I saw a baby, the only survivor of premature triplets, whose siblings had died without their mother being able to hold them. I thought, this is wrong; it’s inhumane.”

She had gone to Israel not as a politician but “with my doctor’s hat on”, to investigate the availability of healthcare for Palestinians, particularly those living in Gaza, from where travel is strictly controlled by the Israeli government.

When she returned to the UK, she decided to use her weight as an MP to pursue the issue. She went on the Today program to talk about the difficulties faced by parents of sick children in Gaza. Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UK, Sharon Bar-Li, also appeared on the program. She invited Allin-Khan to continue their discussion at a meeting at the embassy.

After that meeting Allin-Khan tweeted: “It was a pleasure to meet @SharonBarli again at the Israeli Embassy to continue our constructive discussions about access to healthcare for Palestinians.”

And that’s when it all kicked off. “I was genuinely astonished, and deeply disappointed, at this unleashing of anti-Semitic abuse on Twitter.” The tweets included accusations that she was a “direct collaborator in apartheid” for having held talks with Israeli diplomats.

FULL STORY ‘I called out Palestinian suffering – and was met by anti-Semitic abuse’ (Guardian)

Photo: Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan (Rii Schroer/Eyevine)

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