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An open letter to Luke Pollard MP by Dave Berkeley (

To Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport.

I have just watched a video. It was of a 12 year old boy in Gaza. A journalist asked him what he had in a plastic bag he was carrying. He was collecting up the fingers and the ears of his neighbour, who had been blown up by an Israeli bomb. He wanted the man to be reunited with his fingers and ears in heaven. It broke me.

Last week saw the International Court of Justice rule that Israel’s actions in Gaza were “plausible” genocide and that Israel must “take measures to prevent : ”

  • “killing members of the group”
  • “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”
  • “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”
  • “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”

Israel has, of course, done none of these things. The ICJ ruling made page 40 of The Times. The BBC covered Israel’s failed objections live, but didn’t stream the harrowing accusations from South Africa at all. Our press are deeply complicit.

Instead we see accusations against UNRWA, based on “evidence” obtained by Israel through “interrogation”. Israel routinely tortures prisoners. Israel routinely lies. But several countries have eagerly announced that they will cut funding for the agency that feeds, clothes and shelters thousands of Palestinians. Their lifeline. A gross breach of the clause above, making the UK very clearly complicit in the genocide.

We have seen our politicians queue up to support the slaughter.

Starmer has personally taken thousands from the pro Israel lobby – BICOM founder Trevor Chinn gave him £50k for his leadership campaign. A campaign where he lied on every “pledge” to get elected. If he’d told that truth he knows that no-one would have voted for him.

Labour has recently got millions of pounds from pro Israel lobbyist, South African Gary Lubner – a man who profited from the apartheid regime in South Africa.

We’ve seen Labour Friends of Israel get £1M directly from the Israeli embassy : Joan Ryan MP talked to Israeli embassy staffer Shai Masot on video at a Labour Party conference. Masot was later expelled from the UK for threatening to “take down” government ministers. This was done when Netanyahu’s adviser, Mark Regev, was ambassador to the UK. I presume that there is still a department at the Israeli embassy busy blackmailing and bribing UK politicians.

We see Luke Akehurst, himself a close associate of Shai Masot, funded by the BICOM project, with a seat on the NEC, being made responsible for vetting PPC posts. Yet Jewish NEC member Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi was kicked out of the NEC because of her anti Zionist stance. Starmer has systematically expelled or suspended anyone critical of Israel but promoted those who support it.

The other founder of BICOM is billionaire Chaim Zabludowicz. He inherited his father’s arms business, now part of the largest Israeli arms manufacturer, Elbit, who provide many of the weapons of death currently being used to massacre the people of Gaza. Elbit run 4 factories in the UK and are allowed to export weapons to Israel to murder Palestinians. It is a very profitable business.

Another ex BICOM employee is Ruth Smeeth. She was their Campaigns Director. She is mentioned in wikileaks documents as having been a CIA informant; leaking internal Labour Party information to the US during Brown’s term as PM. Despite, or perhaps because of this, she was selected as an MP. She spent all her time attacking and making vile malicious accusations against Corbyn and the left, smearing veteran anti racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth. She lost her seat in 2019 but was given a peerage by Starmer. She now sits in the House of Lords.

Starmer appointed Assaf Kaplan to his office to “manage” social media. Kaplan is an Israeli veteran of the notorious Unit 8200 cyber warfare branch. The same people that will currently be busy tracking down the location of Palestinian journalists and their families to murder them.

Starmer said in a now notorious TV interview that Israel has the right to withhold food and water from the 2.2 million residents of Gaza, half of them children. It does not. It is a war crime. David Lammy and Emily Thornberry both publicly supported and reiterated what Starmer had said.

David Lammy, shadow home secretary, has also taken thousands in “donations” from the Israel lobby. Starmer’s Labour, your Labour, is awash with dirty money and the stench of corruption. For a shadow home secretary to take money from agents for a foreign power should be illegal. But in corrupt Westminster, it is not.

I wrote to you last year concerned about the fact that UK forces were assisting in the genocide and that they could be found guilty of complicity in the crimes being committed. You dismissed my concerns. Since then we have let the US supply arms to Israel through British airbases in Cyprus. The bases have been used to bomb Yemen.

There are a number of things that the UK could do to end the atrocities, including :

  • Enforce a no-fly zone over Gaza
  • Start a massive food and aid airlift – like the Berlin airlift in 1945
  • Stop the export of all arms to Israel
  • Expel the Israeli ambassador and staff
  • Impose sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law
  • Make the Navy’s hospital ship available to the people of Gaza
  • Demand an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine

I know that you will not advocate any of these things. Instead we see the UK government, with the full support of you and your party, actually trying to reduce the aid to the people of Gaza.

Last year you had the opportunity to vote for a ceasefire in Gaza. You abstained.

I’ve been looking for the slightest sign from you of any decency. A slight shred of compassion. Any pang of conscience over your support for the genocide. I found none. All I saw was you voting to further your career, without the slightest glimmer of conscience.

I scoured your Parliamentary questions, hoping to find you searching for an end to the genocide. Instead I found you ask the Defence Secretary this : “how much his Department has spent replacing lost cutlery in the last twelve months”.

I saw the images of the nameless boy, picking up fingers and bits of ear from the rubble of his home, to help his murdered neighbour in the afterlife. In the horror and trauma of this brutal genocide I see compassion and love in this poor boy. In you I see nothing. No heart. No compassion. No conscience. Nothing. Just naked careerist ambition.

If you had a conscience you would be haunted by the events in Gaza for the rest of your life. But I know that you have none.


Dave Berkeley

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