Residents from Birmingham are to hold a protest outside a constituency event by Steve McCabe MP this weekend in response to Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

Activists and constituency members are claiming the Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak is “supporting genocide” following his failure to vote for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Since the 15 November parliamentary vote, supporters of the Palestinian cause have regularly gathered outside the MP’s office calling for his deselection. The campaigners have urged on McCabe to step down, along with fellow Birmingham Labour MPs Shabana Mahmood, Paulette Hamilton and Preet Kaur Gill, who also didn’t vote for a ceasefire in the occupied territory.

The four Birmingham MPs abstained on the vote while Jess Phillips MP – representing Birmingham Yardley –  quit Labour’s shadow cabinet over Keir Starmer’s stance on Gaza, stating she had voted “with my constituents, my head and my heart”.

Steve McCabe has served as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak since 2010David Woolfall / UK Parliament
Steve McCabe has served as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak since 2010

Selly Oak Palestine Solidarity claims it “is protesting against our MP Steve McCabe for supporting genocide in Gaza” with the next demonstration set for Saturday 27 January.

“We believe Steve McCabe has blood on his hands. As chair of the Labour Friends of Israel, he actively befriends, defends and justifies the Apartheid Israeli regime. A regime that openly boasts of its intent to destroy, in whole or in part, Gaza and its people – the very definition of genocide. A genocide that is currently being prosecuted in the Hague by South Africa.

“We condemn the deplorable killing of Israeli civilians on October 7th and want all hostages released. We also deplore the daily mass slaughter of Gazans we are witnessing on our screens.

“We deplore the 25,000 that have been killed, 70% of them women and children; the 90% (1.9million) forced to flee their homes; the bombs targeting schools, hospitals, UN buildings, journalists and places of worship; the deprivation of food, water and fuel causing mass starvation and disease. A collective punishment in wholesale contravention of international humanitarian law.”

The group added they are calling for “an immediate and permanent ceasefire”.

Protesters in Birmingham have been calling for a ceasefire in GazaAdam Yosef
Protesters in Birmingham have been calling for a ceasefire in Gaza

McCabe, however, said he “sees himself as a friend of Palestinian people”.

“I have worked non-stop since I became the chair to advocate for a two-state solution and for an international peace and reconciliation fund to help us get there,” Mr McCabe told BBC News in November.

“I don’t honestly believe we are going to get a ceasefire at the moment, if the entire House of Commons called for it I don’t think that’ll make Hamas or the Israel Defence Forces stop fighting.

“I think we have to work towards a permanent end to this and I’d like to see an enduring peace and proper peace talks after it so not only does it stop but it doesn’t start again.”

The latest escalation in violence was exacerbated on 7 October, when Hamas gunmen reportedly launched an assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages.

Protesters say they want to hold MPs accountable on the issue of a Gaza ceasefire Salman Mirza
Protesters say they want to hold MPs accountable on the issue of a Gaza ceasefire

Writing in the Jewish News in December, McCabe described the incident as evidence “that the world has failed the Jewish people.”

“That is why we stand with Israel as it seeks to eliminate Hamas’ instruments of terror: its military and political infrastructure.

“The conflict between Israel and Hamas stretches back more than three decades. It is time to bring it to a close: not simply to free Gaza from Hamas and the Israeli people from terror, but to remove the principal obstacle to a future peace. Hamas’ terrorists murdered countless Israelis in the 1990s and 2000s.”

Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza and has launched a ground offensive, killing over 25,000 Palestinians since it began on October 7, with over a million displaced, the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has confirmed.

South Africa has brought a case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging Israel is committing “grave violence and genocidal acts” against the Palestinian people.

Israel has shown “chilling” and “incontrovertible” intent to commit genocide in Gaza, with full knowledge of how many civilians it is killing, the UN international court of justice in The Hague has heard.

Thousands lined Edgbaston Street in Birmingham city centre for a rally for GazaSupplied
Thousands lined Edgbaston Street in Birmingham city centre for a rally for Gaza

In Birmingham, pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been taken weekly across the city since October last year. These include actions outside the constituency surgeries of MPs who abstained from the ceasefire vote.

Several campaigners are also hoping to stand against the MPs in the next general election.

“There is likely be an independent pro-ceasefire candidate standing against McCabe at the upcoming election,” a spokesperson for Selly Oak Palestine Solidarity said.

“This protest on Saturday is part of our group’s wider efforts to lay the groundwork for a successful challenge to his office.

“His voting against a ceasefire, his failure to represent the views of his constituents and, worst of all, his complicity in a genocide will not be forgotten.”

Steve McCabe has served as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak since 2010. A member of the Labour Party, he was previously MP for Birmingham Hall Green from 1997 to 2010.


UPDATE: Activists have cancelled the above planned protest as Steve McCabe MP is no longer hosting his constituency volunteer event this Saturday in Kings Heath.

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