British Rebellion Grows Against Arming Israel

London’s mayor, 50 Labour MPs and Winston Churchill’s grandson have joined widening calls to defy Israel’s impunity by demanding the U.K. stop sending it arms, reports Joe Lauria.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Israel’s Prime Minister in London in March. (Simon Walker, No 10 Downing Street, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Joe Lauria
in Bradford, England
Special to Consortium News

Even Winston Churchill’s grandson is calling for Britain to stop shipping arms to Israel. 

Asked whether it was time for Britain to stop sending weapons to Israel after it killed seven international aid workers this week, the Conservative peer Lord Nicholas Soames said, “It’s probably time that that happened now, yes, I think if we’re determined to show that we are not prepared to countenance these ongoing disasters.”

The rebellion within British ruling circles against knee-jerk support for is Israel is spreading after the killing of the aid workers and after leaked audio recordings on Saturday revealed the British government is ignoring the advice of its own lawyers not to continue supplying weapons to Israel for its Gaza operation without risking complicity in crimes against humanity. 

[It took Westerners, including three Britons, being killed to spur this action after more than 32,000 Palestinians are dead. It also forced Israel on Friday to sack two military officers and reprimand two top commanders for “serious” errors in killing the aid workers, who were in marked cars. There’s nothing like the fear of an arms cutoff to make Israel try to do something.]

On Wednesday, more than 600 British lawyers, academics and retired senior judges — including three who sat on the country’s Supreme Court — wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak imploring him to cut off military aid and even called for sanctions against the most senior Israeli leaders. 

The rebellion is erupting in both major parties, as well as in the Liberal Democrats, which on Thursday wrote to No. 10’s ethics advisor to urge a probe into whether U.K. arms sales could be a breach of Britian’s ministerial code. The letter said the UK must not be complicit in breaches of international humanitarian law,” The Guardian reported.

The Labour Party is in upheaval as the mayor of London and 50 Labour MPs on Thursday said Britain should no longer arm a state that is increasingly unable to hide its crimes. “In my view, the fact the government is not publishing the legal advice, one can only draw one conclusion,” Mayor Sadiq Khan told the Politics Joe website. “I think the government should be pausing all sales of weapons to Israel. I think we should be holding to account the Israeli government.”  He added: It’s got to stop.”

As he tries to unify a fractious party over the issue, Labour leader Keir Starmer has not gone beyond calling for the legal advice mentioned in the leaked audio to be made public.

Britain exported £42 million of weapons to Israel in 2023.  Figures since Oct. 7 last year have not yet been released.  A British break with Israel on Gaza would be politically more significant than the size of the arms transfers. 

Tories Imploding Too

U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Oct. 7 aftermath tour in the Be’eri Kibbutz with Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Nov. 23, 2023. (Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing, Flickr)

Rebellion is breaking out in the ruling Conservative Party as well. Churchill’s grandson has been joined by Lord  Hugo Swire and three Tory MPs – Paul Bristow, Flick Drummond and David Jones – in demands that arms shipments be halted. 

Sir Alan Duncan, a figure reviled by Julian Assange supporters for gleefully organizing his arrest from the Ecuador Embassy in April 2019, is being investigated by the Conservative Party for potentially “anti-semitic” remarks after he criticized pro-Israel Tory “extremists.”

“The time has come to flush out those extremists in our own parliamentary politics, and around it, some of whom are at the very top of government, or have been,” he told a radio interviewer on Thursday. “They have never been called to account by journalists to say: Do you agree with your own party’s policy? Do you condemn illegal settlements?’”

Duncan, a former minister in Conservative Theresa May’s government, added: “Conservative Friends of Israel has been doing the bidding of [Benjamin] Netanyahu, bypassing all proper processes of government, to exercise undue influence at the top of government.” 

A worldwide movement to stop arms sales to Israel is growing:

David Cameron, the former prime minister, current foreign secretary and prospective Tory leader once again, is reportedly under pressure from these party “extremists” because he doesn’t share their fanatical devotion to Israel.  This is a man who as prime minister once called Gaza an “open-air prison.” He is far more restrained in his criticism now. But he’s feeling the heat in party backrooms.

The Guardian reports:

“For weeks there have been grumblings among pro-Israeli Conservative MPs, sometimes expressed in private meetings with the foreign secretary, David Cameron, that he should dial back his criticism of Israel and accept that, if it is in the UK’s strategic interest for Hamas to be defeated, lives may have to be lost due to the war.

It does not help that many of Israel’s strongest supporters in the Conservatives are on the party’s right and Lord Cameron is seen as a centrist in a party that laid modernisation to rest with his resignation in 2016.”

Cameron refused to answer any questions on Gaza Thursday morning when interviewed by the BBC.

The British establishment, in both parties, have begun to rip themselves apart over what Israel  is doing in Gaza and Britain’s role in it. It is a debate, frankly, that should have begun six days after Israel’s assault began, not six months later. 

But it nonetheless augurs poorly for the continued staunch support of a state that can no longer easily hide its crimes behind the historic persecution of its people 80 years ago.   

Some U.K. civil servants threaten to strike fearing liability for approving arms shipments:

Biden’s Pantomime

President Joe Biden calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 17, 2023, ahead of his trip to Israel. (White House/Erin Scott)

Meanwhile in the United States, President Joe Biden “threatened” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a telephone call Thursday that he could condition future U.S. support for Israel’s military campaign on how Israel treats Palestinian civilians. 

Reported The New York Times:

“During an evidently tense 30-minute call … Mr. Biden went further than ever before in pressing for change in the military operation that has inflamed many Americans and others around the world. But the White House stopped short of directly saying the president would halt arms supplies or impose conditions for their use, as fellow Democrats have urged him to do.”

Biden is clearly in danger of losing re-election in large part because of his unpopular Gaza policy, even among a majority of Democrats. He has been acting against every instinct deep within the fiber of a politician that tells him: do whatever you have to do to win. 

At what point does Biden’s electoral theatrics cross the line into serious behavior? 

When he tells Netanyahu: “No more money and no more guns.” But even “no more presidency” doesn’t seem to have yet convinced Biden to say that.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

14 comments for “British Rebellion Grows Against Arming Israel

  1. April 6, 2024 at 21:00

    Other than having stolen the name, that political entity created in 1948 and calling itself “Israel” is not in any way, shape or form related to Biblical Israel. Those bloodthirsty 1948 cretans are primarily Turk-o-mongolian Khazars by race and Babylonian Talmudists by religion. This is known throughout the Arabic Mideast and in all other Islamic nations, with more & more actual Christians also waking up to the deception.

    Ahh, but the Khazars have exceeded expectations in deceiving untold millions of “Judaeo-Christians” (the ultimate oxymoron?) into believing contemporary “Israelis” are descendants of Biblical “Israelites “. Do you notice the spelling difference?

    Reading the Bible is fruitless when lacking understanding of what has been read. “Wisdom is the principal thing; get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

    April 6, 2024 at 09:15

    Prior to this latest atrocity, the rogue state had already murdered, in the space of six months, 189 UN aid workers in Gaza.
    Where is the outrage about that?

  3. NoOneYouKnowNow
    April 5, 2024 at 18:18

    Odd how the Brit elites are worried about violating national and international law about Israel’s genocide but have said so little about the legal debacle of the Assange persecution.

  4. CaseyG
    April 5, 2024 at 14:10

    Sorry America and Israel—-2 lousy leaders—as inhumane as a human can get: Biden and Netanyahu. Maybe they should both be locked up for starting the war travesty together.

  5. LeoSun
    April 5, 2024 at 12:14

    4.5.24, Everybody, knows, “this ain’t no disco. It ain’t no country club, either. This is,” Washington D.C.’s USG’s sadomasochist, foreign policy, a rules-based international order, or the rules-based order is in effect, “Kill, first. Think, later.”

    ……. “THERE CAN BE NO illusions as to the degree of lying, provocation, and military violence that” Biden’s-Harris’ War Chiefs, Board of Executioners, & Congress in collaboration, cooperation & complicit w/Israel’s deception, destruction and death of Palestinians. Everybody, knows, the USG, Israel, NATO are “prepared to carry out in pursuit of its geostrategic aims,” i.e., * “Kill, first. Think, later.”

    Imo, this is f/stunning, 7 months later, per “the letter,” “the UK must not be complicit in breaches of international humanitarian law,” The Guardian reported. TOO, late! The UK’s complicity is done & dusted; BUT, no worries. The USG’s 3-D $trategy, deception, destruction, death, “lives;” AND, NO ONE is ever held to account:

    OCTOBER 3, 2015, Kunduz hospital airstrike. 42 Killed. Over 30 injured. “US Air Force AC-130U gunship attacked the Kunduz Trauma Centre operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) in the city of Kunduz, in the province of the same name in northern Afghanistan. Médecins Sans Frontières condemned the incident, calling it a deliberate breach of [INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW]; AND, A WAR CRIME!!! MSF, Doctors Without Borders, REITERATED that all warring parties had been notified about the hospital and its operations well in advance.”

    …….. 1999, “Doctors Without Borders is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
    …….. 2009, President Barrack Hussein Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    “The USG’s Commander’s-in-Chief, BHObama’s, military bombed the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders hospital, this makes Obama perhaps the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to bomb another Nobel Peace Prize winner; OR, maybe not?

    ……… 1973, Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; AND, and he masterminded the [SECRET] bombing of Cambodia & Laos for President Nixon around that time. Shortly thereafter, it came to light that in that campaign, hospitals were routinely targeted for bombing.” (The Nation dot com).

    OCTOBER 19, 2023, Biden’s-Harris’ shameful legacy IS f.u.b.a.r!!! * “Joe Biden Owns This,” by Andrew Mitrovica, Columnist @ hxxps://

    FEBRUARY 5, 2024, “[USE] this moment to change things.” Senator Shoebridge. “It can be transformative!” Peter Cronau. “Push Harder!!!” Matt Kennard. The gentlemen’s moral compass is 100% on f/point! @ hxxps://

    FEBRUARY 24, 2024,“[BUT] the correct question is whether any of this matters.” Craig Murray

    AND, w/o a doubt, “our” Gentlemen, in The Hague, London, Paris, Sydney, etc., Craig Murray & Joe Lauria, “GOT” this:

    …… “The only thing that matters is the opinion of those living there now.” Craig Murray

    …… “The people who count most, Gazans, were crushed by the ruling.” Joe Lauria @ hxxps://

    RE-SELECTION 2024, “Biden is clearly in danger of losing re-election in large part because of his unpopular Gaza policy, even among a majority of Democrats.” Joe Lauria. Hence, “Love your country, but never trust its government.” Robert A. Heinlein

    TY, Joe Lauria, CN, et al. “Keep It Lit!” Ciao

    “May you always see a blue sky overhead, my young friend; and then, even when the time comes, as it has come for me now, when the woods are black, when night is fast falling, you will be able to console yourself, as I do, by looking up at the sky.”? Marcel Proust

    • Andrew Nichols
      April 5, 2024 at 20:18

      He has been acting against every instinct deep within the fiber of a politician that tells him: do whatever you have to do to win.

      At what point does Biden’s electoral theatrics cross the line into serious behavior?

      When he tells Netanyahu: “No more money and no more guns.” But even “no more presidency” doesn’t seem to have yet convinced Biden to say that.

      I wonder if this has anything to do with the increasing crescendo of Trumpophobia. Eliminate Trump and win.

      • LeoSun
        April 7, 2024 at 11:18

        Not, for nothin’; Andrew, but, “Trumpocracy” is kickin’ the DNC’s dementia addled, truth challenged, miserably aged, genocide, jacka$$; the political corpse posing as POTUS masquerading as human, Biden-Harris, Come November, 2024, fingers crossed, Biden-Harris & their Party of War get their a$$ handed to ‘em!!!

        And, “this,” IMO, is all about, Israel’s war on terra. Executed by the killers in high places; NOT just Israel’s.

        Everybody, knows, outta the gate, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s “temporary” Prime Minister, has been adamant about ending Israel’s occupation by annihilation, elimination, of Palestinians, Journalists, World Center’ Humanitarian Aide Workers, anyone & everyone, in Israel’s war path to owner$hip of the the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, et al., “NO ONE Is SAFE.”

        W/o a doubt, CN’s Diana Johnstone, in one quote, succinctly articulated “this” catastrophic, inhumane, beyond f.u.b.a.r., $h*tuation, the fuel that fires the warring fossils, @ hxxps://

        …….. “Or there is recourse to Biblical story-telling, featuring vengeance, ethnic slaughter and prophecy of doom. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares a struggle between good and evil:

        “We are the people of the light, they are the people of darkness and light shall triumph over darkness. Now my role is to lead all Israelis to an overpowering victory… We shall realize the prophecy of Isaiah…”

        In the United States of America, the crazed prophecies of the Israeli leader find support from an American variant of Judeo-Christianity, more Judeo than Christian, whose followers are taught to believe that gentle Jesus will zoom back to earth as a murderous Avenger while his faithful float up to heaven.” FEBRUARY 11, 2024

        ….”There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

        Andrew, TY. “Keep It Lit! Ciao

  6. Vera Gottlieb
    April 5, 2024 at 10:48

    The Asses of Evil: US/UK and newest member: israel.

  7. vinnieoh
    April 5, 2024 at 10:39

    ” (It took Westerners including three Britons being killed to spur this action after more than 32,000 Palestinians are dead)”

    To my mind, this is the most illuminating observation regarding this ongoing extermination.

    I agree Mr. Lauria – Biden’s refusal to act morally and ethically wrt Israel looks to tip the electoral scales against him.

    In mt lifetime (70yrs) we’ve endured a succession of ever-worse US presidents. As if the last one – a huckster con-man, bigot, racist wasn’t bad enough, we’re now being led by what appears to be a complete monster.

  8. Paul Citro
    April 5, 2024 at 08:29

    They may outwardly end arm sales and still find a way to keep doing them. The British can be incredibly sneaky.

    • Gordon Hastie
      April 5, 2024 at 10:32

      Too true! It’s “our” USP.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      April 5, 2024 at 10:47

      “Sneaky” is putting it very, very mildly. The Asses of Evil: UK/US

    • Arch Stanton
      April 6, 2024 at 03:58

      We’re not called ‘Perfidious Albion’ for nothing

  9. Tony
    April 5, 2024 at 08:27

    Foreign Secretary David Cameron seems to think that those who were responsible for the killing of the aid workers should also be the ones that investigate it.

Comments are closed.