Responding to the conflict in Israel and Gaza

Hackney is home to diverse residents from different nationalities, cultural heritages, and faiths. This includes large Muslim and Jewish communities. The situation in Israel and Gaza following the Hamas attack on 7 October 2023 and Israel’s ongoing military campaign has caused immense distress, fear, and anger among Hackney residents, both within and beyond these communities.


Lobbying government

Local authorities do not determine foreign policy. However, as set out in a motion resolved in January 2024 (PDF 110kb), we believe there must be an immediate cessation to hostilities in Israel and Palestine. This includes an immediate and sustainable humanitarian ceasefire on all sides, humanitarian aid and basic services immediately restored, and all hostages immediately released.

The Mayor of Hackney, Caroline Woodley, has written to the UK government. She urged it to do all it can to support a renewed peace process, which establishes a political settlement that guarantees freedom, justice, and safety for Israelis and Palestinians.

See Mayor of Hackney, Caroline Woodley’s letter to UK government (google doc).

Keeping Hackney safe

We play an important role in responding to concerns raised by residents. Crucially, we ensure people in Hackney are safe from violence, intimidation, and hate crime.

As set out in the “No Place for Hate” Strategy (PDF 7.8mb), the anti-racism framework and the Equality Plan, we’re determined to tackle all forms of hate crime, become an actively anti-racist borough, and eradicate inequality at every life stage.

We’ve adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, pledging to combat antisemitism in all forms. We’ve also adopted the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia, pledging to speak out against Islamophobia and condemn bigotry and discrimination.

Since 7 October 2023, we’ve increased enforcement patrols across the borough. This is in response to a rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crime in London. We’ve also responded quickly to reports of hate crime and antisocial behaviour. And, we’ve co-hosted community stalls with the police around the borough.

See Hackney News – Israel-Gaza: Hackney Council focuses on keeping communities safe in the borough.

Engaging with local communities

Since the conflict escalated, we’ve sought to engage with communities affected by the conflict in Israel and Gaza. We’ve reached out to community representatives to tell them again about the work we’re doing with the police to keep the community safe. This included Chief Executive Dawn Carter-McDonald and Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble writing to faith partners and school leaders outlining our support following increased conflict in Israel and Gaza.

See Deputy Mayor Anntoinette and Chief Executive Dawn Carter-McDonald letter to faith partners (google doc).

See Deputy Mayor Anntoinette and Chief Executive Dawn Carter-McDonald letter to school leaders (google doc).

In her first Full Council meeting as the newly directly elected Mayor of Hackney, Caroline Woodley responded to public questions about the conflict. She also committed to writing to the government to raise residents’ concerns.

This followed Deputy Mayor Anntoinnette Bramble reading a statement in solidarity with communities impacted by the conflict. Cllr Anya Sizer, Speaker of Hackney, led a minute’s silence at our Full Council meeting. Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulatory Services, highlighted our ongoing commitment to community cohesion. She also addressed religious hate during Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Responding to concerns

We continue to listen to concerns raised about the ongoing conflict. This includes those raised by protestors about Local Government Pension Fund investments and twinning arrangements with Haifa in Israel.

Caroline Woodley, Mayor of Hackney, has responded to these issues in a statement. See Hackney News – Statement from Mayor of Hackney, Caroline Woodley.

We take the rights of our residents to take part in the democratic process seriously. On 9 July 2024, the Hackney Pensions Committee will hear a deposition on divestment of pension fund investments.

Page updated on: 2 July 2024