LONDON (Oct. 9)
The reported assertion by a pro-Arab British Laborite Member of Parliament in Beirut that the Arab cultural center she planned to establish in London would serve as a “commando outpost” has caused consternation in Arab circles, it was reported from Beirut yesterday. The statement was attributed to Mrs. Margaret McKay who represents the Clapham district of London. She claimed to have purchased a building for the center with $96,000 donated by Shiekh Zaid of Abu Dhabi, an oil-rich Persian Gulf state.
Her reference to it as a “commando outpost” Jolted the Arabs, especially the Palestinian guerrilla organizations which claim to know nothing of the plan, London Times correspondent Paul Martin reported from Beirut. According to Mr. Martin, Arab spokesmen said the description was a distortion of the center’s real purpose. Mrs. McKay later modified her statement and called the building an “Arab outpost” which would help “forward the liberation of Palestine.” The MP also said she was a member of El Fatah, the largest Palestinian guerrilla organization which, she said, presented her with a badge. In announcing the new center for London, Mrs. McKay refused to discuss with newsmen Arab terrorist attacks on Israeli premises and Jewish property in London, telling newsmen that “if we want to win the sympathy of the West, we should do so in Western Ways.”
The Liberal Friends of Israel here called on the British Labor Party today to demand Mrs. McKay’s resignation. The organization said she was “now more than an embarrassment to the Labor Party. She is a menace.” The Liberal Friends group said Mrs. McKay’s statement in Beirut and her allegedly admitted membership in El Fatah, “could only encourage irresponsible elements in the Middle East” and that Britain could not afford such “irresponsible behavior” by a British MP.
Mrs. McKay aroused a storm in Labor Party and Government circles last month when she reportedly accused Prime Minister Harold Wilson of yielding to pressures by Zionist Jewish Labor MPs.