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Posts tagged ‘Labour Friends of Israel’

The untold story: why Priti Patel’s departure is ‘a great loss for Israel’

It is easy enough to understand why an ambitious politician like Priti Patel would have wanted to court Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), described this week by The Jewish Chronicle’s reporter Marcus Dysch as “the biggest lobbying group in Westminster”.

But what about the Israeli government and its allies? Why, in the words of Israeli opposition politician Isaac Herzog, was Patel’s fall from grace a “great loss for Israel”?

True, she looked like future leadership material. But in fact, a more interesting answer lies in the story of how the Department for International Development (DFID) has become a key battle ground for Israel and its Westminster lobbyists, an arena for foreign policy by proxy. Read more

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Don’t believe the hype about Israel’s Labour Party being progressive – it’s just proven that it’s decidedly not

The leader of Israel’s main opposition party, Labour chair Avi Gabbay, is currently making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Yesterday, Gabbay told Israeli television that he opposed discussing the removal of even the most isolated illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The remarks came a day after Gabbay told a meeting of party activists that “the Arabs have to be afraid of us”. He added: “They fire one missile – you fire 20. That’s all they understand in the Middle East”. Read more

The Israel lobby scandal and Labour’s anti-Semitism ‘crisis’ are intimately linked

The latest revelations to emerge from the Al Jazeera investigation into the work of the Israeli embassy in London and pro-Israel lobby groups in Britain are a reminder of an issue that once dominated the headlines: the Labour Party’s so-called “anti-Semitism crisis”.

Like Israeli embassy official Shai Masot being caught on camera seeking to “take down” British politicians, the fact that Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) director MP Joan Ryan is shown to have misrepresented and smeared a pro-Palestinian party member is instructive, but not a shock. Read more

Israel embassy scandal sign of panic, as much as influence

Revelations about the activities of an Israeli embassy staff member have been headline news in the British media over the last few days. There might be more to come – the Al Jazeera Investigations programme on which the stories have been based is aired over four nights starting Wednesday.

To summarise what we know already, an Israeli government official based at the embassy in London, Shai Masot, was caught on camera discussing how to “take down” British politicians deemed unfriendly to Israel, including foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan. Read more

Three things MPs should be talking about if they really support Palestine

At a time when Israel’s most loyal defenders in the UK parliament pay lip service to a “two-state solution,” what does it mean in Westminster to support the Palestinians?

The question arises in light of a new campaign that the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) is launching under the title “For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace,” a rebranding exercise announced during the Labour Party’s recent annual conference. Read more

Israel debates how to stop BDS even as it continues to lose friends abroad

On Wednesday, a debate was held in the British Parliament on the issue of Palestinian child prisoners detained by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

The same day, two thousand miles away, Israel’s Knesset hosted a discussion on how to combat the growing, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Together, these two parliamentary meetings serve as a useful illustration of why Israel’s international image continues to deteriorate – and why it is not likely to improve any time soon. Read more

What about the rockets?

During the last couple of weeks, Westminster lobby group Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has been pushing its new publication on Gaza, the key message of which is that the reconstruction of the fenced-in enclave should be contingent on its demilitarisation.

My intention here is not to set out the clear, legal and moral, arguments against LFI’s ‘disarmament for development’ approach – indeed, leading NGOs have already done so. Rather, I would like to make a different point with regards to Israel advocacy in Western capitals. Read more

NGOs slam ‘disarmament for development’ as Gaza lies in ruins

Leading NGOs have heavily criticised attempts to link the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarisation, ahead of a debate about the issue in Westminster today.

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) will this afternoon urge “disarmament for development”, as the Israel lobby group launches a new campaign focusing on the Gaza Strip and Hamas.

In their supporters’ briefing, LFI claims: “Reconstruction, lifting the ‘blockade’ of Gaza by Israel and Egypt and demilitarisation are intimately linked: the first two are dependent on the last.” Read more