Labour Friends of Israel
Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) is a parliamentary group, affiliated to the Labour Party, that promotes support for a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel. It also seeks to strengthen ties between the British and the Israeli Labor party. Labour Friends of Israel supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Israel recognised and secure within its borders and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.
Founded in October 1957 at a public rally at the Labour Party Conference, it has developed into one of the largest special interest groups in the Labour Party, drawing wide support from Members of Parliament and Government Ministers. Labour Friends of Israel has a large membership, organised into local branches. Seeking to strengthen the bond between the British Labour Party and the Israeli Labor Party, it organises meetings in both the UK and Israel between senior figures. In 2003 it described itself as "a Westminster based lobby group working within the British Labour Party to promote the State of Israel".
In 2011, Labour Friends of Israel adopted a new strategy of becoming a wider membership organisation and operating under the slogan "Working Towards a Two-State Solution". In 2010, Jennifer Gerber, previously director of Progress, had been appointed Director, and in 2011 John Woodcock was appointed Chair. Dame Anne McGuire succeeded Woodcock as chair in May 2013.
It has been described as "less unquestioning in its support of the Israeli government than the Conservative Friends of Israel". Between 2001 and 2009 the Labour Friends of Israel paid for more than 60 MPs to visit Israel, more than any other group.
Members of LFI
In alphabetical order, former and current members of Labour Friends of Israel include:
- David Abrahams, former Treasurer 
- Lord Archer of Sandwell
- Sir Stuart Bell MP 
- Luciana Berger MP, Former Director of LFI
- Tony Blair, former MP and Prime Minister
- David Blunkett MP and former Home Secretary
- Gordon Brown MP and former Prime Minister
- Chris Bryant MP and former Minister for Europe
- Stephen Byers former MP and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
- Wayne David MP
- Andrew Dismore 
- Michael Dugher MP
- Louise Ellman MP, Vice Chair of LFI 
- Derek Foster, former MP
- Lord Foulkes MSP and former MP
- Mike Gapes MP, former Vice Chair of LFI (2004)
- Anthony Greenwood, Lord, former MP, first Chair of LFI (1957)
- Andrew Gwynne MP, Chair of LFI (2010)
- Fabian Hamilton MP
- Joan Humble, former MP
- Baroness Hayman
- Lord Janner of Braunstone Q.C, former MP for Leicester West, former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
- Barbara Keeley MP
- Barry Gardiner MP, former Vice-Chair of LFI
- Jane Kennedy, former MP, current Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside – Chair (2007)
- Ivan Lewis MP, former Vice-Chair of LFI 
- Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
- Denis MacShane former MP
- Michael McCann, MP, Vice-Chair of LFI
- Anne McGuire MP, Chair of LFI since 2013
- Jonathan Mendelsohn – former Chair of LFI (2002)
- Alun Michael MP, former Leader of the Welsh Labour Party
- Andrew Miller MP
- Jim Murphy former MP, former Chair of LFI (2001), former Secretary of State for Scotland 
- Dan Norris former MP
- Nick Palmer, former MP
- James Purnell former Chair of LFI, former MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 
- Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
- John Reid former MP and Home Secretary (2007)
- Rachel Reeves MP
- Terry Rooney, former MP
- Dari Taylor, former MP
- Gary Titley, former MEP
- John Woodcock MP, Chair of LFI (2011)
- Glenis Willmott MEP, Vice Chair of LFI
- Lord Winston
- Iain Wright MP, former Chair of LFI (2006)
- Lord Young of Norwood Green
- Conservative Friends of Israel
- Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel
- Northern Ireland Friends of Israel
- European Friends of Israel
- Friends of Israel Initiative
- Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East
- Oborne, Peter and Jones, James (16 November 2009). "Friends in high places". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
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- Marcus Dysch (7 September 2010). "New strategy for Labour Friends of Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
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- "Yigal Allon Educational Trust". Stone Ashdown Trust. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Yigal Allon Educational Trust, Registered Charity no. 327009 at the Charity Commission
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- "Who We Are". Labour Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008.
- Bell, Stuart (30 January 2008). "Sir Stuart Bell MP, Biography". Archived from the original on 30 January 2008.
- "Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson could run for parliament in Liverpool". Liverpool Echo. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
- Assaf Uni, Finance scandal has local community worried, Haaretz, 10 December 2007.
- Temko, Ned, Behind-the-scenes group's unerring knack of backing the right man, The Guardian, 2 December 2007.
- Brown, Gordon (25 September 2007). "Speech by Gordon Brown to the LFI Annual Reception". Labour Friends of Israel.
- Wright, Oliver (10 October 2010). "Anger grows within Labour over forced Palestinian vote". The Independent. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Gapes, Mike (4 July 2001). "House of Commons Hansard Debates". House of Commons, UK.
- H. M. Cabinet Office (2003). "Speaker Biographies, Ivan Lewis MP".
- Dysch, Marcus (25 February 2015). "Labour MP Michael McCann calls for total Hamas ban". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- Hope, Christopher (9 February 2007). "Jon Mendelsohn profile: a real Mr Fix-It". The Daily Telegraph.
- Mulholland, Hélène (3 October 2008). "Profile – Jim Murphy". The Guardian.
- "Five days in Israel – James Purnell MP, chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, visits a kibbutz, meets Ehud Barak and attends a peace conference in Tel Aviv". The Guardian. 12 December 2002.
- Kite, Melissa and Hennessy, Patrick (5 January 2005). "David Blunkett to return to the Cabinet in major reshuffle". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007.
- Official website
- Labour Friends of Israel, 1997 General Election information, 1 May 1997
- Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (2 November 2005). "United Kingdom and Israel Share the Same Democratic Values". Labour Friends of Israel event speech. Archived from the original on 28 December 2005.
- Speech by PM Tony Blair to LFI Annual Reception, Prime Minister Tony Blair, 26 September 2006
- Speech by Gordon Brown to the LFI Annual Reception, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 25 September 2007