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, was appointed Director, and in 2011 John Woodcock was appointed Chair. Dame Anne McGuire succeeded Woodcock as chair in May 2013. In 2015 Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North, succeeded McGuire, becoming the new chair.
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
- Luciana Berger, Former Director of LFI
- Tony Blair, former Prime Minister
- David Blunkett, former Home Secretary
- Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister
- Chris Bryant and former Minister for Europe
- Stephen Byers, former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
- Wayne David
- Andrew Dismore 
- Michael Dugher
- Louise Ellman, Vice Chair of LFI 
- Derek Foster
- Lord Foulkes
- Mike Gapes, former Vice Chair of LFI (2004)
- Anthony Greenwood, first Chair of LFI (1957)
- Andrew Gwynne, Chair of LFI (2010)
- Fabian Hamilton
- Joan Humble
- Baroness Hayman
- Margaret Hodge
- Lord Janner of Braunstone QC, former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
- Barbara Keeley
- Barry Gardiner, former Vice-Chair of LFI
- Jane Kennedy, Chair of LFI (2007)
- Ivan Lewis, former Vice-Chair of LFI 
- Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
- Denis MacShane
- Michael McCann, Vice-Chair of LFI
- Anne McGuire, Chair of LFI since 2013
- Jonathan Mendelsohn, former Chair of LFI (2002)
- Alun Michael, former Leader of the Welsh Labour Party
- Andrew Miller
- Jim Murphy, former Chair of LFI (2001), former Secretary of State for Scotland 
- Dan Norris
- Nick Palmer
- James Purnell former Chair of LFI, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 
- Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
- John Reid former Home Secretary (2007)
- Rachel Reeves
- Terry Rooney
- Dari Taylor
- Gary Titley
- John Woodcock, Chair of LFI (2011)
- Glenis Willmott, Vice Chair of LFI
- Lord Winston
- Iain Wright, 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.
- Labour Friends of Israel (8 December 2008). "Labour Friends of Israel – 50 Years".
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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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- "Who We Are". Labour Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008.
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- 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.
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- Dysch, Marcus (25 February 2015). "Labour MP Michael McCann calls for total Hamas ban". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
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- "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