Labour Friends of Israel

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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.[1]

Founded in October 1957 at a public rally at the Labour Party Conference,[2] 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".[3]

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.[4][5][6] Dame Anne McGuire succeeded Woodcock as chair in May 2013.[7]

The Labour Friends of Israel is a distinct organisation to the Jewish Labour Movement, the affiliated socialist society and successor to the UK's Poale Zion.

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.[8]

The charitable Yigal Allon Educational Trust, founded in 1985 by former Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Ian Mikardo MP, Lord Glenamara and others, has supported Labour Friends of Israel.[9][10]

Members of LFI[edit]

In alphabetical order, former and current members of Labour Friends of Israel include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oborne, Peter and Jones, James (16 November 2009). "Friends in high places". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Labour Friends of Israel (8 December 2008). "Labour Friends of Israel – 50 Years". 
  3. ^ "Labour Friends Of Israel website – about us". 1 August 2003. Archived from the original on 1 August 2003. Retrieved 10 December 2008. 
  4. ^ Marcus Dysch (7 September 2010). "New strategy for Labour Friends of Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Bright, Martin (13 January 2011). "Israel friends change tack and relaunch". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Dysch, Marcus (19 October 2011). "Labour Friends go to Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Stirling MP Anne McGuire to chair Labour Friends of Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. . Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North, has succeeded McGuire, becoming the new chair of Labour Friends of Israel.
  8. ^ Black, Ian (16 November 2009). "Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "Yigal Allon Educational Trust". Stone Ashdown Trust. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Yigal Allon Educational Trust, Registered Charity no. 327009 at the Charity Commission
  11. ^ Symons, Leon; et al. "David Abrahams gave in secret ‘to quell conspiracy fears’". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Who We Are". Labour Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. 
  13. ^ Bell, Stuart (30 January 2008). "Sir Stuart Bell MP, Biography". Archived from the original on 30 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson could run for parliament in Liverpool". Liverpool Echo. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Assaf Uni, Finance scandal has local community worried, Haaretz, 10 December 2007.
  16. ^ a b Temko, Ned, Behind-the-scenes group's unerring knack of backing the right man, The Guardian, 2 December 2007.
  17. ^ Brown, Gordon (25 September 2007). "Speech by Gordon Brown to the LFI Annual Reception". Labour Friends of Israel. 
  18. ^ a b Wright, Oliver (10 October 2010). "Anger grows within Labour over forced Palestinian vote". The Independent. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  19. ^ Gapes, Mike (4 July 2001). "House of Commons Hansard Debates". House of Commons, UK. 
  20. ^ H. M. Cabinet Office (2003). "Speaker Biographies, Ivan Lewis MP". 
  21. ^ Dysch, Marcus (25 February 2015). "Labour MP Michael McCann calls for total Hamas ban". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  22. ^ Hope, Christopher (9 February 2007). "Jon Mendelsohn profile: a real Mr Fix-It". The Daily Telegraph. 
  23. ^ Mulholland, Hélène (3 October 2008). "Profile – Jim Murphy". The Guardian. 
  24. ^ "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. 
  25. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]