Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Labour Friends of Israel (British parliamentary group)

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) is a parliamentary group affiliated to the Labour Party promoting support for a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel. It also seeks to strengthen ties between the British and the Israeli Labour 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.
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.
They have been described as "less unquestioning in its support of the Israeli government than the Conservative Friends of Israel". Between 2001 and 2009 they paid for more than 60 MPs to visit Israel, more than any other group.
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.

In alphabetical order, 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
    Lord Janner of Braunstone Q.C. Former MP for Leicester West, Former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews & Current Chair of the British Israel Parliamentary Group.
    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
    Louise Ellman MP, Vice Chair of LFI
    Derek Foster MP
    Lord Foulkes MSP and former MP
    Mike Gapes MP - former Vice Chair of LFI (2004)
    Anthony Greenwood MP, first Chair of LFI (1957)
    Andrew Gwynne MP, Chair of LFI (2010)
    Fabian Hamilton MP
    Joan Humble MP
    Baroness Hayman
    Barbara Keeley MP
    Jane Kennedy MP - Chair (2007)
    Ivan Lewis MP, former Vice Chair of LFI
    Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
    Denis MacShane MP
    Jonathan Mendelsohn - former Chair of LFI (2002)
    Alun Michael MP, former Leader of the Welsh Labour Party
    Andrew Miller MP
    Jim Murphy MP - former Chair of LFI (2001), former Secretary of State for Scotland
    Dan Norris former MP
    Nick Palmer MP
    James Purnell former Chair of LFI, MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
    Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
    John Reid former MP and Home Secretary (2007)
    Terry Rooney MP
    SiĆ“n Simon MP
    Dari Taylor MP
    Gary Titley MP
    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

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