Labour Friends of Israel seemingly still exerting influence in party

  • Post last modified:April 3, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

On Sky News, Shadow Minister Pat McFadden affirmed Labour doesn’t “have a boycott of selling arms to Israel” while the International Court of Justice (ICJ) investigates the country for a “plausible” genocide against Palestinian people:

Arming the genocide

As well as the ICJ investigation, UN human rights expert Francesca Albanese recently found that Israel has committed “genocide with the requisite intent”.

The UN Special Rapporteur stated that “the genocide in Gaza is the most extreme stage of a long-standing settler colonial process of erasure of the native Palestinians”.

Since the violence escalated on 7 October, Israel has killed over 33,000 Palestinians, including 13,000 children. It has displaced 80% of the population of Gaza and destroyed over 70% of Gazan homes.

Labour and Israel

Still, Labour are in partnership with this “ally”. Undercover work from Al Jazeera revealed that lobby group Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has close ties with the Israeli embassy. An LFI officer admitted:

We do work really really closely together. It’s just publicly we just try to keep the LFI as a separate identity to the embassy.

Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer was on Channel 4 attempting to defend the IDF murdering international food aid workers in a drone strike. Mencer is a former director of LFI.

A former minister in David Cameron’s government, meanwhile, has said:

For years… LFI have worked with – even for – the Israeli embassy to promote Israeli policy and thwart UK government policy and the actions of ministers who try to defend Palestinian rights.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, and McFadden are among the parliamentary members of LFI, while shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is a vice chair.

Pro-Israel lobbyists including LFI have funded two fifths of Starmer’s shadow cabinet, as well as Starmer himself. LFI does not reveal its funding and whitewashes Israel’s apartheid against Palestinian people it occupies.

Additionally, during Starmer’s leadership campaign, he pledged “no more illegal wars… put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice”.

Was that a joke?

Israel’s war crimes

In tandem with its ongoing genocide, there is clear documentation of Israel committing war crimes in Occupied Palestine. Over in the West Bank, Israel is conducting unlawful killings and expanding illegal settlements. And in Gaza, Israel has:

Tory and Israel

It’s a similar story with both Labour and the ruling Conservatives.

The government is licensing arms sales to Israel despite UK law stating it should withhold “if it determines there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law”.

And the Tories are licensing arms in the face of their own unpublished legal advice that Israel is breaking humanitarian law, according to a leaked audio recording.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Conservative chair Alicia Kearns said:

I remain convinced the government has completed its updated assessment on whether Israel is demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law, and that it has concluded that Israel is not demonstrating this commitment, which is the legal determination it has to make

The UK has licensed arms worth over £574 million to Israel since 2008.

Both Labour and Tory are backing Israel’s in-motion genocide against the Palestinians. We must stand up to the political establishment and its complicity.

Featured image via Saul Staniforth – X

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