Conservative Friends of Israel

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is a British parliamentary group affiliated to the Conservative Party, which is dedicated to strengthening business, cultural and political ties between the United Kingdom and Israel. CFI is an unincorporated association. It also seeks to strengthen ties between the British Conservative Party and the Israeli Likud party.

It was founded in 1974 by Conservative MP for Bury and Radcliffe, Michael Fidler. The Parliamentary Chairman is Stephen Crabb.[1]

In 1995 Conservative politician Robert Rhodes James called it "the largest organisation in Western Europe dedicated to the cause of the people of Israel".[2]

By 2009, according to the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches – Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, around 80% of Conservative MPs were members of the CFI.[3] In 2013, the Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator, Peter Oborne, called CFI "by far Britain's most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group."[4]

Activities

The group's 2005 strategy identified the following areas of activity: supporting Israel, promoting the British Conservative Party, fighting terrorism, combating anti-semitism, and promoting peace in the Middle East.[5] According to their website, "over two thirds" of Conservative MPs were members of Conservative Friends of Israel in 2006.[6] In 2007 the Political Director stated it had over 2000 members and registered supporters.[7] In 2009, at least half of the shadow cabinet were members of the group according to a Dispatches documentary.[8]

Their website states the opinion that it is one of the fastest growing political lobby groups in the UK.[9] According to the Dispatches documentary, between 2006 and 2009 the CFI funded more than 30 Conservative parliamentary candidates to visit Israel.[8]

In 2012 CFI reconstituted itself as a private company limited by guarantee.[10]

CFI annual business lunch

David Cameron, then newly elected leader of the Conservative Party, addressed the CFI annual business lunch on 30 January 2006, whose audience included half of the Conservative Parliamentary Party. As part of his speech, he stated "I am proud not just to be a Conservative, but a Conservative friend of Israel; and I am proud of the key role CFI plays within our Party. Israel is a democracy, a strong and proud democracy, in a region that is, we hope, making its first steps in that direction."[11]

Former Conservative party leaders Iain Duncan Smith[12] and Michael Howard[13] have addressed the CFI lunch.

The British Pakistani MP Sajid Javid has also made business lunch speeches which have been positively received by the CFI, the Jewish Chronicle even reporting Javid as a future Prime Minister.[14]

Donations

The Dispatches documentary claimed members of the group and their companies have donated over £10 million to the Conservative party between 2001 and 2009. The group called this figure "deeply flawed" saying that they have only donated £30,000 between 2004 and 2009 but that members of the group have undoubtedly made their own donations to the party. Dispatches described the CFI as "beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups".[3][8]

Members of CFI

In 2014, CFI stated that 80% of Conservative MPs were members.[15]

In alphabetical order, members of Conservative Friends of Israel include:

See also

References

  1. ^ Harpin, Lee (14 May 2018). "'Hamas are manipulating Gaza citizens', says leading Tory MP as scores die". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  2. ^ Peter Oborne (12 December 2012). "The cowardice at the heart of our relationship with Israel". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Dispatches: Inside Britain's Israel Lobby". Channel 4. 16 November 2009.
  4. ^ Oborne, Peter (27 November 2013). "Iran nuclear deal: ill-informed friends of Israel are refusing to face facts". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  5. ^ CFI INFORMED Magazine, Second Edition (PDF), Conservative Friends of Israel, February 2007, p. 3, retrieved 29 May 2008
  6. ^ Conservative Friends of Israel – About Us Archived 26 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Robert Halfon (27 September 2007). "Introducing the CFI". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Black, Ian (16 November 2009). "Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  9. ^ "Home".
  10. ^ "Companies House WebCHeck - CONSERVATIVE FRIENDS OF ISRAEL LIMITED". Companies House. Company No. 08114952. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  11. ^ CFI INFORMED Weekly Briefing (PDF), Conservative Friends of Israel, 3 February 2006, retrieved 25 May 2006
  12. ^ Duncan Smith: Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists Archived 20 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Conservatives.com, 10 December 2001
  13. ^ "Howard Speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel, at the Savoy Hotel, London". Conservatives.com. 6 December 2004. Archived from the original on 12 December 2004.
  14. ^ http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/94117/muslim-tory-mp-after-britain-israel-best
  15. ^ a b "About CFI". Conservative Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 2 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Ministers "will change" war crimes arrest law". Jewish Chronicle. 8 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Altrincham and Sale West: Election 2010". Jewish Chronicle. 29 April 2010.
  18. ^ "UK: Evangelical Christian appointed new UK Middle East Minister". The Muslim News. 15 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  19. ^ "British MPs furious after Israel President Shimon Peres accuses the English of being anti-semitic". Daily Mail. UK. 1 August 2010.
  20. ^ a b "IN JERUSALEM POST CFI PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMEN ANNOUNCE PLANS TO TAKE UK-ISRAEL RELATIONS FORWARD".
  21. ^ a b "Cameron's Cabinet: Who are they?". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  22. ^ "Mike's Biography". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  23. ^ "William Hague's Schmooze With The Jewish News". Totally Jewish. 25 March 2010. Archived from the original on 6 April 2010.
  24. ^ a b "Ministers lose seats in the East". East Anglia Daily Times. 7 May 2010.
  25. ^ Black, Ian (16 November 2009). "Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims". The Guardian. London.
  26. ^ "About Conservative Friends of Israel". cfoi.co.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  27. ^ "Eric Pickles to lead MPs' delegation to Israel". Jewish Chronicle. 24 July 2015.
  28. ^ "Rifkind elected as Kensington MP". Jewish Chronicle. 7 May 2010.
  29. ^ Sloan, Alaistair. "Ed Miliband will back Israel". Middle East Monitor. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015.

External links

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David Burrowes

David John Barrington Burrowes (born 12 June 1969) is a British politician. He was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate from 2005 to 2017, is the co-founder of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and an Officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel group.

Eric Pickles

Eric Jack Pickles, Baron Pickles, Kt PC (born 20 April 1952) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar from the 1992 general election to the 2017 general election and was the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government until May 2015. He was previously the Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010 and is currently the chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel. He is the United Kingdom Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, being appointed in 2015.Pickles stood down at the 2017 general election, but continued in his role as Special Envoy, and Anti Corruption Champion.

Friends of Israel

There are many Friends of Israel groups active around the world and in a variety of fields, such as academic, legal, political, etc. Those with articles on Wikipedia include:

Friends of Israel Initiative, an international effort to counter the attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders

Parliamentary groups in the United Kingdom that promote close ties between Britain and Israel:

Labour Friends of Israel

Conservative Friends of Israel

Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel

Friends of Israel in the Parliament of Norway

Northern Ireland Friends of Israel

European Friends of Israel

Anglican Friends of Israel

International Academic Friends of Israel

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Clerical Association of Friends of Israël or Opus sacerdotale Amici Israel, an association of Catholic priests (1926 – 1928)

Israel lobby in the United Kingdom

The Israel lobby in the United Kingdom (also called the Zionist lobby) is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United Kingdom to strengthen bilateral ties with Israel, or in support of Zionism, Israel, or the specific policies of its government. The term Israel lobby itself has been subject to debate and criticism over its clarity and exact definition.

Such lobbying in the United Kingdom is far less formalised than in the United States, where lobbying groups or associations may constitute formal entities, and where lobbying in the US with regard to support for Israel is far greater.

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James Arbuthnot

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James Clappison

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Labour Friends of Israel

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) is a group in the Parliament of the United Kingdom that promotes support for a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel, and seeks to strengthen ties between the British Labour Party and the Israeli Labor Party. LFI 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. As of August 2018 it includes about 80 MPs from either the Labour Party or from Change UK - The Independent Group, or who sit as independents.

Lee Scott (politician)

Lee Scott (born 6 April 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ilford North from 2005 until his defeat at the 2015 general election. Scott is an officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel

Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel is an associated organisation whose stated objective is to 'maximise support for the State of Israel within the British Liberal Democrat Party', and to 'promote policies which lead to peace and security for Israel within a Middle East peace settlement'.The President of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel is Rt Hon Alan Beith. The Vice Presidents are Baron Monroe Palmer OBE and Baroness Sarah Ludford. The Chair is Gavin Stollar and the Vice Chair is Jonathan Davies.

List of organisations associated with the Conservative Party (UK)

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Michael Fidler

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Fidler was Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury and Radcliffe from 1970 until the October 1974 general election, when he lost his seat to Labour's Frank White.

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Stuart Polak, Baron Polak (born 1960 or 1961)is a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords.

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