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]


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]


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


  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,, 10 December 2001
  13. ^ "Howard Speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel, at the Savoy Hotel, London". 6 December 2004. Archived from the original on 12 December 2004.
  14. ^
  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.
  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". 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

Angie Bray

Angela Lavinia Bray (born 13 October 1953) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ealing Central and Acton from 2010 to 2015.


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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.

Jack Lopresti

Giacomo "Jack" Lopresti (born 23 August 1969) is a British Conservative Party politician. At the 2010 general election, he was first elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Filton and Bradley Stoke, a constituency in Bristol newly created after boundary changes. He is an advocate of the Eurosceptic campaign Leave Means Leave.

James Arbuthnot

James Norwich Arbuthnot, Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom, (born 4 August 1952) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was returned as Member of Parliament (MP) for Wanstead and Woodford from 1987 to 1997, and then MP for North East Hampshire from 1997 to 2015.

Arbuthnot served as Chairman of the Defence Select Committee from 2005 to 2014, before being nominated as a Life Peer in the Dissolution Peerages List 2015 of August 2015.Created Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom, of Edrom in the County of Berwick, on 1 October 2015, Lord Arbuthnot sits on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords.

James Clappison

William James Clappison (born 14 September 1956), commonly known as James Clappison, is a British barrister and Conservative Party politician. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel group.

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)

This is a list of organisations that are associated with the British Conservative Party. Some are official party organisations, others are organisations made up of party members which are not officially recognised by the party.

Marc Worth

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Michael Fidler

Michael M. Fidler (10 February 1916 – 5 September 1989) was a British Conservative Party politician.

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.

Fidler was also the first Jewish mayor in Prestwich.

Active in the Jewish community for many years, he was president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews from 1967 until 1973. He founded the lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel.

Priti Patel

Priti Sushil Patel (born 29 March 1972) is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Witham in Essex since 2010. She was International Development Secretary from 2016 to 2017. A member of the Conservative Party, she is ideologically positioned on the party's right-wing and has been described as a Thatcherite.

Patel was born in London to a Ugandan Indian family. She was educated at Keele University and the University of Essex. She was initially involved with the Referendum Party before switching allegiance to the Conservatives. She worked for the public relations consultancy firm Weber Shandwick for several years, as part of which she lobbied for the tobacco and alcohol industries. Intending to switch to a political career, she unsuccessfully contested Nottingham North at the 2005 general election.

After David Cameron became Conservative leader, he recommended Patel for the party's "A-List" of prospective candidates. She was first elected MP for Witham, a Conservative safe seat, at the 2010 general election, before being re-elected in 2015 and 2017. Under Cameron's government, Patel was appointed Minister of State for Employment. A longstanding Eurosceptic, Patel was a leading figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the build-up to the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the European Union. Following Cameron's resignation, Patel backed Theresa May as Conservative leader; May subsequently appointed Patel as International Development Secretary. In 2017 she was involved in a political scandal due to her involvement in secret meetings with the Israeli government. Having breached the ministerial code, she stepped down from the cabinet.

A sometimes outspoken figure, Patel has been criticised by political opponents for defending the tobacco and alcohol industries; and for suggesting in an economic treatise that British workers are lazy.

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid (; born 5 December 1969) is a British politician and a former Managing Director at Deutsche Bank. A member of the Conservative Party, he was appointed Home Secretary on 30 April 2018. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire since the general election of 2010.

Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, Javid studied Economics and Politics at the University of Exeter where he joined the Conservative Party. Working in banking, he rose quickly to become a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Bromsgrove in 2010 and was promoted to Economic Secretary to the Treasury and later Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

He served in the Cabinet as Culture Secretary from 2014-15, Business Secretary and President of the Board of Trade from 2015-16 and Communities Secretary from 2016-18. He was appointed to his current role as Home Secretary in April 2018, following the resignation of Amber Rudd for misleading the Home Affairs Select Committee over targets for removal of illegal immigrants during the Windrush scandal.

Stephen Crabb

Stephen Crabb (born 20 January 1973) is a British politician of the Conservative Party, serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Preseli Pembrokeshire since the 2005 general election. In 2016, Crabb was briefly Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He has previously been a government whip, a junior minister for Wales and the Secretary of State for Wales.

Stuart Polak, Baron Polak

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

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