The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel

ABOUT LDFI

Liberal Democrat party policy on the Middle East

Officially recognise the independent state of Palestine, condemn violence on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support Israel’s right to security. We remain committed to a negotiated peace settlement, which includes a two-state solution.’


2019 General Election Manifesto

The Liberal Friends of Israel was the first ‘Friends of Israel’ group formed in the British Parliament in the 1950s.

On the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a Friends of Israel Group was also established. This was then amalgamated with the Liberal Friends on the merger of the two parties to form the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI).

The LDFI advise Liberal Democrat parliamentarians, devolved politicians, candidates and party members on issues regarding Israel, the wider Middle East and matters of concern for the British Jewish community.

We provide opportunities for Liberal Democrat parliamentarians to meet and question visiting Israeli politicians, civil servants, and journalists. The LDFI also produce regular briefings on political and diplomatic news from Israel.

‘LDFI are a unique part of the Liberal Democrat family. For years they have regularly provided vital insight and trusted advice to numerous Liberal Democrat leaders on Israel, the Middle East and the UK Jewish community.’

Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST:

Key facts and figures

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Zionism

Zionism is the name given to the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, calling for the restoration of sovereign Jewish life and Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel after 2000 years of exile and persecution.

LGBT rights in Israel

The only country in the Middle East that celebrates Pride Month is Israel, with Tel Aviv’s Pride Parade hosting over a quarter of a million people each year making it the largest pride parade in the whole of the Middle East and technically Asia

Israel’s vibrant democracy

  • All Israelis, Jewish, Arab and Christian enjoy freedom of speech and press, freedom of assembly and the right to petition government, and, most importantly, the freedom of religion.

  • Israel is the only country in the Middle East that provides full equality for women.

  • Israel holds free and fair elections, in which every Israeli citizen is allowed to vote. The only Arab citizens in the whole of the Middle East who get to elect the people who run their country in free and fair elections live in Israel.

  • The State of Israel operates a proportional representation system, which we as Liberal Democrats aspire to have.

’Yesh Atid is proud to be part of the family of centrist and liberal parties. The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, are a true friend of both the Jewish state and the principles of liberalism. We look forward to welcoming LDFI back to Israel soon and continuing to build on our excellent relationship with them.’

Ethel Hooven
Chief Executive of Yesh Atid

FACT CHECK

Israel and the Middle East

  • Is Israel an apartheid state?

    No.

    Israel is a thriving multi-ethnic democracy in which the Arab minority is guaranteed equal rights under the Basic Laws. All faiths vote and all enjoy freedom of worship. There are no legal restrictions on movement, employment, or sexual or marital relations. Universities and hospitals are integrated and discrimination is illegal.

    Israel’s Arab citizens hold collective rights as a national minority and an Israeli Arab sits on the Supreme Court. Israel is the only place in the Middle East where all minorities are protected. Its parliament has the widest and most far-reaching representation of different voices.

  • Does Israel want peace?

    Yes.

    Israel has repeatedly tried to make peace with its Arab neighbours based on the principle of ‘land for peace.’ The Zionist movement in Palestine accepted the ‘two-states for two peoples’ solution when it was rst proposed in 1937. Tragically, the Arabs rejected that solution. The Zionist movement in Palestine accepted the United Nations Partition Plan in 1947, which would have created a state of Israel and a state of Palestine. This was rejected by the Arabs.

    Since 1948, Israel has made peace with Jordan and with Egypt. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for peace and recognition in 1979. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat came to Israel and was cheered when he said ‘No more war, no more bloodshed’. Israel and the Palestinians have held many peace negotiations since 1991, including the famous Oslo Accords, however none of them have led to a two-state solution.

  • Does Israel occupy Gaza?

    No.

    In 2005, Israel withdrew unilaterally from the Gaza Strip and part of the northern West Bank, uprooting 8,000 Jewish settlers, many forcibly.

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‘ LDFI are an integral part of the UK Jewish community, acting as a crucial conduit between British Jews and the Liberal Democrats. We are always warmly welcomed at their memorable and packed-out events at Liberal Democrat conference.’

Marie van der Zyl
President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

LDFI and the Jewish Community

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In addition to our Israel advocacy, LDFI are the link between the Liberal Democrats and the British Jewish community. We advise our parliamentarians, as well as regional and local politicians on their engagement with British Jewry. We host events and meetings for Liberal Democrats with the community, and brief them ahead of Jewish community hustings during elections.

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Briefings and Articles

Here are links to briefings and articles produced by LDFI and friends of ours on Israel and the Middle East.

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THE COMMITTEE

Hon. Chair
Gavin Stollar

Hon. Vice-Chair
Bernard Silver

Treasurer
Geoff Jacobs

Hon. President
Lord Monroe Palmer OBE

Hon. Vice-Presidents
Baroness Sarah Ludford
Lord Alan Beith
Lord David Alliance
Robert Laurence

Hon. Committee Members
Lady Susette Palmer
Anne Diamond
Ishvinder Matharu
Jodi Myers
Cllr Jo Humphreys
Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg

Parliamentary & Communications Manager
Toby Davis

'The Lib Dem Friends of Israel play a crucial role in facilitating engagement between the Jewish community and the Liberal Democrats. Their work is incredibly valuable and we look forward to continuing to work with them.'

Jonathan Goldstein
Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council

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