Just over two weeks ago the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel were involved in two large scale events at this year’s Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference; our always memorable fringe event, and as speakers in Layla Moran’s policy motion on Israel and Palestine.
Our conference fringe event was a resounding success with one of the largest attendances at a fringe event for this year’s virtual conference. Liberal Democrat members from all over the country jumped at the chance to hear from Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Idan Roll. The Deputy Foreign Minister is a member of our Zionist, secular, liberal and centrist partners, Yesh Atid, who only this week joined Liberal International as Observer Members. Yesh Atid are the largest party in Israel’s new coalition government, consisting of parties from across the Israeli political spectrum.
Deputy Minister Roll was a fascinating guest at our fringe, where he spoke about the new government’s vision for Gaza and answered challenging questions on Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. He also explained how his party, Yesh Atid, brought about this extraordinary coalition, as well as how this former model, lawyer and gay rights activist decided to join politics and now is one of Israel’s most senior diplomats. The Deputy Foreign Minister was a warm and engaging interviewee and is a real shining light in Israeli politics. LDFI look forward to working with him in advocating for Israel in the UK, and particularly within the Liberal Democrats.
You can find a link to our conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister Roll here.
In addition to Lib Dem Friends of Israel’s fringe event, we were also heavily involved in Monday’s debate, on Layla Moran’s policy motion, F39: Building a Lasting Peace in Israel and Palestine. LDFI proudly worked alongside Layla in developing the motion which called for greater cooperation between the UK and the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as using trade as a tool for peace, and upholding international law and human rights. Thanks to consistent lobbying from the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, the calls for the Alliance for Middle East Peace’s International Fund for Israeli Palestinian Peace, was included in the policy motion. The debate featured contributions from Hon. LDFI President Lord Monroe Palmer, Hon. Chair Gavin Stollar and LDFI Parliamentary and Communications Manager Toby Davis. The motion passed, which included an amendment by Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine members, calling for a ban on trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, until a negotiated peace agreement is reached.
Following the adoption of the motion, Lord Palmer and Gavin Stollar said:
“The motion passed at Liberal Democrat conference calls for greater trade links and cooperation with Israel. No other political party explicitly grounds increased trade and cooperation at the heart of their policy on Israel and Palestine.
The Lib Dems are also the first party to officially support efforts to establish an Israeli Palestinian Peace Fund, which promotes coexistence and peace-building. We are serious at advocating for practical solutions to the conflict, not just platitudes.
This change in Liberal Democrat policy is not pro-BDS and is not anti-Israel. Like the LDFI, it is anti-occupation and anti-settlement expansion.
We, alongside, the Liberal Democrats will continue to champion the State of Israel for the liberal democracy it is, and for a two-state solution.”