Louise Ellman returns to Israel as part of largest ever LFI delegation

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Louise Ellman returns to Israel as part of largest ever LFI delegation

The five-day long fact-finding trip, led by LFI vice-chair Sharon Hodgson MP, also offered prospective Labour parliamentary candidates at the next election the opportunity to visit the region

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

LFI delegates meet with Uri Rotman, Head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Middle East and Peace Process division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
LFI delegates meet with Uri Rotman, Head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Middle East and Peace Process division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dame Louise Ellman has joined the largest ever Labour Friends of Israel delegation to visit to the Jewish state and Palestinian territories alongside vice-chair Sharon Hodgson MP, and seven prospective parliamentary candidates from Keir Starmer’s party.

The five-day long fact-finding trip was the first time former Liverpool Riverside MP Ellman had been part of an LFI delegation since she was an official at the organisation over a decade ago.

It also offered candidates standing for Labour at the next election, including Chipping Barnet’s Dan Tomlinson, a opportunity to learn for themselves more about the situation on the ground in Israel and the Middle East.

Ellman said:”I am so pleased to have joined this delegation of Labour parliamentary candidates, more than a decade since I last attended an LFI delegation as vice-chair.

“I rejoined Labour at the 2021 party conference because of the progress Keir had made in rooting out the antisemitism that festered under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

“I have been heartened by the continued progress Labour has made back to re-building ties with the Jewish community and returning to its historic position as a friend of Israel and honest broker on the Middle East.

“The parliamentary candidates on this trip are very impressive. They will have benefitted hugely from this experience, coming away with a much deeper understanding of the complexities of Israel and the wider region that will prepare them well for Parliament.”

LFI delegates at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

The delegation also included Primesh Patel (PPC for Harrow East), Jo Platt (PPC for Leigh), Jake Richards (PPC for Rother Valley), Melanie Onn (PPC for Great Grimsby), Danny Beales (PPC for Uxbridge and South Ruislip), and Graeme Downie (PPC for Dunfermline and West Fife).

During the visit the group met with Uri Rotman, head of the ministry of foreign affairs middle east and peace process division, experienced Jerusalem and made an emotional trip to Yad Vashem.

They were also meeting with other senior Israeli government and Palestinian Authority representatives as well as visiting the Gaza border and a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank.

Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said:” This trip will allow Labour candidates to experience a deep and broad introduction to Israel and the wider Middle East. LFI has always believed that enabling Labour politicians to witness Israel’s security challenges for themselves, reaffirm ties with our sister Israeli Labor Party, and renew the longstanding friendship between the Labour Party and the Jewish state, is key to ensuring political debate around Israel in the UK remains well-informed and balanced.”

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