OPINION: Conservative support for Israel won’t diminish in opposition
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

OPINION: Conservative support for Israel won’t diminish in opposition

The unrelenting nature of politics makes it hard to take stock but there is much CFI and Conservatives can be proud of, writes the chief exec of Conservative Friend of Israel

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak giving a press conference in Downing Street.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak giving a press conference in Downing Street.

It has been a difficult week to be a Conservative. A bad election night saw some of CFI’s most steadfast friends lose their seats, including CFI’s brilliant Parliamentary Chairman (Commons) Stephen Crabb and Vice Chair Theresa Villiers.

Veteran allies including the inimitable Andrew Percy, Robert Halfon and Sir Michael Ellis stood down. We are indebted to them for their indefatigable support.

The old adage that there is no gratitude in politics is undeniably true but it was heartening how often we heard of the appreciation for the Conservative Party’s support for Israel on the doorsteps of Jewish voters.

The unrelenting nature of politics makes it hard to take stock but there is certainly much that CFI and Conservatives can be proud of. The UK-Israel relationship has fundamentally transformed over 14 years.

Hamas and Hezbollah proscribed. UK support for Israel at the UN. Elevation of Israel to a strategic partner. Record trade levels. Opposition to the ICC and ICJ’s controversial cases against Israel. None of us will ever forget, or should take for granted, the UK’s military support in defence of Israel against Iran a few months ago.

In many ways, support for Israel has been a principal unifying force within the Conservative Party.

James Gurd

The Conservative Party must now undergo a prolonged period of introspection before selecting a new leader. Labour’s number of seats are at odds with the size of its total vote share, providing the Conservatives a route back to Government.

Israel is sadly destined to be a political football in the new parliament with the arrival of an expanded cohort of outspoken anti-Israel MPs. The rhetoric and vitriol displayed towards Israel during the campaign are an alarming taste of what could follow.

The damaging policy shifts of the new Labour Government are already emerging. Calls for an immediate ceasefire, a possible change in arms licensing to Israel, a weakened approach to the ICC’s lamentable arrest warrant move, and a review of UNRWA funding restoration despite the apparent complicity of its workers in that dark October day.

Legislation to stop public bodies pursuing discriminatory BDS activities against Israel will be abandoned.

The parliamentary Conservative Party is still home to many outspoken allies of Israel, itching to speak out against Labour’s harmful policy changes.

Despite the many challenges ahead, support for Israel will remain a central tenet of being a Conservative and CFI stands ready and resolute to meet the challenges ahead.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: