Over 65 Labour Party parliamentarians in the United Kingdom have joined the party's Labour Friends of Israel group, against the background of a moderate revolt against the party's hardline leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to a report in the Jewish Chronicle.
The group is reorganizing and will announce its new slogan – “Labour Friends of Israel: For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace” – at the party convention next week. It will also announce a campaign to back an international fund raising money for co-existence projects aimed at helping Israelis and Palestinians work together.
Labour Friends of Israel, which reach its peak under pro-Israel Prime Ministers Tonly Blair and Gordon Brown, was depleted by Labour's losses in the 2015 election.
Among the leading names who have now agreed to support the group are Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Andy Burnham, the Shadow Home Secretary.
One of its more surprising new supporters is MP Rupa Huq, who told a pro-Palestine group earlier this year that Britain should apologize for helping create the State of Israel.
“1948, that happened under a British government," she was reported as saying. "To my mind, an apology – yes. You could do one. A Labour Government could probably get that through.”
Huq also defended fellow MP Naz Shah, who was suspended by the party earlier this year for making anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook, saying that she "did not write any anti-Semitic tracts."
Many of the MPs agreed to back LFI during the summer as the party endured months of turmoil over allegations of antisemitism.
The tripling of the group's supporters “demonstrates that within the Parliamentary Labour Party there is a solid bloc of members who both support a two-state solution and oppose the effort to delegitimize and demonize the state of Israel," said LFI director Jennifer Gerber.
“With the launch of our campaign next month in support of an international fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace, we are showing the effectiveness of LFI as a force for holding to account the government and helping to engender positive change."
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