"Friends of Israel" dominate UK politics across the spectrumThe recent non-binding vote by the British House of Commons recognizing Palestinian statehood in a 274 to 12 vote was only a Pyrrhic victory for those opposed to Israel's attempt to annex the West Bank and obliterate Gaza. Half the members of the Commons, most of them Conservatives, were absent for the vote. The 270 members who voted for the bill, which Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would not implement by officially recognizing Palestinian statehood and establishing an embassy in Ramallah, largely represented the Labor and Liberal Democratic parties.
However, as WMR recently learned at the New Horizon conference in Tehran, all four major British parties -- the Conservatives, Labor, Liberal Democrats, and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) -- all have "Friends of Israel" caucuses. Although the UKIP is currently only represented in the Commons by one member -- Douglas Carswell -- before he switched from the Tories to the UKIP, he was a leading member of the Conservative's "Friends of Israel" caucus. With more UKIP members seen being elected to the Commons, it is certain that Carswell will be the catalyst to bring as many UKIP members as possible under the UKIP Friends of Israel umbrella. Ironically, the UKIP's bloc of Euro-skeptics in the European Parliament was saved as an entity by Robert Iwaszkiewicz, from Poland’s far-right KNP party. Iwaszkiewicz has publicly defended Adolf Hitler and doubts much of what has been reported about the Holocaust.
Some 80 percent of all MPs are members of either the Conservative, Labor, or Liberal Democratic Friends of Israel caucuses with the Conservative Party's Friends of Israel being the largest political group in Western Europe advocating for Israel.
UKIP's new ally, Polish MEP Iwaszkiewicz, causing heartburn for the UKIP's "Friends of Israel" caucus.
Labor Party and Opposition leader Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, has what is known as the "J Team" advising him on foreign policy. There is only one requirement to serve on the "J Team" and it is that members must be pro-Israeli Jews. But it is not because Miliband is Jewish that he has a "J Team." In fact, Prime Minister Cameron and then-Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major all had their own "J Teams" and none of these prime ministers were Jewish.
As far as senior Cabinet positions, the "Friends of Israel" in each major political party insist that major government posts go to their members. For the current Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition government, current and former Tory Friends of Israel Cabinet members include Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Leader of the House of Commons and former Foreign Secretary William Hague, Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, former Defense Secretary Liam Fox, former Foreign Secretary and current Chairman of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee Malcolm Rifkind, Secretary for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith, and Home Secretary Theresa May.
As in the United States with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the UK has its own Jewish-Zionist pressure organization that ensure fealty by Britain's elected leaders to the Israeli and Zionist causes. These groups are the Zionist Federation, which has been lobbying for increased British sanctions against Iran; the Jewish Leadership Council, which has been working to water down British human rights legislation that could subject Israeli leaders to arrest on British soil; the Community Security Trust, which works closely with British law enforcement and intelligence and liaises with Mossad to monitor "threats" against Britain's Jewish community; and the British-Israeli Communications and Research Center (BICOM), which lobbies and pressures journalists and editors to ensure that a constant flow of pro-Israeli propaganda is featured in and promoted by the British news media.
Left-to-right: Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labor Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls [who doesn't seem to have any when it comes to standing up to Israel], and William Hague.
There are no "Friends of Israel" caucuses within the regional nationalist parties. One of the reasons Britain's Jewish community rallied against the Scottish independence referendum sponsored by Scotland's Scottish National Party (SNP) government and First Minister Alex Salmond is that there has not and will never likely be an SNP "Friends of Israel" caucus. The SNP, which understands the yearning of Scots to be free, also appreciates the same desire among Palestinians. The following is what SNP MP Stewart Hosie said about his yes vote in Parliament for the recognition of Palestine:"Over twenty years ago the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and Palestine paving the way for recognition of Palestine and laying out agreements between the two countries.
“20 years later however, we have: a Separation wall – which cuts deep into the West Bank; blockades of the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air and mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food price rises caused by shortages which have left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid.
“And most recently, this year, we have seen Operation Protective Edge - seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket attacks, and ground fighting killing more than 2,200 people, the vast majority of them Gazans."Hosie was joined in voting for Palestine recognition by all the SNP Members of Parliament: Angus MacNeil, Angus Robertson, Eilidh Whiteford, Michael Weir, and Peter Wishart. The unanimity was the result of the lack of a pro-Israel pressure group within the SNP's ranks. The SNP's unanimity on Palestine was shared by their colleagues from the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru in Parliament. All three Plaid Cymru MPs -- Jonathan Edwards, Elfyn Llwyd, and Hywel Williams -- voted to recognize Palestine.
All of the MPs from the Northern Ireland largely Protestant Democratic Union Party -- Nigel Dodds, William McCrea, Ian Paisley, Jim Shannon and David Simpson -- voted against recognizing Palestine. Earlier this year, a DUP "Friends of Israel" caucus was formed in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly of Stormont in Belfast with the help of DUP First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy Israeli ambassador in London Eitan Na'eh. However, the sole Northern Ireland MP representing the more liberal Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Naomi Long, who ousted Robinson from his seat in Westminster, voted for Palestine recognition. The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, which has members in Westminster, Stormont, and the Irish Republic's Dail, has no "Friends of Israel" caucus. However, it does sponsor "Friends of Palestine" chapters in Northern Ireland and the republic.
Mebyon Kernow, which is campaigning for a Cornish Assembly, devolution from London, and autonomy for the English-imposed "Duchy of Cornwall" contrivance, has not adopted a foreign policy plank because its emphasis is currently on regional policies. However, some of its members have expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause. If the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Alliance Party, and Sinn Fein are any indication, there will likely not be a Cornish "Friends of Israel" caucus.
The Celtic nationalist parties' opposition to Israel has earned them the wrath of Jewish pressure groups in Britain and Israel, which haul out the usual worn-out canard that they are "anti-Semitic."