Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Chipping Barnet, Dan Tomlinson, has written the below article about our recent LFI delegation to Israel and Palestine for the Jewish Chronicle. Click here to read the original.
Last week, I had pleasure of joining Labour Friends of Israel’s largest ever delegation of parliamentary candidates to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Our group included Dame Louise Ellman, who re-joined the Labour last year after she left the party under Jeremy Corbyn over the party’s failure to tackle antisemitism. Her return signifies the progress Labour has made in re-building ties with the Jewish community and returning to our historic position as a friend of Israel and honest broker on the Middle East.
I know how important Israel is for many in Barnet, I felt fortunate to visit and I am clear that I will be steadfast in my support for a Jewish homeland in Israel.
As we travelled around Israel, we were constantly reminded of the scale of the country’s achievements over the past eight decades: the Middle East’s only democracy, vibrant civic society, a strong welfare state, and a thriving economy.
Britain can learn so much from Israel, its entrepreneurial spirit and technological innovations are unique, and Labour should take inspiration as we seek to rebuild the country through mission-led government.
There is perhaps no more potent reminder why support for the State of Israel is so important than visiting Yad Vashem. Standing in the Hall of Names was an experience like no other and I felt honoured to participate in a deeply moving remembrance ceremony to remember the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust.
The world’s only Jewish state remains the ultimate haven for Jews across the globe; the need for peace and security is paramount. We visited the beautiful kibbutz Kfar Aza and met residents who explained what life is like living under the constant threat of rocket fire and border incursions.
We also travelled to Ramallah, in the West Bank and met Palestinians from civil society and those living in Al-Amari refugee camp where we witnessed the harsh realities of everyday life.
The need for a negotiated two-state solution with a democratic and independent Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel could not be clearer. It was incredibly heartening to meet both Israelis and Palestinians who remain optimistic, and work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Visiting Israel with LFI will be an experience that will always remain with me; I will continue to be a strong supporter of the state of Israel, work towards peace and fight antisemitism wherever it rears its head.