LFI back with a bang at packed conference reception

The highlight of LFI’s 2021 Labour conference was the annual reception, which took place on Tuesday night.

  • Turnout for the reception overwhelmed all expectations, with some 500 people attending the two-hour event.
  • Speakers to the capacity crowd included LFI chair Steve McCabe, Dame Louise Ellman, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, shadow Middle East minister Wayne David, and deputy Israeli ambassador Oren Marmorstein.
  • Video addresses were also sent by Labour leader Keir Starmer, leader of the Israeli Labor party and Israeli transport minister Merav Michaeli, and Israeli Labor party international secretary Michal Biran.
  • In her speech, Dame Louise said: “I’ve always been proud to be a Zionist and a member of LFI. And you know, bigots, that’s what they are, tried to tell us there was no place in the Labour party for LFI. They could not be more wrong and they have been defeated.”
  • “I am happy to be home, and I’m pretty emotional to see all of you here tonight”, Dame Louise concluded, to thunderous applause.
  • Steve McCabe made clear that “There’s no contradiction between being a progressive and being a friend of Israel. There’s no contradiction between being a friend of Israel and a friend of the Palestinian people.”
  • “During our 13 years in power, we had a proud record of working with the Jewish community and fighting antisemitism at home”, McCabe continued, pointing to the introduction of Holocaust Memorial Day and the proscription of Hezbollah and Hamas.
  • Welcoming the Abraham Accords, McCabe concluded: “The Israeli and Palestinian people have lived under a cloud of fear, insecurity and violence for too long. They need the prospect of peace, security and freedom which only a two-state solution can offer”.
  • In his video message, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that “under my leadership, Labour unequivocally stands for a negotiated two-state solution: with Israel safe, secure and recognised within its borders, living alongside a democratic and independent Palestinian state”.
  • Congratulating Michaeli on leading her party back into government, Starmer said he “looked forward” to visiting Israel with LFI, and confirmed his opposition to “driving people apart through boycotts”.
  • He also welcomed the diplomatic normalisation between Israel and four Arab nations announced last year, and threw Labour’s “strong support” behind the planned International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
  • Nandy welcomed back Dame Louise and praised her “friends” Dame Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger for challenging the antisemitic abuse they had faced during the Corbyn years.
  • Click here to watch a livestream of the full reception and Keir Starmer’s recorded message.