Throughout Labour’s 2021 conference, Labour Friends of Israel had a stall exhibit as one of the many exhibitors present. This was in contrast with previous years like 2018, when LFI did not have a stall presence at conference due to security concerns, after the LFI stall becoming “a magnet for conspiracy theorists” which put “young staff members in uncomfortable positions” in 2017.
The shift between 2017 and 2021 was stark. The 2021 LFI stall was greeted with an overwhelmingly positive response from MPs, delegates and party members. Hundreds of people came to the stall over the five-day conference, many of them simply to welcome LFI back and to express their happiness at seeing the stall return. Many Labour members approached to ask LFI about our work, discuss the situation in the Middle East, and how to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict constructively within the party, especially at local CLP meetings. A number of parliamentarians also visited the stall, including shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow defence secretary John Healey, and shadow Middle East minister Wayne David.
An LFI source told Jewish News: “It’s fantastic to be back at conference with an LFI stall. The response so far has been overwhelmingly one of warmth, with many members going out of their way to welcome LFI back and expressing support […] There is a definite and noticeable shift from the toxicity of previous years”.