160 Supporters of Israel met at 11am to hear Eric Moonman president of the ZF and Geoffrey Smith Director of the Christian Friends of Israel explain procedures for meeting up with their MP on Israel and the right of Self Defence.
After the very recent war in Gaza it was indicated how important that the real facts of engagement be explained, and the need for the International Community to prevent the rearming of Hammas and understand how close Iran are to having their own Nuclear Weapons.
Details were provided by Hagai Merom, current treasurer of the World Jewish Agency and an ex member of the Israeli Parliament; Anthony Julius ( successful Lawyer in the Lipstadt vs Irving case) and Ran Gidor, Political Attache of the Israeli embassy
The need for the present supporters ( about 50% Jewish and 50% Christian) to be far more politically active, especially to educate, not only the local MP, but also the media and the local newspapers, especially on the historical facts, was discussed.
Then we all traipsed to the House of Commons. Here we were joined by more supporters for the afternoon session
We were fortunate to hear from a range of speakers including MPs Louis Ellman( Lab Liverpool Riverside),
Lee Scott (Con Ilford North), Sir Alan Beith( Liberal Democats) and David Burrows
( Con Shadow Minister of Justice). One major message coming across was the problems Israel faced in the debate in the House of Commons where there were 27 anti Israel and 9 pro Israel Speakers.
It seems the Speaker of the House was determined to ensure all the anti Israel Speakers should have their voice heard.
Essential for the future was to arrange that any MP who had never been to Israel to be given the opportunity through either Conservative or Labour Friends of Israel to see the situation for themselves especially in Sderot in the South.
Finally we were again fortunate to hear from Talya Lador Fresher the Deputy Ambassador. She gave the up to date humanitarian position and pleaded that money from Europe and the world go into the correct hands and not for Terrorist means. She believed the war had weakened the radicals but improved the pragmatists.
While we heard from such distinguished people many of us were visiting with our local MPs. In all over 80 MPs were individually contacted and as a result made more aware of the actual position in the Middle East
Written by Michael Reik ZF Council Member.