Labour In Turmoil Over Gaza

Labour Friends of Israel

More than a quarter of the Labour Party’s MPs voted in favour of a motion calling for an immediate cease-fire on Wednesday in the House of Commons. MPs were instructed not to vote for a Scottish National Party motion on threat of being fired for disobeying the party leadership.

Two shadow cabinet members have also resigned, and eight Labour frontbenchers, including Jess Phillips, have either resigned or been sacked after voting for the motion. 56 MPs defied Starmer, causing a crisis for the ‘leader’.

Starmer’s party is reliant on second and third-generation immigrants for much of their support. In the north of England, many of the working-class seats that it needs to win in the coming general election have large Muslim populations. These votes, which in the past they were almost guaranteed to mop up, are now in doubt.

What is also revealing is the extent to which a pro-Israel lobby group has funded the shadow cabinet, including Starmer himself. Party leader Keir Starmer, his deputy Angela Rayner, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, and even Lisa Nandy, former vice chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and now shadow international development minister, are among the recipients.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is currently a parliamentary vice chair of the LFI, along with shadow secretary of State for Health and Social Care Wes Streeting and shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry.

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), is a pro-Israel lobby group that takes MPs on “fact-finding” expeditions to the region who, along with Sir Trevor Chinn, a multi-millionaire business mogul and long-time pro-Israel lobbyist, paid for these junkets.

Although the LFI does not divulge its donors, it was discovered in 2017 that it maintains close ties with the Israeli embassy in London. During an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera, a Qatari state-owned media organisation, the parliamentary officer of the group acknowledged on camera that although there is a lot of work done behind the scenes, LFI and the Israeli embassy “work really closely together.”

Since 2002, it has been revealed that the LFI has contributed over £150,000 towards such activities. Between 2001 and 2009, LFI took more Labour MPs on trips abroad than any other lobby group.

British multi-millionaire Sir Trevor Chinn has worked for decades in the automotive sector, serving as chairman of Kwikfit, the RAC, and the AA.

Chinn is also a longstanding pro-Israel lobbyist. Since the 1980s, he has funded LFI and the Conservative Friends of Israel and played a leading role in groups such as the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) and the Jewish Leadership Council.

During his 2020 Labour leadership campaign, Chinn gave Starmer a donation of £50,000, which he neglected to disclose until after he had won the election.

Chinn has donated nearly £200,000 to Starmer and his shadow cabinet members. Reeves thanked Chinn for “your friendship and your invaluable support to Keir and our party” at the 2022 LFI annual luncheon.


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