Liam Fox MP was the keynote speaker at the first We Believe in Israel conference, May 2011. He was booed by the audience for pointing out that Israeli settlements “are illegal and an obstacle to peace” (what’s a fact to a true believer?). A few months later he was forced to resign from the government as Defence Minister. He had also been keynote speaker at Israel’s Herzliya conference in February 2011. The Herzliya conference is Israel’s major policy conference, with an emphasis on military strategy and with very select foreign speakers. Above, Fox signs copies of his book at the Conservativve Friends of Israel annual reception, 2013
Exchange of letters, councillor and lobbyist
From Councillor Lesley Grahame
Dear Luke Akehurst
I would love to believe in the Israel I grew up believing in, one of inclusive democracy where all were treated fairly. As you say, Israelis has the right to defend themselves, as do Palestinians.
Neither will live in peace until the cycle of violence is broken, and this cannot happen while Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian Territories, expanding illegal settlements and carrying out collective and obscenely disproportionate punishments.
When you can tell me that Israel has stopped these injustices, then I will once again be able to believe in the Israel that as I child I believed could do no wrong.
Thorpe Hamlet Ward Councillor
Green Group City Councillors’ Office 01603 212969
Speaker panel at We Believe in Israel’s Glasgow event last December. Front row: Dermot Kehoe (BICOM), Luke Akehurst (We Believe in Israel), Hasan Afzal (Stand for Peace) back row Raymond Mann (Scottish Friends of Israel), Stanley Lovatt (Hon Consul of Israel in Scotland). Image from WBiI’s Facebook page.
From: We Believe in Israel [mailto:Webelieveinisrael@response.pure360.com]
Sent: Mon 08/04/2013 09:20
To: Cllr Grahame, Lesley
Subject: Reminder – We Believe in Israel mailing list
I am writing to invite you to join the 3,500 people already on the mailing list of We Believe in Israel.
We Believe in Israel is a UK grassroots network of people who believe in the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security. We bring together people who support Israel as a vibrant democratic state, and wish to encourage a just and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbours.
We Believe in Israel was launched to build on the success of the We Believe in Israel conference in London in 2011, which was supported by 26 community organisations and attended by 1500 delegates.
We are a broad-based and inclusive coalition open to anyone, Jewish and non-Jewish, and from across the political spectrum, who subscribes to our core values and objectives.
You can join our mailing list by signing up here: http://eepurl.com/mIh3D or by replying to this email. You can also follow us on Twitter at @webelieveisrael and check out the resources on our website: www.webelieveinisrael.org.uk.
There are also Friends of Israel groups which we work with in all the main political parties, which I can supply you with details of.
We are also exploring the possibility of setting up a Local Government Friends of Israel group.
I look forward to hearing from you.
We Believe in Israel
Note from JfJfP postings:
Luke Akehurst should do his homework. As Lesley Grahame is a JfJfP signatory she is an unlikely recruit for a We Believe in Israel lobby group
Luke Akehurst has been a professional publicist and lobbyist since 2000. He is a Labour councillor for Chatham ward, Hackney. He has been the full-time director of We Believe in Israel, paid for by BICOM, since August 2011.
Petition to overturn the Co-op boycott of four Israeli companiesWBII petition, 2nd item
Liam Fox at BICOM conference First WBiI conference, 2011 4th item
Information about 2011 conference, which Reut said marked the emergence of the pro-Israel lobby in the UK
Ben White UK-based Israel lobby group whitewashes war crimes to protect two-state solution January 2013
We Believe in Israel Conference 2013 As in 2011, this conference is being organised in great secrecy with neither the date nor the venue being made public.
Head of UK Israel lobby initiative: BDS designed to “distress” Jews
“I dare the pro-Israel camp to say what it stands for”