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Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is a parliamentary group founded by the late Conservative MP for Bury and Radcliffe, Michael Fidler and currently chaired by Stuart Polak. The CFI states its main aim is to strengthen business, cultural and political ties between the UK and Israel.

The group's 2005 strategy identified the following areas of activity: supporting Israel, promoting the British Conservative Party, fighting terrorism, combating anti-semitism, and promoting peace in the Middle East.[1] According to their website, "over two thirds" of Conservative MPs were members of Conservative Friends of Israel in 2006.[2] In 2009, at least half of the shadow cabinet were members of the group according to a Dispatches documentary.[3]

In 2005, the Parliamentary Chairman was The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot, M.P., the Parliamentary President was Baroness Shephard of Northwold, Vice Chairmen were John Butterfill and James Clappison, Treasurer Nick Hawkins, Secretary David Amess and Chairman of CFI Europe Timothy Kirkhope.

Their website states the opinion that it is one of the fastest growing political lobby groups in the UK.[4]

According to the Dispatches show, between 2006 and 2009, the CFI funded more than 30 Conservative parliamentary candidates to visit Israel[3] . A Nov 2009 Dispatches documentary claimed that now around 80% of Conservative MPs are members of the CFI[5] and described them as "beyond doubt the most well- connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups".[3].

Contents

Donations

According to a Dispatches documentary, members of the group and their companies have donated over £10 million to the Conservative party between 2001 and 2009. The group called this figure "deeply flawed" saying that they have only donated £30,000 between 2004 and 2009 but that members of the group have undoubtedly made their own donations to the party.[3]

CFI Annual Business Lunch

David Cameron, then newly elected leader of the Conservative Party, addressed the CFI annual Business Lunch on 30 January 2006. As part of his speech, he stated "I am proud not just to be a Conservative, but a Conservative friend of Israel; and I am proud of the key role CFI plays within our Party. Israel is a democracy, a strong and proud democracy, in a region that is, we hope, making its first steps in that direction."[6]

Former Conservative party leaders Iain Duncan Smith[7] and Michael Howard[8] have also addressed the CFI Business Lunch.

See also

References

  1. ^ CFI Informed Magazine, Second Edition, February 2007
  2. ^ Conservative Friends of Israel - About Us
  3. ^ a b c d Black, Ian (16 November 2009). "Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/16/pro-israel-lobby-conservatives-channel4-dispatches. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  4. ^ Conservative Friends of Israel web site
  5. ^ Dispatches: Inside Britain's Israel Lobby. Channel 4 Monday 16th November 2009
  6. ^ CFI Annual Business Lunch, Informed (CFI Briefing), February 3, 2006
  7. ^ Duncan Smith: Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists, Conservatives.com, December 10, 2001
  8. ^ Howard Speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel, at the Savoy Hotel, London, Conservatives.com, December 6, 2004

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Conservative Friends of Israel, abbreviated to CFI, is a British parliamentary group affiliated to the Conservative Party and dedicated to strengthening business, cultural and political ties between the United Kingdom and Israel.

It was founded by the late Conservative MP for Bury and Radcliffe, Michael Fidler. It is currently chaired by Stuart Polak, who, in 2009, was named by Iain Dale and Brian Brivati as the 61st most-influential right-winger in the United Kingdom.[1] The Parliamentary Chairman is James Arbuthnot, the Parliamentary President is Baroness Shephard of Northwold. The Vice Chairmen are John Butterfill and James Clappison, the Secretary is David Amess, the Officers are Alistair Burt, Lee Scott, and Theresa Villiers, and the Chairman of CFI Europe is Timothy Kirkhope.

According to the Channel 4 documentary "Dispatches - Inside Britain's Israel Lobby" around 80% of Conservative MPs are members of the CFI,[2]

Contents

Activities

The group's 2005 strategy identified the following areas of activity: supporting Israel, promoting the British Conservative Party, fighting terrorism, combating anti-semitism, and promoting peace in the Middle East.[3] According to their website, "over two thirds" of Conservative MPs were members of Conservative Friends of Israel in 2006.[4] In 2009, at least half of the shadow cabinet were members of the group according to a Dispatches documentary.[5]

Their website states the opinion that it is one of the fastest growing political lobby groups in the UK.[6] According to the Dispatches show, between 2006 and 2009, the CFI funded more than 30 Conservative parliamentary candidates to visit Israel.[5]

CFI Annual Business Lunch

David Cameron, then newly elected leader of the Conservative Party, addressed the CFI annual Business Lunch on 30 January 2006, whose audience included half of the Conservative Parliamentary Party. As part of his speech, he stated "I am proud not just to be a Conservative, but a Conservative friend of Israel; and I am proud of the key role CFI plays within our Party. Israel is a democracy, a strong and proud democracy, in a region that is, we hope, making its first steps in that direction."[7]

Former Conservative party leaders Iain Duncan Smith[8] and Michael Howard[9] have also addressed the CFI Business Lunch.[dead link]

Donations

The Dispatches documentary claimed members of the group and their companies have donated over £10 million to the Conservative party between 2001 and 2009. The group called this figure "deeply flawed" saying that they have only donated £30,000 between 2004 and 2009 but that members of the group have undoubtedly made their own donations to the party.Dispatches described the CFI as "beyond doubt the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups".[2] [5]

Members of CFI

In alphabetical order, members of Conservative Friends of Israel include:

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Dale, Iain; Brivati, Brian (4 October 2009). "Top 100 most influential Right-wingers: 100-51". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/6256140/Top-100-most-influential-Right-wingers-100-51.html. 
  2. ^ a b Dispatches: Inside Britain's Israel Lobby. Channel 4 Monday 16th November 2009
  3. ^ CFI INFORMED Magazine, Second Edition, Conservative Friends of Israel, February 2007, p. 3, http://web.archive.org/web/20080529161508/http://www.cfoi.co.uk/documents/2007222175419_CFI+Informed+Second+Edition.pdf, retrieved 2008-05-29 
  4. ^ Conservative Friends of Israel - About Us
  5. ^ a b c Black, Ian (16 November 2009). "Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/16/pro-israel-lobby-conservatives-channel4-dispatches. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  6. ^ Conservative Friends of Israel web site
  7. ^ CFI INFORMED Weekly Briefing, Conservative Friends of Israel, 3 February 2006, http://web.archive.org/web/20060525164230/http://www.cfoi.co.uk/Briefings/061+-+03.02.2006+Special+Edition.pdf, retrieved 2006-05-25 
  8. ^ Duncan Smith: Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists, Conservatives.com, December 10, 2001
  9. ^ Howard Speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel, at the Savoy Hotel, London, Conservatives.com, December 6, 2004
  10. ^ "Altrincham and Sale West: Election 2010". Jewish Chronicle. April 29, 2010. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/31178/altrincham-and-sale-west-election-2010. 
  11. ^ "William Hague's Schmooze With The Jewish News". Totally Jewish. 25th March 2010. http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/national/?content_id=13722. 
  12. ^ "Ministers lose seats in the East". East Anglia Daily Times. 7 May, 2010. http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/politics/ministers_lose_seats_in_the_east_1_295385. 
  13. ^ http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/robert_h_halfon/
  14. ^ "Ministers lose seats in the East". East Anglia Daily Times. 7 May, 2010. http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/politics/ministers_lose_seats_in_the_east_1_295385. 
  15. ^ Black, Ian (November 16, 2009). "Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling Tories, film claims". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/16/pro-israel-lobby-conservatives-channel4-dispatches. 
  16. ^ "British MPs furious after Israel President Shimon Peres accuses the English of being anti-semiticRead". Daily Mail. August 1, 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1299415/Israel-President-Shimon-Peres-accuses-English-anti-semitic.html. 
  17. ^ "Ministers "will change" war crimes arrest law". Jewish Chronicle. July 8, 2010. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/34717/ministers-will-change-war-crimes-arrest-law. 

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