Ed Miliband has warned Israel supporters that the Islamist terrorist group rampaging through Iraq this week now poses one of the biggest risks to the Middle East.
It comes after several days of stunning gains by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has emerged as the world’s most potent terror group, having formed only three years ago from the civil war in Syria.
Addressing Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), Miliband said ISIS was “a violent and brutal group posing a threat to the entire region, as we have seen in a horrifying way in the last few days”.
The Labour leader also assured delegates of his commitment to the Jewish state, saying: “The promise I want to make to you is about the priority the next Labour government will attach to its relationship with Israel.”
During a wide-ranging speech, in which he reflected on his recent visit to Israel, Miliband also reaffirmed his belief in a two-state solution.
“Some say support for the two-state solution should be abandoned,” he said. “I don’t agree. I think we should step up, not abandon, our support.”
On settlement-building, Miliband was clear, saying that this was “a significant threat to a negotiated agreement” and adding that it may “make the viability of a two-state solution more challenging”.
Turning his attention to Iran, Miliband said: “It is absolutely right that we remain deeply sceptical about the nature of the regime.”
However, as the US and UK opened talks with Iran over the crisis in Iraq, Miliband said he “supports the government’s decision to reopen the embassy [in Iran] as a means of engagement”.
As he spoke, there was some bad news for the man hoping to win the keys to Downing Street next year. An ICM poll showed satisfaction ratings at their lowest level to-date, with 61% reporting negative views of Miliband’s performance.