A former Labour Party strategist will condemn “grotesque” analogies between Israel and apartheid South Africa, as activists mark Israel Apartheid Week across the UK, writes Justin Cohen

Lord Livermore

Lord Livermore

Lord Livermore, a former director of strategy at Downing Street who advised on four General Election campaigns, will also use a debate on increasing understanding of the Middle East speak of the “perverse” situation where so-called progressives oppose the Jewish state.

Highlighting a resurgence of “anti-Zionism bordering on the anti-Semitic” particularly among section of the Left, he will say: “I fear on the Left today what is in jeopardy is not just support for the conduct of Israel but for the concept of Israel. We even see senior figures praising as “friends” those who are committed to the violent destruction of the Jewish homeland.

“Indeed we now have the perverse situation where people who consider themselves to be progressive oppose Israel, in the belief they are standing up for liberal values and human rights. But in doing so side with totalitarian Islamist regimes that abuse human rights and prohibit basic liberties. I believe it is the duty of progressives to stop this slide from opposition to policies of Israel to opposition to the very existence of Israel.”

He will call for the progressive case to be made for a country committed to free practise of religion for all, with a free press and where gay people are not discriminated against – drawing a stark distinction with other parts of the region. “There is nothing progressive about siding with those who oppose the values we strive to represent. There is nothing progressive about seeking to extinguish a beacon of democracy, modernity and pluralism,” he will tell peers.Labour