Former LFI chair Joan Ryan named head of new pro-Israel group
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Former LFI chair Joan Ryan named head of new pro-Israel group

Ex Labour MP will head ELNET's UK office, promoting European ties with Israel, after branches opened in Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Warsaw

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Joan Ryan MP speaking at the LFI lunch
Joan Ryan MP speaking at the LFI lunch

The former Enfield North Labour MP Joan Ryan— and ex-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel — has been named executive director of a pro-Israel organisation new to the UK, ELNET.

An NGO dedicated to European ties with Israel, ELNET UK is the fifth office to open, following its establishment in Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Warsaw. The outgoing chair of the Zionist Federation, Paul Charney, has joined ELNET UK as its new chair, and remains chair of Technion UK.

Joan Ryan, a former government whip and minister in the Home Office, was a Labour MP for 18 years until her opposition to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and his policies on Israel, led her to leave Labour in February 2019 for the short-lived Change party. She stood down from Parliament later that year.

She said: “I am excited to be joining ELNET. As a practitioner in public policy for many years, I fully appreciate the strategic importance of the UKs ties with Israel and am keen to continue working with UKs Jewish community. In the post-COVID and post-Brexit era, the UK and Israel will need each other more than ever.”

Paul Charney added: In the last years, bilateral relations between the two countries have grown deeper and broader than ever before, but we have also faced a rising tide of antisemitism and anti Zionism, which needs to be addressed”.

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