The first Labour Friends of Israel stall at Labour Party Conference since 2017 has been greeted with an overwhelmingly positive response from delegates on the opening day in Brighton, Jewish News has learned.
Staff on the LFI stand in the Brighton Centre were regularly approached by Labour members on Saturday and told that it was good to see them return.
In 2018 LFI announced they would be conspicuous by their absence at Labour’s annual gathering after revealing young staff members were “put in uncomfortable positions” at the the previous year’s event.
Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership a hostile position towards Israel became the dominant theme among his supporters.
Keir Starmer and Labour general secretary David Evans have both steered the party towards a more conventional two-state solution position in which official policy is to be supportive of the Israeli left as well as for the rights of the Palestinians.
There had been concern that hardcore supporters of the former leader would continue to target LFI at this year’s conference.
But moves to proscribe supporters of organisations that have sought to downplay or deny antisemitism in Labour, while claiming to be pro-Palestinian, appears to have prevented many of the most militant activists from gaining admission to the conference this year.
An LFI source told Jewish News: “It’s fantastic to be back at conference with an LFI stall. The response so far has been overwhelmingly one of warmth, with many members going out of their way to welcome LFI back and expressing support. One day in, but there is a definite and noticeable shift from the toxicity of previous years.”
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