By Joan Ryan, MP & chair – Labour Friends of Israel
Last week in Brighton, over 500 people attended Labour Friends of Israel’s annual Labour party conference reception.
It was one of the biggest meetings at the conference, demonstrating the level and breadth of support that LFI continues to receive within the Labour party.
One story, of course, has dominated coverage of the event – Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to say the word ‘Israel’, or speak about a two-state solution, when he addressed the event.
I am as disappointed as many others that Jeremy failed to seize this opportunity to allay the understandable concerns which many have about his commitment to the state of Israel.
Jeremy has a long history of support for the Palestinian people and I do not doubt that it is well-meaning.
But I have never believed that a commitment to the right of the Palestinian people to their own state, of which I am a strong supporter, is somehow in conflict with a passionate belief in the right of the Jewish people to their own state.
In fact, quite the reverse: the only path to a durable two-state solution lies in a recognition of the rights to self-determination of both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.
I do not expect Jeremy to become an ardent Zionist, but, respectfully, I do expect him to acknowledge this fundamental truth.
I know that some people will now suggest that my call last month for a frank and open dialogue with Jeremy is pointless or naive. I believe that would be a huge mistake: LFI will continue, politely but firmly, to make our case to the Labour leadership and to all who are willing to engage with us.
We will do so not just because we have confidence in our case and because we believe it to be a moral imperative.