In 2013, Peter Oborne, the Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator called the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), “by far Britain’s most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group”. It was estimated then that more than 80% of Conservative MPs were CFI members. The same applies today.
CFI’s sister lobby in the US is AIPAC, aka the American Israel Zionist Committee, an organization for the promotion of the U.S.-Israel alliance. It has been called ‘one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States’. Its critics have stated that it acts as an agent of the Israeli government with a “stranglehold” on the United States Congress with its power and influence. The group is strongly allied with the Likud party of Israel, and the Republican Party in the US.
This week, the influence of the CFI lobby in Westminster has been highlighted by the uncovering of the illegitimate activity of the UK Secretary of State for International Development who allegedly attended twelve unauthorised meetings with high-profile, Israeli politicians – apparently arranged and accompanied by a former chief fundraiser for the CFI lobby in London (who was previously ennobled by David Cameron).
All these meetings were apparently undisclosed to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Office even though one of the alleged conferences was with Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu who himself concealed such information from Theresa May during his visit to Downing Street last week.
It would appear that the CFI is now the most powerful lobbying group in Parliament with both overt and covert links to the various Ministries of the UK Government including not only International Development but also that of International Trade, Defence, Home and Foreign Offices, i.e. virtually the whole of the Administration.
There is an ever growing suspicion that the affairs of Parliament, including legislation, are being subverted by unelected lobbyists acting for a foreign state that are not in Britain’s national interest or security. (The Minister for International Development is, herself, a former vice-chairman of the CFI lobby group).
The solution to this very real threat to democratic government must be to enact legislation to declare all lobbyists acting for a foreign state as ‘foreign agents’ whose activities and access to elected politicians should be restricted, and documented, in the national interest.
The status of an undeclared nuclear weapon state that is not a party to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the internationally agreed Chemical or Biological Weapons Conventions (CWC/BWC), and is not a NATO or EU member, could very easily change at any time in the future, from ‘friendly’ to adversarial.
Note: Binyamin Netanyahu is not expected to survive the current corruption investigations against both himself and his wife, and the next Israeli government is widely expected to try to forcibly annex the Occupied Territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. In which scenario, the Israeli state would be in serious conflict with not only the UK but also the UN, the EU and the rest of the international community – with the possible exception only of the Trump administration).