By Lee Harpin
Stephen Twigg and former Middle East Minister Alistair Burt deliver messages of support for left-wing group who claim British Jews have ‘vital role’ to play in helping resolve Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Former Labour Friends of Israel chair Stephen Twigg has claimed that left-wing Zionist organisation Yachad “reflects the reality” of differing opinion within the Jewish community over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Speaking at the organisation’s Gala Evening at the British Museum, the Liverpool West Derby MP said that Yachad was an “increasingly important player” in Parliament and that it was “critical” to have an organisation that is willing to confront the consequences of Israeli military action.
In a promotional video shown for the first time at Sunday’s event – which aimed to present Yachad as an organisation that represented voices of those who were deeply critical of Israel but wanted to remain connected to the mainstream Jewish community – MP Mr Twigg added: “I welcome Yachad as providing a different perspective, an alternative voice that reflects the reality – because of course within the Jewish community there is a range of opinions.”
Alistair Burt, the former UK Minister of State for the Middle East, also made an appearance in the new video, reiterating his support for a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict based around the Oslo Accords.
But Mr Burt added: “Finding an authentic voice in the British Jewish community to articulate that and making clear that that remains very important to the community here is very important.”
In a statement displayed at the start of the new film, Yachad state they are an organisation who “proudly supports the State of Israel and cares passionately for its future security and prosperity.”
The also suggest “British Jews have a vital role to play” in ending the conflict with the Palestinians.
Also speaking at Sunday’s event was British-Israeli comedy writer Sara Gibbs, who shared her experience fighting antisemitism online and reflected on the rise of populism in the UK and Israel, saying that political leaders “are saying what they think will make them liked, rather than providing a moral compass and leading”.
The Israeli hip-hop star Shaanan Streett of Hadag Nahash, who also performed live on stage and said that as true friends of Israel, diaspora Jews must be honest with the country and criticise government policies that put Israel at risk.
The event raised over £50, 000.
Yachad’s director, Hannah Weisfeld, said: “We are delighted to see such a diverse group of British Jews coming together to celebrate the fight for peace.
“Since 2011 Yachad has been speaking up for British Jews who support Israel, care for its safety and security, and want to see it reaching a long-term peace agreement with the Palestinians.
“We are proud to speak up for our supporters and delighted so many of them joined us to celebrate our achievements.”