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198 Candidates Sign Israel Pledge (07/06/2017)

198 general election parliamentary candidates have signed a pledge that condemns boycotts and supports the new definition of anti-Semitism put out by the IHRA

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198 parliamentary candidates from multiple parties have signed a “Pledge for Israel” two days before the General Election.

The candidates hail from more than fifteen different parties from across the political spectrum, with Labour (49), Conservatives (48), Liberal Democrats (36) and UKIP (26) being the parties with the largest representation.

The pledge suggests that pro-Israel activists and organizations had put the pressure on these candidates to support the pledge drafted by the groups We Believe in Israel and the Israel Britain Alliance (IBA).

The pledge reads:

If elected to the United Kingdom Parliament I Pledge…

• To oppose the extremists who challenge Israel ’s right to exist.

• To support the right of people in the United Kingdom to enjoy Israeli culture and promote business, educational, religious and other connections with the Jewish State without fear of discrimination, boycotts, harassment and/or intimidation.

• To support those who genuinely seek to promote and establish a permanent, just and comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours.

• To celebrate the fact that Israel is a free society and parliamentary democracy that extends to all its citizens the right to practice their religion and have access to religious sites in Jerusalem.

• To support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

• To encourage HM Government to promote trade with Israel that will increase investment and jobs for people in both countries.

According to a press release, each of the 198 candidates, “either sent a clear ‘yes’ or a narrative reply which was positive in tone and consistent with the pledge, particularly including a rejection of boycotts.”

The press release notes that this pledge, which was published on June 6th, is not exhaustive list of the candidates who support Israel, and that neither of the pro-Israel groups explicitly endorse any of the candidates.

We Believe in Israel is an Israel advocacy group sponsored by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), while the IBA is a “UK based project of the Zionist Federation UK that celebrates Britain’s relationship with the state of Israel”, according to its website.

Luke Akehurst, the Director of We Believe in Israel, said: “It is great to see cross-party support from a range of parliamentary candidates for these important pledges about Israel, which include commitments to opposing boycotts and supporting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which defines which forms of extreme anti-Israel discourse cross the line into antisemitism.”

Michael McCann, the Director of the Israel Britain Alliance, said: IBA and its partner organisations managed to mobilise thousands of voters, Jewish and non-Jewish to contact their candidates about our Pledge for Israel. This unprecedented grassroots mobilisation means candidates across the UK understand there is public support for Israel and we hope they will reflect this in their contributions and voting in Parliament.”


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