Praise where due

October 11, 2012

This year's conference season did not start well, with a TUC motion calling for a union delegation to Gaza. But as it concludes, supporters of Israel can let out a small sigh of relief.

The three main three parties showed a clear and - in this climate - remarkable level of understanding of the problems faced by Israel, from boycott campaigns to terrorism and the spectre of a nuclear Iran. Witness the packed receptions of the Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel. Beyond the somewhat unreal world of the conferences, however, the Friends organisations are doing excellent work at taking their message to their respective parties.

That is helped by what is plainly an appetite on both sides to learn more. Three leading members of the Shadow Cabinet have just returned from a five-day visit to Israel and the West Bank; and CFI has organised an all-party parliamentary cricket team which has just left Britain to play in Israel - a different way of learning about the country.

The slur that the Israel lobby is lavishly funded is as far removed from reality as every other antisemitic libel: the Conservative, Labour and LibDem Friends of Israel each operate on a shoestring budget. They do important work and deserve support.

Last updated: 5:19pm, October 11 2012