Labour

New Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander's Middle East history

By Jennifer Lipman, January 21, 2011

The chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has said he is looking forward to working with the new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, who was appointed following the resignation of Alan Johnson from the front bench.

Labour leader Ed Miliband appointed Douglas Alexander to replace Yvette Cooper yesterday, moving him from his role as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.

Mr Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, was first elected in 1997 in Tony Blair’s landslide victory.

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Alastair Campbell: what Brits really thought about Netanyahu

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu is an "armour-plated bull****ter" – or so was the view of Britain’s Foreign Office in 1998.

Alastair Campbell, the former Labour party spin doctor, has revealed that this was what “some of the Foreign Office guys” thought of Mr Netanyahu at the time of Tony Blair’s first official visit to Israel in April 1998.

At the time Mr Netanyahu was serving his first term as prime minister of Israel.

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Tory treasurer becomes Lord Fink

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

Stanley Fink has entered the House of Lords

The co-treasurer of the Conservative Party took up his seat as Lord Fink today.

The man described as "the Godfather" of the hedge fund industry, Lord Fink runs hedge fund International Standard Asset Management and was the chief executive of the MAN Group. He has donated more than donated £1.9 million to his party in the last eight years.

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Israel friends change tack and relaunch

By Martin Bright, January 13, 2011

Labour Friends of Israel is to re-invent itself as a membership organisation to argue actively for the two-state solution and develop the "progressive case" for Israel.

The new direction will be outlined at a seminar in March held jointly in Westminster with the New Labour magazine Progress to promote a fresh strategy for Israel's friends within the Labour Party and the trade union movement.

In recent years LFI has found itself increasingly forced into a fire-fighting role against a growing anti-Zionist sentiment in the Labour movement and the wider British left.

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BNP's Nick Griffin in bid for Phil Woolas' Oldham seat

By Jennifer Lipman, December 3, 2010

British National Party leader Nick Griffin has hinted that he may contest the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency in a by-election next year.

The seat is up for grabs because Phil Woolas’ victory last May has been voided after he was found guilty of lying about his Liberal Democrat rival’s views on extremism.

Mr Griffin, currently an MEP for the far-right party, wrote on his Twitter page: "Our local organiser well up for it with me as candidate."
He also described Mr Woolas, an immigration minister under the last government, as a “Labour liar”.

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Phil Woolas: 'I'm out' as he loses Oldham East election challenge

By Jennifer Lipman, December 3, 2010

A by-election will be held in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency after Labour’s former immigration minister Phil Woolas lost a legal challenge to keep his parliamentary seat.

The High Court today rejected Mr Woolas’ attempt to overturn a ruling which found him guilty of lying about a rival and voided the result of the May election which returned him as the constituency’s MP.

The initial result was challenged by the Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins, who lost by just 103 votes.

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Galloway, Corbyn rapped by Ofcom for Press TV Israel programme

By Jennifer Lipman, November 22, 2010

Ofcom has ruled that George Galloway repeatedly breached broadcasting standards on impartiality during a series of Press TV programmes on which he described Israel as “a terrorist gangster state” and a “miscreant, law breaking rogue, war launching, occupying state.”

The media watchdog also found that Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn did not show due impartiality when he appeared on the Iranian-backed channel as a guest on Mr Galloway’s weekly Comment show.

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Oona King, Michael Grade, Stanley Fink to go to House of Lords

By Marcus Dysch and Jennifer Lipman, November 19, 2010

The chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI) and the former chief executive of the Chief Rabbi’s Office are among the more than 50 new members of the House of Lords.

Monroe Palmer, a Liberal Democrat councillor, will be joined as a peer by two Jewish former MPs, Susan Kramer and Oona King.

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Labour MP's son gets ASBO for selling 'legal highs'

By Robyn Rosen, November 12, 2010

Labour MP Louise Ellman’s son Sean has been given an Asbo to stop him selling controversial “legal highs” in his chain of drug accessory stores.

Sean Ellman, 38, has been banned from selling cannabis seeds and products containing the hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine at his Dr Hermans shops.

Mr Ellman is the son of the MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is vice-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel.

He was arrested last month for allegedly selling class A drugs.

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Woolas facing new vote for Islamic extremism smears

By Marcus Dysch and Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

A Labour MP who claimed his Liberal Democrat opponent was involved with Islamic extremists is facing a by-election after a judge found that he knowingly made false accusations.

During the 2010 campaign, shadow immigration minister Phil Woolas, fighting for reelection to his Oldham East seat, accused his opponent of wooing extremist Muslims.

Mr Woolas won the seat with 103 more votes than Elwyn Watkins for the Liberal Democrats.

But a special election court has now ruled that the MP breached election regulations by making false claims and there must now be another poll.

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