Barak offers Brown his backing

By Leon Symons, Brighton, October 1, 2009
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Gordon Brown greets Ehud Barak at the Labour Friends of Israel meeting during the Brighton conference

Gordon Brown greets Ehud Barak at the Labour Friends of Israel meeting during the Brighton conference

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak offered his support to embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a packed Labour Friends of Israel meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Tuesday night.

Mr Barak, who leads Israel’s Labour Party, praised the economic nous of Mr Brown, who was among the 500-plus MPs and conference delegates at the meeting.

He echoed the Prime Minister’s keynote speech earlier in the day by urging Labour supporters to “never give in and keep fighting to victory” in the next election.

Mr Brown reaffirmed his and Labour’s commitment to Israel. He hailed LFI as “one of the most successful campaigning organisations in the country”.

Barak urged Labour to ‘keep fighting’

Mr Barak also used the meeting to stress that Israel has not ruled out military action to scupper Iran’s attempts to mount a nuclear threat.

He said: “It seems much clearer that this great determination to reach nuclear capacity is a major threat. There’s an urgent need to take steps to make clear that this cannot continue.”

Reacting to Mr Brown’s speech, Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis said: “The Prime Minister spoke from the heart this evening about being a lifelong friend of Israel and about the peace process that leads to two states.

“There’s a window of opportunity in the peace process. We have to use this window, otherwise the alternative will be only a return to violence and bloodshed. Let us use the next few weeks to bring together all the leaders and get this peace process going to create security for Israel and justice and a state for the Palestinians.

“I don’t believe there’s ever been a time when the two-state solution was more in Israel’s interests than now.”

    Last updated: 5:18pm, October 1 2009