Record lobby day for Zionists

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

Politicians from across the spectrum have shown their support for a change in the current universal jurisdiction laws at a Zionist lobby of Parliament on Wednesday.

More than 200 people attended the lobby day, the biggest ever organised by the Zionist Federation and Christian Friends of Israel.

MPs spoke about Iranian nuclear weapons, university hate preaching, prospects for the BNP in the next election and perceived anti-Israel bias in the British media.

A widely discussed topic was views on changing legislation to allow the Attorney General, rather than magistrates, to decide if arrest warrants for politicians accused of war crimes are to be granted, after opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit last month for fear of being arrested.

Alan Beith MP, president of the LibDem Friends of Israel, said: “My own individual view is that it’s a bad situation when an individual coming into the country can run the risk of arrest. I’d be quite happy if the government went down the route of the Attorney General making the decision.

“My party hasn’t made a decision about it yet but I’ve spoken to senior colleagues who have the same view.”

Conservative MP Lee Scott, said: “Tzipi Livni should not have been stopped from coming to Britain. The law needs changing. She is a politician who has done no more than defend her country. The quicker the government gets on and does it, the better.”

He added that those banned from Britain should be hate preachers.

He said: “I believe we have a problem where students are coming to Britain and abusing our hospitality and the government needs to stop that. We need more work at universities to stop allowing preachers of hatred into our universities. Those are the people who should be banned from entering Britain.”

Labour’s Andrew Dismore emphasised the importance of universal jurisdiction so that international criminals did not used Britain as a “haven” but also supported reforms, adding: “It shouldn’t be used to score cheap political points.”

Labour MP Louise Ellman said that the labelling of goods from the West Bank being used as a ploy to boycott Israeli goods is a major concern.

Other politicians at the lobby included Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, who urged constituents to write to Ofcom to complain about anti-Israel bias in the media; and David Burrowes, Shadow Minister for Justice, who criticised the government for abstaining over the Goldstone Report.

Last updated: 3:54pm, January 21 2010