Conservative and Labour MPs take part in new Israel missions

By Marcus Dysch, October 11, 2012
William Hague in Birmingham

William Hague in Birmingham

The government has “no truck with those who seek to delegitimise Israel”, Foreign Secretary William Hague told activists at the Conservative Party conference this week.

Mr Hague said the government would never waver in its support for peace and security for Israel, and suggested the peace process could be resurrected.

He was speaking to around 400 delegates at a Conservative Friends of Israel fringe meeting at the conference in Birmingham on Tuesday evening.

Mr Hague also pledged that sanctions against Iran would be “intensified, not relaxed” in an effort to halt the country’s nuclear ambitions.

Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to Britain, thanked Mr Hague and Middle East Minister Alistair Burt for their support for Israel.

A CFI delegation flew to Israel on Wednesday, crossing paths with a mission from Labour Friends of Israel, which completed a five-day visit yesterday.

Senior Labour Shadow Cabinet ministers who took part said that Israel’s hi-tech sector provided “important lessons” for Britain. Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna and Shadow Innovation Secretary Liam Byrne led the delegation, the first trip made by LFI’s UK-Israel Economic Dialogue group.

Joining Mr Byrne and Mr Umunna were former Innovation Minister David Lammy, Labour guru Lord Glasman and philanthropist Sir Trevor Chinn.

The delegation met representatives at Google’s Israel offices and heard from Ambassador Matthew Gould about links between the two countries’ technological entrepreneurs.

Mr Umunna said: “We’ve seen at first hand how the Israeli hi-tech sector works, beats and grows and ultimately underpins the Israeli economy. There are important lessons for us, including how we support innovation at the heart of the UK economy, but building on and reflective of the UK’s strengths.”

The group also met business leaders in the West Bank and the new Palestinian city of Rawabi to discuss links being developed by Israeli and Palestinian businesses alongside the Palestinian Authority.

Last updated: 4:45pm, October 11 2012