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LFI hosts Thornberry on visit to Israel

Her schedule included a series of meetings with senior Israeli Labour Party MKs and a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

    Emily Thornberry visits Yad Vashem with Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Foreign Office Minister, and Joan Ryan, LFI chair (Photo: Labour Friends of Israel/Twitter)
    Emily Thornberry visits Yad Vashem with Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Foreign Office Minister, and Joan Ryan, LFI chair (Photo: Labour Friends of Israel/Twitter)

    Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, has visited Israel and the Palestinian territories on her first official trip to the region since she was appointed to the role.

    Her schedule included a series of meetings with senior Israeli Labour Party MKs and on Thursday she attended a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

    On Sunday Ms Thornberry is expected to visit a kibbutz on the Gaza border. 

    The delegation has been organised by Labour Friends of Israel.

    Her trip also includes a series of events with the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East group on Friday and Saturday.

    Ms Thornberry attracted criticism last week for saying that the centenary of the Balfour Declaration should be “marked” rather than celebrated. 

    Speaking at the Balfour conference in Parliament last Thursday, she revealed that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is, in effect, a Zionist. 

    She said he believed in a two-state solution. If Zionism was the belief in a Jewish state of Israel, she said, then “of course, it’s self-evident” that Mr Corbyn is a Zionist.

    Ahead of her visit to Israel, one source told the JC: “She’s not like Corbyn — she’s willing to listen.”

    The Shadow Foreign Secretary is expected to address LFI’s annual lunch in Westminster later this month. 

    Joan Ryan MP, LFI chair, spoke at the Knesset’s own Balfour centenary conference on Tuesday. 

    She told MKs: “Israel has many friends on both sides of the House of Commons.”

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