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Labour Friends of Israel honorary president Joan Ryan announces she will stand down at next election

Ms Ryan, who left Labour in February after more than 40 years as a member, is praised as a 'true ally of the Jewish community'

    Joan Ryan
    Joan Ryan (Photo: Parliament/Chris McAndrew)

    Former Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan, who quit her party over antisemitism, has announced that she will stand down at the next election.

    In a message on Twitter, Ms Ryan, said that when she stood for re-election in 2017 she “always intended to serve one more term in Parliament", adding it had been "a huge privilege and honour to serve".

    “We do not yet know when the General Election will come, but I will continue to work hard for Enfield until a new MP has been elected.”

    Ms Ryan left Labour in February, describing the party as now being “institutionally antisemitic” and agreeing with British Jews who felt that “a Corbyn government would be… an existential threat to the community.”

    A former vice-chair of Labour, she has also served as vice president of the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group.

    When she resigned from Labour, she also stood down from her role as LFI chair, becoming the organisation’s honorary president instead, a role in which she will continue after ceasing to be an MP.

    Ms Ryan was a key target of The Lobby, the Al Jazeera undercover documentary broadcast in 2017, which used isolated incidents filmed by an undercover reporter to suggest the pro-Israel movement wielded huge influence over British politics.

    When Ms Ryan, who is not Jewish, quit the party in February, she received antisemitic death threats, including an unstamped handwritten note to her Commons office calling her a “****-sucking, Jewish c*** who defected to  Israel” and saying she should be "raped and set on fire”.

    Another letter sent to her constituency office in Enfield North said: “Stop telling lies about Jeremy Corbyn – he is a decent man, you lying Jew whore. You need to be shoved right back in the ovens.”

    In March, Ms Ryan received a standing ovation at the Aipac conference in Washington DC, where she told the audience: “Over the past four years Labour of which I’ve been a member for 40 years has been transformed.

    "Once a close friend of Israel and an unwavering ally of British Jews it has been taken over by the far left.

    “It is now – despite the best efforts of some decent members riddled with antisemitism.

    “It seeks to demonise and delegitimise Israel. And now it’s led by a man who proudly declares Hames and Hezbollah to be his friends.”

    Before she quit Labour, her local party in Enfield North passed a motion of no confidence motion against her by just two votes.

    Jennifer Gerber, director of LFI, said it was “an enormous privilege to work with Joan over the past four years".

    She added: “In parliament, she has been a true friend of Israel and ally of the Jewish community, and has bravely and unstintingly fought the antisemitism crisis over which Jeremy Corbyn has presided.

    "We're delighted that she will be continuing to work with LFI as our honorary president in the months and years ahead."

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