On Wednesday 3rd March 2021, the Zionist Federation of UK and Ireland (ZF), in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel UK (CFI UK) held its first ever online Lobby Day for Israel, the theme of which was ‘Challenging the UK’s voting record on Israel at the UN.
With over 350 registered delegates, activists came together online for the morning briefing session, during which they heard from Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Sharon Bar-Li, as well as Gregory Lafitte, co-founder and director of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, and Director for UN Affairs of the European Coalition for Israel.
Toward the end of the morning briefing session, the audience heard from keynote speaker, Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Geneva, Switzerland, whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter.
Described as a human rights activist who is “feared and dreaded” by the world’s dictatorships and one who “makes the U.N. tremble”, Hillel addressed the audience, explaining all about the bias in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, and how despite some Western democracies opposing the UNHRC’s standing Agenda item 7 which singles out Israel, including the UK, there are manoeuvrings to target Israel via other Agenda items, making clear the need to keep up the pressure on lobbying our government to continue its fight against this biased targeting of Israel. Hillel also spoke about the UN General Assembly (UNGA), noting that it is was this UN chamber too where Israel continues to be targeted with bias, and how the UK’s voting record on Israel at the UNGA, even as recently as the UNGA Nov-Dec 2020 session, shows just how far the UK has yet to go to ensure that it not only stand against anti-Israel bias at the UN HRC, but across all UN chambers
Ahead of our 2021 Lobby day for Israel, pro-Israel activists were encouraged to sign our partner letter writing campaign which sent a letter on this very subject to their MPs. Hearing from our MPs during the afternoon MP and Peer briefing session, the letter writing campaign clearly had had the desired effect, as despite it being Budget Day in Parliament, every single MP and Peer who had confirmed they would attend did indeed attend, each of them speaking about their support for Israel, about their opposition to the how the UK votes on resolutions which are biased against Israel, as well as actions they had each taken to formalise their opposition, including briefings with the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly.
Statements such as this from Baroness Meta Ramsay:
“I say clearly today that the disproportionate bias against Israel at the UN must end, and our government must do far more to push for it to end“
and this from Steve McCabe MP:
“There are few issues which better demonstrate the double-standards to which Israel is held – and the hostility to which it is subjected – than its treatment at the United Nations”
Most recently, just the day before our Lobby Day during the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office question time session, MP Robert Largan, Conservative MP for High Peak, asked about the UK’s stance on the UNHRC’s biased Agenda Item 7, the only standing agenda item of its type which singles out a specific country.
Click here to watch via Twitter
Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, and Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party recently wrote an op-ed in the Jewish News on the ver subject of the UK’s record at the UN vis a vis Israel, noting that there has been progress by our government, most notably at the UNHRC with regards its Agenda item 7, but that the Palestinian Authority has “since recalibrated its approach and has been working to move anti-Israel resolutions out of this agenda item in a procedural sleight of hand.”
You can read Andrew Bowie’s op-ed by clicking here.
The following MPs and Peers spoke to our audience and we are indeed very grateful they took time out of their busy schedules to come and speak about their support for the Jewish state and their opposition to the UK’s voting record on Israel at the UN: