The LibDems also have a group called LibDem Friends of Palestine and a LibDem Friends of Israel. I imagine LDFI will want to have a word in the ear of LibDem maverick MEP Chris Davies, who has blogged his views on the current conflict...
It is time for Liberal Democrats to call a halt to the attempt to ride two horses and to try not to upset the Israeli lobby. Our support for the Palestinian cause is well enough known amongst those (by no means all!) in the Jewish community who will not countenance criticism of Israel. It is not well enough known amongst the majority who are appalled by Israel´s behaviour.
We should make clear that we will campaign tooth and nail for a viable and independent Palestinian state and will demand an end to deals with an Israeli government that bases its policy approach on a stance that is fundamentally racist.
Well, it's quite clear where he stands, but it's a disgrace that he calls the Israelis racist. You might expect him to be disowned by his leader. At least Ming Campbell had the guts to sack him from his position as leader of the LibDem MEPs when he told a jewish constituent she could wallow in her own filth after she complained he had likened Israel to the Nazis. Nice bloke, eh?
So LDFI has some work lobbying on its quite clear aims and objectives, among which are...
They could start by countering Chris Davies's vile views. But they also have some work to do with their leader, Nick Clegg, if his comments yesterday were anything to go by, when he suggested that there should be an arms embargo on Israel.
1. To influence the Party’s Middle East policy so it places a high priority on Israel’sright to peace and security.
2. To ensure Liberal Democrat parliamentarians are aware of the up-to-date situation in the Middle East.
3. To provide parliamentarians with briefing material for parliamentary debates, questions to Ministers and public appearances.
4. To rebut attacks on Israel in the media, Parliament and the Party.
During an armed conflict like this, views become more polarised than ever. You pick your side, you makes your choice. But whichever side one falls down on, it does not hide the fact that virtually everyone agrees that the only long term solution is for a Palestinian State to be created to co-'exist peacefully alongside an Israeli State. But that cannot happen until both sides agree that the other has a right to exist. And Hamas (nor Hizbollah to the north) will never, ever do that. That's where the real issue lies. How can you negotiate with people whose goal is to destroy you? People often draw analogies with the IRA. The IRA was never out to destroy the British State - they had a cause which, whether you agreed with it or not - was over an issue on which you could - if you were preared to - negotiate. I cannot see how Israel can be expected to sit down to talk with people whose only goal in life is to encourage its destruction.