Conservative Friends of Israel, abbreviated to CFI, is a British parliamentary group affiliated to the Conservative Party, which is dedicated to strengthening business, cultural and political ties between the United Kingdom and Israel. CFI is an unincorporated association. It also seeks to strengthen ties between the British Conservative Party and the Israeli Likud party. It was founded in 1974 by Conservative MP for Bury and Radcliffe, Michael Fidler. The Parliamentary Chairman is Stephen Crab.
In 1995 Conservative politician Robert Rhodes James called it "the largest organization in Western Europe dedicated to the cause of the people of Israel".
By 2009, according to the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches – Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, around 80% of Conservative MPs were members of the CFI. In 2013, Peter Oborne, the Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator called CFI “by far Britain’s most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group”. The same is true of AIPAC in the US.”
The group's 2005 strategy identified the following areas of activity: supporting Israel, promoting the British Conservative Party, fighting terrorism, combating anti-semitism, and promoting peace in the Middle East. According to their website, "over two thirds" of Conservative MPs were members of Conservative Friends of Israel in 2006. In 2007 the Political Director stated it had over 2000 members and registered supporters. In 2009, at least half of the shadow cabinet were members of the group according to a Dispatches documentary.
Their website states the opinion that it is one of the fastest growing political lobby groups in the UK. According to the Dispatches documentary, between 2006 and 2009 the CFI funded more than 30 Conservative parliamentary candidates to visit Israel.
In 2014, CFI stated that 80% of Conservative MPs were members.
Theresa May (Business)
Last updated: Thu Jun 07 2018 21:49:38
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