In his speech at the annual Conservative Friends of Israel lunch this week, David Cameron used two examples in his bid to prove the Conservative party is the only friend Israel has in Britain: Labour leader Ed Miliband’s support for the motion to recognise the State of Palestine; and his local councillors’ supposed support for the boycott of Israel. From his tone and language, it was arguably the latter that Cameron believed would have the greater impact on his audience:

Look at what his local council colleagues are doing. Labour Leicester – promoting boycotts of Israeli goods, Labour Brent – supporting a theatre which has banned Jewish films.

Unlike Labour, we in this party oppose boycotts. And let me remind you of what I said to the Knesset:  “Delegitimising the State of Israel is wrong, it is abhorrent – and together we will defeat it”.

(The Prime Minister doesn’t name the Tricycle, but the press reports do. The Jerusalem Post paraphrases Cameron: ‘…in the west London borough of Brent in August, Labor supported the Tricycle theater in banning a Jewish film festival.’)

The connotation is clear: sandwiched between Cameron’s condemnation of Hamas for ‘using civilians to protect its missiles’ and his recollections of a recent trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he ‘saw where bigotry and prejudice can end’ and his contention that ‘one of the reasons the Holocaust was able to happen is because there was no Israel’, the ‘abhorrent’ Labour party-supported boycott represents an existential threat to the Jewish people.

While no public figure has challenged him on the dangerous falsehood that the Tricycle theatre ‘banned Jewish films’, a spokesperson for Miliband was quick to respond, according to the Jewish Chronicle, that ‘Ed and the Labour Party have zero tolerance of those who seek to delegitimise Israel and we continue to vigorously oppose boycotts.’

As Peter Oborne observed in his Telegraph piece on the CFI lunch,

…more than 110 Conservative MPs accepted, along with 14 Cabinet ministers, making around 125 Tory MPs in all, more than one third of the parliamentary party. In addition there were candidates, peers, party donors and others.

No other country (with the possible exception of the United States) could draw so many Right-wing politicians to lunch. Yet it is worth bearing in mind that there is no such organisation as the Conservative Friends of the Palestinians.

Among the 700 attendees were Home Secretary Theresa May, Chief Whip Michael Gove, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Culture Secretary Sajid Javid. Indeed, CFI is growing in adherents and influence and Cameron proudly referred to it in his speech as an ‘amazing organisation, bigger today than I have ever seen it.’

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