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Pro-Israel groups fund one-third of Conservative MPs, report reveals

Lobby groups have paid for Tories to visit Israel 187 times, including during Israel's ongoing war on Gaza, according to a Declassified report
Former UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman is a prominent supporter of Israel within the Conservative Party (AFP)

A third of elected politicians in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party have received funding from pro-Israel lobby groups, it has emerged.

Declassified reported on Thursday that 126 of the party’s 344 Members of Parliament (MPs) have accepted funding from pro-Israel lobby groups.

The funds amount to over £430,000 ($547,000) in donations and hospitality. The lobby groups have paid for Conservative MPs to visit Israel on 187 occasions, some of which included trips to the occupied Palestinian territories.

Thirteen of those MPs have visited Israel during its ongoing war on Gaza. In January, six MPs went on a "solidarity visit" hosted by Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The lobby groups include, most prominently, the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), a parliamentary group that claims around 80 percent of Conservative MPs as its members and has paid over £330,000 towards MP visits to Israel. 

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CFI delegations included tours of factories run by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms manufacturer.

In early April, it emerged that the Conservative Party is investigating former Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan after he said it was time to "flush out" senior CFI leaders.

'Actively lobbying'

Duncan has previously accused CFI of "actively lobbying" against him and stopping him from getting the post of Middle East minister in 2016 because of his pro-Palestinian sympathies.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the National Jewish Assembly (NJA) have also funded Conservative MPs.

Communities secretary Michael Gove accepted £3,086 from Aipac to speak at its conference in Washington in 2017, Declassified reported.

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Another MP, Matthew Offord, took £2,799 from JNF UK to travel to Israel twice. The JNF has for years authorised the purchase of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and supported the expansion of illegal settlements.

Since the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on 7 October 2023, the UK’s Conservative government has backed Israel’s siege and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Under former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the government has also tried to censor pro-Palestinian slogans at demonstrations held in the country.

The International Centre for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) submitted a complaint about five senior ministers to the British police on Wednesday, alleging their complicity in war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. 

Israel's war on Gaza has drawn widespread condemnation, and it is the subject of an ongoing genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since October, the vast majority of them women and children.

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