Zionism in UKIP: The real story
Support for Zionism from within UKIP will likely continue to grow. But there is no conspiracy theory to be heard
The BNP claim that UKIP has “sold out to the Zionist lobby” should be seen as a clear indication that opinions remain exactly as they always have in the party that was formed in 1982 as a splinter group from the National Front.
Far from having sold out to the Zionist lobby, I can testify that UKIP is a party within which there is an extremely healthy debate on foreign policy and, between the party members and party leaders alike, there is no consensus on a particularly pro-Israel policy.
UKIP's official policy statements, such as one entitled “Out of the EU, into the World” (currently under review), make reasonable claims of support for Israel, in particular: the nation's right to exist, to defend itself proportionately, and a rejection of attempts to sanction Israel by supranational organisations for defending itself.
It is the goal of my organisation, Friends of Israel in UKIP (FOIIU), to take these policies further and make UKIP a party that British Zionists and members of the Jewish community in Britain can be proud to be affiliated with.
And yet, contrary to the BNP's insinuation FOIIU was launched by myself, back when I was a sixth form student in 2010, with no help from any external neocon organisation or remuneration from ‘Zionist paymasters’. In fact, the only funding to get the organisation going was my pocket money.
In the same spirit it was merely helpful volunteers from within the party, from a variety of backgrounds – some religious, some secular, and others with a personal connection to Israel – who helped me to set up the organisation. In fact, I am the only Jewish member of the FOIIU committee.
The liveliness of the debate within UKIP should also counter claims of any Zionist lobby stranglehold. Two years ago, an NEC motion was put forward which came close to shutting down FOIIU on the basis that special interest groups may distract the party from its ultimate goal: Britain's withdrawal from the EU. Fortunately, we managed to win this argument and we would later accept fully the setting up of a Friends of Palestine in Israel group to maintain healthy debate. Sadly, certain members of this latter organisation have made some deplorable statements in recent months.
For years UKIP had to fight off smears that it was a party of the BNP in blazers; if one good thing has come out of these outlandish BNP remarks, it is the fact that the BNP is indicating an attempt to distinguish itself from UKIP – a party it has long since tried to court in order to make an electoral pact.
Any sensible observer will view the claims made by the BNP as nothing more than pure fantasy. Nevertheless, they will provide great nutrition for the conspiracy theorists and social deviants who feed off Nick Griffin's teat.
Meanwhile, support for Zionism from within UKIP will likely continue to grow on the understanding that Britain and Israel are both seeing their right to self-determination and their national sovereignty threatened by external powers.
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