CFI / ZF Lobby Day 2016 Westminster Special
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (I Timothy 2:1-2)
“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. (Exodus 18:21)
Pointers for prayer: As the New Testament teaches in 1Timothy 2:1, let us bring the governments of the world before the Lord and pray specifically regarding how they view the Nation of Israel.
Following the successful Lobby Day at Westminster, please pray that we would see much fruit for all the discussions held with our Members of Parliament. Pray that more UK MPs would come to an understanding of the truth regarding Israel, and pray for those MPs who already support the nation of Israel would be encouraged and strengthened in their stand.
In the midst of continuing troubles within Israel with Israeli’s being threatened with further terrorists attacks from Palestinian Authority controlled Arabs, please remain watchful and constant in your prayers, and continue to pray that the LORD God would place His Wall of Fire around both the Nation of Israel and its people. Pray for encouragement, strength and perseverance for the Israeli people in the face of constant physical and spiritual opposition.
Westminster Lobby Day 2016
[All photographs used in this report are by David Soakell and copyright (C) to davidsoakell.com]
I can remember the very first time I went to Parliament for Lobby Day at Westminster feeling somewhat ‘overawed’ by the whole event. These men and women we vote into power have such an awesome responsibility upon their shoulders – not just before the public, but ultimately before God Himself. The Bible – both the Hebrew Scriptures and The New Testament give us truths regarding our stance towards politics and government. The first truth is that the will of God permeates and supersedes every aspect of life. Is it not God’s ‘will’ that takes precedence over everything and everyone (Matthew 6:33)? What God has purposed, He will bring to pass, and no government can thwart His will, according to Daniel 4:34-35. In fact, it is God who “sets up kings and deposes them” (Daniel 2:21) because “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Daniel 4:17). A clear understanding of this truth will help us to see that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His will. Even though evil men abuse their political power, meaning it for evil, God means it for good, working “all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). There is no doubt that our responsibility to government is to obey the laws and be good citizens (Romans 13:1-2). Paul tells us in Romans 13:1-8 that it is the government’s responsibility to rule in authority over us -hopefully for our good. Where we have a voice and can elect our leaders, we should exercise that right by voting for those whose views most closely parallel to our own, after all, unlike the Palestinian people, here in the UK and in Israel, true democracy reigns. Alas for the Arab Palestinians (and indeed for most of the Middle East apart from Israel), there is no such thing.
Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on 9th January 2005, for a four-year term ending on 9th January 2009. However there has never been any election since 2005. This is partly due to the PA (or the PLO or Fatah – they are all the same) being afraid that Hamas’s chances of winning the elections, especially in what the worlds calls ‘the West Bank’, are very high. Along with this, Hamas is not willing to relinquish control over the Gaza Strip, certainly not to Abbas and the PA, who were expelled from there in 2007. Each party cares only about its own interests, while at the same time lying to the world that it is all Israel’s fault. Hamas continues to invest enormous resources on terrorism such as digging new tunnels in preparation for a new war with Israel; the PA/PLO misuse their enormous amounts of wealth – given by world governments such as the UK – on either building luxurious palaces for themselves, or squander it on other issues and all this is being done with the help of anti-Israel governments around the world, and groups such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose only goal is to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews rather than to help the Palestinians.
[Above: Some of the Lobbyists outside Westminster]
This year, the Lobby and Briefing day – jointly hosted by CFI and ZF – took place on 24th February and as ZF’s Eric Moonman stated, it was “a unique occasion” as we met together and be better informed about how to challenge our concerns and specific issues to the UK government as many of the MP’s lobbied this year were in their first year of being elected. We were really encouraged by the large turnout of supporters – both Christians and Jews. Apart from our CFI UK Office being well represented with Jacob Vince leading the way, along with staff – Robin, Lynda & Steve, and Julia and myself – we also had some of our Area Reps come along. Roy Thurley and Sharn Asbridge travelled from North Wales and North East Wales; Moira Dare-Edwards (CFI’s Essex rep) came with a large group from Brentwood, and Bill & Val Crudgington travelled from Norwich with 30 other people on a coach that been organised especially for the occasion. Many supporters and advocates of Christian Friends of Israel had also travelled the length and breadth of the UK including one chap who journeyed all the way from Glasgow on an overnight bus!
As much of the day was taken up with me having a camera in my hand taking the photos for CFI and passing the microphone around to the audience wanting to ask questions, I left CFI’s Julia Soakell to take the notes throughout the day. Julia writes, “Jointly chairing the meeting with CFI’s Jacob Vince and ZF’s Eric Moonman, the whole day was challenging, enlightening and powerful. Itamar Marcus from Palestinian Media Watch brought a chilling and informative briefing on the current situation within the PA and the demonization of the Jews by the Palestinian leadership, and specifically documented the prevalence of youth sports events and educational establishments being used to create hero worship of Hamas and Fatah terrorists as they have schools and various sporting tournaments named after them. Itamar Marcus highlighted the more recent wave of stabbings, where in one example a family were targeted and the husband and wife were killed, whilst three children were in the back seat of the car. Within weeks the Head of PA Sports and Olympic Committee Chairman Jibril Rajoub was photographed presenting prizes to a Table Tennis Tournament named after the killers.”
Julia continues, “Itamar Marcus also showed evidence of teaching aimed at children saying “our enemy Zion, is Satan with a tail”, and showed that Israel is portrayed as “barbaric” and that Jews target children, and inciting fear that Palestinian children under 18 should not go out without the protection of their parents. Other documentation showed a continuing trend for children in the PA areas to aim to be terrorists, even martyrs including this quote: ‘My life ambition is to reach the level that the martyr fighter Dalal Mugrabi.’ It was interesting to hear Itamar Marcus quote Tony Blair’s old Mantra of ‘Education, Education, Education’ but saying it is good education we want for all in the Middle East and not just clever criminals. All of this of course is fuel for prayer.”
Two other speakers on the morning briefing were Gillian Merron, Vice-President of the Jewish Leadership Council, and Eitan Na’eh, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel.
Gillian Merron [speaking above] is a member of Liberal Judaism’s Board of National Officers and is an active member of the Lincolnshire Jewish Community. Throughout her 13 years in Parliament as MP for Lincoln, Gillian served as a Minister and Senior Government Whip. Experienced at the heart of government, she held office as a Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Cabinet Office, Transport, and as Minister of State for Public Health. Gillian Merron had just flown back from Israel the night before Lobby Day, yet if she had jet lag, she certainly didn’t show any as she enthusiastically spoke on the need to stand with Israel.
With experience spanning economics, politics, press and public diplomacy, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel, Eitan Na’eh [above], regularly engages with various faith groups, political persuasions, and interest groups across the United Kingdom. An experienced career diplomat with a BA in Political Science from Tel Aviv University, Eitan Na’eh has previously served as Ambassador of Israel to Azerbaijan. Without doubt, it was a privilege to listen to the wealth of knowledge he had on Israel and the issues surrounding this, and his charisma certainly shone across all who watched and listened. However, and I hate to pull out anything negative here, but like all the speakers who address the situation of the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Na’eh also mentioned the need for a ‘two-state solution’. On this subject he stated, “We support a Two State Solution. Yes we’re ready for painful compromises, and yes we want a negotiated peace… so that we live in peace side by side.” He added, that Israel has proved “since very early on in our history that we are capable and willing for compromise, even painful compromise, for peace”. Regarding the Arab Palestinians, Na’eh said, “What the Palestinians are willing and not willing to do you’ll have to ask the Palestinians.”
A ‘two-state solution’? This whole issue of a Palestinian State does appear high on many people’s agenda, and most MP’s desire this ‘two-state solution’ of, what would basically be another Islamic Arab State [of Palestine] within the heart land of Israel. One thing I find troublesome regarding this whole issue however is that when I questioned various people over this, they appeared vague as to the history. In recent history the area called ‘Palestine’ included the territories of present day Israel and Jordan. From 1517 to 1917 most of this area remained under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. However, as you probably will be aware, in 1917 Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. In 1922 Britain allocated nearly 80% of Palestine to the creation of Transjordan. Thus, Jordan covers the majority of the land of ‘Palestine’. In other words, Jordan is the Arab portion of Palestine. It was only after the Jews re-inhabited their historic homeland of Judea and Samaria, that the myth of an ‘Arab Palestinian nation’ was created and marketed worldwide.
So what is all this talk of a ‘Two-State Solution’ and giving the Arab Palestinians their ‘land back’? Surely all MPs must know that there is, nor never has been any language known as Palestinian, or any Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. “Palestinians” are Arabs indistinguishable from Arabs throughout the Middle East. Much of the Arab population in this ‘West Bank’ area actually migrated into Israel and Judea and Samaria from the surrounding Arab countries in the past 100 years. The rebirth of Israel was accompanied by economic prosperity for the region. Arabs migrated to this area to find employment and enjoy the higher standard of living. Jews by far were the majority in Jerusalem over the small Arab minority. So how is it that the MPs have swallowed a myth? Even the creator of the modern ‘Palestinians’ in 1964 – PLO terrorist Arafat himself – was not a ‘Palestinian’. He was born in Egypt. The famous ‘Palestinian covenant’ states that Palestinians are “an integral part of the Arab nation” – an area blessed with a sparsely populated land mass 660 times the size of tiny Israel (Judea, Samaria and Gaza included). And all attempts to claim Arab sovereignty over Israel of today, should be seen with their real intention: The destruction of Israel as a Jewish state and the only bulwark of the Judeo-Christian Western civilization in the Middle East. Yet most MP’s only appear to be concerned with the issue of creating another ‘two-state solution’ which in fact will not be any solution at all.
[Above: Some of the Lobbyist listening to MPs state their case]
Another cause I believe needs addressing is that the Palestinian Authority pays convicted murderers in Israeli jails a monthly salary. The money comes from a World Bank budget which receives funding from Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID). This means that British taxpayers’ money is supporting crime and conflict instead of helping to eradicate poverty. John Howell MP has sponsored an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament calling on the Government to stop these payments by the DfID. The reference number of that motion is 1151 and it can be seen on the Parliament website here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/1151 Thus there is now an opportunity to support Israel by writing to your local MP and asking them to sign this EDM, so as to support this call upon the Government.
The various speakers invited at the Lobby day included MPs from most parties. The list included Bob Blackman (Conservative MP for Harrow East); David Burrowes (Conservative MP for Enfield, Southgate); Robert Halfon (Conservative MP for Harlow); Joan Ryan (Labour MP for Enfield North); Louise Ellman (Labour MP for Liverpool, Riverside); Gavin Stollar (Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel); Luciana Berger (Labour MP for Liverpool, Wavertree); Douglas Carswell (UKIP MP for Clacton); Baroness Ruth Deech (Independent Peer); Lord Palmer (Liberal Democrat Peer); Guto Bebb (Conservative MP for Aberconwy); Andrew Percy (Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole) and Ian Austin (Labour MP for Dudley North). In addition to those listed above, there were also speeches by Paul Charney, Chairman of the Zionist Federation; Arieh Miller, Chief Executive of the Zionist Federation, and Jerry Lewis, UK Correspondent for Israel Radio.
Bob Blackman (MP Harrow East) had just returned from the Conservative Friends of Israel Tour of the land the week before Lobby Day and repeated the latest announcement that with the help of Matthew Hancock, the UK will insure that the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign will not be able to use public money for its own ends any longer or distort or stop divestment to Israel. He said that “Israel was a beacon of democracy in the Middle East” and that within the Tory party there was a large lobby of MPs, and within the Labour party a decline in the same apart from the few “very brave individuals”. He spoke on his concerns about the ageing Abbas and that there was no designated successor, for the leader who is now in his 80s and has failing health due to two heart attacks, and worries that Hamas may take the position. Regarding Hamas, and the infrastructure of rebuilt terror tunnels Blackman stated that all threats to Israel are “totally unacceptable”. He went on to state that Gaza suffers through lack of housing, fresh water and food because Hamas are in control of all those areas directly, even after Israel’s government had offered plans for a desalination plant, which Hamas told Israel they did not want, because it was “dirty Jewish money.”
I don’t have space to write all that went on however David Burrows [above], a Christian and MP for 10 years made an interesting statement in that Prime Minister David Cameron was a strong friend of Israel. Robert Halfon – deputy chairman of the Conservative party admitted he was “a frightened person” with the resurgence of extreme Islam in the Middle East, the events of Paris and the revival of anti-Semitism and emerging Russia and what it meant to Israel as well as Syria and Iran. Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside spoke about her concerns that we are not “winning the war on social media and asked people to think about how they make their case and be more active in social media. She stated that as we assess the battle we have on our hands at grass roots, we need to be more active challenging those on such media to use on Twitter or Facebook each day.
Another MP from Liverpool [above], Luciana Berger (Labour) has been the Member of Parliament for Liverpool since 2010. She was appointed Shadow Minister for Public Health on 8 October 2013, before becoming Shadow Minister for Mental Health on 14 September 2015. Luciana Berger first visited Israel at the age of 16 and is now Director of Labour Friends of Israel. She has taken a party of MPs to Israel and showed the complexity of the country and also how small Israel is, and the vantage points of her enemies. She spoke on the current ‘Knife attacks’ by the Palestinians on Jewish Israeli’s and the current situation in Sderot. Stating Labour opposes the BDS movement Luciana Berger went on to say that we must “hold MPs to account” and encourage them to visit the land of Israel. There will be a detailed report on Lobby Day by Julia Soakell in the next edition of the CFI ‘In Touch’ magazine, so do look out for that.
(Middle East Correspondent)
Tweet me @David_CFI
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio