UK Lawyers for Israel
|UK Lawyers for Israel|
|Interest of||Jonathan Turner|
The UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) website describes the organisation as "a voluntary organisation of lawyers who support Israel using their legal skills." In 2019 Hilary Aked termed it "one of the quietest yet most influential Israel lobby actors currently operating in Britain."
In April 2021 Jewish Voice for Labour accused UKLFI and the Board of Deputies of British Jews of altering UK school textbooks on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to favour Israel. An 8-page report, by Professors John Chalcraft and James Dickins, Middle East specialists in History and Politics, and in Arabic, respectively, and members of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), found hundreds of changes to the textbooks – averaging three changes per page. Professor Chalcraft, one of the authors of the report, said:
:“Overwhelmingly, the changes which have been made to these texts add or substitute statements, information and interpretations which favour an Israeli narrative, and remove or replace those that support Palestinian narratives.
- "The overall effect is to make these books dangerously misleading.”
On 2 June 2021, the Middle East Monitor reported that the BBC removed a series of educational videos about Palestine and the origins of the ongoing Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing, following pressure from UKLFI. MEMO asked the BBC if it had referred to any historians, experts and academics prior to taking down material at the behest of the notorious pro-Israel lobby, but there was no response from the broadcaster at the time of publishing.
Companies House records that UKLFI was first registered in in October 2010, originally under the name Action 4 Peace Limited. In September 2016, UKLFI also registered as a charity which has a separate website but most of the same patrons.
These "eminent patrons" include a host of pro-Israel British peers such as Lord Carlile, Baroness Deech, Lord Howard, Lord Pannick, Lady Cosgrove, Lord Trimble and Lord Young of Graffham.
The organisation’s registered address is that of Three Stone Chambers, where Jonathan Turner – UKLFI chief executive and one of its listed directors – works as a commercial barrister. Turner was previously head of the UK Zionist Federation’s legal division.
Other trustees include Harvey Rose and Alan Melkman, respectively a former chair and volunteer with the Zionist Federation; Adam Levin, also a registered trustee of the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society; and Helene Pines Richman, a Conservative Party councillor in Barnet.
Cementing these right wing credentials, Mark Lewis – a UKLFI director until he moved to Israel late last year – was also involved in the relaunch of Herut UK which espouses revisionist Zionist ideas like those of Vladimir Jabotinsky.
UKLFI appears to have – at the very least – an informal working relationship with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
The CEO of UKLFI filed a complaint with Ofcom, alleging "anti-semitism" on the Bristol local radio show, BCFM, hosted by Tony Gosling. If the complaint had been upheld it could have resulted in the station being shut down, but in 2019 it was dismissed.
|Document:What is UK Lawyers for Israel’s relationship to the Israeli government||Article||12 March 2019||Hilary Aked||Israeli diplomat Shai Masot – who worked for the anti-BDS Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs in London – was recorded in Al Jazeera’s 2017 undercover documentary The Lobby saying of groups such as UKLFI: "It’s good to leave those organisations independent. But we help them, actually."|
- ↑ Document:What is UK Lawyers for Israel’s relationship to the Israeli government
- ↑ "Textbooks altered line by line at UK Lawyers for Israel’s behest"
- ↑ "BBC sparks outrage after removing content following pressure from pro-Israel lobby"
- ↑ "What is UK Lawyers for Israel’s relationship to the Israeli government?"
- ↑ "Local radio station cleared after being reported to Ofcom for anti-semitic conspiracy theories"