Michael McCann
Michael McCann

Ask your candidates to sign a Pledge for Israel

I was told a great story about the 1997 General Election.

A politician was walking down a street in Lanarkshire when a constituent sternly asked him, if I vote for you will you get me a job?

Not wishing to dash the hopes of the prospective voter he swiftly replied, that if you vote for me I guarantee that I will get you a job!

Well that’s that then, the voter replied, you’ll not be getting my vote.

A frivolous, but true, story and one that demonstrates a politician’s eagerness to please his potential voters at election time.

A manifesto is traditionally seen as a political party’s contract with the people.

But it’s during the heat of election campaigns when politicians are seeking our vote that direct commitments and pledges are made to individual voters.

Whether its taxation, or welfare issues, housing or individual complaints that come to light in either correspondence or the millions of hours of door knocking that will take place between now and June 8, when promises are made they carry a personal bond of trust between voters and their would-be representatives.

That’s why organisations across the country are mobilising their members to champion their causes, whether its poverty in Africa, the British Legion or myriad medical charities seeking to promote their aspirations from now until June 8.

They will all be pressing home their case with the candidates.

You may therefore be surprised to learn that foreign affairs are rarely discussed on the doorstep.

The Israel Britain Alliance (IBA) thinks that’s wrong.

Because often we only find out what our MP thinks about certain issues AFTER they are elected.

And sometimes we get a surprise that our local MP, elected in one of the most advanced and successful democracies in the world, has a proclivity to support those who do not aspire to the same standards.

That’s why the Israel Britain Alliance (IBA) has launched its Pledge for Israel campaign.

We are asking every candidate, in every seat, in every part of the United Kingdom to confirm that they will oppose the extremists that challenge Israel’s right to exist.

We will ask that they support those that genuinely seek peace, that they will support enhanced trade opportunities between our two countries, oppose de-legitimisation campaigns, celebrate democracy and religious freedom and verify their support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.

Of course, they may not provide the answer we like but at least then we will be in a better position to make a more informed choice at the ballot box.

What I’ve have learned in the last year working at the IBA is that there are people in every part of the UK who support and cherish Israel.

People who have faith and people who hold no spiritual views.

They recognise the challenges that this tiny nation on the south-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea has overcome, the threats that it still faces but you know they also still hold out hope for peace too.

We’ll only create an environment for peace with balanced, sensible and productive debate.

To achieve that we need balanced and sensible MPs!

So I ask you to join our campaign and ask the candidates in your constituency to sign A PLEDGE FOR ISRAEL.


About the Author
Michael McCann is a former Labour MP and is now Director, Israel Britain Alliance
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