Friends of Israel
The Backlash Against Palestine Solidarity
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304 pages / April 2023 / 9781786637659
April 2023 / 9781786637673

Is there such a thing as “the Israel lobby,” and how powerful is it really?

Friends of Israel provides a forensically researched account of the activities of Israel's advocates in Britain, showing how they contribute to maintaining Israeli apartheid. The book traces the history and changing fortunes of key actors within the British Zionist movement in the context of the Israeli government's contemporary efforts to repress a rising tide of solidarity with Palestinians expressed through the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Offering a nuanced and politically relevant account of pro-Israel actors' strategies, tactics, and varying levels of success in key arenas of society, it draws parallels with the similar anti-boycott campaign waged by supporters of the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa.

By demystifying the actors involved in the Zionist movement, the book provides an anti-racist analysis of the pro-Israel lobby which robustly rebuffs anti-Semitic conspiracies. Sensitively and accessibly written, it emphasises the complicity of British actors - both those in government and in civil society. Drawing on a range of sources including interviews with leading pro-Israel activists and Palestinian rights activists, documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests and archival material, Friends of Israel is a much-needed contribution to Israel/Palestine-related scholarship and a useful resource for the Palestine solidarity movement.


Friends of Israel is a meticulous study of the organizations seeking to reverse widening support for the Palestinian cause in Britain. On a topic that is fraught with exaggeration, distortion, and propaganda, Aked proceeds with precision and nuance, giving us a much-needed, authoritative analysis. Grounded in anti-racism, Friends of Israel paints a complex picture of Zionism in Britain, giving readers the tools to oppose both anti-Semitism and Israeli apartheid.”

“This book expertly maps out the key figures supporting and defending the Israeli apartheid regime in Britain whilst also illuminating how the British government remains deeply complicit in the oppression of Palestinians. It is an invaluable addition to the literature and whilst it focuses on pro-Israel actors, Aked explains that Israeli regime and supporters strategies are a direct response to over a century of Palestinian resistance. This book thus not only makes an important academic contribution but also a political one to a struggle that is ultimately for freedom and justice.”

“An essential contribution to anti-imperalist movements, which details the role of top-down civic organisations in manufacturing consent for Zionism in the UK. A book for activists and scholars seeking a deeper understanding of the tactics of imperialism. A must read for those who believe that a free Palestine will be achieved through grassroots anti-racist struggle in solidarity with those fighting to end anti-semitism and all forms of racism.”

“At last, a thoughtful, meticulously-researched study of the well-organised disinformation campaign against Palestinian rights, BDS and for supporting Apartheid Israel in Britain. In a work comprising the multiplicity of aspects of the Israel Lobby work in the British public and political spheres, Hil Aked offers the means for deconstructing Zionist myths, innate in British discourse since the Balfour Declaration, if not before. A must for anyone interested in understanding and countering this oppressive influence.”

“In this compelling analysis and history of Britain's sordid relationship with Israel, we understand the individuals and organisations committed to endless occupation and violence against Palestinians, along with those courageous to imagine a humane alternative.”

“Not only the definitive study of political influence, state propaganda and lobbying by British actors on behalf of 'Brand Israel', but also a passionate defence of the universal application of anti-racist principles. Hil Aked has grasped the indivisibility of the fight against Israeli Apartheid and the fight against antisemitism. A lucid and thoroughly courageous intervention that will stand the test of time.”

“No one who reads Hil Aked's meticulously-researched book can be left in any doubt about how Israel's friends operate to subvert British popular perceptions and the British political process in favour of Zionism. An essential and timely expose of an important and hitherto neglected subject.”

“Those who are supporting Palestine in Britain know too well that they are targeted by a well-oiled and ruthless campaign. This is the first book that examines closely and meticulously this campaign of suppression and silencing. Now more than ever before, it is important to learn how Israeli propaganda and pro-Israel lobbyists in Britain operate. Hil Aked's brilliant book is a must read.”

“This book is as urgent as it is a long-awaited critique of the Zionist movement and all those in government and civil society who support and defend Israeli apartheid, or work to dismiss and vilify solidarity with Palestinians. Hil Aked's is a brave intervention in addressing a topic considered taboo in part due to a concerted effort by pro-Israel advocates to resist, and make dangerous, critical scrutiny. This book deserves to be widely read and will be treasured by all those who support the Palestinian struggle for liberation”

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