The Tory Party is under fire after it emerged that it accepted six-figure donations from a key lobbyist for the Israeli regime with links to the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Latest records on party donations published by the Electoral Commission yesterday showed that the Tories received two donations totalling Â£100,000 in the last three months from London-based property magnate Poju Zabludowicz.
Mr Zabludowicz is the largest funder and chairman of the British Israel Communication and Research Centre (BICOM), which describes itself as "an independent organisation devoted to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in the UK."
The organisation lobbies on behalf of the Israeli invaders of Palestine, using Mr Zabludowicz to fly journalists to Israel and providing them access to senior governmental figures.
In 2008 the Jerusalem Post listed Mr Zabludowicz as being one of those who "wield the greatest influence on British Jewry."
The billionaire property magnate founded his vast fortune on the success of his father Shlomo's arms company Soltam. On his father's death, he inherited the firm and sold off most of the arms interests, establishing the Tamares Group.
The Tamares Group holds huge property portfolios in Israel and Las Vegas.
An investigation by Channel Four's Dispatches recently revealed that Mr Zabludowicz also owns properties in the highly contentious illegal settlements in the West Bank, including a stake in a Ma'ale Adumim shopping centre.
As well as his largesse in funding the party, Mr Zabludowicz is also reported to have made donations to the Conservative Friends of Israel.
Commenting on the donations, Jewish Socialist Group spokesman Ivor Dembina said: "This comes as no surprise to the growing number of Jews who see the zionist project as a business opportunity for a bunch of land thieves and a bullying exercise for a crew of war criminals."
Jeremy Corbyn MP said he believed the money should be returned by the Tories.
"Given that the illegal settlements are one of the biggest obstacles to the peace process, no political party should be accepting money from anyone with any kind of stake in them."
Palestine Solidarity Campaign campaigns director Sarah Colborne said the fact that the Tories were receiving such funding was deeply worrying.
"The British political system and British government policy need to be working towards peace and justice," she said.
"Anyone who is involved in the supporting or construction and establishment of illegal settlements should not have anything to do with British politics. It is inconceivable that someone going against international law and involved in the commission of war crimes, which the settlements are, should be donating to a British political party."
When the Star contacted Conservative central office to question them about the donation and the potential moral implications, a spokesman said that the donation had been made "in accordance with electoral commission rules."
Asked whether the Conservative Party considered that receiving funds from an individual with interests in the illegal settlements was appropriate, the spokesman invited the Star to submit the question in writing. By time of press, there had been no response.
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