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by: Ben Morris - Last updated: 2006-10-03

Lorna Fitzsimons

Lorna Fitzsimons

Lorna Fitzsimons, former Labour MP for Rochdale has been appointed the chief executive of The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).

A former president of the National Union of Students, 38-year-old Fitzsimons has been a strong supporter of Israel which she has visited on a number of occasions starting in 1989.

Fitzsimons, who is not Jewish, takes over from Daniel Shek, who recently left BICOM to become Israel's ambassador to France.

“I am delighted to announce that Lorna Fitzsimons has agreed to be BICOM’s new CEO. Lorna has consistently been a great friend of Israel," said Poju Zabludowicz, chairman of BICOM. "She has a wealth of campaigning experience. Lorna is an excellent campaigner and I believe that under her leadership BICOM can realise its full potential to create a better understanding of Israel and promote stronger ties between Britain and Israel."

In a statement, Fitzsimons says she looks forward to her new role and in promoting Israel. "

"It is both an honour and a challenge to be appointed as BICOM’s new CEO. Over the last 17 years, since becoming a friend of Israel as a student leader, I have had the pleasure of working with the Jewish community through organisations like Union of Jewish Students, Labour Friends of Israel and many others. I see my new role as an extension of my work, not just as a student leader but also as a parliamentarian."

She added:

"The politics are clear – Israel is at the forefront of a struggle that has a direct impact on us here in the UK. The notion that we can sacrifice Israel and then Israel’s enemies will leave us alone is not credible and is downright dangerous."