Michael Fidler

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Michael M. Fidler (10 February 1916 – 5 September 1989) was a British Conservative Party politician.[1]

Fidler was born in Salford, the fourth child of two Lithuanian Jewish emigres, Louis and Golda Fidler, who ran a hardware shop in Salford. In 1924 Louis, with his brother Harris, established their own waterproof garment factory, H. and L. Fidler and Co. Ltd. Michael Fidler joined the firm in 1932 as a trainee factory manager. He was managing director of H. and L. Fidler Ltd., from 1941; of Michael Lewis Ltd., from 1942; and of Wibye Ltd, from 1968. He held a number of positions in the garment and clothing industry, as a member of the Clothing Advisory Committee of the Board of Trade, 1942-9; and joint chairman of the National Joint Clothing Council of Great Britain, 1953-7; honorary secretary of the British Rainwear Manufacturers Federation, 1941-8, and vice chairman, 1948-63. Michael Fidler was a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews from 1942, its President, 1967-73, and chairman of its foreign affairs committee, 1973-9; and president of the Jewish Representative Council in Manchester, 1966-8. He had a distinguished masonic career and was a Grand Lodge officer from 1968 until his death. His political career began in 1951: elected as an independent councillor for Sedgley Park Ward, Prestwich Borough Council, he became Prestwich's first Jewish mayor in 1957-8, and he held a great many offices in organisations in the Prestwich area. Fidler later joined the Conservative Party and became MP for Bury and Radcliffe, 1970-4. He founded the Conservative Friends of Israel in 1974 and was its director until his death.Sounthampton University[2]

Fidler was Member of Parliament (MP) for Bury and Radcliffe] from 1970 until the October 1974 general election,[1] when he lost his seat to Labour's Frank White.

In the 1974 election, Fidler was targeted by the neo-nazi British Movement.[3][4]

Active in Zionist politics for many years. He was President of the Revisionist General Zionists of Great Britain in the 1980s.

Views and politics

Conservative Friends of Israel... was set up by the right-wing religious Zionist and Conservative politician Michael Fidler. Described by his biographer as having had extreme political views ‘reminiscent of the philosophy of Enoch Powell’, Fidler favoured arming the police and restoring capital punishment, and campaigned to ‘strictly enforce the Immigration Act’.[5] Over 80 MPs joined his Conservative Friends of Israel group in 1974, including Margaret Thatcher, and within a year it had a larger membership than Labour Friends of Israel.[6] By 1978 it was the largest political lobby in Westminster.[7] Fidler, its National Director, was also President of the General Zionist Organisation of Great Britain (GZO), which was established the same year as Conservative Friends of Israel as the British branch of the World Union of General Zionists, a deeply conservative Revisionist Zionist grouping.[8] In Israeli politics it was affiliated with the Liberal Party, which was part of the right-wing coalition led by Menachem Begin which came to power in 1977,[9] beginning a right-ward shift in Israeli politics which has continued largely unabated to this day. British Zionism soon followed suit when in 1980 the Revisionist Zionists ‘swept the board’ in elections to the Zionist Federation.[10]
Funding for Conservative Friends of Israel was raised mainly by Michael Sacher, the man behind BIPAC.[11] Other major donors included the multi-millionaire business tycoons Trevor Chinn, Gerald Ronson and Cyril Stein.[12] Stein, founder of the gambling company Ladbrokes, was also a major supporter of the Jewish National Fund. Whilst the mainstream of British Jewry supported the ‘peace process’ in the 1990s, he funded a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.[13] Trevor Chinn inherited his substantial wealth from his father, who owned the car company Lex Services and was President of the Jewish National Fund of Britain[14] as well as joint vice president of the Joint Palestine Appeal.[15] Like Stein, Chinn was also a major donor to Labour Friends of Israel and both men used their influence there to try and block movements towards peace.[16] Gerald Ronson is a close friend of Chinn’s[17] and the founder of the Community Security Trust, an organisation which exists ostensibly to protect the Jewish community in the UK from anti-Semitic violence, but has been criticised for a lack of transparency and accountability and for including critics of Israel in its operational definition of antisemitism.[18] Ronson also founded its forerunner, the Group Relations Educational Trust, in 1978 with support from Marcus Sieff, the chairman of Marks & Spencer.[19][20]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Alderman, Geoffrey Modern British Jewry Clarendon Press 1992. Oxford page 375 viaInternet Archive
  2. MS 290 Papers of M.M.Fidler
  3. Macklin, Graham Failed Führers: A History of Britain's Extreme Right 2020 Routledge.
  4. Colin Jordan and Britain's Neo-Nazi Movement: Hitler's Echo. 15 December 2016.  Bloomsbury Publishing . ISBN 978-1-4725-0906-2.
  5. Bill Williams, Michael Fidler (1916-1989): A study in leadership. Stockport: R&D Graphics, 1997, p.315.
  6. Bill Williams, Michael Fidler (1916-1989): A study in leadership. Stockport: R&D Graphics, 1997, p.347.
  7. American Jewish Yearbook, 1980. p.199.
  8. Bill Williams, Michael Fidler (1916-1989): A study in leadership. Stockport: R&D Graphics, 1997, pp.361.
  9. ‘Independent Liberals Cut Ties with World Union of General Zionists’, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 16 July 1968.
  10. Bill Williams, Michael Fidler. 1916-1989): A study in leadership. Stockport: R&D Graphics, 1997, p.364.
  11. University of Southampton Library Archive, Papers of M.M.Fidler, 1943-88. MS 290 A1001/93, Michael Sacher letter to Hugh Fraser, 8 January 1982.
  12. University of Southampton Library Archive, Papers of M.M.Fidler, 1943-88. MS 290 A1001/45 Michael Fidler, letter to Peter Thomas, 1 November 1988.
  13. ‘Obituaries: Cyril Stein’, Telegraph.co.uk, 23 February 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/finance-obituaries/8343803/Cyril-Stein.html; Alex Renton, ‘UK link to extremist Israeli groups’, Evening Standard, 26 August 1998, p.2.
  14. ‘President of J.N.F. in Britain Honored at Dinner in London’, Jewish News Archive, 29 October 1963; ‘1 Million Trees to Be Planted in Honor of Prince and Queen of England’, Jewish News Archive, 18 May 1973.
  15. ‘News Brief’, Jewish News Archive, 24 October 1969.
  16. In 1990 Chinn and Stein withdrew their funding from Labour Friends of Israel in protest over the group’s decision to hold a joint meeting with the Middle East Council at the Labour Party conference that October. See ‘Israel's friends make enemies’, The Times, 4 October 1990.
  17. Gerald Ronson and Jeffrey Robinson, Leading from the Front: My Story. Random House, 2009, p.124.
  18. Geoffrey Alderman, ‘Our unrepresentative security, Jewish Chronicle, 18 April 2011.
  19. Gerald Ronson and Jeffrey Robinson, Leading from the Front: My Story. Random House, 2009, p. 245.
  20. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/uks-pro-israel-lobby-in-context/