Mike over at Vox Political has posted another good article, stating that pro-Israel groups should be subjected to a public inquiry after Shai Masot, the senior political officer at the Israeli embassy, was recorded by Al Jazeera TV talking about how he wanted Sir Alan Duncan and other, unnamed MPs, ‘taken down’. Masot made the comments in October last year when he met Maria Strizzolo, an aide to education minister Robert Halfon, and an undercover reporter, referred to as ‘Robin’, in a restaurant.
Halfon is a former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, and ‘Robin’ was posing as a pro-Israel activist, who had set up the meeting to find out how he could help combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The meeting, and Masot’s comments, were recorded as part of an investigation by the Arab news agency.
Masot asked Strizzolo if he could give her some names of MPs that he would liked to have taken down. Strizzolo replied that all MPs had something to hide. Masot then carried on ‘I have some MPs. She knows which MPs I want to take down’, and then mentioned Alan Duncan specifically.
He also discussed Boris Johnson, saying he was ‘basically good’, but then qualifying it by saying ‘He just doesn’t care. He is an idiot… If something real happened it won’t be his fault .. it will be Alan Duncan. Duncan is impossible to rebuff… he has a lot of friends’.
The Israeli embassy issued a statement saying it rejects the comments about Duncan, and claimed they were made by a junior embassy employee who was not an Israeli diplomat. Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador, also apologised and, like the embassy, stated they were unacceptable.
The Foreign Office has stated that they consider the issue closed. The Labour party, however, has rightly demanded an inquiry. Masot has previously admitted that he has set up party political and fake grassroots pro-Israel organisations, like Labour Friends of Israel. Duncan was specifically mentioned as someone the Israelis wanted removed because he has criticised their construction of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.
Mike in his post asks the questions how many other politicians have also been subject to Israeli interference, how Britain can protect against further interference from the Israelis, and whether the pro-Israeli organisations set up by Masot were responsible for the smearing of Labour politicians on false charges of anti-Semitism. Until an inquiry is held and it’s known how far this rot has progressed, it’s unclear whether any of the claims about anti-Semitism, Zionism or Israel have any validity at all.
This issue of Israeli interference in British political affairs deserves an investigation for several reasons. Firstly, the statement that Masot was a junior embassy employee is rubbish. If he’s the senior political officer, then by definition he’s not one of the junior staff. Secondly, the Israelis have been involved in the internal affairs of the Labour party. The anti-Semitism smears were made against Labour members, who were sympathetic to the Palestinians and critical of Israeli colonialism and brutality. Many of those who made the smears were members of Zionist organisations, such as the Labour Friends of Israel. And one of the leaders of these organisations had been a director in the Israeli embassy.
It’s interesting to see the Labour party demand an inquiry, as this could result in some very unpleasant material coming to light for the Blairites. Tony Blair and New Labour were, according to Lobster, financed through the Labour Friends of Israel, and by Israeli business people through connections arranged by Lord Levy and the Israeli embassy.
And the Israeli state in Britain has previous in interfering in strictly internal British affairs. There was, you will recall, a case a few years ago in which the Israelis were caught over here spying on British citizens in Blighty itself. This is quite contrary to accepted international diplomacy, which prohibits friendly countries from spying on each other. This did not, however, result in any punishment for the Israelis, save the metaphorical ‘slap on the wrist’, because they apologised.
This is in stark contrast to their treatment by Maggie Thatcher, when she caught them spying against Brits during her tenure at No. 10. The Israeli spy base was closed, and I think a whole slew of Israeli diplomats came close to being thrown out of the country. But when they were caught again this century, nothing happened. I have a feeling the incident might have occurred when Blair was in power, in which case he probably didn’t want to sour his own personal good relations with his sponsors in the Israeli state.
It’s also possible to contrast the treatment of this Israeli diplomat, who has clearly been caught trying to interfere with the appointment of British MPs, with all the yelling over the other side of the Atlantic about the Russians interfering in internal American politics. The FBI, CIA and the Democrats under Obama have accused Putin of meddling with the conduct of American democracy through leaking details of Hillary Clinton’s corrupt deals with Wall Street. Despite their claims, there’s no real evidence that Putin was behind the leaks, and the former British diplomat, who took custody of the leaked information, has said that it all came from dissatisfied Democrat insiders.
Beyond this, Shrillary and her team have been claiming that Trump is somehow a tool of Putin because one of his staffers also has business dealings with the Russian president. Hence, some of the more hysterical Democrats have demanded that Trump should be tried for treason. Saturday Night Live, the American comedy show, even had a sketch with Putin referring to Trump as ‘the Manchurian candidate’, in other words, an undercover Russian agent ready to his bidding once he gets into power.
Now compare this outrage, whose basis in fact remains extremely tenuous, with the lack of similar concern and anger over the real interference that this interview implies has been exercised by the Israelis. Strizzolo has resigned, but no-one has demanded to know what connection her employer, Halfon, has in this affair, if any, or how many other British politicians and public servants have been keen to do the bidding of the Israelis against other British politicos. The Israelis frequently try to deflect criticism by claiming that they are unfairly singled out for opprobrium, while other regimes equally guilty of human rights violations are allowed to go with minimal criticism. This episode shows that, when it comes to meddling, or allegedly meddling, in the internal affairs of friendly nations, the opposite is true: Israel is treated far more leniently than other countries.
Tags: 'Wall Street', al-Jazeera, Alan Duncan, Anti-Semitism Smears, Barack Obama, BDS Campaign, Boris Johnson, CIA, Colonialism, Conservative Friends of Israel, Democrat Party, Espionage, FBI, Hillary Clinton, Human Rights, Illegal Settlements, Israeli Embassy, Labour Friends of Israel, Labour Party, Lobster, Lord Levy, Margaret Thatcher, Maria Strizzolo, Mark Regev, MPs, Palestine, Putin, Robert Halfon, Saturday Night Live, Shai Masot, tony blair, Vox Political, Wikileaks, Zionism