by Amna El Tawil
It’s the 21st century and we’re used to all sorts of scandals involving politicians. While we’re aware of the fact that they try to manipulate basically everything around them, seeing it on the video is always shocking. That’s why it was disturbing to see the Israeli diplomat discussing his plot.
An Israeli embassy official has been caught on camera in an undercover sting plotting to take down MPs regarded as hostile or not pro-Israeli enough including foreign office minister, Sir Alan Duncan who’s an outspoken supporter of Palestine.
The news was published by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit saying: “The Israeli government is in the midst of a brazen, covert influence campaign in Britain, a six-month undercover investigation by Al Jazeera will reveal.
For half a year, Robin (alias), an undercover reporter, met with members of Britain’s lobby network that enjoys strong support from the Israeli government by way of the Israeli embassy in London.
Robin posed as a graduate activist with strong sympathies towards Israel who was eager to help combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement prominent in Britain.”
At a London brasserie, a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy, Shai Masot, asked Maria Strizzolo, who was then chief of staff to MP Robert Halfon, the deputy chairman of the ruling Conservative Party: “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you take down?” Then, she replies: “Well you know, if you look hard enough I’m sure that there is something that they’re trying to hide.”
Masot continues: “Yeah. I have some MPs.” “[Strizzolo] knows which MPs I want to take down … The Deputy Foreign Minister.”
Shai Masot was referring to Sir Alan Duncan, the foreign office minister who said in 2014 that while he fully supports Israel’s right to exist, he believes settlements on occupied Palestinian land represent an “ever-deepening stain on the face of the globe“. He also likened the situation in Hebron in the occupied West Bank to apartheid.
While advising Robin, Maria Strizzolo explained that she had a strategy to ensure Israel remains at the top of the UK’s foreign policy plan. She said: “If at least you can get a small group of MPs that you know you can always rely on, when there is something coming to parliament and you know you brief them, you say: ‘You don’t have to do anything, we are going to give you the speech, we are going to give you all the information, we are going to do everything for you.”
The entire scandal will be revealed in the form of four-episode series to be aired on Al Jazeera channel and online.
After the news broke out, The Israeli embassy has apologized to UK deputy foreign secretary Sir Alan Duncan for comments made by one of its staff members. The Israeli embassy tweeted a response saying that Masot would be “ending his term shortly”, adding that Mark Regev, ambassador of Israel to the UK, had apologized to Duncan “and made clear that the embassy considered the remarks to be completely unacceptable”.
— Yiftah Curiel (@yiftahc) January 7, 2017