An Israeli Embassy official in the UK, Shai Masot, has been captured on undercover film talking about “taking down” the Deputy Foreign Secretary, Sir Alan Duncan, because he is “doing a lot of problems”. Masot also described the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, as “an idiot” who was a good friend of Israel but “if something real happened…it would be Duncan.”
Masot was also captured on film separately with the Labour MP and member of the Labour Friends of Israel, Joan Ryan, saying that he had obtained “more than £1 million” to pay for sympathetic Labour MPs to visit Israel.
The story has been published on the front page of today’s Mail on Sunday – who also publish full transcripts of the conversations – and is also carried by a number of other major media outlets including the Observer, the Sunday Telegraph and the BBC.
Sir Alan Duncan is a well known critic of Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories and in October 2014 he delivered a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in which he was scathing about the illegal settlements. Duncan said:
“No settlement endorser should be considered fit to stand for election, remain a member of a mainstream political party or sit in a Parliament. How can we accept lawmakers in our country, or any country, when they support lawbreakers in another? They are extremists, and they should be treated as such…Many settlers are state-sponsored militia, defying international law, driving out the rightful inhabitants from their land, and creating an illegal economy at the expense of those who have been cruelly displaced”.
The undercover footage was filmed by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit and is part of a four part documentary called “The Lobby” that is scheduled to be aired on Jan 15-18.
The Israeli Embassy has issued a statement saying that their Ambassador, Mark Regev, has apologized to Sir Alan Duncan and have added that Shai Masot “will be ending his term of employment with the Embassy shortly.”
Back in 2009, Channel Four’s Dispatches series broadcast an episode called “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby” presented by the seasoned journalist, Peter Oborne, in which he looked at how the Israeli lobby operates in the UK. The episode can still be viewed at this link.
Update 1: Maria Strizzolo – the senior civil servant and former aide to Robert Halfon MP (who was himself previously the Political Director at the Conservative Friends of Israel) – has resigned following the release of video footage showing her discussing the “taking down” of Sir Alan Duncan. This is good news for those who are appalled at how Israel is trying to undermine British democracy. However, as Craig Murray has asked: why has the Israeli Embassy official, Shai Mosat, not yet been expelled by the UK government?