FOA Call Action over #IsraelEmbassyTapes -UPDATE – Labour and SNP ministers call for Masot's removal

January 8, 2017 /

A shocking revelation has been made that a senior political officer at the UK’s Israeli Embassy, Shai Masot, has talked of bringing down the British Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Duncan.  The Al-Jazeera investigative report clearly shows Masot discussing efforts to “neutralise” and “take down” Mr Duncan. Further, these strategies were being discussed with Maria Strizzolo, former parliamentary assistant to Conservative MP Robert Halfon. Masot spoke of UK MP’s that he would like to take down, naming the Deputy Foreign Minister as being at the top of his list. Masot said,

“He’s doing [sic] a lot of problems”[1]

Alan Duncan, a minister in the Foreign Office, has attempted to uphold the international rule of law and as such has been particularly outspoken on his opposition to illegal Israeli settlements.[2]

Israel has been aggrieved against those trying to stop its expansionist policies and occupation of Palestinian territories. The recent UK support for the UN resolution against settlements was met with disapproval from Israel, who mourned after the resolution was agreed. A statement followed saying that they are:

“disappointed that a friend and ally such as the UK would take a leading role in formulating and promoting this hostile resolution.”[3]

The evidence revealed by Al-Jazeera calls into question the influence of the CFI on the Conservative Party and their complicity in this incident. In contrast, some members of the party including Crispin Blunt and Desmond Swayne have already commented on the incident. Swayne said:

“What we cannot have is Israel acting in the UK with the same impunity it enjoys in Palestine.”[4]

The response from Israel to this violation so far has been to issue a press release from the Israeli Embassy, which stated that:

“The UK has a strong relationship with Israel, and we consider the case closed.” [5]

This statement is particularly telling of Israel’s sense of impunity and self-entitlement, demonstrating that not only do they consider discussion unnecessary, they also presuppose the UK’s lack of desire to examine the issue further. In addition, the officer in question Shai Masot enjoys diplomatic immunity, another indication of the potential for him to walk away unscathed. He has not yet been asked to leave, but the embassy have said that his “term of employment will soon end”. [6]

A representative of a foreign state threatening to ‘take down’ an elected politician must be seen for what it is. A case in point is the recent expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US for their interference in US domestic politics, which should perhaps serve as an example of the bare minimal response to such actions. In this case however, a long history of impunity on Israel’s part suggests that going  beyond the minimal response is necessary for accountability – a full investigation must be carried out to avoid the UK snowballing a reputation as an enabler and apologist for Israel’s occupation.

A foreign country contemplating ousting one of its democratically elected ministers indicates a serious breach of British intelligence. FOA calls upon the government to call for an immediate public inquiry* on this matter and to further assess Israeli influences in British political systems. Additionally, it calls for the suspension of diplomatic immunity from Masot.

 

  • As of the evening of 8th January 2017,  Emily Thornberry, the Labour shadow foreign minister and Alex Salmond, SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesman have called for Shai Masot to be removed from the UK.
  • Emily Thornberry has also called for a full inquiry of the matter which she described as a “national security issue”.

 

[1] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/israels-parliamentary-plot-uk-politicians-170107220710691.html

[2] http://www.alanduncan.org.uk/articles/alan-delivers-speech-on-israeli-settlements

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/28/israel-accuses-britain-secretly-playing-lead-role-un-resolution/

[4] http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/revealed-secret-tapes-expose-israeli-influence-over-uk-conservative-party-662911554

[5] https://twitter.com/yiftahc/status/817876922734678016

[6] https://twitter.com/yiftahc/status/817876922734678016

Updated 9th January 2017