Al Jazeera are to be congratulated on an undercover investigation exposing something most of us could probably have guessed: that some Israeli embassy staff in the UK – let’s not pussy around, Mossad agents – are working with senior political activists and politicians in the Conservative and Labour parties to subvert their own parties from within, and skew British foreign policy so that it benefits Israeli, rather than British, interests.
One cannot really blame Israel for doing this. Most states promote their interests as best they can. But one can and should expose and shame the British politicians who are collaborating with Israel in further harming Britain’s representative democracy.
It is not as though these people cannot be easily identified. They even advertise what they are up to. They are members of the Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel. They dominate both parliamentary parties, but especially the Conservatives. According to the CFI’s figures, fully 80 per cent of Tory MPs belong to the party’s Friends of Israel group.
Once, no one would have hesitated to call British politicians acting in the interests of a foreign power, and very possibly taking financial benefits for doing so, “traitors”. And yet, as Al Jazeera’s secretly filmed footage shows, Israeli spies like Shai Masot can readily meet and conspire with a Tory minister’s much-trusted aide to discuss how best to “take down” the deputy foreign minister, Alan Duncan, over his criticisms of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories. Maria Strizzolo, education minister Robert Halfon’s assistant, suggests engineering a “little scandal” to damage Duncan.
Masot and Israel’s intelligence services cannot infuence British foreign policy through the opposition Labour party, but that doesn’t prevent them from also taking a keen interest in Labour MPs. Masot is filmed talking to Labour Friends of Israel’s chair, Joan Ryan, about “lots of money” – more than £1 million – he has received from the Israeli government to send yet another batch of Labour MPs on an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, where they will be wined and dined, and primed by top officials to adopt even more extreme pro-Israel positions. LFI is known for sending the largest proportion of MPs to Israel on these kinds of trips.
Does that have an effect on British domestic politics. You bet it does! Israel isn’t a charity.