Media Release: Public enquiry needed into Israeli embassy black-ops
Sunday 8th January 2017
[Image left: Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev meeting with SNP MPs at Westminster, October 2016]
Israeli government efforts to 'neutralise' and 'take down' critics have been revealed thanks to an al Jazeera undercover investigation. Shai Masot, a sernior Israeli Embassy official, is a former major in the Israeli navy and works for Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, set up by Netanyahu to conduct a secret war against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) spokesman Mick Napier said:
"The British government joined in the outrage at possible Russian efforts to influence domestic US politics. Now, thanks to exemplary investigative journalism, a British civil servant is exposed as part of the Israeli Embassy's lavishly funded effort to 'take down' British political figures who criticise Israel. The secretly filmed video shows an Israeli intelligence effort involving British pro-Israel politicians that is both ambitious and very broad in scope, utilising dirty tricks and creating scandals in order to protect Israel."
The video released yesterday shows Masot in conversation with Maria Strizzolo, senior aide to Education Minister Robert Halfon, who claims that their conversation was “light, tongue-in-cheek and gossipy” between friends. She does not explain why a member of Labour Friends of Israel (actually an undercover reporter) attended the meeting at the luxurious Aubaine restaurant across the road from the Israeli Embassy. On behalf of the Israeli Embassy, Masot offered the undercover reporter a job to help combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Britain.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has evidence of similarly sinister conversations in Scotland between an official Scottish body and pro-Israel groups to 'quell unrest', encouraging police action against peaceful demonstrations during Israeli massacres in Summer 2014.
Scottish PSC chair Sofiah MacLeod:
"No doubt all political parties have been targeted by the Israeli government, last year we saw the witch-hunt in the Labour Party led by many Labour Friends of Israel activists. We also know they have initiated a campaign to influence the SNP and Scottish civil society. I spoke briefly with Shai Masot at SPSC's exhibition stand at the SNP conference."
The Al Jazeera report, due to start airing next week, will no doubt reveal more of the efforts of the Israeli government to work through various pro-Israel organisations to 'neutralise' opposition to Israeli actions against the Palestinians.
Any sting operation such as this strongly suggests a wider problem, and an Israeli Embassy intelligence effort to smear and 'take down' British political figures merits further investigation. It is worrying that the UK Government has declared the matter closed on the sole grounds that the Israeli Ambassador has apologised. Masot and other diplomats involved should be expelled and Strizzoli, who had no alternative but to resign after being caught red-handed, should be investigated for possible criminal activity
Notes to Editors:
180 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 4RW
101 Rose Street South Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 3JG
Available for comment/interviews:
Mick Napier, 07958 002 591
Sofiah MacLeod, 07931 200 361
*** Scottish PSC Freedom of Information documentation on pro-Israel groups and Crown Office correspondence avialable on request ****
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