Hidden camera footage reveals an Israeli diplomat discussing plans to "take down" Britain's Deputy Foreign Minister, Sir Alan Duncan. pic.twitter.com/zdfwtQs7I6— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) January 8, 2017
An Israeli diplomat has been caught on camera plotting to “take down” British members of parliament (MPs).
The undercover footage is part of Al Jazeera’s six-month investigation, which aims to reveal that the “Israeli government is in the midst of a brazen, covert influence campaign in Britain.”
In the astonishing video clip, Israel embassy official, Shai Masot, who describes himself as an Israel Defense Forces officer, was recorded by an undercover Al Jazeera reporter, alias Robin, speaking about targeting British lawmakers, including pro-Palestine foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan. Maria Strizzolo, a civil servant who was formerly an adviser to a Conservative minister, was also present at the scene.
“Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?” says Masot, as per the transcript provided by Al Jazeera.
“Well, you know that if you look hard enough I’m sure that there is something that they’re trying to hide,” Strizzolo responds.
“Well, you know. I have some MPs,” Masot answers.
When Strizzolo asks him to remind her to whom he was referring, he replies, “The deputy foreign minister.”
Sir Alan Duncan, who was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth last year, is known for his pro-Palestine views. Most prominent were the ones he aired in 2014, when he described Israel’s illegal settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as an “ever-deepening stain on the face of the globe,” comparing the expansion to South African’s apartheid.
Following the release of the footage, the Foreign Office released the following statement:
"The Israeli Ambassador has apologized and is clear these comments do not reflect the views of the embassy or government of Israel. The U.K. has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed."
Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy merely called Masot’s remarks “unacceptable,” saying he is a “junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat.”
However, many politicians and commentators are calling on their government to take strict action against Masot.
The case of the Israeli diplomat is not one of idle gossip but serious...1/2— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) January 8, 2017
...He should be shown the door immediately as would happen if the circumstances were reversed. 2/2— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) January 8, 2017
Others wondered how the Israel embassy official was able to keep his job despite making threats against an elected British official:
Govt response to Israeli interference in our politics frankly inadequate must declare the so called diplomat Masot Persona Non Grata— Nicholas Soames (@nsoamesmp) January 8, 2017
When you see this Conservative government palm off the Israeli diplomat's comments as nothing you will soon see where their loyalties lie.— Matt Turner (@MattTurner4L) January 8, 2017
British Labor Party politician Emily Thornberry described Masot’s remarks as a national security issue, while calling for an immediate inquiry.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Amir Cohen