Labour suspends Pete Willsman NEC member over claims of antisemitic remarks
Pete Willsman was recorded claiming the Israeli embassy was behind some antisemitism he also talked of an Israeli agent had infiltrated the Labour Party.
Where would Pete get such an idea? Is it just conspiracy or is there bases of his accusation and reasoning?
In 2017 Al Jazeera Investigations exposes how the Israel lobby influences British politics. A six-month undercover investigation reveals how Israel penetrates different levels of British democracy.
Episode One: In part one, Al Jazeera Investigations reveals how pro-Israel groups are trying to influence Britain’s youth.
Episode Two: In part two, our undercover reporter joins a delegation from the Israeli embassy at last year’s Labour Party Conference.
Episode Three: In part three, our undercover reporter witnesses a heated conversation between two opposing activists. The evidence raises serious questions about whether accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle political debate.
Episode Four: In part four, the senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London discusses a potential plot to ‘take down’ British politicians – including a minister.
Masot did not elaborate on what he meant by “take down”, but it is normally used as meaning to engineer a downfall, possibly through discrediting them in some way.
Emily Thornberry: ‘Reports of Israeli embassy official discussing how to discredit government minister are extremely disturbing’
The Labour party has called on the government to immediately launch an inquiry into “improper interference in our democratic politics” after the disclosure that an Israeli embassy official had plotted to “take down” UK MPs regarded as hostile.
The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said: “The exposure of an Israeli embassy official discussing how to bring down or discredit a government minister and other MPs because of their views on the Middle East is extremely disturbing.”
But Thornberry said: “It is simply not good enough for the Foreign Office to say the matter is closed. This is a national security issue.” As well as calling for an inquiry, she said the embassy official should be withdrawn.
The Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev, has apologised to one of the MPs on the “hit list”, foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan, describing the remarks as unacceptable. As a result, the Foreign Office said it regarded the matter as closed.
The official, Shai Masot, who describes himself as a senior political officer, was caught on camera in an undercover sting by a reporter from the al-Jazeera investigative unit.
The embassy said Masot would shortly be ending his term of employment with the embassy. Masot had been speaking to Maria Strizzolo, a civil servant who was formerly an aide to another Conservative minister. Sources at the Department for Education said on Sunday they understood Strizzolo had resigned from her civil service post.
The revelations also provoked anger among many Conservative politicians. One former minister in David Cameron’s government said the embassy’s efforts to exert improper influence on British public life went far further than any plot to “take down” unhelpful members of parliament.
Writing anonymously in the Mail on Sunday, the former minister said: “British foreign policy is in hock to Israeli influence at the heart of our politics, and those in authority have ignored what is going on.
“For years the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) have worked with – even for – the Israeli embassy to promote Israeli policy and thwart UK government policy and the actions of ministers who try to defend Palestinian rights.
“Lots of countries try to force their views on others, but what is scandalous in the UK is that instead of resisting it, successive governments have submitted to it, take donors’ money, and allowed Israeli influence-peddling to shape policy and even determine the fate of ministers.”
The former minister said there needed to be a full inquiry into the Israeli embassy’s links with CFI and LFI, and that while political parties should welcome funding from the UK’s Jewish community, they should not accept any engagement linked to Israel until it ceases new developments on Palestinian land.
“This opaque funding and underhand conduct is a national disgrace and humiliation and must be stamped out,” the former minister wrote.
“Could I give you a list of MPs that I suggest you take down?”