UK: Labour wants inquiry into Israeli figure's remarks

Opposition party says comments made by Israeli embassy political officer about UK ministers were 'disturbing'

UK: Labour wants inquiry into Israeli figure's remarks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.K.’s main opposition Labour Party has called for an inquiry after secretly recorded footage revealed an Israeli embassy employee saying he would like to “take down” a British minister.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan was among a number of British figures spoken about in the covert footage shot as part of an Al Jazeera investigation at a London restaurant in October 2016.

“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,” Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said in a statement.

“It is simply not good enough for the Foreign Office to say the matter is closed. This is a national security issue,” the Labour politician added.

Israel's embassy in London has issued an apology over the incident, which was first revealed last week.

In the footage, Israeli political officer Shai Masot was filmed dining with Maria Strizzolo -- a then-aide to a senior Conservative Party figure -- in a London restaurant as part of a six-month investigation by the Qatar-based broadcaster.

Strizzolo is seen suggesting "a little scandal" might cause Duncan’s dismissal after Masot asked her if he could give her the names of some MPs he would suggest she "take down".

Duncan has been critical of the Israeli state’s resettlement policies in the occupied West Bank.

Masot is also seen describing British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as an "idiot … without any kind of responsibilities".

The Israeli embassy said it "rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable".

It added that "the comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly".

Masot was also filmed boasting about establishing lobbying groups, at least one of which was intended to influence Labour Party politicians.

Al Jazeera has said it will broadcast findings from its investigation in a four-part series called The Lobby, showing Israel's efforts to influence British politics.

 
Last Mod: 09 Ocak 2017, 15:53
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