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Labour calls for investigation into 'disturbing' influence of Israeli embassy on British politicsLabour calls for investigation into 'disturbing' influence of Israeli embassy on British politics

Labour calls for investigation into 'disturbing' influence of Israeli embassy on British politics

The Labour Party has called for an investigation to be launched into the "extremely disturbing" influence of Israeli embassy officials in British politics.

It follows an undercover sting that caught Shai Masot, a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, speaking on camera about plotting to "take down" pro-Palestinian ministers.

The Al Jazeera investigation also revealed how the Israeli embassy had funded parliamentary groups such as the Labour Friends of Israel, in addition to student organisations, to shape British politics with a pro-Israel bias.

In light of the revelations, Labour's Shadow Foreign SecretaryLabour calls for investigation into 'disturbing' influence of Israeli embassy on British politics Emily Thornberry has written to Crispin Blunt, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, requesting an investigation.

"The exposure of the Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot, discussing how to bring down or discredit a government minister and other MPs because of their views on the Middle East is extremely disturbing," Thornberry said.

"Improper interference in our democratic politics by other states is unacceptable whichever country is involved.

"This is a national security issue, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should immediately launch an inquiry into the extent of improper influence and I shall be writing to Boris Johnson to that effect.

"However, I wonder if it is also a matter for the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to investigate as well," added Thornberry.

Israel's influence on British politics was uncovered by Al Jazeera's investigative unit, who are releasing their findings in four parts.

The first was released on Wednesday (11 January) and focused on the Israeli embassy's funding of groups such as the Union of Jewish Students (UJS).

Such funding went towards undermining the National Union of Students' first black, Muslim, female president: Malia Bouattia – a pro-Palestinian human rights supporter.

After the footage of Masot was first released, Israel's ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, issued an apology. He has since left London.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has rejected calls for any further disciplinary action. However, Blunt told Middle East Eye that there was a need for greater scrutiny.

"What we cannot have is Israel acting in the UK with the same impunity it enjoys in Palestine," he said.

"This is clearly interference in another country's politics of the murkiest and most discreditable kind."

Source:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/labour-calls-investigation-into-disturbing-influence-israeli-embassy-british-politics-1600590

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