AL Jazeera By Avi Shlaim Posted Thurs., Jan.12, 2017
“Israeli propagandists deliberately, yes deliberately, conflate (merge) anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism in order to discredit, bully, and muzzle critics of Israel.” — Avi Shlaim, an emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford University.
A remarkable piece of investigative journalism by Al Jazeera titled “The Lobby”, is packed with concrete evidence of murky manipulations by Israel’s envoys and friends in Britain to empower its supporters and undermine its critics.
“The Lobby” not only alleges but documents covert operations by the Israeli embassy and improper interference at every level of British politics. It exposes the way in which the Israeli embassy “infiltrated” both the Conservative and the Labour parties in flagrant violation of diplomatic protocol.
The most shocking revelation is that Shai Masot, a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy, set up a number of political organisations in the UK that operated as though entirely independent.
He was also secretly caught on camera plotting to “take down” MPs he regarded as hostile to Israel. Among the MPs that Masot wanted to “take down” was Sir Alan Duncan, the foreign office minister and vocal supporter of a Palestinian state.
Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador, made a full apology to Sir Alan for the incident and stated that Masot will soon be sent back to Jerusalem. Regev had little choice but to apologise: Al Jazeera produced the smoking gun.
Before being posted to London, Regev had served for eight years as chief spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regev is essentially a PR man and a notoriously pugnacious one. He personifies his master’s mantra that the best defence is offense.
The British government seemed satisfied with the apology and declared the matter closed. But a number of MPs from all parties have expressed their concern over this gross interference in British democracy and called on the prime minister to launch a public inquiry.
It is a fair guess that despite the recent setback, the Israeli embassy under Mark Regev’s leadership will continue its campaign of targeted political attacks and that in its Hasbara – a polite Hebrew word for propaganda – it will continue to equate legitimate criticism of Israeli policies with visceral hatred of the Jewish people.
But in the long run, Israel and its envoys abroad have no chance of winning the battle for hearts and minds for the simple reason that Zionism itself has already ended up on the wrong side of history.
The above is an excerpt from the article titled “Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in British politics” written by Avi Shlaim.
Full article here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/01/170111143904887.html