Al Jazeera has pulled off a hidden camera and infiltration sting against the Israeli embassy in London. This has been seized upon by the usual suspects in the UK and reported with the usual glee.
At the heart of the story, a junior Israeli staff member at the embassy, who is neither a diplomatic appointment nor a native English speaker, is talking in a restaurant with a friend. The main part of what he says is that he wishes to “take down” the odious MP Alan Duncan who is currently the deputy foreign minister (much more about him and his long anti-Israel history later).
This story led the midnight news on BBC Radio 4 last night: straight after the first chime of Big Ben they launch into the story (you can listen to the opening and the story here). Both the BBC Radio report and MailOnline seem to hint that this phrase “take down” amounts to ordering The Mossad to assassinate Duncan.
MailOnline, in its lede and first paragraph, ascribe the words of a non-diplomatic staff member, stated in private, as policy of the entire Nation State of the Jewish people!
The Israeli Embassy made a shocking vow to ‘take down’ Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office deputy, a secret film reveals today.
If the ambassador or some other official doesn’t say it in public how can the MailOnline attribute it to “The Israeli Embassy”? It is also clear “take down” doesn’t have the deeply dark association they’re trying to ascribe to it. Harry’s Place has more on the ridiculous headlines this non-story is generating in the UK today.
Look at the nature of this sting: Al Jazeera (of course) were hunting for any way to perpetuate the “Jewish lobby” story of undue influence. They seem to have netted a pretty small fish here and (apart from some completely inconsequential gossip) the actual claim made in the MailOnline article of how this small fish seeks to exert his undue Jewish influence is this:
Further footage shows the Israeli diplomat, intelligence expert Shai Masot, telling senior Labour MP Joan Ryan that he has obtained ‘more than £1 million’ to pay for sympathetic Labour MPs to visit Israel.
The Israeli Embassy has a budget to bring Labour MPs to Israel to see whats going on with their own eyes! What a shock. Why is this undue lobbying? Are Al Jazeera and the BBC so horrified because they know that if people come to Israel and see reality, their reporting will be shown for the pack of lies it usually is?
This also highlights another disturbing aspect of the BBC’s coverage of Israel: they lead the program with and over emphasise a pretty unimportant story about Israel because it is negative. And as Dave noted tangentially with a story about trials of a prostate cancer treatment, they seem to have a deliberate policy of downplaying any Israeli involvement in positive stories. That cancer story was just the tip of an iceberg as BBC Watch and Stephen Pollard pointed out calling this the “soft boycott” of Israel by missing out an Israeli connection to other stories reported prominently.
The Israeli Embassy in London has responded unimpressively. Instead of coming out swinging they’ve issued an apology for the words of this junior staff member. If it were me, I’d have been more inclined to say that the job of an embassy is to win hearts and minds and influence government decision makers directly in favour of Israel. That’s what the embassy is for! This whole story amounts to “Israeli Embassy caught doing diplomacy”.
The MailOnline piece ends with a highly unusual and highly critical of Israel Op-Ed. What makes it unusual is that it is published anonymously with the byline of a “Minister who served in David Cameron’s government”. That has its own post.
All in all not much to see here but the anti-Israeli crowd in the UK, and especially the odious Alan Duncan, will enjoy making this molehill into a mountain.