UK government required to respond to petition demanding inquiry into Israeli influence

Published January 31st, 2017 - 02:51 GMT
Masot was filmed making the comments by an undercover journalist (screenshot)
Masot was filmed making the comments by an undercover journalist (screenshot)

Following leaked footage of an employee of the Israeli embassy in London advertising his desire to “take down” British MPs, a petition demanding a government inquiry into Israeli influence in UK politics has reached more than 10,000 signatures.

In a undercover video released by Qatari network Al Jazeera, Shai Masot, a senior political officer at the embassy is heard boasting to a civil servant of his ability to influence British student movements, lobbying groups and politicians.

Masot resigned following the scandal, and Downing Street has said it considers the matter “closed”. However, a petition to the British parliament launched on January 19 has now reached the threshold requiring a response from the government.

The petition has gained has so far gained 10, 626 signatures since it was launched by Louise Pyne-Jones who works for Britain-based pro-Palestinian charity Friends of Al-Aqsa.

Referring to the incident with Masot, it suggests: “These actions of an employee of a foreign Embassy demonstrate major external interference into British domestic politics, which is a serious national security issue.”

“It is therefore important that MPs openly debate the issue. We the undersigned urge the government to investigate this issue further….”

Friends of Al-Aqsa, which advocates for Palestinian human rights, tweeted their thanks after the petition reached 10,000 signatures yesterday:

A parliamentary committee has already launched its own investigation into the incident, in which Masot suggested his intention to destroy the career of government minister Alan Duncan, who is an ardent critic of illegal Israeli activities in the West Bank.

Recent times have seen greater restrictions placed on criticism of Israel in the UK, following the introduction of an official legal definition of antisemitism. The definition equates anti-zionism with antisemitism, effectively making unlawful much legitimate censure of Israeli activities, according to its critics.

RA

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