So this week Al Jazeera’s investigative unit revealed, in an extraordinary exposé, how the Israel lobby have been actively trying to influence British politics. In the first episode of a four-part documentary (watch here) it’s revealed how Israel have been ‘influencing student, activist and parliamentary groups in the UK [and] offering financial and strategic assistance in order to gather support among young organisers and shape British politics’ in favour of Israeli interests. As footage from the same investigation revealed earlier this week, the Israeli diplomat Shai Masot (who oddly wasn’t even on the Foreign Office’s Diplomat List) hoped to ‘take down’ the British Deputy Foreign Minister, Sir Alan Duncan, and suggested that ‘a little scandal’ might be the way to do it.
This is, of course, ‘an outrageous interference in British politics’, as the Conservative journalist Peter Oborne said. Yet who in the British Government cares about this? Certainly not the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who, after refusing to open an investigation into it, declared he didn’t think it would be ‘helpful to discuss [the matter] further’. And certainly not the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (who Masot called an ‘idiot’); his Foreign Office said the ‘matter is closed’. Quite remarkable.
Of course, if it were Russia, not Israel, undertaking such interference in British politics then you can bet your bottom pound the reaction would have been huge. Indeed, when the US Government and intelligence agencies recently claimed (and continue to claim), without presenting ANY verifiable evidence, that Russia influenced the US election, the reaction from Obama was sanctions, diplomatic expulsions, and a threat of covert retaliation. There was also a media campaign of ‘fake and deceitful news’ to vilify Putin and all things Russian. Anti-Russian sentiment is now rife among the US and British political and media establishments, and the unwarranted fear-mongering – which will serve only to stir up jingoism and xenophobia towards Russians – looks set to continue. Israel, however, receive no such treatment.
But then even if Russia did play a part in influencing the US election, and even if Israel continue to try and influence British politics (as they will), any outrage from Britain and the US is hypocritical in the face of one fact: the US and Britain have been subverting and overthrowing democracies for decades. Consider the Iranian coup of 1953, undertaken by the US and Britain, and the overthrow of the elected government of British Guiana in the same year, undertaken by Britain alone. Oh, and then there is THIS LIST, compiled by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, of 45 countries whose democracies the US has interfered with since WWII.