UK Prime Minister May 'rejects' investigation into Israeli embassy

UK Prime Minister May 'rejects' investigation into Israeli embassy
2 min read
18 January, 2017
No further action will be taken after revelations of threats by a UK-based Israeli diplomat to interfere in British political scene.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected calls for an investigation into the London-based Israeli embassy after a video emerged of a diplomat threatening to "take down" British politicians, the Jewish Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded an investigation into the incident after an al-Jazeera journalist recorded Israeli diplomat Shai Masot attempting an "improper interference into [the UK's] democratic process".

"This is clearly a national security issue," the Labour leader said in a letter addressed to May earlier this week. "It is only on [the basis of an investigation] that Parliament and the public will be reassured that such activities will not be tolerated by your government." 

Despite Corbyn's insistence, a UK government spokesperson said this week that the Israeli ambassador's apology had been accepted by the PM as it was "clear these comments do not reflect the views of the embassy or government of Israel".

"The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed," the spokesperson added. 

Masot, who was recorded by an undercover al-Jazeera reporter last October, resigned following the revelations.

In the documentary, he is shown admitting that he was working to damage the career of Sir Alan Duncan MP, who is outspoken in his support of the Palestinian state.

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In secret recordings of a conversation with Maria Strizzolo, a political aide to the Conservative minister Robert Halfon, Masot said Duncan is "doing a lot of problems" and made references to other MPs he wanted to "take down".

Two other politicians named during the conversation included Crispin Blunt, the pro-Palestinian chairperson of the foreign affairs select committee, and Boris Johnson, the UK's foreign minister, whom Masot was seemingly uninterested in.

Israel's embassy condemned the senior political officer's conduct as "unacceptable" in its apology to the UK government.