Undercover investigation reveals Israeli infiltration of UK student movements

Undercover investigation reveals Israeli infiltration of UK student movements
Pro-Israel student activists admit to receiving funding from the Israeli embassy and the powerful American-Israeli pressure group AIPAC.
2 min read
11 January, 2017
The UK's National Union of Students is currently in favour of BDS [AFP]
An undercover investigation has revealed that Israel is financing student, activist and parliamentary groups in the UK, while also offering strategic assistance in order to shape the country's politics.

The six-month al-Jazeera investigation also revealed strong links between Shai Masot, a "senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London" and a network of pro-Israel activists, politicians and analysts in the UK.

In a previous instalment of the same investigative report, Masot was revealed to have suggested he wanted to "take down" several British MPs.

Masot urged the undercover investigator to build support for Israel within the UK's Labour party, while also offering him a job running the youth wing of Jewish Friends of Labour [JLF].

When asked whether he had set up any groups himself, Masot replied in the affirmative, saying that he had done so both in the UK and Israel.

The Israeli diplomat did not name the organisations, saying that their details were: "Nothing that I can share, but yeah. It's good to leave those organisations independent, but we help them to actually [establish]".

He also told the undercover reporter that Labour MP and Labour Friends of Israel chairwoman Joan Ryan communicated with Masot on "most days".

Within student circles, it was found that the Israeli embassy was providing money to the Union of Jewish Students, a group staunchly opposed to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In June 2015, Britain's National Union of Students voted in favour of BDS, much to the dissatisfaction on the UJS.

One former candidate for the UJS' presidency, Adam Schapira, told the undercover reporter that the influential American pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, was funnelling money to British university campuses via the Pinsker Centre for Zionist Education.

The undercover investigation also found that "secret" meetings were allegedly held between Richard Brooks, NUS vice president and Russell Langer, UJS campaign director.

Brooks was sent on a paid trip to Israel by the UJS, a fact which he had previously failed to disclose in a radio interview where he criticised pro-BDS NUS head Malia Bouattia.