blog-lobby-watch-JEFF-HAYNES-AFP.jpg

(Jeff Haynes / Agence France Presse)

Revealed: UK anti-Semitism watchdog charity helps lead Israel anti-boycott group

The Community Security Trust, or CST, is a British charity which claims a singular dedication to monitoring and combating anti-semitism.

But The Electronic Intifada has learned of the CST’s leading role in a group whose stated aims are to fight boycotts of Israel and “opposing anti-Zionist activity.”

At a July 2012 meeting of the Fair Play Campaign Group, a presentation slide stated the CST was part of their executive committee, according to a source who attended.

The source told The Electronic Intifada that the meeting, vaguely advertised as taking place [PDF] at a “central London location,” happened at BMA House in Tavistock Square.

Documents that the Fair Play Campaign Group has filed with Companies House list CST offices in Hendon, north London as a secondary address for the campaign.

The CST said yesterday that no one from the communications department was available to take my call. Spokesman Mark Gardner did not return voicemail or email which asked whether CST’s involvement in the campaign was a violation of its charitable remit.

CST’s listing with the Charity Commission [PDF] says it “seeks to protect Britain’s diverse and vibrant Jewish community from the external threats of bigotry, antisemitism and terrorism” but mentions nothing about boycotts – or indeed anything about Israel at all.

Just a charity?

The “Fair Play” group’s website says it “was established by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council” but does not mention the CST’s role.

The CST is usually careful not to talk about its anti-Palestinian campaigning activities in public, for fear of calling its charitable status into question. On one occasion, the CST appears to have asked a newspaper to remove mention of such activities from the online version of one of its articles.

cst_screengrab.jpg

In September 2011, the UK law on universal jurisdiction was changed, supposedly making it easier for Israeli ministers and generals charged with war crimes to visit the UK without fear of being arrested. The Jewish Chronicle published an article quoting the Board of Deputies as acknowledging “the efforts of the various communal groups, in particular the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Board of Deputies, CST and Friends of Israel groups that have helped to ensure the safe passage of the bill” (my emphasis).

But “CST” was soon removed from the online version of the article, apparently after spokesman Mark Gardner intervened (see screen shot above).

CST’s links to Israeli spies

As my previous investigations for The Electronic Intifada have shown, the CST has long had a pro-Israel, Zionist agenda, with a particular focus on combating the BDS movement.

In December 2011, I revealed how the CST had secretly denounced pro-boycott Jewish activists to the British government as “extreme” and “unrepresentative.”

The documents came to light in the course of the 2011 Raed Salah affair, when the Palestinian religious and political leader was arrested in London – with the CST-backed government attempt to deport him from the country ultimately failing.

In the same article, I quoted Antony Lerman (founder and former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research), who said that CST has had links with the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency. The Mossad is said to train CST volunteers in self-defense.

The CST refused to comment on those revelations at the time, and has never done so since, to my knowledge, and certainly not to me.

Unanswered questions remain as to the the nature of their links with Israel, including Israel’s overseas assassination and kidnapping wing. So far the CST has refused to confirm or deny whether it infiltrates Palestine solidarity groups in the UK – it clearly monitors them.

We should demand they cease building their files on us, and hand over any such information.

Comments

A number of people have written to the CST, enclosing a £10 cheque as required, making a subject access request under the Freedom of Information Act. CST has done their best to block such requests.

It told me that the cheque, issued on behalf of Brighton Unemployed Centre, needed the assent of the signatories. I asked what statutory basis they had for querying a properly signed cheque.

They also demanded verification of address and identity and suggested a passport photocopy. I pointed out that the Israeli state has a record of misusing passport information and told them they would get a scan of my driving license.

Having jumped through all the hurdles I, and I understand others, have been told that the CST is 'too overworked' to comply with the requests. Given that the CST is one of Britain's richest charities, in terms of reserves and assets, this should make for an interesting battle.

No disrespect in regards to a well researched article, but the information regarding the CST would also apply to MOST Zionist Jewish i(explicitly, or non-explicitly, Zionist), who claim tax-exemption while pursuing illegal activities(e.g Jewish National Fund).

Nevertheless, exposing these criminal activities is what the situation requires, and this article does an excellent job of doing just that...

I disagree. Most Zionist groups in Britain are not tax exempt (the JNF is a charity and that has been the subject of a number of representations already).

The CST deliberately doesn't classify itself as Zionist because then it would be in danger of losing its tax exempt status. It is a sinister organisation which needs a searchlight constantly trained on it.