New challenge to Israel’s effort to undermine Jeremy Corbyn

Israel is targeting the Labour leader as one of its main enemies. (Yannis Mendez)

Human rights activists have lodged a freedom of information request under Israeli law seeking documents about the state’s ongoing disinformation campaign against UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack on Sunday sent a letter on behalf of 18 Israeli citizens to the ministries of foreign affairs and strategic affairs.

They include Palestine solidarity activists Kobi Snitz, Sahar Vardi and Ofer Neiman, as well as academic Neve Gordon.

Some of the signatories are supporters of of Boycott From Within, a group in present-day Israel which advocates boycott, divestment and sanctions – or BDS.

“In the past two years, it has been revealed that the two ministries carry out activities against critics of the State of Israel in the UK,” the letter to the ministries states.

The full letter is below.

It also cites Israeli media coverage of Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation The Lobby broadcast last year.

The film revealed that Israeli embassy spy Shai Masot was working with front organizations in Labour that smear critics of Israel as anti-Semitic.

Masot was also trying to engineer the creation of a fake grassroots youth organization within Labour that would espouse pro-Israel positions.

A thorn in Israel’s side

Corbyn is a “thorn in the side” of Israel’s government, Mack’s letter tells the two ministries.

While these ministries “have been highly successful in their relations with regimes that are responsible for mass murder” and “that are infected with anti-Semitism,” Israel’s government has a major problem with “a pro-Palestinian leader who supports human and civil rights,” the letter observes.

As examples of Israel’s friendly relations with anti-Semitic governments, Mack cites Hungary, Poland and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, according to the letter, Corbyn has “thwarted attempts by the two ministries to silence any critique of the State of Israel and the Netanyahu government” by labeling such criticisms as anti-Semitism.

This is a reference to the current Israel lobby attack on Labour for refusing to adopt verbatim the controversial IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Given this history, the activists demand public scrutiny of the Israeli government’s intervention in British politics, including all “information, documents and records as to correspondence by the two ministries with NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], groups, individuals and journalists in the UK, regarding the UK Labour Party and Mr. Corbyn.”

The letter names in particular four pro-Israel groups: the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Community Security Trust, Labour Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Israel.

Israel’s Labour front groups

Mack told The Electronic Intifada that the activists’ request is for documents relating to all groups in the UK.

He said that if the ministries failed to voluntarily disclose documents relating to the Jewish Labour Movement, he would send a an additional request naming that group specifically.

As The Electronic Intifada has reported, the group has close ties to Israel, and has been leading attacks against Corbyn.

Its director Ella Rose in 2016 privately admitted to working closely with Israeli embassy spy Shai Masot.

Masot was forced to leave the UK last year after Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation exposed him trying to “take down” a British minister deemed overly critical of Israel.

Since then, as revealed by The Electronic Intifada, it emerged that Masot had been working closely with the strategic affairs ministry.

The ministry is responsible for what Israel calls its “war” against BDS, Palestine’s boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid.

Dirty tricks, “black ops”

Veteran Israeli intelligence reporter Yossi Melman in 2016 revealed that the ministry is involved in dirty tricks and “black ops” against the global movement for Palestinian rights.

The two Israeli ministries have a history of stonewalling the persistent information requests filed by Mack on behalf of activists.

The strategic affairs ministry has also been working to change Israeli law so that its activities are totally classified.

But sometimes officials give away too much.

In June the defense ministry revealed that export licenses for rifles being used to arm a Ukrainian neo-Nazi militia were issued “in full coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government entities.”

The anti-Semitic Azov Battalion has posted photos and video of its troops brandishing the Tavor-style rifles licensed by Israel Weapon Industries.

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Comments

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Somebody should investigate and report on the concept of "Anti-Anti-Semitism" a term used by Alfred Lilienthal many years ago.

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Either the Israeli government complies with the request in full or in part- in which case we may expect to receive important details exposing their conspiratorial behaviour in U.K. political circles- or they will decline to release any documents at all- which refusal can itself be utilised to advantage by the pro-Palestinian cause. That the smear campaign is run out of the Israeli embassy and Israeli government departments is beyond question at this stage, and these plotters are vulnerable to discovery. Of particular interest is the network of collusive relations between the Israeli state and British media from the BBC to the print and online press. Indications couldn't be clearer that the daily attacks on Corbyn and the Labour Party membership bear the hallmarks of a centrally directed operation. Please keep us updated on the progress of this vital matter.

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A right wing politician wrote once "the poeple are dull they are sheep and will believe what they are told". Our media work on this theory and are unfortunatly, too often correct in their assumption. This quote was made about 1935 before internet info was widely available. Because of the greater disparity of opinion today ( not all of it credible) it is not so easy to convince "the dull" of a single veiw point. MSM no longer have the monopoly on what we are told. The antisemite allegations against Labour and Corbyn are wildest fantasy yet are still swallowed whole by the uncritical. These orchestrated attacks on Labour and Corbyn are attacks on democracy itself and must be exposed whenever possible.

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.