American interference in the Brexit referendum

Hedge-fund mogul Robert Mercer helped Brexit campaign: Report

Robert Mercer in New York in 2014 (file photo)
Robert Mercer in New York in 2014 (file photo)

An American hedge-fund mogul who contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign played a crucial role in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, according to a report.

Billionaire Robert Mercer, an owner of the right-wing Breitbart News Network as well as data-analytics companies, is a close friend of Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader and leading Brexit campaigner.

In the lead-up to the June 23 referendum on the EU membership, Mercer directed his data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, to provide expert advice to Farage associates on how to target undecided voters on Facebook, The Observer has learned.

The services were kept from the electoral commission.

Cambridge Analytica, which has 25 years of experience in military disinformation campaigns, claims to use state-of-the-art technology to build psychometric profiles of voters in an attempt to target their “emotional triggers” in elections.

“They were happy to help. Because Nigel is a good friend of the Mercers. And Mercer introduced them to us,” Andy Wigmore, communications director of Leave.eu, told The Observer.


British politician Nigel Farage speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by AFP)

“What they were trying to do in the US and what we were trying to do had massive parallels. We shared a lot of information,” he added.

The Trump campaign also reportedly paid millions of dollars to the company to persuade swing voters to cast their ballot for the real estate tycoon.

The strategy involved harvesting personal data from people’s social media profiles and using the information, combined with artificial intelligence, to decide who to target with individualized ads.

Farage dined with the US president and his advisers in Trump International Hotel in Washington this week, praising them as being part of a “global revolution” that began with Brexit.

Obituary: Gerald Kaufman

Obituary: Gerald Kaufman

Gerald Kaufman rose from a working-class background to become one of the longest-serving MPs of his generation.

He gained a reputation as a persistent, often waspish, interrogator whose withering putdowns became a feature of his time in Parliament.

A practising Jew, he was best known for his fierce opposition to the policies of the Israeli government and its treatment of the Palestinians.

Possessed of a sardonic wit, he was a prolific writer and columnist who also wrote satirical sketches for the BBC, an organisation that he later frequently criticised.

Gerald Bernard Kaufman was born in Leeds on 21 June 1930, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants.

A scholarship took him to the fee-paying Leeds Grammar School, and he won an Exhibition to Queens College, Oxford, from where he graduated with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

While at Oxford he immersed himself in politics and, as the secretary of the University Labour Club, he was instrumental in preventing a student named Rupert Murdoch from standing for office, after the Australian was found to be breaking the rules by canvassing for the position.

Gerald Kaufman appearing on Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life
Image caption Kaufman (3rd right) appearing on Not so Much a Programme, More a Way of Life

On leaving university he set out to find a parliamentary seat. After a brief spell as assistant secretary of the Fabian Society, he was selected to fight Bromley in the 1955 general election. He was roundly defeated by the Conservative candidate, the future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

Four years later he failed at Gillingham, another safe Conservative seat where the Labour vote actually fell.

He had secured a job on the Daily Mirror, where he often wrote leaders. In 1964 he moved to the New Statesman for a short time before working for the Labour Party as a press officer, in which post he became a member of one of Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s so-called “kitchen cabinet”.

It was while visiting his mother in Leeds in November 1962 that he saw the first episode of the BBC’s satirical programme That Was the Week That Was. Back in his Daily Mirror office, he phoned the producer, Ned Sherrin, and told him he had an idea for a sketch.

Disappeared

“He had no idea who I was,” Kaufman later recalled, “but he said, ‘Write it and I’ll send a taxi in the morning to pick it up.'”

It led to Kaufman becoming a regular contributor to the show, best known for his Silent Men of Westminster, a satire on MPs who never spoke in the House.

Labour lost the 1970 general election, but Kaufman finally got into Parliament as the member for Manchester Ardwick. When Labour returned to power in 1974 he held junior ministerial posts in the Department of the Environment and the Department of Industry.

Mr Marcel Cavaille (C) French Secretary of State for Transport and Mr Gerald Kaufman (R), Minister of State, Department of Industry and Stanley Clinton Davis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for TradeImage copyright PA
Image caption Kaufman (r) was a junior minister in the 1970s

He became shadow environment secretary in 1980 and, three years later when his Ardwick seat disappeared in boundary changes, he moved to Manchester Gorton, becoming shadow home secretary after Margaret Thatcher won the 1983 election.

Kaufman was scathing about Labour’s move to the left. He accused Tony Benn of nearly destroying the party when he stood as deputy leader in 1981. He later said he would have quit Parliament had Benn been successful.

He was equally critical of Michael Foot’s leadership and famously described Labour’s 1983 manifesto, which advocated, among other things, unilateral nuclear disarmament and renationalisation of recently privatised industries, as “the longest suicide note in history”.

After a term as shadow foreign secretary, he returned to the back benches in 1992 and became chairman of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.

Castigated

There he was able to indulge in a series of attacks on what he called cultural elitism. His savaging of Mary Allen, then chief executive of the Royal Opera House, over her failure to account for spiralling costs, saw her resign her position.

The satirical TV puppet show, Spitting Image, lampooned Kaufman as the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, from The Silence of the Lambs.

He became notable for harsh criticism of BBC management and called for the BBC to be privatised, claiming that the corporation could be funded by big business.

Neil Kinnock's Shadow Cabinet in 1988Image copyright PA
Image caption He served as shadow foreign secretary under Neil Kinnock

He also castigated the BBC over its apology for the obscene calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the actor Andrew Sachs, saying that it was “not enough”.

Kaufman’s most vocal attacks were reserved for Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians. A member of the Jewish Labour Movement, he called for economic sanctions against Israel and a ban on sales of arms.

In 2002 he broke a longstanding pledge never to visit Israel when he went there to make a BBC documentary called The End of An Affair, which charted his early infatuation with the Jewish state as a young student and how he later became disillusioned.

He launched a bitter attack on the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon. “It is time to remind Sharon,” he said, “that the Star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive government.”

Prolific author

He often compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with South African apartheid and, described Israel’s use of white phosphorus flares in the 2009 offensive in Gaza as “war crimes”.

“I long ago gave up hope for the Israelis participating in a negotiated solution,” he said in 2014.

Kaufman himself came under fire when the Daily Telegraph published its investigation into MPs’ expenses in 2009. It emerged he had claimed more than £115,000 for work on his London flat and spent £8,000 on a large-screen TV and another £1,500 on a luxury rug.

Gerald Kaufman (3rd L), the head of a European Parliament delegation, meets with residents of JabaliaImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption He led a delegation to Gaza in 2010 to express solidarity with the Palestinians

Following the general election of May 2015, he became Father of the House, a title bestowed on the sitting MP who is not a minister who has the longest unbroken period of service in the House of Commons.

A prolific author, he wrote a number of books on the art and practice of politics.

Kaufman was not a clubbable man and not one to suffer fools either gladly or quietly, something that did not endear him to many of his parliamentary colleagues.

That, along with Labour’s almost two decades of opposition, may well explain why a politician with undoubted intellect, and one of the pioneers of the New Labour project, never served in the cabinet of a Labour government.

Gerald Kaufman was knighted in 2004.

Theresa May’s IHRA used to silence critics of israel

Mrs May’s IHRA used to silence critics of Israel

The Facebook photo for International Apartheid Week, 2016

University cancels Israel Apartheid Week event

A University of Central Lancashire spokesperson said: “The UK government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes antisemitism.”

By Rosa Doherty, Jewish Chronicle
February 22, 2017

The University of Central Lancashire has cancelled an event which was due to take place as part of “Israel Apartheid Week” activity on its campus.

The session was organised by the university’s Friends of Palestine group and was billed as a panel discussion looking at the boycott of Israel.

It was due to feature speakers including anti-Israel activist Ben White and pro-Palestinian academics.

But a spokesperson for the university said “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine” contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and was “unlawful”.

In a statement on behalf of the university in Preston, Lancashire, the spokesperson said: “The UK government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes antisemitism.

“We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.”

He added: “In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”

The talk was scheduled to take place as part of a week of anti-Israel events expected to be held at universities nationwide.

The North West Friends of Israel group welcomed the move. Co-chair Raphi Bloom said NWFoI had led a campaign to ban the event.

“Universities across the UK have signed up to the government’s definition of antisemitism and have a duty of care to their Jewish students – and staff – to ensure that they do not feel intimidated or abused on campus,” he said.



Prevent guidance says that support for Palestine is among views that ‘may be regarded as extremist but are not illegal’, London March, August 2014. Photo by PSC/Flickr

REVEALED: UK universities told to ‘manage’ Palestine activism

Prevent training package advises that events involving ‘vocal support for Palestine’ should be ‘risk-assessed and managed’

By Simon Hooper, MEE
February 22, 2017

British university staff are being advised to “risk-assess and manage” events on campus relating to “contentious” issues including Palestine and criticism of western foreign policy in the Middle East in order to demonstrate their compliance with the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy.

Critics fear that the guidance, which is contained in an online training presentation, is already stifling free speech and political expression, with one institution, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), on Tuesday cancelling an event organised by a Friends of Palestine society because of concerns that it would not be “balanced”.

Other issues for which higher education institutions are being instructed to put in place measures to ensure that “extremist views” are challenged include opposition to Prevent itself following vigorous campaigning against the strategy by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 100,000 university staff.

“Vocal support for Palestine”, “Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza”, “Criticism of wars in the Middle East” and “Opposition to Prevent” are included in a list of “contentious topics” in the presentation on a website, Safe Campus Communities, created for university staff to help them fulfil their Prevent Duty obligations.

Since 2015 the Prevent Duty has required public sector workers by law to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

UK councils link ‘empathy’ for Palestinians to terrorism threat

The creators of Safe Campus Communities, who include the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), told Middle East Eye the list was intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure that “topics that may be seen as controversial” could be “debated in a safe environment”.

Elsewhere in the training material, the topics are described as a “list of views that may be regarded as extremist but are not illegal”. Accompanying notes state that holding such views “may be legitimate provided they are not expressed or furthered by statements, deeds or actions which result in the harassment, intimidation or threats of violence against individuals or society itself”.


 

Prevent training_0The presentation states: ‘Holding these views may be legitimate provided they are not expressed or furthered by statements, deeds or actions which result in the harassment, intimidation or threats of violence against individuals or society itself’. Screengrab

The presentation advises institutions to take steps for events at which “extremist views are likely to be expressed” to ensure that such views are challenged by “inviting additional speakers with opposing views” and through “independent and effective chairing”.

“Relevant higher education bodies also need to risk assess and manage events where these or similar views may be expressed,” it says.

But critics fear that the guidance could lead to a culture of caution and censorship on campuses in which discussion of topics considered controversial is shut down.

On Tuesday, UCLan said it had cancelled a Friends of Palestine event scheduled to take place on 28 February as part of “Israel Apartheid Week” because of concerns that it would be antisemitic and unlawful.


Ben White testifies at the Russell Tribunal, NY City.

The event, titled “Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement]”, was due to feature Ben White, an MEE contributor.

In a statement, UCLan said it believed the event would fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism adopted by the UK government last year.

The IHRA defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

“We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests,” a spokesperson for the university said.

“In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”


Poster for Israeli Apartheid Week, provisionally 28th February- 6th March, 2017.

White told MEE: “It is clear from social media posts, as well as an earlier statement issued by the university, that officials caved to pressure from pro-Israel groups, and in so doing, threw their students – and their right to freedom of expression – under a bus.

“Israeli Apartheid Week is marked on campuses across the globe, and its importance is only underlined by the fact that the Israeli government – emboldened by the Trump administration – is so openly opposed to Palestinian self-determination.”

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told MEE it was absurd to single out support for a Palestinian state or opposition to Israeli settlements as controversial or extremist. He said,

“Given that all major political parties in the UK and the overwhelming majority of governments across the world support a Palestinian state and oppose settlements on the basis that they violate international law and are an obstacle to peace it is absurd to define these as extremist views.

“There is an urgent need for the relevant bodies to review these materials and ensure that any training offered to educational establishments truly reflects the stated intention to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression.”

The Safe Campus Communities presentation is the most substantial element in a “package of HE-specific Prevent training materials” produced collaboratively by HEFCE, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Universities UK and BIS, according to HEFCE’s website.

Since last year, the implementation of Prevent on campuses has been overseen by HEFCE and its counterparts in Scotland and Wales.

But the training material also acknowledges concerns about the government’s efforts to define extremism.

“It is the difficulty in defining what is and what isn’t extremist that has led people to be concerned that the Prevent duty constitutes a threat to academic freedom/freedom of expression,” it says.

“The government definition of extremism is considered by some to be somewhat vague.”

In a statement to MEE, HEFCE said the material in the presentation was intended to uphold free speech and was currently being evaluated.

John Bercow made a moral judgement about Trump but has no problem paying homage to apartheid israel

John Bercow travels to Israel amid storm of criticism over Trump

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Jewish Speaker of UK parliament, John Bercow, says he will not investigate scandal over israel’s influence

The Jewish politician was welcomed by Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to Britain, yesterday.

John Bercow has become the first House of Commons speaker to officially visit Israel.

The Jewish politician was welcomed by Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to Britain, yesterday.

Mr Regev tweeted: “Delighted to welcome @HouseOfCommons Speaker John Bercow to Israel: the first Commons Speaker to pay an official visit to the Jewish state.”

During his visit, Mr Bercow is expected to meet his Israeli counterpart Yuli Edelstein and talk to young political leaders about the UK Parliament and the responsibility of the Speaker.

As part of the trip he will visit Yad Vashem and lay a wreath in memory of Holocaust victims.

Mr Bercow’s visit comes amid a storm of criticism and a potential vote of no confidence in him over his outspoken comments on Donald Trump.

He said he would not welcome the American President to Parliament because of his comments about women and minorities

As Netanyahu and May Chat, a Large Nest of israel’s Spies in London Exposed

As Netanyahu and May Chat, a Large Nest of Israeli Spies in London Exposed

 

The Israeli Embassy has seventeen Israeli “technical and administrative staff” granted visas by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The normal number for an Embassy that size would be about two. I spoke to two similar size non-EU Embassies this morning, one has two and one zero. I recall I dealt with an angry Foreign Minister during my own FCO career incensed his much larger High Commission had been refused by the FCO an increase from three to four technical and administrative staff.

Shai Masot, the Israeli “diplomat” who had been subverting Britain’s internal democracy with large sums of cash and plans to concoct scandal against a pro-Palestinian British minister, did not appear in the official diplomatic list.

I queried this with the FCO, and was asked to put my request in writing. A full three weeks later and after dozens of phone calls, they reluctantly revealed that Masot was on the “technical and administrative staff” of the Israeli Embassy.

This is plainly a nonsense. Masot, as an ex-Major in the Israeli Navy and senior officer in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is plainly senior to many who are on the Diplomatic List, which includes typists and personal assistants. There are six attaches – support staff – already on the List.

Masot was plainly not carrying out technical and administrative duties. The term is a formal one from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and it is plain from the convention that technical and administrative staff are in official status lower than the diplomatic staff. The majority of support activities are carried out in all Embassies by locally engaged staff already resident in the host country, but a very small number of technical and administrative staff may be allowed visas for work in particularly secure areas. They may be an IT and communications technician, possibly a cleaner in the most sensitive physical areas, and perhaps property management.

These staff do not interact with politicians of the host state or attend high level meetings beside the Ambassador. The level at which Shai Masot was operating was appropriate to a Counsellor or First Secretary in an Embassy. Masot’s formal rank as an officer in his cover job in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs would entitle him to that rank in the Embassy if this were a normal appointment.

The Al Jazeera documentaries plainly revealed that Masot was working as an intelligence officer, acquiring and financing “agents of influence”. It is simply impossible that the FCO would normally grant seventeen technical and administrative visas to support sixteen diplomats, when six of the sixteen are already support staff. The only possible explanation, confirmed absolutely by Masot’s behaviour, is that the FCO has knowingly connived at settling a large nest of Israeli spies in London. I fairly put this to the FCO and they refused to comment.

I asked my questions on 10 January. On 12 January the FCO asked me to put them in writing. On 2 February they finally replied to the first three questions, but refused to comment on questions 4 or 5 about involvement of the intelligence services in Masot’s appointment.

On 2 February I sent these follow-up questions to the FCO by email:

FCO Media Department have replied that they refuse to give me any further information on the subject, and that I should proceed through a Freedom of Information request so the FCO can assess properly whether the release of any further information is in the national interest.

What is it they are always saying to us: if you have got nothing to fear, you have got nothing to hide?

I am confident I know what they are hiding, and that is FCO complicity in a large nest of Israeli spies seeking to influence policy and opinion in the UK in a pro-Israeli direction. That is why the government reaction to one of those spies being caught on camera plotting a scandal against an FCO minister, and giving £1 million to anti-Corbyn MPs, was so astonishingly muted. It is also worth noting that while the media could not completely ignore the fantastic al Jazeera documentaries that exposed the scandal, it was a matter of a brief article and no follow up digging.

This was not just a curiosity, it reveals a deep-seated problem for our democracy. I intend to continue picking at it.

 

The more Juif becomes Theresa, the more antisemitic becomes Britain.

February 02, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

Today, the Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported that the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain in 2016 were the highest on record. The CST’s statistics show that there were 1,309 incidents of ‘Jew hatred’ last year — a 36 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Of course, the CST is not a reliable source and its‘antisemitism figures’ have been debunked numerous times before. However, if these statistics are accurate, they suggest only that the more the British government invests in fighting anti-Semitism…. the more antisemitic Britain becomes.

This is easy enough to explain. The fight against antisemitism is now a profitable industry.  Every day, we learn of some new Jewish organisation dedicated to fighting antisemitism and to hunt down the Jew haters, and all at the expense of the British tax payer*.

And, as always in the case of Israel and Zionism, these organisation are financially sustained by the very Jewish hatred they seek to oppose. And, when there is no Jew hatred to be found, they will either induce, or even invent some.

For instance, we learned in the last few weeks that Stephen Silverman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) launched a war against popular cult figure David Icke. The same Stephen Silverman who launched this war also launched a war against musician Alison Chabloz for expressing her thoughts on Holocaust religion by means of a cabaret performance.

These ugly campaigns against British truth-seekers are unlikely to make UK Jewry popular. Quite the opposite. Both these campaigns immediately backfired – Alison’s work went viral and the campaign against Icke proved only that Icke’s investigation into Rothschild Zionism is not only legitimate, it is actually essential.  These campaigns clearly are not going to silence Icke or Chabloz but they will confirm  that Jewish institutions here in Britain do not subscribe to the notion of freedom of thought and elementary human rights.

Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications at the CST told the JC: “I think there is an overall climate rather than one specific thing that is responsible for the rise in (antisemitic) incidents.”

Rich is wrong. There is one crucial factor in the rise in opposition to Jews and their politics: Jewish power has lost all its subtlety. It is now crude and vulgar and manifested right out in the open: whether it is the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party or theIsraeli embassy crudely interfering with British party politics or the constant hunting of critics of Israel or even the impunity of suspected child molester Lord Janner – more and more Brits are now reading between the lines. They have had enough.

If the British government is really concerned about antisemitism, it could eliminate it in no time at all. It must immediately strip Jewish organisations of any special treatment and funds and  must stop spending millions on the CST and all the other Jews-only paramilitary organisations operating in the kingdom.

We all agree that racism is a bad thing, so let’s fight it in a universal manner rather than following the whims of one particular tribe.

* Theresa May vowed recently to allocate more than 13.4 million pounds annually to Jewish security matters.

israel Adds UK to the List of israeli-controlled Countries

Source

 

A quite incredible story out of England has not received much media coverage in the United States. It concerns how the Israeli Embassy in London connived with government officials to “take down” parliamentarians and government ministers who were considered to be critical of the Jewish State. It was also learned that the Israeli Embassy was secretly subsidizing and advising private groups promoting Israeli interests, including associations of Members of Parliament (MPs). The story is interesting on several levels, particularly given the recent furor in the U.S. over allegations that Russia has been interfering in American politics.

By way of comparison, though no evidence has been provided to support the claim, Russia allegedly arranged for a hack into the Democratic National Committee server to obtain factual information potentially embarrassing to the Hillary Clinton campaign. The information was then made public and may have influenced how some Americans voted.

Compare that to what has been going on meanwhile in Britain, where an Israeli Embassy diplomat named Shai Masot, “an officer in the Israel Defense Forces and…serving as a senior political officer at the London Embassy,” was meeting with Maria Strizzolo, a senior British civil servant who was formerly chief of staff to Conservative parliamentarian and ardent Zionist Robert Halfon. Masot is certainly an intelligence officer under diplomatic cover. Masot and Strizzolo’s candid discussion, which was secretly recorded by al-Jazeera, related specifically to getting rid of Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, regarded as a supporter of an independent Palestinian state.

To Masot’s additional query “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?” Strizzolo suggested “…if you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide…a little scandal maybe.” Another alleged pro-Arab member of Parliament Crispin Blunt was also identified, with Strizzolo confirming that he was on a “hit list.”

It was also learned that Masot had been secretly subsidizing and advising two ostensibly independent groups, the parliamentary Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). Masot did, however, express concern that Israel’s control over incoming parliamentarians was not quite what it used to be: “For years, every MP that joined the parliament joined the LFI. They’re not doing that any more in the Labour Party. CFI, they’re doing it automatically. All the 14 new MPs who got elected in the last elections did it automatically.”

Shai Masot also was working with friendly young British Jews, providing them with jobs at his embassy and then seeding them into positions in advocacy organizations where they continued to be paid secretly by him while promoting positions that would protect Israel from any criticism. One such group is Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS). Recently there has been somewhat of a furor over Shakira Martin, a vice president in the group, who accepted an all-expenses paid trip to Israel organized by the Union of Jewish Students, a pro-Israel organization which is among those receiving funding and guidance from the Israeli embassy in London. The al-Jazeera tape has also revealed that Richard Brooks, another NUS vice president, had been plotting with pro-Israel activists to remove elected NUS president Malia Bouattia, a supporter of Palestinian rights and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

It does not require much in the way of imagination to realize that the Masot meetings probably occur every day right out in the open in Washington, including Israeli officials and Congressmen as well as heads of political advocacy organizations and lobbies. The list of prominent politicians “taken down” by Israel is lengthy, and includes Cynthia McKinney, Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Findley, Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, and Pete McCloskey. And a similar situation prevails in the U.S. regarding human rights and politically liberal organizations that are ostensibly privately funded. As Jeff Blankfort has noted, they are frequently headed by American Jews who prove quite willing to criticize the United States but are generally reluctant to say anything bad about Israel. Whether they are actually directly or indirectly on the Israeli government payroll would be an interesting project for a good investigative journalist.

One might reasonably consider Israel’s interference in the democratic process in friendly countries like the U.K. and U.S. as much farther reaching and damaging than anything Moscow has done. Yet Russia is being excoriated by the U.S. and European media daily, investigated by Congress and sanctioned because of what are little more than unproven allegations. Israel has clearly done some things to interfere with local politics that are arguably much worse and the silence is deafening. So one should not be surprised by the toothless British reaction to the suggestion that its government officials might be removed by the clandestine activity of a foreign country: “The Israeli ambassador has apologized…the UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

Britain under its new Prime Minister Theresa May has also been rolling over in response to Israel’s perceived interests almost as obsequiously as the U.S. Congress. After Secretary of State John Kerry described Israel’s government as “extreme right wing” on December 28th, May sprang to Tel Aviv’s defense, saying “we do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. We are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.”

May’s rejoinder could have been written by Netanyahu, and maybe it was. Two weeks later, her government cited “reservations” over a French government sponsored mid-January Middle East peace conference and would not sign a joint statement calling for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after Netanyahu vociferously condemned the proceedings.

It all recalls Pat Buchanan’s description of the U.S. Congress as an Israeli occupied zone, which raised holy hell at the time even though Buchanan did not go far enough judging by what has been happening in Britain. Indeed, lobbying on behalf of Israel is a global phenomenon with organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) existing in various forms in a number of other countries. BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an AIPAC clone located in London. It is well funded and politically powerful, working through its various “Friends of Israel” proxies. Americans might be surprised to learn that in Britain Jewish organizations uniquely are allowed to patrol heavily Jewish London neighborhoods in police-like uniforms while driving police type vehicles and there have been reports of their threatening Muslims who enter the areas.

Indeed, wherever one goes – Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States – there is a well-organized and funded mechanism in place ready, willing and able to go to war to protect Israel. Most of the organizations involved take at least some direction from officials in Tel Aviv. Many of them even cooperate fully with the Israeli government, its parastatal organizations and faux-NGOs like the lawfare center Shurat HaDin. Their goal is to spread propaganda and influence the public in their respective countries of residence to either hew to the line coming out of Tel Aviv or to confuse the narrative and stifle debate when potential Israeli crimes are being discussed.

Israel’s diaspora allies are backed up by a formidable government organized machine that spews out disinformation and muddies the waters whenever critics surface. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has a corps of paid “volunteers” who monitor websites worldwide and take remedial action and there is a similar group working out of the Prime Minister’s office. That is why any negative story appearing in the U.S. or Britain about Israel is immediately inundated with pro-Israel comments, many of which make exactly the same coordinated points while exhibiting the same somewhat less than perfect English. On sites like Yahoo they are actually able to suppress unwelcome comments by flooding the site with “Dislike” responses. If a comment receives a large number of dislikes, it is automatically blocked or removed.

The sayanim, local Jews in their countries of residence, are essential to this process, having been alerted by emails from the Israeli Foreign Ministry about what to do and say. The reality is that Israel has lost the war of public opinion based on its own actions, which are becoming more and more repressive and even inhumane and so are difficult to explain. That means that the narrative has to be shifted by Israel’s friends through subterfuge and the corruption of the information and political processes in each country. In some places the key media and political players who are engaged in the process can simply be bought. In other places like England they can be intimidated or pressured into taking positions that are neither in their own countries’ interests nor morally acceptable. In large countries like the United States, Britain and France a combination of friendly suasion and coercive elements often come together.

In some extreme cases the game Israel plays is brutal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned New Zealand that backing a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements would be a “declaration of war.” In all cases, the objective is the same: to repress completely, discourage or misrepresent any criticism of Israel and to block any initiatives that might be taken that would do damage either to the Israeli economy or to the country’s perceived standing in the world. In some countries including the U.S. and Britain, Israel’s advocates work their subversion of local institutions right out in the open and are highly successful in implementing policies that often remain largely hidden but that can be discerned as long as one knows what to look for

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