Tag Archives: embassy

Six arrested for painting Brazilian embassy red in protest at Amazon deforestation

“Climate-change protesters threw red paint at the Brazilian embassy in London on Tuesday to demonstrate against damage to the Amazon rainforest and what they described as violence against indigenous tribes living there.”

Read more: London climate change protesters daub Brazilian embassy blood red – Reuters

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Willsman suspended – again. But his alleged claims are entirely reasonable

Peter Willsman: Clearly he has enemies who want him discredited – and they aren’t above ignoring Labour Party rules to achieve this.

Peter Willsman, a left-wing member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, has had his party membership suspended – again – over comments that some are claiming to be anti-Semitic.

It seems clear that these claims are false and it will be informative to watch the way Labour deals with this case.

Mr Willsman’s party membership was previously suspended after allegations last year, but was restored to his position after he made an apology. Many believe he should have stuck to his guns as he had done nothing wrong.

The current allegation arises from a recording of an “off-the-record” conversation with an author, in which Mr Willsman allegedly said he believed the Israeli embassy was coordinating antisemitism accusations against the Labour Party.

The first thing that occurs to This Writer is that “off-the-record” means exactly that; comments made in such circumstances are not intended to be attributed to their source and it is the height of unprofessionalism to name the source of an “off-the-record” comment. I would like to know the name of the person who supplied the recording to LBC, in order for this person to be blackballed by the British Establishment. They cannot be trusted.

Secondly – and far more importantly – is the fact that Mr Willsman said nothing anti-Semitic, even though this is the apparent reason for his suspension.

It is known that at least one Israeli embassy operative very definitely conspired with at least one UK civil servant in order to “take down” then-Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan.

Shai Masot was forced to return to Israel after the revelations by Al Jazeera.

But here’s a thing: Part of the accusation against Mr Willsman is that he said a Labour member was “working indirectly” for the Israeli embassy. This is believed to refer to Joan Ryan, who was a Labour MP at the time the recording was made (she has since switched to Change UK) and also chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

There is evidence in support of this claim.

Here’s a video of Ms Ryan being offered a vast amount of money to carry out work for the Israeli government – by the same Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot:

Clearly there is evidence to support Mr Willsman’s concerns, as expressed on the recording.

But what will Labour do? Here’s what I think should happen – and what I fear will happen:

The problem is exactly as former Labour minister Clare Short described it in a BBC interview earlier this week:

“There has been a widening of the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.”

This contradicts the definition and examples of anti-Semitism laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which the Labour Party adopted last year.

Israel-supporting members of Labour campaigned hotly for the party to adopt this definition – and the examples accompanying it – in full after the party initially adopted its own (better) definition.

Watch them now as they ignore it completely.

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If British organisations worked with the Israeli embassy to achieve that country’s aims and not our own, what should we call it?

Jeremy Newmark and Ella Rose of the Jewish Labour Movement, with Israeli ambassador Mark Regev: No connection?

I’d call it conspiracy.

No – not an ‘International Jewish Conspiracy’, because the implication behind that anti-Semitic stereotype has always been that all – or at least many – Jews are involved and know about it.

Talk to (for example) David Schneider on Twitter for a while if you need to be divested of that illusion.

But certainly a conspiracy involving Israeli government representatives and members of pro-Israel organisations in the UK. Consider the following, from an article in The Electronic Intifada:

The Jewish Labour Movement acted as a proxy for the Israeli embassy, a document obtained by The Electronic Intifada reveals.

“We work with Shai, we know him very well,” the group’s director Ella Rose admitted to an undercover reporter in 2016, a transcript of the conversation shows.

Ms Rose was referring to Shai Masot, the former Israeli embassy staffer who returned to his country in disgrace after trying to enlist the help of a Conservative government office worker to have pro-Palestine minister Alan Duncan removed from the foreign office.

I called that a conspiracy – and have been accused of anti-Semitism for it, especially after I questioned the activities of organisations such as… oh, yes, the Jewish Labour Movement!

In a statement broadcast in the film, the Jewish Labour Movement claimed to Al Jazeera that it “denies that it has worked closely with Shai Masot.”

The September 2016 transcript… shows that Rose’s relationship with Masot and the Israeli embassy continued after she was hired by the Jewish Labour Movement in July of that year.

Looks like someone was lying. I wonder who it was and why they would do that?

The transcript reveals that the Jewish Labour Movement brought an Israeli delegation to the 2016 Labour Party conference on behalf of the embassy.

The delegation was presented as a group of young, left-wing Israeli activists.

But the day after the conference closed, a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz alleged that Israeli agents had been “operating British Jewish organizations” in a way that could “put them in violation of British law.”

While the Haaretz report – which cites a cable from the Israeli embassy in London – does not name any of the groups, the transcript of the conversation between Rose and the undercover Al Jazeera reporter suggests that the Jewish Labour Movement may have been one of these organizations.

Conspiracy? No? What, then?

Despite denials, Masot appears to have been an agent for the Ministry of Strategic Affairs – a semi-clandestine organization that leads Israeli “black ops” against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Its minister is Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The ministry’s director-general is a former senior military intelligence officer, most of its employees – whose names are classified – are drawn from the ranks of Israel’s various spy agencies and it has a budget of tens of millions of dollars.

But as revealed in the Haaretz report, the Israeli foreign ministry got wind of how Erdan’s strategic affairs ministry was allegedly “operating” groups in the UK in violation of British law and was unhappy that what it perceived as its turf was being intruded upon.

The article goes on to name other organisations believed to have been used to promote the interests of Israel:

All the evidence points to Masot attempting to use the Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Friends of Israel and perhaps other groups to influence decision makers in the Labour Party for the benefit of Israel.

This is a familiar situation. I described it myself, on This Site, in January 2017:

It’s like a game of aggressive-Zionist join-the-dots now; Shai Masot leads to Labour Friends of Israel, and from there on to the Jewish Labour Movement and who knows where.

I continued:

It is time to root out every last one of these operators.

Anybody who has been involved in the anti-Semitism witch-hunt within the Labour Party … needs to be pulled in and checked out.

And I was right, wasn’t I?

But I was smeared as an anti-Semite for it.

It seems to me that – considering the latest evidence – quite a few people owe me a quite enormous apology. Don’t you agree?


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Botswana shows how to stand up against bully Trump

Open mouth, insert boot: Donald Trump.

One of the smallest republics in Africa has set a shining example with a masterclass in how to stand up against international bullying, after US President Donald Trump reportedly spoke about immigration from – and I apologise for the language; it’s his word, not mine – “shithole” countries.

Mr Trump allegedly made the comment in a closed-door discussion with representatives of the DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – programme. It’s an Obama-originated initiative to allow people brought to the US illegally as children the temporary right to live, study and work in America.

The claim is that he said Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations are “shithole” countries.

Commenters have linked it with other comments attributed to Mr Trump – that Mexicans are “rapists”, Haitians “all have AIDS”, and Nigerians live in “huts”. Charming.

But it seems the government of Botswana went a little further – dragging the US ambassador to the southern African country to the presidential office and demanding that he clarify whether that country is regarded as a “shithole” by the US government.

I know some readers have disparaging opinions of Wikipedia, but This Writer would like to believe that site’s page on Botswana, which makes it clear that the country is far from the kind of place Mr Trump allegedly described:

Botswana … has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and the best perceived corruption ranking in Africa since at least 1998.

A mid-sized country of just over 2 million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.

Formerly one of the poorest countries in the world—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s—Botswana has since transformed itself into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Botswana boasts a GDP per capita of about $18,825 per year as of 2015.

Here’s what Botswana did about Mr Trump:

The letter states:

The Government of Botswana today summoned the US Ambassador to Botswana to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by the President of the US, Donald Trump, when he referred to African countries and others as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakeers at the White House on Thursday 11 January 2018.

The Botswana Government has also enquired from the US Government through the Ambassador, to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a “shithole” country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US, and also that some of Botswana may wish to visit the US.

The Government of Botswana is wondering why President Trump must use this descriptor and derogatory word, when talking about countries with whom the US has had cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations for so many years.

Botswana has accepted US citizens within her borders over the years and continues to host US guests and senior government officials, including a Congressional delegation that will come to Botswana at the end of this month; that is why we view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.

Botswana calls on SADC [the South African Development Community], the African Union and all other progressive nations across the world to strongly condemn the remarks made by President Trump.

“Irresponsible, reprehensible and racist” – that view has been taken up by the United Nations.

The organisation’s Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Coleville said: “If confirmed these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. There is no other word you can use but ‘racist’.”

If only the UK government could bring itself to make such a principled stand.

But Theresa May has not built a reputation for principled action and has reportedly refused to condemn Mr Trump for his latest alleged rant.

For any opposition to Mr Trump, you have to visit the social media – which is perhaps appropriate as the President loves it so much – and the debate over his decision to cancel his State visit to the UK.

Mr Trump has claimed – well, we all know he can tweet for himself:

Oh, really? So it’s nothing to do with the recently-announced snub by Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle, who want former President Barack Obama to attend their wedding, rather than Mr Trump? That’s nice to know – if you believe it.

As for the US embassy – well:

Of course we all know there might be another explanation:

Among those who tweeted their support for Mr Trump’s decision was London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose words prompted another Tory, well-known for putting his proverbial foot in his proverbial mouth, to do so yet again:

Yes – Boris Johnson stuck his oar in, tweeting obsequious support for Mr Trump. You have to wonder why, really.

Of course, he got short shrift from the British people:

That’s an opinion with which we can all agree.


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Pro-Israel groups and figures should face inquiry after ‘take down’ video leak

Shai Masot discusses MPs he wants “taken down” in the leaked video.

While This Writer has to agree with the Israeli Embassy staffer Shai Masot when he says Alan Duncan is an idiot, there are questions about Israel’s policies in the UK that really must be answered now.

Mr Duncan was the fool who criticised everybody in the UK who isn’t a millionaire as “low-achievers”. Of course, he comes from a privileged background.

He is also outspoken against the anti-Palestinian policies of the Israeli government and has denounced the policy of building settlements on Palestinian land, likening Israeli policy to apartheid.

It is clear, then, that this Israeli politician was proposing the removal of British politicians who oppose his own government’s behaviour when he suggested to Maria Strizzolo, Tory Robert Halfon’s former chief of staff, that she “take” him “down” – as shown on a leaked video.

How many other UK politicians have been the subject of Israeli interference? How is the UK government to prevent further such interference?

It seems the Foreign Office considers the matter closed, after Israel apologised.

But the Labour Party is right to demand an inquiry.

Ms Strizzolo has said there was nothing to the conversation – it should not be interpreted as an attempt to instruct the UK government on its ministerial appointments – but this can only be borne out by examination of her actions, and those of Mr Masot.

Mr Masot is also on record as having admitted setting up front groups. These are both party political & “astroturf” (fake grassroots) bodies, including Labour Friends of Israel.

Would these include the organisations we have seen trying to “take down” prominent Labour figures on bogus “anti-Semitism” claims over the last year?

That must be investigated, also.

Until we know how far this rot has set in, we cannot know whether any claims relating to Israel, anti-Semitism or Zionism have solid foundations at all.

It is good that this issue has been revealed but more work must be done.

And those who try to shut it down should be held in suspicion.

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