Al Jazeera’s The lobby exposes the establishment’s ‘anti-Semitism’ claims for what they are, writes Tony Greenstein

This article also appears in this week’s issue of Weekly Worker
The Jewish Labour Movement at the 80th anniversary of the anti-fascist Battle of Cable Street – in 1936 the Zionist movement opposed confronting the fascists
Corbyn betraying everything he once stood for

This past week
Al Jazeera broadcast a series of four half an hour programmes about the Israel
Lobby in Britain. [1]
 They involved an undercover mole ‘Robin
Harrow’ who became a trusted confidante of the leadership of the Israel lobby
in Britain, in particular Shai Masot, the Senior Political Counsellor at the
Israeli Embassy, Michael Rubin, former Chair of Labour Students and now
Parliamentary officer for Labour Friends of Israel, Jeremy Newmark of the Jewish
Labour Movement and Joan Ryan MP of Labour Friends of Israel as well as the ghoul of the Labour Right,
Luke Akehurst.

Shai Masot in expansive mood
The background to this is the BDS
campaign which began on 9 July 2005 when over 170 Palestinian NGOs called for Boycott
and Disinvestment from and Sanctions against Israel.[2]  According to Gilad Erdan, the Public Security
Minister who oversees the MSA “Great Britain
is the world center of the anti-Israel BDS campaign
In June 2013 Benjamin
Netanyahu gave Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs[MSA] responsibility for
fighting BDS.[4]  Israel’s active management of British Zionist
groups began with Israel’s co-ordination of anti-BDS activities
The Jewish Labour Movement’s Director Ella Rose demonstrating the peaceful ways of Zionism
political classes have been consumed by paranoia over BDS for the past few
years.  This has resulted in thinly veiled
threats to the lives of BDS activists. 
Erdan is on record as saying that ‘“Soon any activist who uses
their influence to delegitimize the only Jewish state in the world will know
they will pay a price for it,”
International spoke of “an escalation of acts of intimidation by the government
and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-state actors (which) have
created an increasingly dangerous environment” for human rights defenders in
Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.[5]  At the ‘Stop the Boycott’ Conference held in
Jerusalem on March 28th 2016, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz called for “sikul ezrachi memukad” against the
“BDS leadership.”  This is the phrase  that Israel’s military use for extra-judicial
BDS kicked off
in Britain in 2005 with the Academic Boycott which was endorsed by the
Association of University Teachers. 
Despite condemnation by Tony Blair and New Labour it was ratified by the
new University Colleges Union.  In 2007
both Unite and UNISON, Britain’s two largest trade unions adopted policy in
support of BDS.  Yet the simple facts are
that economically, the effect of BDS has been on the margins.  Veolia has pulled out of Israel, G4S is on
the brink of doing so, Sodastream has been hard hit and a few Scandinavian
investment banks have stopped investing in Israel.  There have been other successes, often at a
local level, but overall they have been relatively marginal.  However what BDS has done is to focus the
anger of groups such as students at the continuation of the world’s only active
settler colonial and apartheid state.  The
effect of BDS has been primarily political
not economic and yet the Israeli government has been paralysed by fear.  Is this justified?
Yes and no.  On the economic level the Boycott has made no
impact on Israel’s military sales or the vast majority of its trading
activities.   But Israel doesn’t exist
because of its economic contribution to the Western world, important though it
has become.  Israel’s role has been
primarily strategic, a combination of the political and military.  Israel is particularly vulnerable to
political pressure because its establishment was dependant on western political
support in a way that South Africa never was as a result of a UN resolution.  Even despite recent gas finds it is dependent
on raw materials in a way that South Africa never was. 
The JLM’s Jeremy Newmark with war criminal Mark Regev
Israeli leaders
have felt more keenly than most the effect of the end to Apartheid.  This was a serious blow to the Zionists’confidence.  In the words of Hendrik Verwoerd,
South Africa Prime Minister and the Architect of Apartheid,  “Israel, like South Africa, is an
apartheid state.” [6]    With the loss of South Africa Israel was on
its own.  One of the characteristics of
settler colonialism is its siege mentality and paranoia.  This is because they are states which are
never at ease with themselves.  They are
artificial nations whose existence is predicated upon the dispossession or oppression
of the indigenous population.  This is
one reason why they can never be normal nation states, at least until they
achieve a ‘final solution’ to the native problem.
The demands of
the BDS campaign do not explicitly call for the end to a Jewish state but,
taken together, they can have no other interpretation.[7]  The call for an end to the occupation of all
Arab lands is ambiguous and can be understood as meaning an end to the
post-1967 occupation.   However the
demand for the full equality of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot be
squared with the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.  Although Zionist parties pay lip-service to a
Jewish and Democratic state, in practice they know that full equality is
unattainable.  Support for the Right of
Return of the refugees ethnically cleansed in 1947-8 and subsequently is wholly
incompatible with the maintenance of a Jewish majority state without it being
an openly apartheid state.
It is the
political almost psychological susceptibility of Israel as a Jewish state, that
lies behind the hostility of the whole Zionist spectrum to BDS.  Labour Zionism is equally as hostile to BDS as
the far-Right Jewish Home.  Only at the
fringes of the Zionist movement, where liberal Zionism meets non-Zionism, is
there support for Boycotting Settler Goods only.
Zionist paranoia
in respect of BDS is not wholly irrational. 
BDS does indeed go to the heart of Zionism and what it means to be a Jewish
state.  Although Israel’s reaction appears
to be a massive and irrational over-reaction it is explained by the particular
political insecurity of settler colonial states.  The overthrow of South Africa Apartheid began
with the Sporting Boycott in 1970.  I cut
my political teeth in the demonstrations against the visiting Springbok Rugby
teams which were led by Peter Hain.  The
attack on South Africa’s love of Sport was a prelude to the Economic and
Political Boycott.  That is what Israel’s
fear is.  Hence the use of the term
‘delegitimisation’.  Israel rightly fears
that the whole concept of a Jewish state, which is fundamentally racist to the
core, will be lost to those who still have some attachment to the ideals of the
French Revolution and Emancipation. 
It is this
paranoia, at the base of which lies a deep racial and existential fear, which explains
some of the comical mistakes and overreach of the Zionist campaign in Britain
as demonstrated by the escapades of agent Shai Masot.
Role of Embassy
At the beginning
of November, I spoke to the biannual gathering of the Boycott Israel Network at
Coalbrookdale Youth Hostel on the Zionists’ concocted anti-Semitism campaign which
the Zionists have been waging ever since Jeremy Corbyn stood for leader of the
Labour Party.  Someone asked me: ‘What
was the role of the Israeli Embassy and Ambassador Regev in all this?’ –  I replied thus:
I don’t think Mark Regev began it but
certainly he’s involved in it. If you look at it from this perspective, when
Corbyn was elected or seemed likely to be elected to the Labour leadership, I
imagine panic set in, not just in the Israeli embassy but the US embassy.
Britain is the closest ally of the United States in Europe, the special
relationship; the idea that someone who is anti-Nato, anti-Trident and so on,
with his record, I would be amazed if the CIA and the Intelligence Agencies
weren’t doing something. I mean that’s what they’re paid to do all over the
world; why not in Britain? It would be bonkers if they didn’t; they would be
failing in their duties, so, yes, of course they have been behind this
Anyone who knows
anything of the CIA’s destabilisation of governments in Central and South
America or in Europe with Operation Gladio[9]
should know that US intelligence organisations have no respect for
democratically elected governments.[10]
Excellent though
the work of ‘Robin’ has been as an undercover reporter in the Jewish Labour
Movement and with Zionist groups such as Labour Friends of Israel no one should
be under any illusion that what has been revealed is but a snapshot of what has
happened.  We have no evidence of
communications between the Israeli and American embassies on the matter but it
is highly unlikely that the Americans haven’t been involved at some level.  We know little of the depth of co‑operation between
the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Labour Movement other than that they worked
with Shai Masot.   But with these caveats the programmes were an
excellent eye opener for those who are born innocent.
Credit should be
given to ‘Robin’ for ingratiating himself with key Zionist activists and
personnel.  It took a lot of skill but it
also depended on their own arrogance. 
Passing oneself off as a racist is not easy!  But it is also testimony to the Zionists main
weakness – a lack of personnel.  Attracting
youthful activists to a cause as desperate as that of Israel, to actively
supporting a murderous regime steeped in ethnic cleansing is not an easy task.
What the
programmes demonstrate is that Zionist politics in this country are now
effectively the British side of the operations of the Israeli state, behind which
stands the American state.  Although
there have always been such connections, it is of recent origin that Israel was
in the driving seat. 
The fourth
programme is most amusing in this respect. 
A story appears in Ha’aretz in which ‘Ministries Feud Over Anti-BDS
War’  – basically an accusation by the
Foreign Ministry that MOSA was in potential breach of British law.  Instead of co-operating and working with
existing British Zionist groups it was going further and setting such groups up
and effectively interfering in Britain’s own political process.  Shai Masot asks for a quiet meeting with
Robin in which he clarifies his own role. 
He explains away his previous introduction of ‘Robin’ as Chair of Young
LFI, which doesn’t even exist, by saying he was drunk!  Now he emphasises he cannot be seen to be in
control of anything:  ‘I am irrelevant’.
‘If I give you an idea it’s off the record, it’s not something you can
use.’  Clearly Masot has been given a
strict warning that he is operating at the edge of legality and endangering the
whole mission in London.  He is worried.
Whilst he is always available for advice or resources he cannot be quoted or be
seen to be in charge!  Masot becomes
incoherent and almost pleads for ‘Robin’s’ understanding.  ‘That’s politics’ he ends up saying.  It’s not an easy role change when you find
difficult defining your role.   It was a
portent of things to come.
Sir Alan Duncan – Shai Masot’s Target
The first
programme began with a front page headlines in the Mail on Sunday.  It revealed that Shai Masot in a conversation
with Robin and Maria Strizzolo, a civil servant and adviser to Robert Halfon
MP, Minister of State for Education, had expressed a desire to ‘take down’ Sir
Alan Duncan, Britain’s Deputy Foreign Secretary and a known Arabist.  When the news broke, Israel’s Ambassador Mark
Regev quickly distanced himself from what he described as a ‘junior employee’
who wasn’t even a diplomat.  Masot was
thrown under the political bus.
What was even
more interesting was the reaction of Boris Johnson.  Despite being called an ‘idiot’ who had
become ‘minister of foreign affairs without any
such that ‘If
something real happened it won’t be his fault… it will be Alan Duncan’
  he accepted the apology and made it clear
that there was going to be no investigation. 
The only person who resigned was Ms Strizzolo, a Conservative Party
activist and ardent Zionist who responded helpfully to Masot’s desire to bring
down Duncan,  “A little scandal
maybe?”  Given Duncan was the first
out gay Tory MP, it is not difficult to imagine what she had in mind.[11]
Craig Murry, the ex-British
Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was sacked by Jack Straw for  raising that country’s abysmal human rights
record and its use of torture[12]
raised some interesting questions re Shai Masot.[13]
1) On what basis
was Masot in the UK?
2) Since he was
not on the Diplomatic List but was plainly a senior officer what precise visa
and residence status did he hold?
3) How many more
officers does the Israeli Embassy have with that same visa and residence
4) Has the FCO
connived with the Israeli Embassy to allow other Israeli intelligence
operatives residence in the country other than those officially credited?
5) Did MI5, MI6
or any other of the security services have any input into Mr Masot’s acceptance
and visa/residency status?
Murray hasn’t received any response to his inquiries from the Foreign Office or
Theresa May.  There is little doubt that
what was a programme by a foreign state aimed at destabilising a British political
party had the blessing and was carried out with the  active connivance of the government.  The fact that a government which is normally
so keen to prevent immigration had granted someone who was not a diplomat British
residence suggests collusion with the Israeli government’s anti-BDS strategy at
the highest level.
The British Media
It was not
difficult to work out that the hand of the Israeli state and MI5/CIA were
behind the ‘anti-Semitism affair’.  Why
should there be a sudden upsurge of ‘anti-Semitism’ when Corbyn was
elected.  The fact that such allegations
were being levelled at Corbyn himself, when he first stood, should have been a
strong indication as to their provenance.[14]  The fact that people like Jon Lansman gave
credence to this campaign should raise questions about his own bona fides.
Although the
British press did not entirely ignore the story, most of them downplayed it and
soon forgot what was, in essence, an espionage programme run on British
soil.  Imagine if the Russians had been
running secret agents who were infiltrating political parties.  It is a sad commentary on the state of the
British press – from the quality end to the yellow press – that it was a TV
station based in Qatar which broke a story that was begging to be told.  The verbosity and carelessness of Shai Masot
suggested from the start that he was unlikely to be a member of Mossad,
Israel’s equivalent of MI6.  He was the
political equivalent of the keystone cops. 
It would surely not have been difficult for the Guardian or Independent
to have run a few students in the Jewish Labour Movement but the will was not
there.  Jonathan Freedland had already
laid down the Guardian’s editorial take on the anti-Semitism affair.
Subversion in the Student Movement
Students are one
of the key area of activities for the BDS and 
Palestine solidarity movement.  In
the last year the student movement has been rocked by two things in particular.  The first was the false allegation of
anti-Semitism at Oxford University Labour Club in January 2016.
As Asa
Winstanley has shown, the allegations of anti-Semitism were wholly false and
contrived.[15]  The person who made them at Oxford, Alex
Chalmers, left the Labour Party a few weeks later and supported the
Lib-Dems.  On his Linked-in profile, before it was deleted, was information that he
had worked for Israel’s main propaganda group in this country, BICOM.  The Labour Club’s ‘anti-Semitism’ had consisted
of support for Israel Apartheid Week.  As
the the Zionist Baroness Royall later commented on a blog on her own
investigation on the JLM site:  ‘ ‘I know that you will share my
disappointment and frustration that the main headline coming out of my inquiry
is that there is no institutional Antisemitism in Oxford University Labour
kind of political charlatan expresses disappointment that she could find no
trace of ‘institutional anti-Semitism’ (whatever that is) at the organisation
she was investigating?
The other major
event was the election of the first Black woman President of the National Union
of Students, Malia Bouattia, an open supporter of BDS and
anti-imperialism.  She was subject to
vicious attacks by the bourgeois media, led by the Union of Jewish
Students.  In June 2015 the National Union of Students (NUS)
voted for BDS.
UJS received money from the
Israeli embassy and attempted to influence the outcome of the NUS presidency
election and oust Bouattia following her victory.  UJS instigated a disaffiliation campaign from
NUS which sank like a damp squib.  Oxford
University students, despite Alex Chalmers supporting the disaffiliation bid,
voted by a margin of 1,000 students to affiliate to the national union.  Lincoln University which disaffiliated has
since reversed that decision.  Only Hull
and Newcastle Universities disaffiliated.
One key activist in all of this
was Michael Rubin, who claimed to work “with
the ambassador and embassy quite a lot
He told Robin that Bouattia was “really
and “awful”.  “We
were campaigning for the person running against her because we didn’t want her
to win,”
said Rubin, who was at the time Chairman of Labour Students. 
During the election campaign,
Richard Brooks, NUS vice president, held “secret” meetings with Russell Langer,
UJS campaign director, and Rubin.  “We’d
have our secret little purpose meeting where we’d plan how to get moderate
people with good politics and any number of things elected to certain places,”
Robin explored with Brooks, the possibility of ousting Bouattia.  He told ‘Robin’ “You can speak to me because I’m helping organise them.”   The investigation also revealed that the UJS
sent Brooks on a paid trip to Israel, which he failed to declare.  As a result the Left and Black students in
NUS are seeking his removal as a scab agent in the student movement.
Adam Schapira, who ran an unsuccessful
bid for the UJS presidency revealed, as we always suspected, that “The Israeli embassy in the UK gives money
to UJS.”
  Schapira confirmed that the
American pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, is also channelling money to British campuses
through the Pinsker Centre.[16]  What the programme confirms is that Britain
is at the epicentre of Zionist and US destabilisation efforts.
There were some highly amusing
moments.  Ella Rose is the Director
of the Jewish Labour Movement, the main organisation in the Labour Party
spearheading the anti-Semitism campaign. 
Previously she had worked at the Israeli Embassy and before that as
Chair of UJS.  She had sought to keep her
work at the Israeli Embassy a secret as the JLM didn’t want its close
relationship with the Israeli Embassy revealed. 
Asa Winstanley at Electronic Intifada broke the story of who her former
employer was.[17]
Ella was not happy when the story
broke and she happened to bump into ‘Robin’ at that time.  She is filmed crying ‘fuck you, fuck you,
fucking anti-Semites the lot of them.’
She was in tears over the fact that the truth of her employment had been
revealed and she accused Winstanley of being a ‘fucking anti-Semite’.  It
would seem that anybody who displeases this spoilt brat is to be defined as an ‘anti-Semite’.  All the traditional measures of anti-Semitism
– a belief in Jewish inferiority, stereotypes, the International Jewish
Conspiracy, the Medieval Blood Libel are irrelevant.  The only thing that is relevant is whether or
not you support the Apartheid State of Israel. 
If you do, then you it is immaterial if you hate Jews as Jews.
Readers can, however, rest assured that Ella recovered soon
enough to tell Robin that she had seen Jackie Walker the previous Saturday and ‘You know what?  I could take her, she’s like 5’ 2” and tiny’.[18]  Apparently she has trained in the Israeli
martial arts Krav Maga.  The Jewish
Chronicle’s Marcus Dysche interpretation is that this was nothing more than Al
Jazeera having ‘embarked
on an exercise that is nothing more than straightforward Jew-baiting dressed up
as an investigation.
’  In other words
classic anti-Semitism even though the woman that Ella Rose has threatened to ‘take out’ is herself Jewish! [19]
The most
interesting part of the programme was when we saw, at Labour Party Conference,
exactly how a fake anti-Semitism incident is manufactured.  Jean Fitzpatrick, a delegate to the
Conference comes up to the Labour Friends of Israel stall.  She is impressed by their commitment to Two
States and wants to know more.  What do
you actually do to achieve that she asks the Chair of LFI, Joan Ryan MP. 
is ideally placed to be the LFI’s Chair. As MP for Enfield North she has demonstrated
not only a love for Israel but a love for parliamentary expenses too.  Her much doctored Wikipedia entry states that
‘In October
2007, the 
Evening Standard reported that Joan Ryan claimed £173,691 in
expenses for the 2006/2007 tax year, the highest for any MP. She was the second
highest claimant in the 2005/2006 tax year.
’  In February 2010 Ryan was asked to repay
£5,121 mortgage interest. [20]

There is a further section entitled Accusations of editing Wikipedia from within Parliament’.  It would appear that Ryan is not exactly
happy that her appetite for expenses has been given undue publicity.  In 2012, The Independent reported that “[a]t least 10
attempts have been made from computers in Parliament to remove information
about [Ryan’s] expenses claims and a further 20 efforts were subsequently made
to delete the information.  During the 2015 general electionThe Telegraph reported that ‘The entire section about expenses on Joan Ryan’s page
was deleted. Ms Ryan spent thousands
on repairs and decorations at her Enfield home before ‘flipping’ it
 to another
property.’ [21]

Jean Fitzpatrick
was a persistent questioner and wanted to know exactly what LFI were doing to
oppose the settlements which are an obstacle to a two-state solution.  The answer of course is nothing.  LFI and the Zionist movement in Britain,
whilst ostensibly supporting a 2 States solution in the abstract does nothing whatsoever to bring such a
scenario about.  There has never been a
single occasion when they have opposed Israel’s Occupation, its land theft or
crop destruction, its theft of water or any of the other acts that make
Israel’s occupation a vicious and bloody one. 
Two states is a cover for one, Apartheid Greater Israel with the
Palestinian kept under permanent military rule.
Jean at some
stage mentioned that LFI seemed to be made up of the privileged and powerful,
which it is and immediately they pounced. 
This was an ‘anti-Semitic trope’ about rich Jews, bankers and the City
of London.  In fact she had mentioned
none of this but a complaint was made by Ryan and Jean was suspended.  After having been investigated Jean was reinstated
but it was and is a telling lesson in how false and fake anti-Semitic incidents
are manufactured out of nothing.
Jeremy Corbyn
who up till his election was a strong, the strongest supporter of the
Palestinians has been worn down by the Zionists’ ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign.  Instead of calling out the Zionist JLM for
weaponising anti-Semitism in the fight to defend Israel, he repeatedly stressed
he was opposed to anti-Semitism without understanding or realising that the
‘anti-Semitism’ his opponents were accusing people of had nothing to do with
hatred of Jews and everything to do with hatred of the actions of Israel.  Hence why his denials did nothing to appease
his critics. 
At Labour’s 2016
conference Corbyn abased himself, giving a grovelling speech to LFI, to whom he
had never spoken before.  Newmarks’s smug
and arrogant comments after Corbyn had spoken said everything about the
contempt in which the Zionists hold him: 
‘I can kind of live with that for the time being.  It will get us through another year.’  Hardly a ringing endorsement but confirmation
that they have subdued Corbyn.
Luke Akehurst,
former National Executive member who works for We Believe in Israel, another
Israeli Embassy front group, was full of praise for Corbyn’s speech condemning
‘anti-Semitism’ to a group of racists:
“It’s a shame he
didn’t make this speech this time last year. His underlying beliefs won’t have
shifted… but given where he came from it was a carefully drafted speech that
had appropriate wording in terms of the way it addressed core issues in the
Middle East and the way it addressed antisemitism. My initial sense was there
was not much one could find to criticise in what was said.”[22]
What an utterly
damning indictment of Corbyn that this creature of Labour’s far-Right could
find nothing to criticise in it?  One
thing the Al Jazeera programme did prove was that the LFI itself is nothing
more than a creature of the Israeli Embassy. 
There was  Shai Masot going around
appointing the Chair of Young LFI until a Ha’aretz article stopped him in his
track and then there was the affair of the slush fund.  Ryan asks what happened to the names she put
in for an all-expenses paid trip to Israel and Masot told her that he had just
got the money, more than £1m.  It doesn’t
take a genius to work out that it costs nothing like that sum to take MPs on a
freebie.  In other words the $50m that
Israel has allocated to anti-BDS work is a slush fund which is being used to
pay for the running of LFI, including no doubt generous ‘expenses’ for people
like Ryan.  In short LFI is nothing more
than an arms length organisation run by the Embassy.  It is to be hoped that Corbyn now cuts his
links with this reactionary state run organisation and never again speaks at
its functions.
investigation by Al Jazeera has been extremely damaging to the Zionist movement
in Britain.  We now have conclusive
evidence of how Israeli state agents, with the connivance of the British state,
have been interfering in both the Labour Party and the student movement, how
MPs like Joan Ryan and others, are in their pay. 
Above all the
programmes demonstrate that the fake anti-Semitism campaign of the past year is
just that.  An artificial concoction
dreamt up in Jerusalem, the Israeli and probably the  American Embassy.  It is long overdue that socialists in the
Labour Party dispensed with any feelings of guilt over this use of identity
politics to shield and protect the privileged and powerful, the racist and
reactionary.  The fact that Zionism uses
‘anti-Semitism’ in order to defend its demolition of Palestinian homes, torture
and internment is a sign of its contempt for those Jews who did suffer from
anti-Semitism.  During the pogrom in
Romania by the Iron Guard in January 1941 the bodies of Jews were hung from
butchers hooks and their victims were skinned alive.  To equate support for the Palestinians or the
discomfiture of a spoilt brat from North London with the horrors that Jews have
historically experienced demonstrates the utter contempt for actual Jewish
suffering the Zionists have.  This should
not be a surprise.  When Holocaust survivors
first went to Israel after 1945 they were termed derisively ‘sapon; (soap)
after the myth that the Nazis used fat from those killed in Auschwitz to
manufacture soap.  It was not until the
1960’s when the Holocaust was used as the main instrument of Israel’s
propaganda war, that openly expressed contempt for Holocaust survivors vanished,
at least from the surface of Israeli society.
Tony Greenstein





4. New York Times February 1 2014:



7. AJ Clarno The empire’s new walls Michigan 2009, pp66-67.




11. Anyone who harbours any doubts on this score should read Inside the company – CIA diary by Phil Agee, a former CIA case officer in South America.




15. Not only the Daily Mail and the Zionist Jewish Chronicle, but Jonathan Freedland and The Guardian. See, for example, ‘Labour and the left have an anti-Semitism problem’ (

16. ‘How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis’:

17.; and


19. See