FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Israel is a Rogue State

by

Photo by Gleicher Blickwinkel | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Gleicher Blickwinkel | CC BY 2.0

 

That Israel is a rogue state has long been beyond dispute in discerning company. In light of the recent revelation that an Israeli official, working for the country’s embassy in London, was plotting ways to “take down” various British politicians over their opposition to Israeli settlements and support for a Palestinian state, it is now becoming increasingly apparent within the mainstream. Or at least it should be given that this latest scandal comes as only the latest exposure of such nefarious activity on the part of a state that has long operated with scant regard for international law at home and overseas.

Indeed rather than a state operating in accordance with international law and diplomatic norms, Israel increasingly evinces the character of a rogue state making up its own rules and norms as it goes along. Whether the on-going illegal military occupation of the West Bank, the expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land, or the siege of Gaza, which comes under rubric of collective punishment and is therefore illegal, we are talking here a country that believes it can act with impunity.

The Israeli official in question in this instance, Shai Masot, was secretly filmed during a meeting he attended a London restaurant with a British civil servant and former Conservative Party official, and a man he thought worked for the pro-Israel pressure group Labour Friends of Israel. This individual, known as Robin, was in truth an undercover reporter with Al Jazeera.

The most high profile object of Masot’s ire within the British political establishment was Alan Duncan MP, the country’s Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. In a 2014 speech Duncan described Israel’s on-going policy towards the Palestinians thus: “Settlements are illegal colonies built in someone else’s country. They are an act of theft, and what is more something which is both initiated and supported by the state of Israel.”

He goes on: “Settlement activity is not carried out by some minority group outside the orbit of the Israeli state. Settlement activity is systematically initiated, implemented and supported by the Israeli Government, who authorize, implement and protect the relentless illegal expansion of the borders of Israel. This is reprehensible.”

Duncan then makes the key point that “It is no exaggeration to say that many settlers are state-supported militia, defying international law, driving out the rightful inhabitants from their land, and creating an illegal economy at the expense of those who have been cruelly displaced.”

According to the Israeli embassy in London, Masot was a junior official. Yet his business card described him as a ‘senior political officer’. He is also believed to hold a position within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as ‘deputy head of the international organisations sector’.

The political backlash in response to the exposure of this shocking violation of diplomatic protocol has involved the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, calling for a full investigation. In this he is being supported by MPs from both sides of the political divide. Corbyn has previously come under huge criticism in the mainstream media for his long record of support for justice for the Palestinians.

Regardless, the British Government is intent on kicking the issue into the long grass, more concerned with shielding the Israeli government from criticism taking a harsh view of the actions of the agent of another country plotting to “take down” ministers within Her Majesty’s Government. Consider the official statement issued by the foreign office in response to the uncovering of this plot. “The Israeli ambassador has apologized and is clear these comments do not reflect the views of the embassy or government of Israel. The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

If this scandal involved Russian officials does anybody doubt for a second that mass expulsions of Russian embassy staff would follow?

The Israeli embassy in London has of course distanced itself from Masot’s actions. Whether we actually believe their denial of any involvement in this affair is another matter. In this regard we should never make the mistake of underestimating some people’s capacity for naivety.

The fact that Israel is able to engage in these types of shenanigans and go unpunished or without sanction is impossible to deny. And when it comes to its UK friend and ally, this is not the first time its officials and institutions have treated it with contempt. Back in 2010 Mossad agents used the stolen identities of British citizens to forge UK passports, which they used to travel to Dubai to carry out the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. The British government’s response was given by the country’s then foreign secretary David Miliband in the UK parliament, who described the use of stolen British identities as an “outrage” while pledging to “get to the bottom” of the incident. What followed was…well nothing very much. Israel apologized and that as they say was that.

What this latest incident exposes is the fact there are British politicians acting as de facto agents for the state of Israel. For far too long their ignoble role in this regard has gone unremarked except among pro Palestinian activist circles or by  a few dissenting journalists. What else is the function of Conservative Friends of Israel or Labour Friends of Israel if not to cover and justify Israel’s brutal system of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and illegal military occupation. Most recently members of both groups have been active in attacking BDS in the UK, resulting in the Government introducing new guidance on the procurement of goods and services by local authorities and public sector bodies, designed to make it illegal to stand on the side of justice by boycotting goods and services from Israel, even Israeli settlements, despite the fact they are utterly illegal.

One of the most highly regarded politicians to ever hold the position of British foreign secretary was Henry John Temple, more commonly known as Lord Palmerston. He held the post in the mid 19th century and is best known for an analysis of a state’s foreign policy that has stood the test of time. “We have no eternal allies,” Palmerston said, “and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

When it comes to the determination of the successive recent British government to support Israel despite Tel Aviv repeatedly treating it with unalloyed contempt, who can doubt that Palmerston will be waiting for some time to come before he can finally stop spinning in his grave?

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail