?האם שי מסוט, עובד שגרירות ישראל בלונדון, הוא סוכן מוסד
Al Jazeera’s Investigation Unit, led by Clayton Swisher, is about to air a blockbuster documentary series which reveals that an Israeli embassy staff member (likely a Mossad agent, see below) colluded with Jewish Tory MPs to topple a fellow-Tory leader who had criticized Israeli settlements. Al Jazeera planted a mole inside the Israel Lobby’s anti-BDS campaign who recorded meetings between the chief of staff of the former political director of Tory Friends of Israel and current education minister, MK Robert Halfon, and Israel’s senior political officer in Britain, Shai Masot, as they plotted to destroy the career of MP Sir Alan Duncan, the deputy foreign secretary. Al Jazeera notes that Duncan had, in the past, said:
…That while he fully supports Israel’s right to exist, he believes settlements on occupied Palestinian land represent an “ever-deepening stain on the face of the globe”. He also likened the situation in Hebron in the occupied West Bank to apartheid.
For this, both pro-Israel MPs and the Israeli government sought revenge. Apparently, they viewed attacks on settlements as the same as support for BDS, and found it worthwhile to bring down any politician who voiced support for either view. Masot, who told his interlocutor that he had been sent from Israel for an unspecified political operation, added that Duncan “was causing a lot of problems.”
The Belfast Telegraph writes:
Mr Masot asked her [Maria Strizzolo, Halfon’s chief of staff]: “Can I give you some names of MPs that I would suggest you take down?”
Ms Strizzolo replied that all MPs have “something they’re trying to hide” and Mr Masot responded by saying “I have some MPs”, adding “she knows which MPs I want to take down” before specifying “the deputy foreign minister”.
Sir Alan, who has been critical of Israel, was seen as more of a problem than Mr Johnson who was “basically good”, according to Mr Masot in a transcript of the conversation.
“He just doesn’t care. He is an idiot but has become minister of foreign affairs without any responsibilities. If something real happened it won’t be his fault… it will be Alan Duncan.
“Duncan is impossible to rebuff … he has a lot of friends.”
Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev, dismissed the charges saying essentially that Masot was freelancing and didn’t represent the views or policy of the Israeli government. He said:
…The comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly.
This statement is on its face absurd. How an “embassy employee” is not an official diplomat is truly tortured logic. He may wish Masot wasn’t employed by the embassy after this misadventure. But the unfortunate (for him) fact is that he is. And Masot’s job as senior political officer is not by any means “junior.” It is a senior position, in fact.
Masot, during his conversation with Strizzolo, does tell her that he is not “a career diplomat.” But in the next breath he tells her that he’s hoping for a promotion to the foreign ministry director of intelligence. It’s clear Masot is serving an intelligence role at the embassy. In fact, it’s quite likely he’s a Mossad agent. That would explain why he says he’s not a diplomat.
An argument against this supposition is that Masot maintains social media accounts with Google+ and YouTube. Most Mossad agents wouldn’t do that.
Masot is a former IDF naval major, who once served in COGAT (pictured here in the white uniform giving a tour for African ambassadors in Gaza), the IDF unit which enforces Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. He served in patrol boats harassing fisherman, preventing them from earning a livelihood, and destroying yet another part of the Gaza economy. He was also a parliamentary assistant to MK (now minister) Miri Regev.
The Guardian adds this information:
He also describes himself as having been a major in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) between 2004 and 2011 – serving part of that time on a patrol boat off Gaza – and still employed by the IDF as deputy head of the international organisations sector.
The latter role was one he filled in Gaza at least as of 2013, if not later. If this information from his LinkedIn account is up to date and he still serves in the IDF (sometimes LinkedIn accounts aren’t carefully maintained by their users), he may work for AMAN, the IDF’s intelligence branch. The IDF announced last year that it would begin tracking foreign BDS activists and treat them as security threats to the state.
A review of his YouTube user page reveals an intense interest in the BDS movement and the “delegitimization” of Israel. There is a massive effort in several Israeli ministries to trumpet delegitimization as the “next big thing” in hasbara. At least part or all of Masot’s brief would appear to fall into this category. He uploaded to his page several video “simulations” of disastrous international developments which Israel is required to combat.
Returning to Regev’s statement, Israeli diplomats don’t decide to commence such a complex and high level operation without the approval of the ambassador. Regev has been the government’s spokesperson to the English-language media and was promoted to take the ambassadorship after the last ambassador, Daniel Taub, was recalled for surreptitiously bringing “rent-boys” into the embassy residence in early morning hours for what the Israeli diplomat called, “New Age healing exercises.”
Given that Regev’s machination will cause enormous embarrassment to the Tory government, it’s hard to say whether he will keep his job. I doubt Theresa May wants to cause a major row with Israel. So she may not declare Regev persona non grata, as she should. She has other fish to fry right now with the resignation of her leading EU Brexit negotiator, which tarnishes the process of British departure from the European body. This may be the only thing separating Regev from losing his job in disgrace.
The first segment of the documentary will air on January 15th.
It is very unlikely that Masot is a “Mossad agent”. As you wrote yourself, an agent will not keep such a high public profile. He is probably some sort of a “Hasbara” activist. Perhaps he is part of some official Israeli Anti-BDS unit. It fits well with some of the jobs he had in the past (as a naval officer he was not a huge success).
According to Yossi Melman, Masot indeed is not really a diplomat but rather a “local Israeli worker” (עמ”י), which is a category of cheep labor the Israeli embassies are using everywhere.
This category of workers was originally created to give temporary jobs to spouses of Israeli diplomates but over the years became a way for the embassies to fill in low-levels positions with cheep workers that are underpaid compared to professional diplomats.
BTW, as much as I am concerned, Al Jazeera did a very good job managing to put the “mold”. However, don’t you have a problem with them using such methods of fraud?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Amico: An official agent of the State as Masot is, cannot be an “activist.” Since he’s an employee of the foreign ministry working in an embassy the operative word is not “perhaps.” He mostly definitely is an official of the State.
Yossi Melman is not always right as readers of this blog will know from my past posts (though he often is). He is not right in this case either. A well informed source has told me Masot has diplomatic status. I would guess that the “local worker” status conceals many intelligence agents sent by Israel for “special projects” of certain duration. Masot’s own business card says he was “senior political officer” at the embassy. That is not a “low-level” position. Unless Masot lied on his business card, which should be a firing offense since it misled everyone with whom he came into contact.
“Fraud” is deception used to commit a crime. Tell me what the crime is here. Revealing the perfidy of the Israeli intelligence & diplomatic service? I’d say, if anything the crime is on the Israeli side, not Al Jazeera.
If Mossad sets a honeypot, like in the previous article, that’s bad. But when Al Jazeera sets a honeypot, that’s okay.
Okay. Now I got it!
Richard Silverstein says
@ ben: one is a nation pursuing dubious state security interests. The other a media outlet pursuing law breaking and interference in the sovereignty of UK political processes. I don’t suppose you understand the differences. Not to mention that “Robin” was NOT a honeypot since there was no sex involved.
Reading “dodgy” Theresa May, she will rally ’round her Tory “Friends of Israel” … quite a strong contingent of her party. No repercussions for any Israëli embassy employee … see her new policy by stepping over Obama’s warm body in relations to settlements. May is obviously courting Obama’s double these days … DT.
She also stepped over Boris’ body too! 80% of Tory MPs belong CFI according to Wikipedia.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Cranberry: Masot notes this in his conversation bemoaning the fact that new Labour MPs no longer automatically join LFI as they used to.
When I write “activist” it may be a bad choice of a term. Idid not meant he is not mean its not his paid job.
“Yossi Melman is not always right as readers of this blog will know from my past posts (though he often is)”.
Are your sources always right?
Also, Melman is not the only one reporting that.
“I would guess that the “local worker” status conceals many intelligence agents sent by Israel for “special projects” of certain duration’
Indeed its a guess. maybe its true and maybe not. For sure in every embassy you have those who do intelligence work. I just don’t think this clown was one of them.
“Masot’s own business card says he was “senior political officer” at the embassy. That is not a “low-level” position”
Actually, it is. The actual diplomatic staff is quite minimal. Anyway, Masot was an aid for the Deputy Head of Mission at the Israeli Embassy. He could describe his position as “senior political officer” but that means very little. People like impressive titles.
“Unless Masot lied on his business card, which should be a firing offense”
He was indeed terminated…though not for that. In Israeli society usually no one will fire you for describing yourself with impressive titles that mean nothing. You won’t be fired for much worse cases of dishonesty. This is one of the major flaws of this society.
I was not comparing what Al Jazeera did to what Masot did. I was hinting for your description of the actions of Israeli journalist who entered Tunisia as a fraud.
Richard Silverstein says
Ah, now I understand. Well, as for differences: in the Tunisia case the reporter actually tried to crash the wake of a family whose patriarch had just been murdered by the Mossad. That’s a tad insensitive, wouldn’t you say? Further, the reporter’s fraudulent entry served to anger Tunisians who were already angry that the Mossad had violated their sovereignty to murder one of their own citizens.
I don’t think “Robin” did anything nearly so heinous. He wasn’t exploiting an assassination or trampling on the feelings of a family in mourning.
IMO Masot clearly operating above his pay-grade, I do not underestimate Israeli intelligence. 🙂
Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev, has apologised to one of the MPs on the “hit list”, foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan, describing the remarks as unacceptable. As a result, the Foreign Office said it regarded the matter as closed.