Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson Reuters

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has rejected calls to take disciplinary action against the Israeli embassy in London, after one of its officials was caught on camera plotting to “take down” UK MPs regarded as hostile, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.

The saga came to light this past Sunday when British media outlets broadcast a video of Shai Masot, who serves as a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London.

Masot was recorded by an undercover reporter from the Al Jazeera network as he was speaking about a number of British MPs who are seen as hostile to Israel and was discussing with a civil servant about the possibility of “taking down” those MPs.

Masot and his conversation partner were recorded by a man who presented himself as working for Labour Friends of Israel but who was, in fact, an undercover reporter for Al Jazeera.

Among those discussed in the video was foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan, who is an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state.

But speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Johnson noted that Masot was no longer working in London, and that the Israeli embassy had issued a very full apology so he considered the matter closed.

Conservative MPs, including Hugo Swire, challenged Johnson to explain why the British ambassador to Israel had been formally summoned when the UK backed the recent UN resolution condemning “Israeli settlements”, but no comparable action had been taken when an Israeli embassy employee “is caught on film conspiring with a civil servant to take down a senior minister in his own department, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee and other members of this house”.

Swire asked for the thinking behind the UK’s decision to forgive and forget the incident on the basis that the Israeli ambassador “makes a couple of phone calls”, according to The Guardian.

Johnson replied by saying, “The Israeli ambassador made a very full apology for what had taken place and the diplomat in question seems no longer to be a functionary of the embassy in London – so whatever he may exactly have been doing here his cover may well be said to have been and well truly blown – so the matter can be considered closed.”

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