Israel now calling the shots on UK security?
It’s time to register Friends of Israel as an agent of a foreign power
By Stuart Littlewood
5 November 2008
Stuart Littlewood looks at how Israel lobbyists have penetrated deep into Britain’s security establishment, and argues that it’s time that Friends of Israel groups were registered as agents of a foreign power.
The corridors of power at Westminster are swarming with Israel supporters, even though the British public has little sympathy for the rogue regime.
The Israel lobby has now achieved a dangerous numerical advantage at the heart of Britain’s security establishment thanks to the appointment of Kim Howells, formerly minister in charge of Middle East affairs and a one-time chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, to the chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee.
This committee has oversight of the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Intelligence and Security Secretariat, which includes the Assessment Staff in the Cabinet Office. The committee also takes evidence from the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), part of the Ministry of Defence.
The nine members of the committee are:
Dr Kim Howells MP (Chair)
Michael Ancram MP
Sir Alan Beith MP
Mr Ben Chapman MP
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
George Howarth MP
Michael Mates MP
Richard Ottaway MP
Ms Dari Taylor MP
These people have access to highly classified material. So who are they and why should we trust them? Sir Alan Beith, for example, presides over the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, whose aims and objectives are:
To maximize support for the State of Israel not only within the Liberal Democrats but within Parliament itself.
To influence the party’s Middle East policy.
To liaise with Israeli politicians and government.
To provide parliamentarians with briefing material for parliamentary debates, questions to ministers and public appearances.
To rebut attacks on Israel in the media, Parliament and the party.
To arrange and accompany Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel delegations to Israel.
To keep in regular contact with the Embassy of Israel.