London, 21 August 2023- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians strongly condemns the Israeli embassy’s recent efforts to interfere with UK court cases, influence the attorney general’s office (AGO) and pervert the course of justice in relation to court cases involving Palestine Action.
Documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests have revealed that the Israeli embassy in London attempted to interfere in court cases likely to involve direct-action activist group Palestine Action. The group has historically targeted the UK factories of Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems.
According to The Guardian, the papers indicate that embassy officials pressed for the director general of the AGO Douglas Wilson, to interfere into cases related to protests on UK soil. Following a meeting with embassy representatives, Wilson rebuked the lobbying advances with an email reading: “the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] makes its prosecution decisions and manages its casework independently. The law officers are unable to intervene on an individual case or comment on issues related to active proceedings.”
The AGO responded to the FOI request by providing documents with heavily redacted information. This AGO justified this redaction by saying that full disclosure of the documentation would have been “likely to prejudice the UK’s relations with Israel”. This admission implies extensive efforts by the Israeli embassy to undermine the UK’s legal system through back-channel lobbying.
The UK government should strongly condemn foreign interference in internal affairs and lack of respect for the independence of the British judicial system. The UK government should not prioritise diplomatic relations above protecting UK sovereignty from foreign interreference by the Israeli government.
The Israeli embassy has a historic pattern of attempting to undermine British democracy. In 2017, Senior Political Officer Shai Masot was caught on camera threatening to ‘take down’ British MPs regarded as hostile, including then Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan. This tactic forms part of a larger strategy to intimidate and silence critics of Israel in the United Kingdom.
Notes to editor:
- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law.
- The original story is available in The Guardian.
- Shai Masot’s comments on Sir Alan Duncan were reported here.
- For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact: Jonathan Purcell, Public Affairs and Communications Officer, at [email protected]