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There Is No Effective Pro-Israel Lobby in Britain

Tomorrow evening, Britain’s Channel 4 will broadcast a one-hour documentary, called Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby hosted by Daily Mail journalist Peter Oborne, a well-known critic of Israel and America.
The preview of the program on the website of Channel 4 (a channel which is more highly revered among many in Britain’s intelligentsia than even the BBC, despite it having invited Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver its annual Christmas message last December 25) reads:

Dispatches investigates one of the most powerful and influential political lobbies in Britain, which is working in support of the interests of the State of Israel.
Despite wielding great influence among the highest realms of British politics and media, little is known about the individuals and groups which collectively are known as the pro-Israel lobby.
Political commentator Peter Oborne sets out to establish who they are, how they are funded, how they work and what influence they have, from the key groups to the wealthy individuals who help bankroll the lobbying.
He investigates how accountable, transparent and open to scrutiny the lobby is, particularly in regard to its funding and financial support of MPs.
The pro-Israel lobby aims to shape the debate about Britain’s relationship with Israel and future foreign policies relating to it.
Oborne examines how the lobby operates from within parliament and the tactics it employs behind the scenes when engaging with print and broadcast media.

If only.
Whereas there is a pro-Israel lobby with some influence in the U.S. (though not the kind of influence ascribed to it by anti-Semites), contrary to what Channel 4 and others think, there is no effective pro-Israel lobby in Britain.
The complete lack of any effective pro-Israel lobby in Britain (as opposed to well-organized anti-Israel groups) helps explain why some of the coverage of Israel in the British media is among the worst in the world, and sometimes rivals the Iranian and Egyptian media for its sheer nastiness.
It also explains why Britain failed to back Israel last week at the U.N. General Assembly vote on the Goldstone report on Israeli war crimes, while other democracies – including the U.S., Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Macedonia, and the Czech Republic – voted with Israel.

Interestingly, the makers of the program contacted the Community Security Trust (CST) for interview. The CST has got nothing to do with lobbying for Israel. It coordinates security activities with the British police to protect Jewish schools, synagogues, and other institutions from attack. Physical attacks on British Jews are running at near-record postwar highs. Per capita, British Jews have in the last couple of years been attacked more than any other religious or ethnic minority in Britain.
The makers of Channel 4’s program, Hardcash Productions, wrote last week to the CST’s chairman to inform him that they “will be looking at a number of groups and leading individuals who collectively make up the pro-Israel lobby, including the Community Security Trust,” and to ask him for an interview.
When one looks at the advance wording about the program that Channel 4 has placed on its website, it is hard not to conclude that they have been influenced by the many virulent anti-Zionist conspiracy theories spread around the web.
Already the readers’ comments on the Channel 4 website contains many anti-Semitic notions about secretive all-powerful Jewish conspiracies “to undermine Britain and the human race.” “The agents of a foreign power embedded at all levels of our government and politics need flushing out,” writes one reader.
Predictably, the program is being promoted on the Internet message board of the far-right British National party and various neo-Nazi websites.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.


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