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Newsline: Israeli ambassador apologises over ‘secret plot’ to ‘take down’ UK Foreign Office minister

Israel’s ambassador to the UK has apologised after an embassy official was secretly recorded discussing how to “take down” Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan. The embassy’s senior political officer Shai Masot was caught in an undercover sting by Al Jazeera suggesting that that Sir Alan, who has been critical of Israel, was causing “a lot of problems.” An undercover reporter, under the alias of Robin, posing as a graduate activist with strong sympathies towards Israel, recorded the conversation at the Aubaine restaurant, directly opposite the Israeli Embassy in Kensington. Also present at the dinner in October 2016 was Maria Strizzolo, an aide to education minister Robert Halfon, the former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel. Masot asked her: “Can I give you some names of MPs that I would suggest you take down?” Strizzolo replied that all MPs have “something they’re trying to hide” and Masot responded by saying “I have some MPs”, adding “she knows which MPs I want to take down.” He then said: “The deputy foreign minister.” In the recording, Masot also appeared to dismiss Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, as “an idiot”. In a statement the Israeli Embassy said it “rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable”. It decribed Mr Masot as a “junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat” and said he will be “ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly”.



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