Sir Alan Duncan says pro-Israel lobbyists had ‘the most disgusting interference’ in British politics.
A former British Foreign Office minister is accusing pro-Israel lobbyists of having “the most disgusting interference” in British politics, as well as negatively influencing foreign policy in the Middle East.
In an interview on the MailPlus news site promoting his memoir In the Thick of It: The Private Diaries of a Minister, former Conservative MP Sir Alan Duncan criticized the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) lobbying group — going so far as to claim that they blocked him from being appointed minister for the Middle East and North Africa by then-Prime Minister Theresa May.
He was told by Boris Johnson — then-foreign secretary and current prime minister — that the CFI “are going ballistic” over his potential appointment, according to Duncan.
Duncan is known to hold a number of pro-Palestinian views, including opposition to illegal Israeli settlements, and claims this was the reason he was blocked from becoming minister for the Middle East and North Africa.
He told MailPlus that the CFI injected a “Netanyahu-type view of Israeli politics into our foreign policy,” referring to Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
In his memoir, Duncan wrote of his strong disapproval of Conservative lawmakers’ excessive praise for Netanyahu.
He said he was “ashamed” of the British government, and said UK officials allowed Netanyahu to “peddle pro-settlement propaganda” during a visit to Britain.
Speaking to Crick, he said: “A lot of things do not happen in foreign policy or in government for fear of offending them because that’s the way it’s put to them by the CFI.”
“It’s a sort of buried scandal that has to stop … They will interfere at a high level in British politics in the interests of Israel on the back of donor power in the UK,” he added.
Duncan said this pro-Israel influence came at the expense of Palestinians.
“Most of the Jewish donors would never want their donations to be used to influence in this way — I just think it’s a mess,” he added.
The CFI was founded in 1974 as a parliamentary group that supports the Conservative Party and lobbies in favor of support for Israel. In 2014, the CFI claimed 80% of Conservative MPs were members of the group.