EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Foreign Office e-mail implies British government collaboration with Israel boycott groups

An e-mail from within Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has revealed the British government's dialogue with anti-Israel groups

by The Commentator on 1 July 2013 13:01

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A leaked Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) e-mail seen exclusively by The Commentator has revealed that the British government is in dialogue with groups that advocate the boycotting of Israeli goods, products, or people, despite British government policy to the contrary.

The e-mail, which was sent on the 26th June, 2013, concerns a written ministerial statement on the Middle East Peace Process and was sent by FCO assistant desk officer Oliver Fairlamb. The contents of the e-mail simply comprised a link to statement by Middle East Minister Alistair Burt. But what is concerning is who the e-mail was sent to.

Fairlamb's e-mail list consists of pro-Israel groups such as BICOM, Labour Friends of Israel, and The Community Security Trust, but on the 'other side' of the fence, Fairlamb copied in organisations that are either supposedly impartial, such as Oxfam, or controversial groups like Interpal, which has repeatedly been investigated, though always cleared, of links to terrorism.

Interpal remains on lists published by the United States government as a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist' organisation. The FCO e-mail was copied to 'Jihad Qundil', Interpal's General Manager.

ABOVE: The e-mail in question with groups of concern highlighted

But besides this, Fairlamb also copied in War on Want, an organisation that backs boycotts, as well as the Welfare Association, the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), the 'Palestine Campaign', Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists, and an organisation called "Medical Aid for Palestinians". These groups either actively pursue boycotts of Israeli goods, or worse, argue for a 'one-state' solution, effectively lobbying to rid the world of Israel in its current form. 

To add to the concerns, the FCO's desk officer in question, Oliver Fairlamb, is known to promote anti-Israel imagery on his Facebook page. He is a member of the group "YES' to strike action to safeguard teachers pensions" on Facebook too, and his 'cover photo' on the social networking site is an image of what is believed to be a Palestinian town with graffiti on the walls that states, "We won't leave our home" alongside Palestinian flags. 

ABOVE: Fairlamb's Facebook page promoting pro-Palestinian imagery

Paul Charney, the Chairman for Britain's Zionist Federation told The Commentator: "I am perturbed that the FCO have had dialogue with groups that call for boycotts against the only stable democracy in the Middle East. Boycotting Israel undermines universal liberal rights and bilateral trade. It usually serves to politicise personal agendas and ends up punishing the wrong people. We call on William Hague to put a stop to these communications and draw a firm line in the sand. The government must be clearer in its rejection of boycotts especially those that unfairly single out Israel."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement following a conversation with Fairlamb during which he insisted he would be discussing the situation internally. A spokesperson said, “Achieving a negotiated two state solution, that leads to Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security remains a top priority for the UK. The FCO engages with a wide range of groups on issues relating to the Middle East Peace Process, including those in the Jewish and Palestinian Communities and other non-government organisations. We believe it is important to engage with a variety of viewpoints, including those with whom we may not always agree on the way forward.

“Israel is an important friend and partner for the UK. We have made consistently clear our opposition to sanctions on Israel or anti-Israeli boycotts, which we believe would do nothing to promote peace.”

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