A former British lawmaker says pro-Israel lobbyists are interfering in Britain’s public life and negatively influencing the country’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
The Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) has been responsible for pushing the UK to adopt disproportionately anti-Palestinian and pro-Israel policies, former Conservative MP and government minister until 2019 Alan Duncan says.
The CFI is a parliamentary group that supports the ruling Conservative Party and advocates for pro-Israel policies.
The CFI has injected a “Netanyahu-type view of Israeli politics into our foreign policy”, Duncan has said in his newly published memoir, referring to extremist Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“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,” Duncan said, stating that the group had lobbied to prevent him from becoming Middle East minister at the foreign office.
“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 said.
Duncan said his new role of Middle East minister was agreed until the then foreign secretary Boris Johnson alerted him to the fact CFI lobbyists “are going ballistic”.
Duncan served as minister of state for Europe and the Americas between 2016 and 2019 under then prime minister Theresa May. Following her resignation and the ascension of Boris Johnson, he stepped down from his position and did not stand for re-election in the December 2019 parliamentary elections.
He accused the CFI of “the most disgusting interference” in the British politics.
Duncan has previously come under fire from pro-Israel circles for his support for pro-Palestinian positions, such as his criticism of illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.