Daily Mail and Telegraph turn boastful dinner chatter into an “Israeli plot”

Al Jazeera on Sunday published “bombshell footage” covertly filmed in a West London restaurant involving Shai Masot, a political officer at the Israeli embassy, and Maria Strizzola, a civil servant and former aide to Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.


As you can see from the video, and a statement by Ms. Strizzola reported by the Guardian, the dinner was social, she clearly had no idea initially what Masot was referring to and is not currently in a position to exert any influence over Mr. Duncan or anyone of influence.

The boastful chatter, in which Masot fished (unsuccessfully) for information on Sir Alan Duncan, Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, was turned into a something akin to a conspiracy to destroy Mr. Duncan by reports in the British media.

Indeed, despite the fact that Israeli embassy last night issued a formal apology and explained that his employment will end “shortly”, some media outlets framed the story as a dark Israeli “plot” against Duncan – which is quite ironic given that Duncan himself was widely criticised for a 2014 speech which evoked classic anti-Israel conspiracy theories.

As Stephen Pollard, the editor of The Jewish Chronicle, put it, “boastful idiots do not a plot make”.

The worst offenders were the Daily Mail and The Telegraph.  The Daily Mail actually used the term “Israeli plot” in their headline, whilst one Telegraph report included a headline erroneously claiming that the “plot” was hatched by Ambassador Mark Regev himself. 

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