LONDON: The Israeli embassy in London sought on Sunday to head off a diplomatic storm with London, apologising after one of its staff was caught on camera threatening to “take down” a British government minister.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper posted the footage showing the embassy’s senior political officer Shai Masot telling an undercover reporter from Al-Jazeera television: “I want to take down… the Deputy Foreign Minister (Alan Duncan).” Duncan, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s second-in-command, and a long-time critic of Israel, was “doing a lot of problems,” he added.
Duncan once described Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory as a “stain on the face of the globe”, calling them an “act of theft”.
“Occupation, annexation, illegality, negligence, complicity — this is a wicked cocktail which brings shame on Israel,” he told the BBC in 2014.
Masot also called Johnson an “idiot” and mocked “crazy” opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his “weirdo” supporters.
The embassy issued an immediate apology, saying it “rejects the remarks concerning minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable”.
“The comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly,” it added.
Ambassador Mark Regev apologised personally to Duncan on Friday, according to the embassy.