Student activists with ties to the Israeli embassy in London worked to unseat NUS President Malia Bouattia, an Al Jazeera investigation has revealed.
The revelations, included in the first episode of a four-part investigation, ‘The Lobby’, aired tonight but already available on YouTube, involve disgraced Israeli diplomat Shai Masot, whose plotting to “take down” senior British politicians was exposed on Sunday.
At the heart of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit’s six-month research was the role of undercover reporter ‘Robin’, who gained the trust of Israeli embassy staff and individuals involved in pro-Israel lobby groups.
Following the victory of Malia Bouattia in the NUS presidential elections, despite attacks on her for her vocal support of Palestinian rights, her enemies both within and outside the student body began working to undermine and unseat her.
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit discovered that the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) “not only received money from the Israeli embassy”, but also played a key role in trying to “oust Bouattia following her victory.”
Richard Brooks, NUS vice president, told Robin that he held “secret” meetings with Russell Langer, UJS campaign director, and pro-Israel, Labour students activist Michael Rubin, during the election campaign. Brooks then added that he was “helping organise” those looking to oust Bouattia.
Brooks also tells Robin that he accepted a trip to Israel funded by UJS.
Following the publication of the revelations, there have already been calls for Brooks to resign by NUS delegates.
Rubin is filmed discussing the idea of a Young Labour Friends of Israel group, telling Robin: “I think we just have to be careful that not to be seen as ‘young Israeli embassy’…We do work really closely together, it’s just publicly we just try to keep LFI as a separate identity to the embassy of course.”
He added: “Being LFI allows us to reach out to people who wouldn’t want to get involved with the embassy. Ultimately we want the same end goal of getting more people to be pro-Israel and understand the conflict.”
The episode also reveals how a relatively new pro-Israel group focused on campus advocacy, the Pinsker Centre, has received funding from major US Israel lobby body AIPAC.
Al Jazeera Investigative Unit’s series “The Lobby” can be viewed on Al Jazeera at the following times:
Episode One: Young Friends of Israel – Wednesday, January 11, 22:30 GMT
Episode Two: The Training Session – Thursday, January 12, 22:30 GMT
Episode Three: The Anti-Semitic Trope – Friday, January 13, 22:30 GMT
Episode Four: The Takedown – Saturday, January 14, 22:30 GMT
The series will also be available online.