As reported in the Guardian yesterday, correspondence disclosed by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) shows the Israeli Embassy in London attempting to exert diplomatic influence on the prosecution of Palestine Action activists.
The disclosures, made under the Freedom of Information Act, show correspondence between the Director General of the Attorney General’s Office, Doug Wilson, with representatives of the Israeli Embassy in London, from May 2022 to February 2023. While most of these representatives have their names redacted, we know that one is Oren Marmorstein, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to the UK.
In an email dated 9th May 2022, when Suella Braverman held the post of Attorney General, Wilson updates the Embassy on matters previously discussed in a meeting. He notes having raised issues on the Embassy’s behalf to their Home Office colleagues relating to Law Officer’s ability to intervene in prosecution decisions and casework. The parties also discussed the ‘operational independence of the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]’ and the AGO’s ability to bring about prosecutions.
The same email notes a discussion between the parties relating to domestic protest law, including the government’s intended ‘strengthen[ing] of police powers to tackle non-violent protests’ of a ‘disruptive’ nature. Furthermore, Wilson adds that, in the meeting, ‘we also mentioned the Attorney General’s power to refer questions of law to the Court of Appeal’. This came four months before the judgement in this appeal ruling, which essentially stripped Palestine Action activists of their rights to the Article 10 and 11 protections of the European Convention on Human Rights. Their Freedoms of Expression and Assembly defences were denied due to the activists’ targeting of private property belonging to Elbit Systems, Israel’s most prominent private weapons company.
Over the past year, there is clear and compelling evidence that the Israeli apartheid state has been attempting to exert pressure on the Director General of the Law Officer’s Department, Doug Wilson, regarding matters of British domestic law, policing, and prosecutions. This email, of 9th May, came during months of intensive and widespread direct action against the sites and offices of Elbit Systems, which saw two Elbit premises in London and Oldham close permanently.
More recently, the Israeli Embassy contacted Wilson in an email dated 1st February 2023, four months into Victoria Prentice’s tenure as AG. The correspondence discusses making a joint declaration between the respective countries’ Ministries of Justice – the body which oversees the judiciary, courts, prisons and probation – to seek ‘closer bilateral cooperation’ over ‘legislation and legal reform, civil and criminal law and legal eduction’. The final point to note is the parties’ discussion of ‘special mission immunity’, with an apparent reticence on the part of the Israeli Embassy to host a visit of Israeli officials given the possibility of arrests for war crimes committed.
With the former head of the Foreign Office, Dominic Raab, having met with Israeli officials to discuss Palestine Action in 2021, we now have confirmation also of AGO, Home Office, and Ministry of Justice collusion with the occupation regime of Israel. Palestine Action has stated:
“This is confirmation of what has been suspected for a long time, that the Israeli state is attempting to exert top-level diplomatic influence to lock up those who stand against its war machine. This undue influence further damages the credibility of charges brought against activists, who have faced criminal trials, sentencing, and litigious harassment for their actions against the manufacturers of Israel’s murderous weaponry.
This goes some way to explaining the ludicrous charges brought against activists: conspiracy to blackmail, aggravated criminal damage, or a seven week trial for ‘going equipped’ – these bogus charges have been brought about because the heads of the British Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Justice, and police have been working in close collaboration with an apartheid state. In the coming months, we’ve over 100 activists due to stand trial, and the possible prison sentences faced represent an injustice of global proportions given that the Israeli war machine has taken hold of British courts.
If this has surfaced now after just one Freedom of Information request, we urge all supporters to research themselves and find what else is out there.”