A British documentary argues that UK’s pro-Israeli lobby has grown so powerful to the extent that it would inescapably influence any future Conservative government in the country.
Channel 4’s Dispatches program entitled ‘Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby,’ which aired earlier this week, said that at least half of the Conservative shadow cabinet are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), one of a number of pro-Israeli lobby organizations in Britain.
The program maintained that despite forming "one of the most powerful and influential political lobbies in Britain," information on the roots of these organizations and individuals associated with them is scarcely attainable.
The Conservative Party (Tories) is believed to have received £10mn ($16.8mn) in donations from CFI members and their businesses over the past eight years, including tens of thousands of pounds allegedly donated to William Hague since his appointment as the shadow foreign secretary in 2005.
The documentary alleges that Hague was seriously reprimanded by Lord Kalm, a CFI member and significant donor to the Conservatives, for stating that Israel had used "disproportionate" force during its war in Lebanon in 2006.
Tory Leader David Cameron has also been allegedly forced to make promises that such criticisms would not be repeated.
Cameron, whose party has also been stained in the recent parliamentary expenses scandal, criticized Gordon Brown on Thursday for failing to mention the expenses row in his Queen’s Speech.
This is while, interest in the details of his party’s donation income from pro-Israeli lobbies has sparked a debate.
The Guardian daily has cited the documentary as reporting that Cameron himself received a £15,000 ($25,000) donation from Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire who also donated another £50,000 ($84,000) to the Conservative Central Office.
The film suggests that Zabludowicz has business interests in an illegal West Bank settlement.
The figures stirred a quick denial from CFI’s director, Stuart Polak, who said "CFI as an organization has donated only £30,000 [$50,000] since 2005. Each of these donations has been made transparently and publicly registered."
He did not however rule out the possibility of ‘additional’ donations that "supporters have also chosen, separately, to donate to the party as individuals.”