Britain leads in Israeli denial efforts

An Israeli academic who spent five years in London studying the "red-green alliance" between the hard left and international Islamist groups has produced a comprehensive survey of the anti-Israel movement in the UK.

In a report for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (JCPA) on the "delegitimisation" movement, published this month, Ehud Rosen has concluded that the boycott campaign against Israel and attempts to arrest Israeli politicians for war crimes are evidence that "Britain has become the main leader of an international effort to deny Israel's right to exist in its current form".

Mr Rosen, who now teaches at Bar-Ilan University, found that the alliance has taken advantage of the UK's political freedoms and legal system to make London its base for its attacks on Israel.

His research into the red-green alliance was carried out while studying for a PhD at London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

He also identified how the anti-Israel movement has entered the mainstream by allying with campaigns against the security crackdown following the events of 9/11 and British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has been aided by alliances with leftist groups such as the Stop the War movement, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Socialist Workers Party and George Galloway's Respect party.

The study details how a senior group of activists from various branches of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East and North Africa allied with a younger generation of Islamists to form a powerful hub of activity centred on the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). This "stronghold of exiled Brotherhood leaders and their sons and daughters" is sometimes known in the Arab media as the London Ikhwan (the Arabic name of the Brotherhood).

These figures include Tunisian Islamist leader Rachid al-Ghannouchi and his daughter Soumaya, Anas al-Tikriti (son of Osama al-Tikriti, leader of the Iraqi Islamist party), Azzam Tamimi from Jordan, and the Palestinian Islamist Muhammad Sawalha. The original Egyptian Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, is represented by Kemal Helbawy, who became the European spokesman for the movement in the mid 1990s.

In a significant move last month, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt answered a parliamentary question which officially identified the MAB as "the Brotherhood's representative in the UK".

The findings of the JCPA report echo those of the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank which concluded in a report earlier this month that London had become a "Mecca of delegitimisation".

    Last updated: 11:29am, December 29 2010