Jewish Labour Movement may make legal complaint over treatment of its director by Al-Jazeera undercover reporter

Anger over secret filming of visibly distressed Jewish activist Ella Rose for documentary claiming to expose Israeli influence in British politics


An undercover reporter working for Al-Jazeera may be the subject of a legal complaint over his treatment of Jewish Labour activist Ella Rose.

The reporter used the false identity “Robin Harrow” to make contact with Jewish groups while working on a four-part documentary, called The Lobby, on Israel’s alleged influence in British politics.

In the second episode, posted on the Al-Jazeera website today, he is seen secretly filming Ms Rose, the director of the Jewish Labour Movement, who appears to be in tears following an encounter with Jackie Walker, a Labour activist twice suspended over claims of antisemitism.

A senior Jewish Labour source told the JC: “There are other elements of Harrow’s behaviour towards [Ella Rose] whilst undercover that we have not been able to speak about publicly as, pending advice, we hope they will become the subject of a legal complaint.”

In the programme it is suggested that Ms Rose’s role in JLM has been compromised by the fact she previously worked for a short period at the Israeli embassy.

At one point, he approaches a visibly distressed Ms Rose and covertly films her as she explains: “It’s been a tough week. Essentially [the website] Electronic Intifada released that I worked at the embassy for JLM, and Jackie Walker has been slamming me online all week. I just had to stand in front of her; it was really hard.”

The documentary states Ms Rose, who is a former president of the Union of Jewish Students, had told JLM about her past employment at the embassy.

Ms Rose has been approached for comment.

The episode also featured Ms Walker herself, discussing comments she was filmed making at a JLM meeting during last year’s Labour party conference, when she claimed she had not seen a definition of antisemitism which she could “work with”.

Ms Walker tells the reporter that “what was actually leaked were certain little segments that would be as controversial as possible”.

The documentary also cites the Chakrabarti report to support claims that “antisemitism was not endemic in the Labour party”.

The report has been widely criticised within the Jewish community as a “whitewash”, after Shami Chakrabarti, who chaired the “independent inquiry”, was nominated for a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party.

The first episode of “The Lobby”, which aired yesterday, suggested that there was a plot by pro-Israel members of the National Union of Students to unseat Malia Bouattia, the union’s president.

Ms Bouattia had caused controversy by describing the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost”, and referring to a “Zionist-led” media.

The reporter posed as a student activist to ask Richard Brooks, a vice president of the NUS, about the alleged plotters. Mr Brooks told him: “You can speak to me because I’m helping organise them.”

The documentary reports that Mr Brooks and a fellow NUS vice-president, Robbie Young, had both visited Israel.

Following the broadcast, Mr Brooks said he had received threats as a result of the programme.

In an article published on several student news websites, he wrote: “Over the last 24 hours, I have been accused of colluding with a foreign government, endangering the life of fellow officers and being a threat to national security.

“I have received threats of violence against myself and my friends.

“Why? Because I met with an undercover journalist who claimed to be a student activist.”

He added: “Have I been to Israel like a long line of Officers and NEC members going back decades? Yes. Will I apologise for doing so? No.”

Earlier this week, the Israeli ambassador in the UK was forced to apologise after an aide was filmed by Mr Harrow saying he would like to “take down” Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan.

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