Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Excerpts from and Comments on Al Jazeera's Investigative Series "The Lobby"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Excerpts from and Comments on Al Jazeera's Investigative Series "The Lobby"

Article excerpt

Grant Smith: Clayton Swisher is an American journalist and author, and he's currently working as director of investigative journalism at Al Jazeera. He'll be our final speaker. He's a former Marine reservist and federal criminal investigator. I know you're going to have a lot of questions for him, so please make our ushers- Sebastian, Adrian and Sapphire-work hard for their final half hour.

Swisher 's first book, The Truth About Camp David, was published to extremely favorable reviews in Foreign Affairs. In 2011 he used his investigative skills to secure 1,600 confidential documents of the Israeli- Palestinian negotiations. He broke these for Al Jazeera in what became known as the "Palestine Papers," the largest ever leak of confidential documents related to Israel-Palestinian negotiations. His second book is the Palestine Papers: The End of the Road.

In 2016 Mr. Swisher managed a six-month undercover investigation that produced Al Jazeera's amazing four-part series called "The Lobby," including on AIPAC's activities in the UK, the Israeli Embassy's interaction with allegedly independent pro-Israel groups, and unfounded accusations of anti- Semitism lodged against Labour Party members, including efforts to take down UK lawmakers deemed hostile to Israel. His series, this investigative journalism, led to the resignation of Shai Masot-a senior political officer at the Israel Embassy- and a full apology by the Israeli ambassador for what had taken place.

What we want to do in this last section is get as many questions to Clayton as possible. He's going to stand here and answer every single one of them in the time we have left. But we're going to roll-I don't want to impersonate him here-we're going to roll a couple of clips that we've selected from his investigative series. Can we do that?

[Selected Clips From "The Lobby"]

Excerpts from Part 3: An Anti-Semitic Trope

Joan Ryan, Labour Friends of Israel/Jewish Labour Movement demand an investigation of fellow Labour Party member Jean Fitzpatrick.

Jean Fitzpatrick: I was actually seeking some reassurance that a two-state solution, if that's what they were promoting, was still possible.

Joan Ryan: This is a big picture situation, and we want a two-state solution that is good for all.

Jean Fitzpatrick: No, I know, you've said that a number of times, but what steps-because the Labour Party is saying...

Joan Ryan: Well, I've told you what steps we're taking. I'm not going to defend or criticize...

Jean Fitzpatrick: But it seems you are defending Israel.

Joan Ryan: I would defend Israel. I defend Israel's right to exist. I defend Israel as a democracy and a social democracy.

Jean Fitzpatrick: But at what expense?

Joan Ryan: I think we have to be very, very careful not to let our feelings about this morph into anti-Zionism.

Jean Fitzpatrick: So no feelings come into account? No, I'm not being anti-Zionist...

Joan Ryan: You have to be very careful, I think. Don't we all want a two-state solution based on coexistence and peace?

Jean Fitzpatrick: But I'm asking you how you are bringing about...

Joan Ryan: So you make your effort and we make ours. Thank you, Jean. I've enjoyed the conversation. I'm leaving it there.

Jean Fitzpatrick: No, no, I'm asking you about settlements...

Joan Ryan: Well, I'm not answering it anymore.

Jean Fitzpatrick: ...they've totally atomized the whole of the West Bank. I'm asking you. I'm really genuinely interested how a two-state solution...

Joan Ryan: I'm just working for a two-state solution. Jean Fitzpatrick: But how can it come about if the whole of the West Bank is atomized?

Joan Ryan: We're trying to do everything we can to support and facilitate that solution.

Jean Fitzpatrick: Okay. But in practical terms?

Joan Ryan: That's what we're doing as Labour Friends of Israel, that's what you're doing as Palestine Solidarity Campaign. …

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