Tory investigation into Alan Duncan dismisses antisemitism claims

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Tory investigation into Alan Duncan dismisses antisemitism claims

Jewish News understands investigation into Duncan's comments about Tory peers and Israel has been dismissed

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Sir Alan Duncan
Sir Alan Duncan

The Conservatives have dismissed claims former minister Alan Duncan used “antisemitic tropes” when he alleged a Jewish peer regularly “exercised the interests” of Israel in Westminster.

Former foreign minister Duncan had also described Conservative Friends of Israel officials Lord Stuart Polak and Lord Eric Pickles as “sort of Laurel and Hardy” as he accused their organisation of doing the “bidding” for Benjamin Netanyahu in the Lords.

The senior Tory, and ex Rutland and Melton MP, went as far as to call for Polak to be expelled by the Tory Party over claims he was Israel’s representative in parliament.

Jewish News has learned that after launching an independently conducted panel investigation into Duncan’s comments, the Conservatives have dismissed allegations of antisemitism.

Speaking to LBC presenter Nick Ferrari in April, Duncan a long-time critic of Israel said there were  pro-Israel “extremists” in UK government impacting on its response to Israel’s miltary action in Gaza.

In a damning claim, he suggested CFI was “bypassing all proper processes of government to exercise undue influence at the top of government.”

The remarks immediately prompted complaints from the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies.

“Calling into question the loyalty of a Jewish Peer was just one example of the antisemitic tropes shared by Sir Alan Duncan this morning on LBC,” said the JLC, who confirmed they had raised the matter with the Conservative Party.

Duncan stood down ahead of the 2019 General Election when he was Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, having made numerous controversial statements on Israel – particularly in relation to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

In 2011, while serving as International Development Minister, he described Israel’s security barrier as a “land grab,” also accusing Israelis of stealing water from Palestinian communities.

Jewish News has contacted the Tories for comment on the result of the probe into Duncan

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