The long-awaited ‘Russia Report’ from MPs overseeing Britain’s intelligence services has pointed out Israel’s friendliness towards Moscow, noting its open-arm approach to oligarchs and its refusal to condemn the Kremlin.
Published on Tuesday after a long delay by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of Parliament, the report accuses Russia of “seeking out division and intimidating those who appear isolated from the international community”.
While the UK has allies in its efforts to take a strong line against Moscow, the report’s authors note, they name several countries that do not share that approach, including several in Europe as well as Israel, in a partially redacted statement.
“Others do not share the UK’s concerns about Russia, or even if they do they are not willing to take such an assertive approach towards Russia’s malign activities,” the report reads.
“France does not appear to have publicly condemned Russian cyber activities, and it has been widely reported that other European governments, such as Austria and Italy, have appeared publicly to move closer to the Kremlin in the last few years.
“We also note reporting that Israel… has welcomed Russian oligarchs and their investment and has thus far been unwilling to challenge the Kremlin openly.”
After Russian agents poisoned the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 a total of 153 Russian spies were expelled from 29 countries around the world in an unprecedented show of support to the British government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have a warm relationship, such that in 2016 Netanyahu asked Putin to use Russia’s veto in the United Nations Security Council to stop Resolution 2334, which accuses Israel of violating international law in the West Bank, when it became apparent that US President Barack Obama was planning to abstain. Putin refused.