Israeli Embassy senior political officer Shai Masot made the remarks in a secretly recorded video.published on Sunday.
Recorded by an undercover reporter in October of last year, the footage is part of an investigation by Al Jazeera and shows a restaurant meeting between Masot and Maria Strizzolo, an MP’s assistant who once served as an aide to UK education minister Robert Halfon, the former political director of the Conservative Friends of Israel.
In the video, Masot is clearly seen and heard saying that he would take down Duncan because he was creating “a lot of problems.”
“Can I give you some names of MPs that I would suggest you take down?” he asked Strizzolo, who jokingly replied that all MPs have “something they're trying to hide.”
“I have some MPs,” said Masot. “She knows which MPs I want to take down.”
The British deputy foreign minister came under fire from Israeli and British officials in 2014, when described the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements as a “stain on the face of the globe.”
Duncan made the remarks against the backdrop of the Parliament’s support for Palestinian statehood.
“Occupation, annexation, illegality, negligence, complicity - this is a wicked cocktail which brings shame on Israel,” he told BBC back then.
Israel apologizes, Strizzolo resigns
Following the release of the video, Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, apologized for Masot’s remarks and said they did not reflect Israel’s views.
“The comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly,” the Israeli embassy said, noting that Regev had personally apologized to Duncan over the “unacceptable” comments.
UK Foreign Office spokesman said that London had no hard feelings and considered the matter “closed.”
Following the clip’s release, Strizzolo quitted her job on Sunday and closed her social media accounts. She played down the remarks by calling her conversation with Masot “.tongue-in-cheek and gossipy.”
Crispin Blunt, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said Masot's remark was “formally outrageous and deserving of investigation.”