Operation Embarrass: Britain’s secret war on the Jews
British spies staged covert operations to sabotage Holocaust survivors’ attempts to reach Palestine between 1946 and early 1948.
Among the tactics used by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in Operation Embarrass were the bombing of five ships used by potential immigrants, intimidation and the creation of a fake Palestinian defence group.
The British government gave the go-ahead to the campaign to slow illegal immigration into Palestine, provided there was “no risk of casualties being incurred” and no link could be traced back to the government.
The revelations come in the first authorised history of the SIS, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949, by Professor Keith Jeffery. The book was published on Tuesday.
SIS chief Sir Stewart Menzies suggested blaming the action on a specially-created Arab organisation. The agents were instructed to devise failsafe reasons for their presence abroad and were told that if rumbled, “they were under no circumstances to admit their connection with the government”.
The British set up a notional organisation - Defenders of Arab Palestine - which claimed responsibility for the work against Jewish immigration.