Dermot Kehoe

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Dermot Kehoe is the acting chief executive of BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.[1]He has had 'twenty years experience in journalism and communications'. including 'a career in broadcasting that spans the BBC, ITV, GMTV and Channel 4 and in communications at the Home Office, Social Market Foundation and the Fabian Society.'[2]


Kehoe graduated in 1990 with a BSc Hons in Sociology and Politics from the University of Salford, where he also served as President of the Student Union.[3]


From 1992 to 1994 he served as Vice President Education at the National Union of Students.[4]

Early in his career, Kehoe was a broadcast journalist and producer with GMTV.[5]

From 1997 to 1998 he was a programme director of the Fabian Society specialising in Constitution Reform and Modernising Government].[6][5]

From 1998 to 2006, Kehoe worked at the BBC on Public Policy, Strategy and Communications.[7][5] According to his LinkedIn profile:

At BBC Public Affairs we won two licence fee increases, secured a new Royal Charter, successfully amended the Communications Bill and gained Government approval for new digital services.[8]

Kehoe acted as Secretariat to the Iraq Commission, which included writing the report for the Foreign Policy Centre and Channel 4 which was published in 2007.[5]

In 2007-2008, Kehoe served as managing director of the Social Market Foundation.[9]

From November 2008 to May 2010, Kehoe served as Director Communications & Stakeholder Engagment at the Identity and Passport Service.[10]

Kehoe is a trustee of the David Cairns Foundation, which commemorates Kehoe's partner, the late David Cairns, who was Labour MP for Inverclyde from 2001 until his death in 2011.


Kehoe joined BICOM in summer 2011 as Director of Media and Public Affairs and was promoted to acting chief of executive of in March 2012 after the departure of Lorna Fitzsimons.[11]

On Fox-Werritty and Zabludowicz

Following the resignation of British Defense Minister Liam Fox and the resulting scandal over his relationship with Adam Werritty some of whose activities were funded by pro-Israel donors including via a company owned by BICOM's main benefactor Poju Zabludowicz[12], Kehoe played down the revelations, saying:

Despite the revelations to date, Dermot Kehoe, director of public affairs and media for the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, or BICOM, a major pro-Israel public relations and lobbying group, said Jewish interest groups are unlikely to suffer lasting damage. It hasn’t been very helpful, but I wouldn’t overstate the importance of what happened. Inevitably, any talk around pro-Israel lobbying tends to throw up a whiff of conspiracy which unfortunately helps reinforce the negative stereotypes [of the Jewish community].[13]

On lobbying for Israel in the UK

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Kehoes said in March 2012 that 'one element of the American model that he hoped British Jews could emulate is how the Americans have made support for Israel a bipartisan value' stating: 'They have a gold standard of how you get the best for Israel by not aligning yourself with a party'. However, he also reportedly said that 'the practices of day-to-day American lobbying would seem out of place and unseemly in Britain' because he believes that in the UK political parties are more centralized, the executive is more in control , 'whipping goes down to the local level' and 'room for maneuver is very small.' As a result, while Americans, 'do relationships with the individuals', because decisions in Britain 'are taken much more at the top level', it makes more sense to cultivate the leadership. Kehoe also said that pro-Israel fundraising for individual candidates would be 'unthinkable' in Britain.[14]

On British-Israeli relations

After the British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, states in August 2012 that mainstream political support for Israel in Britain was eroding, Kehoe, contradicted him, claiming that Britain/Israel relationship 'has never been stronger in terms of trade, technology and security cooperation. Our polling shows the relationship is not eroding.' He added: 'The ambassador is right to highlight the importance of the peace process to the British public. However, Israel is not Goliath. It is a small country surrounded by threats from Iran to Hezbollah to Hamas. The Palestinians also share responsibilities to return to the negotiating table in the search for a lasting peace.'[15]

On the EU-Israel trade upgrade

Following the October 2012 approval of the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance (ACAA) in the European Parliament, which removed restrictions on imports to Europe of Israeli pharmaceutical products and other goods, Kehoe echoed other pro-Israel lobby groups who had campaigned in favour of ACAA, characterising it as a blow to the pro-Palestinian BDS movement. He said: 'Those who campaigned against this should realise that peace will only be achieved through cooperation and understanding, rather than boycotts, divestment and sanctions.'[16]

On Haaretz 'apartheid' poll

The Jewish Chronicle used criticism from Kehoe and BICOM research fellow Alan Johnson to question the results of a poll carried out by liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz which found that 58% of Israeli Jews believed there was 'apartheid' in Israel; 69% would object to Palestinians being given voting rights in Israel if the West Bank were to be annexed and 74% supported separation of Israelis and Palestinians on roads in the Occupied Territories. Kehoe claimed that the survey represented 'poor social science, and its results therefore bogus', adding 'This poll is deeply unhelpful, will be jumped on by Israel’s critics and does not reflect the true views and values of Israeli society.'[17]

Progress elections 2012

Kehoe stood as a candidate in the Progress Strategy Board election in September 2012.[18] He came fifth out of 28 candidates, just missing out on securing one of 4 positions[19]




  1. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  2. Huffington Post Dermot Kehoe, accessed 22 October 2012
  3. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  4. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dermot Kehoe, Social Market Foundation, archived by the Internet Archive, 21 October 2007.
  6. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  7. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  8. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  9. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  10. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  11. Dermot Kehoe, LinkedIn, accessed 9 August 2012.
  12. Rupert Neate, Rajeev Syal, Rob Evans, Liam Fox resignation: Adam Werritty money trail was final straw, Guardian, 14 October 2011, accessed 29 October 2012
  13. Kevin O'Sullivan, British Scandal Linked to Pro-Israel Groups, Jewish Daily Forward, 28 October 2011, accessed 29 October 2012
  14. Ron Kampeas, Translating U.S. pro-Israel advocacy for Jewish communities abroad—and taking care about context, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 25 March 2012, accessed 29 October 2012
  15. Harriet Sherwood, Israel losing international support, says British ambassador, Guardian, 3 August 2012, accessed 29 October 2012
  16. Stephen Oryszczuk, Landmark deal boosts trade ties between EU and Israel, 25 October 2012, accessed 29 October 2012
  17. Jenni Frazer, Shock findings of ‘apartheid’ poll questioned, Jewish Chronicle, 25 October 2012, accessed 29 October 2012
  18. Dermot Kehoe, Progress Online, accessed 29 October 2012
  19. Progress Strategy Board Elections 2012, 27 September 2012, accessed 29 October 2012