The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy

Walt and Mearsheimer’s book on the Israel Lobby has now been published.  For anyone thats not read it yet, I recommend their article “The Israel lobby,” then I’m sure you’ll have to get the book.

 Mondoweiss wrote a good review of it that mentions its relevence to Lebanon –

I realize I have not mentioned one fact from the book. Let me do that. I will pick out one story that tells it all.
Halfway through the 2006 Lebanon War, Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen–having heroically knocked off a Republican in 2004 over the incumbent’s Iraq War vote–wrote a sharp letter to Condoleezza Rice urging the U.S. to pressure Israel to cease fire. Israel had caused “large loss of civilian life, and produced over 750,000 refugees.” It had weakened the Lebanese government and strengthened Hezbollah.  “We have squandered an opportunity to isolate Hezbollah…” Etc.

The bravery of Van Hollen’s letter was that an antiwar congressman was speaking the truth at a moment it needed to be spoken. If America could have served any purpose in that war, it should have been to hold Israel back, or say, This is not good. Van Hollen was stomped on. Right after the letter, Schmuel Rosner clucked in Haaretz that Van Hollen was to meet with AIPAC and “he will hear that this was an unacceptable move.” An unacceptable move for a U.S. Congressman to open his mouth against an Israeli war, having gained his seat by opposing the Iraq War. Then Van Hollen issued an apology. This wasn’t enough. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Washington said he had to reach out to the Jewish community to undo the damage. The ADL said the apology wasn’t convincing in light of the anti-Israel character of the letter. After the war, Van Hollen duly went to Israel on a special AIPAC-affiliated junket, to learn the error of his ways.

And meanwhile, AIPAC’s president crowed in a letter to supporters:  “Look what you’ve done!… Only ONE nation in the world came out and flatly declared: Let Israel finish the job. That nation is the United States… and the reason it had such a clear, unambiguous view of the situation is YOU and the rest of American Jewry.”

Look what they’d done. The Lebanon war stopped two weeks later, and we all know now what had taken place: a disaster. Something like 50 Israelis killed and 1000 Lebanese, the southern Lebanese infrastructure destroyed, including hospitals and stores and bridges–for what, for nothing. As Van Hollen understood, Hezbollah was empowered. Nasrallah became a hero. The IDF hostages weren’t released. And Israel has since experienced a sense of desperate waste. The Israeli army chief of staff, who called in his stock sales just before the war began, was dismissed. And southern Lebanon was strewn with illegal cluster bombs, so that Lebanese children are dismembered to this day.


Robert Fisk: Beirut to Bosnia (documentary film)

I can’t recommend this series more highly. When I saw Fisk speak about his new book in Glasgow (2005) he used clips from it very effectively. While viewing horrible crimes committed against Muslims in the 90’s he asks (paraphrasing) “What have the Muslims got in store for us? Watchout!”

Why have so many Muslims come to hate the West? In this controversial three-part series filmed in Lebanon, Gaza, Israel, Egypt, and Bosnia, Robert Fisk—award-winning Middle East and Balkans correspondent for the London Independent—reports on Muslim unrest as ideology, religion, history, and geography come into conflict. Contains strong imagery. A Discovery Channel Production. 3-part series, 52 minutes each.
The Martyr’s Smile 

Continue reading

How Can Children of the Holocaust Do Such Things?

A Jewish Plea

April 7 / 8, 2007 | Counter Punch

We have nothing to lose except everything.

– Albert Camus

During the summer my husband and I had a conversion ceremony for our adopted daughter, Jess. We took her to the mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath where she was totally submerged in a pool of living water — living because it is fed in part by heavenly rain — and momentarily suspended as we are in the womb, emerging the same yet transformed. This ritual of purification, transformation and rebirth is central to Judaism and it signifies renewal and possibility.

The day of Jess’s conversion was also the day that Israel began its pitiless bombing of Lebanon and nearly three weeks into Israel’s violent assault on Gaza, a place that has been my second home for the last two decades. This painful juxtaposition of rebirth and destruction remains with me, weighing heavily, without respite. Yet, the link deeply forged in our construction of self as Jews, between my daughter’s acceptance into Judaism and Israel’s actions-between Judaism and Zionism — a link that I never accepted uncritically but understood as historically inevitable and understandable, is one that for me, at least, has now been broken.

For unlike past conflicts involving Israel and the Palestinian and Arab peoples this one feels qualitatively different — a turning point — not only with regard to the nature of Israel’s horrific response — its willingness to destroy and to do so utterly — but also with regard to the virtually unqualified support of organized American Jewry for Israel’s brutal actions, something that is not new but now no longer tolerable to me.

I grew up in a home where Judaism was defined and practiced not so much as a religion but as a system of ethics and culture. God was present but not central. Israel and the notion of a Jewish homeland were very important to my parents, who survived Auschwitz, Chelmno and Buchenwald. But unlike many of their friends, my parents were not uncritical of Israel. Obedience to a state was not a primary Jewish value, especially after the Holocaust. Judaism provided the context for Jewish life, for values and beliefs that were not dependent upon national or territorial boundaries, but transcended them to include the other, always the other. For my mother and father Judaism meant bearing witness, raging against injustice and refusing silence. It meant compassion, tolerance, and rescue. In the absence of these imperatives, they taught me, we cease to be Jews.

Many of the people, both Jewish and others, who write about Palestinians and Arabs fail to accept the fundamental humanity of the people they are writing about, a failing born of ignorance, fear and racism. Within the organized Jewish community especially, it has always been unacceptable to claim that Arabs, Palestinians especially, are like us, that they, too, possess an essential humanity and must be included within our moral boundaries, ceasing to be “a kind of solution,” a useful, hostile “other” to borrow from Edward Said. That any attempt at separation is artificial, an abstraction.

By refusing to seek proximity over distance, we calmly, even gratefully refuse to see what is right before our eyes. We are no longer compelled, if we ever were, to understand our behavior from positions outside our own, to enter, as Jacqueline Rose has written, into each other’s predicaments and make what is one of the hardest journeys of the mind. Hence, there is no need to maintain a living connection with the people we are oppressing, to humanize them, taking into account the experience of subordination itself, as Said would say. We are not preoccupied by our cruelty nor are we haunted by it. The task, ultimately, is to tribalize pain, narrowing the scope of human suffering to ourselves alone. Such willful blindness leads to the destruction of principle and the destruction of people, eliminating all possibility of embrace, but it gives us solace.

Why is it so difficult, even impossible to incorporate Palestinians and other Arab peoples into the Jewish understanding of history? Why is there so little perceived need to question our own narrative (for want of a better word) and the one we have given others, preferring instead to cherish beliefs and sentiments that remain impenetrable? Why is it virtually mandatory among Jewish intellectuals to oppose racism, repression and injustice almost anywhere in the world and unacceptable — indeed, for some, an act of heresy — to oppose it when Israel is the oppressor, choosing concealment over exposure? For many among us history and memory adhere to preclude reflection and tolerance, where, in the words of Northrop Frye, “the enemy become, not people to be defeated, but embodiments of an idea to be exterminated.”

What happens to the other as we, a broken and weary people, continually abuse him, turning him into the enemy we now want and need, secure in a prophecy that is thankfully self-fulfilling?

What happens to a people when renewal and injustice are rapturously joined?

A new discourse of the unconscious

We speak without mercy, numb to the pain of others, incapable of being reached-unconscious. Our words are these:

* ” . . . [W]e must not forget,’ wrote Ze’ev Schiff, the senior political and military analyst for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, “the most important aspect of this war: Hezbollah and what this terrorist organization symbolizes must be destroyed at any price. . . .What matters is not the future of the Shiite town of Bint Jbail or the Hezbollah positions in Maroun Ras, but the future and safety of the State of Israel.” “If Israel doesn’t improve its military cards in the fighting, we will feel the results in the political solution.”

* “We must reduce to dust the villages of the south . . .” stated Haim Ramon, long known as a political dove and Israel’s Minister of Justice. “I don’t understand why there is still electricity there.” “Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and is connected to Hizbollah. . . What we should do in southern Lebanon is employ huge firepower before a ground force goes in.” Israel’s largest selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth put it this way: “A village from which rockets are fired at Israel will simply be destroyed by fire. This decision should have been made and executed after the first Katyusha. But better late than never.”

* “[F]or every katyusha barrage on Haifa, 10 Dahiya buildings will be bombed,” said the IDF Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz. Eli Yishai, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, proposed turning south Lebanon into a “sandbox”, while Knesset member Moshe Sharoni called for the obliteration of Gaza, and Yoav Limor, a Channel 1 military correspondent, suggested an exhibition of Hezbollah corpses followed by a parade of prisoners in their underwear in order “to strengthen the home front’s morale.”

* “Remember: distorted philosophical sensitivity [sic] to human lives will make us pay the real price of the lives of many, and the blood of our sons,” read an advertisement in Ha’aretz.

* “[A]ccording to Jewish law,” announced the Yesha Rabbinical Council, “during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as ‘innocents of the enemy’.”

* “But speaking from our own Judaic faith and legal legacy,” argued the Rabbinical Council of America, “we believe that Judaism would neither require nor permit a Jewish soldier to sacrifice himself in order to save deliberately endangered enemy civilians. This is especially true when confronting a barbaric enemy who would by such illicit, consistent, and systematic means seek to destroy not only the Jewish soldier, but defeat and destroy the Jewish homeland. New realities do indeed require new responses.”

* The Israeli author, Naomi Ragan, after learning that many of the war dead in Lebanon were children, wrote “Save your sympathy for the mothers and sisters and girlfriends of our young soldiers who would rather be sitting in study halls learning Torah, but have no choice but to risk their precious lives full of hope, goodness and endless potential, to wipe out the cancerous terrorist cells that threaten their people and all mankind. Make your choice, and save your tears.”

Many of us, perhaps most, have declared that all Palestinians and Lebanese are the enemy, threatening our — Israel and the Jewish people’s — existence. Everyone we kill and every house we demolish is therefore a military target, legitimate and deserving. Terrorism is part of their culture and we must strengthen our ability to deter. Negotiation, to paraphrase the Israeli scholar, Yehoshua Porat, writing during the 1982 Lebanon war, is a “veritable catastrophe for Israel.” The battlefield will preserve us.

The French critic and historian, Hippolyte Taine, observed:

“Imagine a man who sets out on a voyage equipped with a pair of spectacles that magnify things to an extraordinary degree. A hair on his hand, a spot on the tablecloth, the shifting fold of a coat, all will attract his attention; at this rate, he will not go far, he will spend his day taking six steps and will never get out of his room.”

We are content in our room and seek no exit.

In our room, compassion and conscience are dismissed as weakness, where pinpoint surgical strikes constitute restraint and civility and momentary ceasefires, acts of humanity and kindness. “Leave your home, we are going to destroy it.” Several minutes later another home in Gaza, another history, is taken, crushed. The warning, though, is not for them but for us-it makes us good and clean. What better illustration of our morality: when a call to leave one’s home minutes before it is bombed is considered a humane gesture.

Our warnings have another purpose: they make our actions legitimate and our desire for legitimacy is unbounded, voracious. This is perhaps the only thing Palestinians (and now the Lebanese) have withheld from us, this object of our desire. If legitimacy will not be bestowed then it must be created. This explains Israel’s obsession with laws and legalities to insure in our own eyes that we do not transgress, making evil allowable by widening the parameters of license and transgression. In this way we insure our goodness and morality, through a piece of paper, which is enough for us.

What are Jews now capable of resisting: tyranny? Oppression? Occupation? Injustice? We resist none of these things, no more. For too many among us they are no longer evil but necessary and good-we cannot live, survive without them. What does that make us? We look at ourselves and what do we see: a non-Jew, a child, whose pain we inflict effortlessly, whose death is demanded and unquestioned, bearing validity and purpose.

What do we see: a people who now take pleasure in hating others. Hatred is familiar to us if nothing else. We understand it and it is safe. It is what we know. We do not fear our own distortion — do we even see it? — but the loss of our power to deter, and we shake with a violent palsy at a solution that shuns the suffering of others. Our pathology is this: it lies in our struggle to embrace a morality we no longer possess and in our need for persecution of a kind we can no longer claim but can only inflict.

We are remote from the conscious world — brilliantly ignorant, blindly visionary, unable to resist from within. We live in an unchanging place, absent of season and reflection, devoid of normality and growth, and most important of all, emptied-or so we aim — of the other. A ghetto still but now, unlike before, a ghetto of our own making.

What is our narrative of victory and defeat? What does it mean to win? Bombed cars with white civilian flags still attached to their windows? More dead and dismembered bodies of old people and children littered throughout villages that have been ravaged? An entire country disabled and broken? Non-ending war? This is our victory, our achievement, something we seek and applaud. And how do we measure defeat? Losing the will to continue the devastation? Admitting to our persecution of others, something we have never done?

We can easily ignore their suffering, cut them from their food, water, electricity, and medicine, confiscate their land, demolish their crops and deny them egress — suffocate them, our voices stilled. Racism does not allow us to see Arabs as we see ourselves; that is why we rage when they do not fail from weakness but instead we find ourselves failing from strength. Yet, in our view it is we who are the only victims, vulnerable and scarred. All we have is the unnaturalness of our condition.

As an unconscious people, we have perhaps reached our nadir with many among us now calling for a redefinition of our ethics-the core of who we are — to incorporate the need to kill women and children if Jewish security required it. “New realities do indeed require new responses,” says the Rabbinical Council of America. Now, for us, violence is creation and peace is destruction.

Ending the process of creation and rebirth after the Holocaust

Can we be ordinary, an essential part of our rebirth after the Holocaust? Is it possible to be normal when we seek refuge in the margin, and remedy in the dispossession and destruction of another people? How can we create when we acquiesce so willingly to the demolition of homes, construction of barriers, denial of sustenance, and ruin of innocents? How can we be merciful when, to use Rose’s words, we seek “omnipotence as the answer to historical pain?” We refuse to hear their pleading, to see those chased from their homes, children incinerated in their mother’s arms. Instead we tell our children to inscribe the bombs that will burn Arab babies.

We argue that we must eliminate terrorism. What do we really know of their terrorism, and of ours? What do we care? Rather, with language that is denuded and infested-give them more time to bomb so that Israel’s borders can be natural-we engage repeatedly in a war of desire, a war not thrust upon us but of our own choosing, ingratiating ourselves with the power to destroy others and insensate to the death of our own children. What happens to a nation, asks the Israeli writer David Grossman, that cannot save its own child, words written before his own son was killed in Lebanon?

There are among Israelis real feelings of vulnerability and fear, never resolved but used, intensified. Seeing one’s child injured or killed is the most horrible vision — Israelis are vulnerable, far more than other Jews. Yet, we as a people have become a force of extremism, of chaos and disorder, trying to plow an unruly sea-addicted to death and cruelty, intoxicated, with one ambition: to mock the pauper.

Judaism has always prided itself on reflection, critical examination, and philosophical inquiry. The Talmudic mind examines a sentence, a word, in a multitude of ways, seeking all possible interpretations and searching constantly for the one left unsaid. Through such scrutiny it is believed comes the awareness needed to protect the innocent, prevent injury or harm, and be closer to God.

Now, these are abhorred, eviscerated from our ethical system. Rather the imperative is to see through eyes that are closed, unfettered by investigation. We conceal our guilt by remaining the abused, despite our power, creating situations where our victimization is assured and our innocence affirmed. We prefer this abyss to peace, which would hurl us unacceptably inward toward awareness and acknowledgement.

Jews do not feel shame over what they have created: an inventory of inhumanity. Rather we remain oddly appeased, even calmed by the desolation. Our detachment allows us to bear such excess (and commit it), to sit in Jewish cafes while Palestinian mothers are murdered in front of their children in Gaza. I can now better understand how horror occurs-how people, not evil themselves, can allow evil to happen. We salve our wounds with our incapacity for remorse, which will be our undoing.

Instead the Jewish community demands unity and conformity: “Stand with Israel” read the banners on synagogues throughout Boston last summer. Unity around what? There is enormous pressure — indeed coercion — within organized American Jewry to present an image of “wall to wall unity” as a local Jewish leader put it. But this unity is an illusion — at its edges a smoldering flame rapidly engulfing its core — for mainstream Jewry does not speak for me or for many other Jews. And where such unity exists, it is hollow built around fear not humanity, on the need to understand reality as it has long been constructed for us — with the Jew as the righteous victim, the innocent incapable of harm. It is as if our unbending support for Israel’s militarism “requires putting our minds as it were into Auschwitz where being a Jew puts your existence on the line. To be Jewish means to be threatened, nothing more. Hence, the only morality we can acknowledge is saving Israel and by extension, ourselves.” Within this paradigm, it is dissent not conformity that will diminish and destroy us. We hoard our victimization as we hoard our identity — they are one — incapable of change, a failing that will one day result in our own eviction. Is this what Zionism has done to Judaism?

Israel’s actions not only demonstrate the limits of Israeli power but our own limitations as a people: our inability to live a life without barriers, to free ourselves from an ethnic loyalty that binds and contorts, to emerge, finally, from our spectral chamber.

Ending the (filial) link between Israel and the Holocaust

How can the children of the Holocaust do such things, they ask? But are we really their rightful offspring?

As the Holocaust survivor dies, the horror of that period and its attendant lessons withdraw further into abstraction and for some Jews, many of them in Israel, alienation. The Holocaust stands not as a lesson but as an internal act of purification where tribal attachment rather than ethical responsibility is demanded and used to define collective action. Perhaps this was an inevitable outcome of Jewish nationalism, of applying holiness to politics, but whatever its source, it has weakened us terribly and cost us greatly.

Silvia Tennenbaum, a survivor and activist writes: “No matter what great accomplishments were ours in the diaspora, no matter that we produced Maimonides and Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn and hundreds of others of mankind’s benefactors — not a warrior among them! — we look at the world of our long exile always in the dark light of the Shoah. But this, in itself, is an obscene distortion: would the author . . . Primo Levi, or the poet Paul Celan demand that we slaughter the innocents in a land far from the snow-clad forests of Poland? Is it a heroic act to murder a child, even the child of an enemy? Are my brethren glad and proud? . . . And, it goes without saying, loyal Jews must talk about the Holocaust. Ignore the images of today’s dead and dying and focus on the grainy black and white pictures showing the death of Jews in the villages of Poland, at Auschwitz and Sobibor and Bergen-Belsen. We are the first, the only true victims, the champions of helplessness for all eternity.”

What did my family perish for in the ghettos and concentration camps of Poland? Is their role to be exploited and in the momentary absence of violence, to be forgotten and abandoned?

Holocaust survivors stood between the past and the present, bearing witness, sometimes silently, and even in word, often unheard. Yet, they stood as a moral challenge among us and also as living embodiments of a history, way of life and culture that long predated the Holocaust and Zionism (and that Zionism has long denigrated), refusing, in their own way, to let us look past them. Yet, this generation is nearing its end and as they leave us, I wonder what is truly left to take their place, to fill the moral void created by their absence?

Is it, in the words of a friend, himself a Jew, a “memory manufactory, with statues, museums and platoons of ‘scholars’ designed to preserve, indeed ratchet up Jewish feelings of persecution and victimhood, a Hitler behind every Katyusha or border skirmish, which must be met with some of the same crude slaughterhouse tools the Nazis employed against the Jews six decades ago: ghettos, mass arrests and the denigration of their enemy’s humanity?” Do we now measure success in human bodies and in carnage, arguing that our dead bodies are worth more than theirs, our children more vulnerable and holy, more in need of protection and love, their corpses more deserving of shrouds and burial? Is meaning for us to be derived from martyrdom or from children born with a knife in their hearts? Is this how my grandmother and grandfather are to be remembered?

Our tortured past and its images trespass upon our present not only in Israel but in Gaza and Lebanon as well. “They were temporarily buried in an empty lot with dozens of others,” writes a New York Times reporter in Lebanon. “They were assigned numbers, his wife and daughter. Alia is No. 35 and Sally is No. 67. ‘They are numbers now,’ said the father. There are no names anymore.”

“They were shrunken figures, dehydrated and hungry,” observes the Washington Post. “Some had lived on candy bars, others on pieces of dry bread. Some were shell-shocked, their faces blank . . . One never made it. He was carried out on a stretcher, flies landing on lifeless eyes that were still open.”

As the rightful claimants to our past we should ask, How much damage can be done to a soul? But we do not ask. We do not question the destruction but only our inability to complete it, to create more slaughter sites.

Can we ever emerge from our torpor, able to mourn the devastation?

Our ultimate eviction?

Where do Jews belong? Where is our place? Is it in the ghetto of a Jewish state whose shrinking boundaries threaten, one day, to evict us? We are powerful but not strong. Our power is our weakness, not our strength, because it is used to instill fear rather than trust, and because of that, it will one day destroy us if we do not change. More and more we find ourselves detached from our past, suspended and abandoned, alone, without anchor, aching-if not now, eventually-for connection and succor. Grossman has written that as a dream fades it does not become a weaker force but a more potent one, desperately clung to, even as it ravages and devours.

We consume the land and the water behind walls and steel gates forcing out all others. What kind of place are we creating? Are we fated to be an intruder in the dust to borrow from Faulkner, whose presence shall evaporate with the shifting sands? Are these the boundaries of our rebirth after the Holocaust?

I have come to accept that Jewish power and sovereignty and Jewish ethics and spiritual integrity are, in the absence of reform, incompatible, unable to coexist or be reconciled. For if speaking out against the wanton murder of children is considered an act of disloyalty and betrayal rather than a legitimate act of dissent, and where dissent is so ineffective and reviled, a choice is ultimately forced upon us between Zionism and Judaism.

Rabbi Hillel the Elder long ago emphasized ethics as the center of Jewish life. Ethical principles or their absence will contribute to the survival or destruction of our people. Yet, today what we face is something different and possibly more perverse: it is not the disappearance of our ethical system but its rewriting into something disfigured and execrable.

As Jews in a post-Holocaust world empowered by a Jewish state, how do we as a people emerge from atrocity and abjection, empowered and also humane, something that still eludes us? How do we move beyond fear and omnipotence, beyond innocence and militarism, to envision something different, even if uncertain? “How,” asks Ahad Haam, the founding father of cultural Zionism, “do you make a nation pause for thought?”

For many Jews (and Christians), the answer lies in a strong and militarized Jewish state. For others, it is found in the very act of survival. For my parents-defeating Hitler meant living a moral life. They sought a world where “affirmation is possible and . . . dissent is mandatory,” where our capacity to witness is restored and sanctioned, where we as a people refuse to be overcome by the darkness.

Can we ever turn away from our power to destroy?

It is here that I want to share a story from my family, to describe a moment that has inspired all of my work and writing.

My mother and her sister had just been liberated from concentration camp by the Russian army. After having captured all the Nazi officials and guards who ran the camp, the Russian soldiers told the Jewish survivors that they could do whatever they wanted to their German persecutors. Many survivors, themselves emaciated and barely alive, immediately fell on the Germans, ravaging them. My mother and my aunt, standing just yards from the terrible scene unfolding in front of them, fell into each other’s arms weeping. My mother, who was the physically stronger of the two, embraced my aunt, holding her close and my aunt, who had difficulty standing, grabbed my mother as if she would never let go. She said to my mother, “We cannot do this. Our father and mother would say this is wrong. Even now, even after everything we have endured, we must seek justice, not revenge. There is no other way.” My mother, still crying, kissed her sister and the two of them, still one, turned and walked away.

What then is the source of our redemption, our salvation? It lies ultimately in our willingness to acknowledge the other-the victims we have created-Palestinian, Lebanese and also Jewish-and the injustice we have perpetrated as a grieving people. Perhaps then we can pursue a more just solution in which we seek to be ordinary rather then absolute, where we finally come to understand that our only hope is not to die peacefully in our homes as one Zionist official put it long ago but to live peacefully in those homes.

When my daughter Jess was submerged under the waters of the mikvah for the third and final time, she told me she saw rainbows under the water. I shall take this beautiful image as a sign of her rebirth and plead desperately for ours.

Sara Roy is Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studie, Harvard University. “A Jewish Plea” will be published in The War on Lebanon: A Reader . Nubar Hovsepian (ed), Interlink Publishing, Spring 2007. Sara Roy can be reached at


2008 Memo: Don’t Mess With Israel

Did John Edwards risk the implosion of his 2008 presidential campaign by stating that Israel is the biggest threat to world peace? His staff just sent me an email rejecting the charge, a sure sign they are very worried it could spread.

John Edwards
John Edwards may have made a damaging gaffe

One of the most striking differences between the UK and US is the staunch backing here for Israel among Democrats and Republicans alike. Pro-Israel groups are highly influential. Many of the biggest US campaign contributors are Jewish-Americans in Manhattan and Hollywood. Unequivocal support for Israel is a virtual sine qua non for being elected nationally.

Would Edwards be that foolish? What did he say? It’s not yet clear and even in this YouTube age, there might be no video clip because the offending words were allegedly uttered at a private event. If things were as they have been portrayed, then he’s in deep doo doo – even if it wasn’t exactly a Mel Gibson moment.

In classic 21st Century fashion, the claim spread like wildfire via the Internet. First, it was buried in indirect speech and in the 5th paragraph of a Variety column.

Peter Bart, the Variety columnist, referred to a fundraiser for Edwards held by Adam Venit, a partner at the agency Endeavor along with Ari Emanuel, a Barack Obama supporter whose brother Congressman Rahm Emanuel is a prominent Hillary Clinton ally (for now at least).

Hollywood, you see, is divided over who to support in 2008 (this was the subject of the column). A few are even considering voting for – gasp – a Republican – most notably Rudy Giuliani, who is set to be endorsed by Brad Grey, of Sopranos fame.

But I digress. The key Variety paragraph read: “The aggressively photogenic John Edwards was cruising along, detailing his litany of liberal causes last week until, during question time, he invoked the “I” word – Israel. Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace, Edwards remarked, was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. As a chill descended on the gathering, the Edwards event was brought to a polite close.”

This was picked up by National Review Online and cited as a “little gem” ( . Next, boom – the megasite Drudge Report  saw it and linked with a headline: “Edwards: Israel greatest short-term threat to world peace.”

The Edwards campaign email, sent out within an hour or so of the item appearing on Drudge, stated that Variety “inaccurately quotes Senator John Edwards”. Of course, it didn’t quote him – it reported his speech. And accusing someone of misquoting is dangerous when you aren’t prepared to produce the real quote yourself.

Jonathan Prince, Edwards’s press secretary, said in the email: “The January 19th Variety article is erroneous. Senator Edwards did not say nor does he believe that the greatest short-term threat to world peace is the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Senator Edwards said, as he has in the past, that Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon is one of the greatest short-term threats to world peace.”

This may well not lay the matter to rest because it did not include Edwards’s words, which his staff presumably taped.

I’m currently reading Paul Taylor’s superb “See How They Run”, about the 1988 US election campaign. In it, he reminds the reader of the old adage that you don’t issue a denial of a rumour or an erroneous story because that gives the press the hook to write about it.

That that no longer holds true – partly because of the internet but also because the 1992 Clinton campaign “war room” and New Labour’s subsequent “rapid rebuttal unit” in the 1997 election showed that striking back swiftly and fiercely pays dividends.

But to kill a rumour rather than give it more legs, the rebuttal needs to be comprehensive and persuasive. Has Edwards achieved that? Perhaps not.

Justin Raimondo: Lebanon, again — the Israelis want another go

Lebanon, Again
The Israelis want another go
by Justin Raimondo | | February 9, 2007

The Israelis, stung by their defeat at the hands of Hezbollah, are aching for a rematch. There have been a number of border incidents since the IDF retreated and the blockade was lifted, the most recent – and most brazen – occurring when the Israelis crossed a security fence, purportedly to search for explosives planted by Hezbollah. They could – and did – use this pretext to launch an invasion, and, in the process, level half the country. The Israelis are merely waiting for the right moment, and that moment, I’m afraid, will come fairly soon unless they’re reined in by Washington.

This last is highly unlikely, however: indeed, the dynamics run the other way. Last time around, the neocons in the administration reportedly egged the somewhat reluctant Israelis on, and were sorely disappointed when Tel Aviv relented. Next time, they’ll go all the way to Beirut – and won’t stop until the Americans get to Tehran.

Those who fear war with Iran had best look to Lebanon, where the first shots are being fired. It is, so far, a proxy war, with the Israelis as our stand-ins and Hezbollah allied with the Iranians. It is only a matter of time, however, before the proxies are dispensed with, and the Americans meet the Iranians on the battlefield.

This is what the American “surge” in Iraq is all about: the White House is preparing for a confrontation with the Iranians. Washington knows full well that, in answer to U.S. airstrikes, Tehran will target U.S. troops caught in the middle of Iraq’s civil war. The President has authorized U.S. troops to go after the Iranians supposedly infiltrating Iraq, and the storming of that Iranian consulate in Irbil was not just a random incident. The timing of the crackdown on Shi’ite party militias is also no accident – or does it just so happen that Iran’s staunchest Iraqi allies are being suddenly disarmed?

The big problem for the Bush administration, however, is that these militias are the military components of the ruling coalition, a government installed by American force of arms, and – so far – defended by U.S. troops. Having defeated Saddam Hussein, destroyed Ba’athist-Sunni hegemony, and ushered in the new era of Shi’ite dominance, the Americans are now turning on a dime and demanding the disarmament of their own monstrous creation. Could there be a clearer demonstration of the libertarian complaint that government exists to “solve” problems largely generated by its policies?

Lebanon is a ticking time bomb, and it will go off shortly after the Israelis, and their Washington handlers, light the fuse. Increased Israeli overflights are bound to provoke a Lebanese response, and, remember, all this takes place against the backdrop of considerable political turmoil. The Lebanese people are in rebellion against a government that ordered its “army” to stand down as Israeli jets pounded Beirut – and bombed Lebanese “army” barracks. The only use the government has for its soldiers is for killing anti-government demonstrators.

When push came to shove it was Hezbollah that fought – and beat – the IDF. This amazing feat has impressed many Lebanese Christians, formerly Hezbollah’s deadly enemies. What is disturbing to the Israelis is that this has spawned a cross-confessional alliance of Lebanese Christian nationalists and Shi’ite Muslims.

The appearance of Michel Aoun and Hassan Nasrallah on the same stage, rallying the people against the U.S.-backed government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is a veritable replay of the famous Cedar Revolution, when a mass movement from below ousted the pro-Syrian government. Given that the Cedar revolutionaries had as one of their major goals the return of Aoun from exile in France, the Christian leader’s alliance with the main Shi’ite party augurs a seismic shift in the balance of power. This was made possible by the recent Israeli aggression, which has forged a new nationalist consensus.

There is only one way Israel can defeat this rising obstacle to their agenda of smashing up and neutralizing its Muslim neighbors, and that is militarily: their Lebanese proxies are too weak to do anything other than protest halfheartedly as the nation rallies around a Hezbollah-Christian alliance. However, it isn’t only Lebanese politics driving the Israelis to once again unleash the IDF, but also the political situation in the United States.

Remember how easily both parties in Congress rushed to endorse Israel’s cruel bombardment? The Israel lobby has no reason to expect anything but a repeat of this shameless complicity. You’ll also recall that the “antiwar” liberals of the Huffington Post crowd had practically zero to say about the deaths of thousands of Lebanese, and the rape of a nation. After all, their favorite Democrats in congress voted to endorse the merciless Israeli attack. Hillary Clinton hailed the bombardment of Beirut airport as a valiant act of “self-defense” on Israel’s part. Nancy Pelosi, one of AIPAC’s best friends in Congress, followed suit.

In short, American political support for another go at Lebanon is virtually assured: aside from a few on the left, and the right, who are beginning to challenge the Lobby’s hegemony over U.S. foreign policy, there will be very few voices raised against renewed Israeli aggression. Our supine Congress – which Pat Buchanan trenchantly called “Israeli-occupied territory” – will shout hosannas as U.S.-made -and-paid-for jets drop cluster bombs on schools, hospitals, factories, and other nests of “terrorism.” Arianna Huffington will ignore it for weeks, and then rationalize it: the Bush administration will rush more military aid and subsidies to the Israeli war machine, and both wings of the War Party – the Democrats, no less than the Republicans – will cheerlead the action.

Israel’s probing the Lebanese frontier is a deliberate provocation, one that will end, if all goes according to plan, in U.S. military action against Iran. Opposing the war in Iraq, now that it’s clearly a disaster, is – oddly enough – beside the point. The present danger is the regionalization of the war, which is the real objective of the “surge” – and the clock is ticking. That’s why the partisan bickering over how the debate over the anti-surge resolution should proceed in Congress is so dangerous – aside from the sad fact that these wise solons don’t even realize what they’re voting on. They think they’re debating the escalation of the war in Iraq, when what’s really going on is an attempt by this administration to extend the war to neighboring countries.

Crippled by their unwillingness to criticize Israel, antiwar Democrats will be sucked into supporting the opening shots of the coming U.S. attack on Iran. The rumblings in Lebanon are the premonitory tremors of a regional earthquake that will shake most of the nations of the Middle East. George W. Bush is far from finished with the long-suffering peoples of the Middle East. The great tragedy is that political resistance to the administration’s war moves are too little, too late.

Posted in USA, Iraq, Middle East, Iran, Israel, Neocons, Zionism, US Foreign Policy, Lebanon, Israel Watch, Empire, War and Terror, Hegemon-watch, Lobby watch, Militarism general, Black flag ops, Propaganda and psy-ops.

One Response to “Justin Raimondo: Lebanon, again — the Israelis want another go”

  1. The Fanonite Says:
    February 11th, 2007 at 4:16 am It is curious that most of the opposition to the coming war comes from the right today. Since there is no “oil” rationale to harp on, most leftists, including the antiwar movement, seems not to have noticed at all that Iran may be invaded any moment. Scott Ritter has been screaming from the rooftops the past 3 years, but there are no takers.

    It is a very sad and dangerous situation at the moment, and the truth is, that short of a mutiny in the ranks of the military or a paleoconservative revolt, this war can’t be stopped.

Trish Schuh: The Salvador Option in Beirut

Cakewalks, Forgeries and Smoking Guns
The Salvador Option in Beirut

by Trish Schuh | Counterpunch | 8 February, 2007

“The only prospect that holds hope for us is the carving up of Syria… It is our task to prepare for that prospect. All else is a purposeless waste of time.”
Zionist militant Zeév Jabotinsky, From “We and Turkey” in Di Tribune, November 30, 1915

“We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Muslim regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan, and Syria will fall to us.”
David Ben-Gurion, From Ben-Gurion, A Biography by Michael Ben-Zohar, May 1948

“It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too, depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are now, and on the lack of any truly mass movement among them… Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking Iraq up into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon… Syria will fall apart.”
—Oded Yinon, 1982. From The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

“Regime change is, of course, our goal both in Lebanon and Syria. We wrote long ago that there are three ways to achieve it- the dictator chooses to change; he falls before his own unhappy people; or if he poses a threat to the outside, the outside takes him out…”
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), From strategy paper #474, Priorities in Lebanon & Syria, March 2, 2005

From mission statement to mission accomplished, the cakewalks continue. But from Baghdad to Beirut, the forgery looks the same.

Unlike Iraq, there is no ‘weapons of mass destruction threat’ to facilitate toppling the Syrian regime. This time a United Nations Tribunal could provide the means, deploying Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s murder as the weapon. But like the US show trial to convict Saddam Hussein, the show trial to convict Syria for Hariri’s murder, built by the United Nation’s International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), has a history of problems.

Several of the UNIIIC’s prime witnesses have admitted to perjury, accusing the US-Israeli backed Lebanese government of bribery and foul play. Witness Hussam Taher Hussam claimed Future Movement MP Saad Hariri (son of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri) offered him $1.3m USD to incriminate top Syrian officials. Witness Ibrahim Michel Jarjoura said he was assaulted and forced to lie by Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamade. Star witness Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, who had accused Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Syrian President Bashar Assad of ordering Hariri’s murder, bragged of earning millions by falsely testifying to the UN Commission. Though much of their discredited testimony is still included as evidence, both UNIIIC prosecutors Brammertz and Mehlis said that the use of lie detector tests was not an option.

In his country, Mehlis has been rebuked for unethical and unprofessional practices. According to Germany’s Junge Welt magazine, former UN investigator Detlev Mehlis received a $10m USD slush fund to rig the UNIIIC outcome against Syria. An inquiry by German public TV Zweites Deutsche Fernsehen found that Mehlis had relied on CIA, MI6 and Mossad intelligence in prior investigations, namely the Berlin Disco bombing of the 1980s where Mehlis knowingly used testimony supplied by Arab Mossad agent Mohammad Al Amayra in his case against Libya. Mehlis also relied on NSA intercepts of fake telephone calls that former Mossad officer Victor Ostrovsky revealed were made by Mossad agents, posing as Arab terrorists. The phone calls proved Libyan guilt and justified America’s bombing of Libya.

In the Hariri case, German critics claimed “the choice of Mehlis was done because of his links to the German, American, French and Israeli intelligence agencies.” Lebanese news source, and Le Figaro reported that the British MI6 and Mossad have been supplying much of the UN Commission’s intelligence.

When Mehlis resigned in disgrace, the UN hired Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz at Mehlis’ recommendation. But Brammertz could also be vulnerable to US pressure if he assembles a verdict not to America’s liking. Under Belgium’s Universal Competence Law, Belgian legislators charged US Centcom General Tommy Franks, President George W Bush, VP Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell with war crimes in Iraq. In 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threatened to pull NATO headquarters out of Belgium if the prosecutions commenced. Shortly after, the Universal Competence Law was dropped. At the UN, Brammertz told me questions about similar US retaliation against his country regarding an unapproved Hariri outcome were not relevant and were “unhelpful.”

But much of the questionable case built by Mehlis has been retained by Brammertz. Though Brammertz’s secretive style preempts most outside debunking of questionable evidence, it is clear that fundamental issues remain unresolved. Brammertz’s latest UN report estimates that TNT and RDX explosives were used. But military experts and vehicle manufacturers claimed that blast damage to Hariri’s heavily armored Mercedes had the distinctive ‘melting signature’ incurred by high density DU munitions. Israel’s recent attack on Lebanon destroyed that evidence, by contaminating the crime scene with American DU-tipped GBU-28 bunker buster bomb residue.

It is also not certain where the explosion that killed Hariri was detonated. French experts assessed it was underground because the blast had cracked the foundations of adjacent buildings, manhole covers on the street had blown off, and asphalt was propelled onto nearby rooftops. After it was found that an underground explosion would not implicate Syria- but rather the pro-US/Israeli Lebanese government who had supervised road work in the days before Hariri died- the focus shifted to an above-ground blast via suicide bomber.

Then in a psyops setup reminiscent of the Pentagon’s Al Qaeda cutout Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, (who terrorized the length and breadth of Iraq with a wooden leg), several UN reports feature a ‘Zarqawi-inspired’ suicide car bomber, Ahmed Abu Adass as the killer. ‘Martyr’ Adass’s video confession debuted on Al Jazeera Bin Laden-style, with all the requisite hoopla. But according to Reuters and ABC News, the “Syrian-coerced” car bomber had never learned how to drive.

America’s United Nations Ambassador at the time, John Bolton, who usually criticized the United Nations as “irrelevent,” praised Mehlis, Brammertz and the UNIIIC investigation’s “great work” saying “the substantial evidence speaks for itself.”

But the irrelevant evidence Brammertz refuses to speak of could prove far more substantial. Last June, the Lebanese Army discovered several networks of Arab mercenaries sponsored by Israel’s Mossad conducting terrorist attacks and car bombings connected to the Hariri assassination.

Israel National News “Arutz Sheva” reported that Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh was ignored when he protested to the UN about the discoveries. The US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman, who helped manufacture the Cedar Revolution through the American Embassy in Beirut, then threatened Lebanon with very “grave consequences” and a boycott of foreign aid if Salloukh filed a formal UN complaint about the findings.

Despite Feltman’s ultimatums, Lebanese Military Investigating Magistrate Adnan Bolbol was to begin questioning witnesses over the Mossad assassinations in mid-July. On July 11, the Lebanese opposition publicized its demand for a United Nations Security Council Resolution against Israel, as well as a full inquiry into the Mossad’s Arab-camouflaged spy killings. Responding within hours on July 12, Israel hastily retaliated with a full scale attack on Lebanon using the Hezbollah border kidnapping as pretext.

Did the war on Lebanon cover up exposure of a “Salvador-style” slaying of Rafiq Hariri and and the other assassinations blamed on Syria?

Using the Salvador Option against Syria had first been raised by Newsweek and the London Times in January, 2005. After Hariri’s death on February 14, Hariri’s long-time personal advisor Mustafa Al Naser said: “the assassination of Hariri is the Israeli Mossad’s job, aimed at creating political tension in Lebanon.” (Asia Times 2/17/05) The Sunday Herald of Scotland hinted at a US role. “With controversial diplomat John Negroponte installed as the all-powerful Director of National Intelligence, is the US about to switch from invasions to covert operations and dirty tricks? The assassination of the former Lebanese PM has aroused suspicions.”

Fred Burton, in charge of counter-terrorism analysis at the Stratfor website, was also suspicious. Burton, who spent over 20 years as a counter-terrorism expert at the US State Department and the Secret Service, has investigated most terror attacks against US Embassies abroad, as well as the first World Trade Center bombing, and the murder of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin. Stratfor’s Burton also specialized in Syrian terror operations and methods. He rejected both Syria and Hezbollah as the perpetrators behind the Hariri killing. “Syria lacks the finesse,” and the “complex nature” of the remote-control technology needed to implement “the surgical nature of the charge” are beyond their capacity, he insisted. “This is not their style… and Hezbollah would not have this capability.” (UPI 6/27/05)

According to United Press International, Stratfor’s report on the Hariri crime concluded that the Lebanese assassinations were “so sophisticated that few in the world could have done it.” Burton told UPI that only five nations had such advanced resources- Israel, US, Britain, France and Russia. “This type of technology is only available to government agencies.” Burton then asked: “Suppose that these bombings were ‘merely collateral’? That the true target in the plot is the Syrian regime itself? If Damascus were being framed, who then would be the likely suspect?”

“Israeli intelligence is standing behind this crime,” claimed German criminologist Juergen Cain Kuelbel. In his book “Hariri’s Assassination: Hiding Evidence in Lebanon” he wrote: “Syria is innocent and has nothing to do with that crime or the other assassinations.” Kuelbel discovered that the jamming system used to disable the Hariri convoy’s electronic shield was manufactured by Netline Technologies Ltd of Tel Aviv, an Israeli company co-developed with the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli law enforcement agencies, and sold through European outlets. The UNIIIC dismissed Kuelbel’s findings as “ridiculous” and irrelevant.

But two months after the Hariri convoy was destroyed, Israeli-manufactured weapons began to appear near the homes and neighborhoods of politicians in Lebanon. On April 14, 2005 UPI reported that Lebanese security forces had discovered six Hebrew-inscribed mortar shells manufactured by Israel on a deserted beach near the the southern Lebanese village of Ghaziyeh.

Similar missiles and dynamite were also found along a road frequented by Hezbollah officials, and on December 10, 2005 four anti-tank rockets attached to wires ready for detonation were found planted on the road leading to MP Walid Jumblatt’s Muktara Palace.

In February, 2006 Lebanon’s Daily Star and An Nahar reported that Hebrew-marked 55mm, 60mm and 81mm rockets were discovered close to MP Saad Hariri’s Qoreitem estate. Similar rockets had also been uncovered near the Majdelyoun home of Saad’s aunt, legislator Bahia Hariri near Sidon.

While the pro-US/Israeli ‘March 14′ government automatically blamed Syria for the findings, one of several Israeli spy rings were captured trying to assassinate Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. AFP sited nine “well-trained, professional” paramilitaries who were intercepted with an arsenal of B-7 rocket launchers, anti-tank missiles, pump action shotguns, hand grenades, AK 47 rifles, revolvers, silencers, computers and CDs.

Then in June 2006, Mahmoud Rafea a mercenary from the South Lebanon Army, (created by Israel during the civil war with $10,000 bonuses), was caught on camera after car bombing two members of Islamic Jihad, the Majzoub brothers. Israel’s reported that Rafea confessed to committing the Majzoub slayings for Israel’s Mossad, as well as to a number of other high level assassinations.

Israeli website DEBKAfiles said that Rafea had assisted “two Israeli agents [who] flew into Beirut International Airport aboard a commercial flight on false passports three days before the Majzoub brothers were assassinated.” They “replaced a door of the brothers’ car with a booby-trapped facsimile” and left the country after an Israeli airplane “detonated the planted explosives with an electronic beam.” (Daily Star, 6/20/06)

Mahmoud Rafea, who was trained in Israel, also confessed to distributing bombs and ordnance to various locations around Lebanon to destabilize the country. A raid of Rafea’s home yielded high tech Israeli surveillance gear, fake passports, IDs, and appliances and baggage with secret compartments, and detailed maps of Lebanon.

But Rafea’s network was only one among several. Lebanese Internal Security Forces are still searching for a different spy ring led by another Arab Mossad agent, Hussein Khattab. The Times of London wrote: “In a bizarre twist, Hussein Khattab, a Palestinian member of the spy ring, who is still at large, is the brother of Sheikh Jamal Khattab, an Islamic cleric who allegedly recruited Arab fighters for Al Qaeda in Iraq”.

Equally strange, Hussein Khattab’s brother Jamal and his colleague Sheikh Obeida (mentioned in the UNIIIC report as head of Al Qaeda’s Jund Al Sham) frequently met with the Zarqawi-inspired Hariri suicide car bomber Ahmed Abu Adass in the Ein Hilweh refugee camp of Lebanon. (Like Israel and the US, Zarqawi had demanded that Hezbollah be disarmed.) Israel National News “Arutz Sheva” later wrote that “the US has been talking with Al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist groups in Syria in an all-out effort to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad”.

In early January 2007, AP and the UK Telegraph reported that the CIA had begun covert operations in Lebanon using Arab proxies. During the riots in Beirut on January 20-22, a US proxy, the Progressive Socialist Party, distributed US weapons to fighters dressed as opposition Hezbollah/Amal supporters. The riots were then blamed on the opposition.

Comparing the Hariri car bombing to the mysterious car bombings in Iraq, Asia Times said: “What remains is the evidence of Baghdad in Beirut… The iron-clad certainty, on both sides [Sunni and Shia resistance in Iraq], is that these have been perpetrated not by “terrorists” as the US claims, but rather by Israeli black ops or CIA-connected American mercenaries, with the intent of fueling tensions and advancing the prospect of civil war. Now if only someone would come up with a Beirut smoking gun.”

“The Gun” -as Meir Dagan is nicknamed- could be it.

Israeli website DEBKAfiles wrote that the above-named South Lebanon Army mercenary Mahmoud Rafea, had been assassinating/spying in Lebanon for Israel since 1989 when he was recruited by current Mossad director Meir Dagan.

In 2002, Meir Dagan was reappointed by Ariel Sharon to reprise the Mossad’s covert operations in Lebanon, notably targeted killings abroad. Coinciding with Dagan’s appointment, official Israeli policy was expanded to allow assassinations in friendly ally nations (including the US) using Kidon death squads from the Metsada Division. It was a job for which Dagan had ample experience.

Under Ariel Sharon in 1970, Dagan commanded a secret assassination unit of the Israeli Security Agency called Sayaret Rimon that eliminated over 750 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In 1982, he helped command Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. His main assignment was to manage undercover infiltrators, and to train Lebanese collaborators for the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army.

Dagan commanded the Lebanon Liasion Unit (Yakal or Yaagal Border Unit) which was notorious for its cross-border raids into Lebanon to kidnap opponents, as well as its secret prison Camp 1391, where detainees were tortured and disappeared. Haaretz alleged Camp 1391 was the prototype for America’s Guantanamo facility.

Dagan also operated the IDF Military Intelligence Unit 504, whose expertise was assassination, sabotage and spy running in Lebanon. The Israel Defense Forces call such spy saboteurs “Mista’aravim”- “soldiers disguised as Arabs”. Used for clandestine reconnaissance and to frame enemies in false flag operations, these IDF soldiers impersonating Arabs and their proxies are “trained to act and think like Arabs”, and to blend in to the target population with appropriate manners and language. (In 2002, this writer encountered at least one such Israeli ’student’ who claimed to be in Beirut “learning to think like ‘the enemy’”.)

One Mista’aravim specialty is the donning of Arab garb. In 1973, Israel’s “Spring of Youth Operation” conducted by the IDF Sayaret Matkal in Beirut included future Prime Minister Ehud Barak dressed as an Arab woman while conducting death squad hits. Mista’aravim provocateurs camouflaged as Palestinians are still used in the West Bank and Iraq. Jane’s Foreign Report said Mossad’s Dagan had advised US officials in September 2002 on how Israeli special ops could help the US war effort in Iraq. Mista’aravim methods were exemplified in Basra where British SAS troops dressed as Arabs in a vehicle loaded with explosives were seized before detonating a car bomb. According to Israeli intelligence expert Ephraim Kahana, Sayaret Matkal is modeled on Britain’s SAS.

Mista’aravim also specialize in close quarter urban combat using micro-Uzis, short-barreled M-16s and sniper rifles. Due to fluid street and residential changes, these teams rely on satellite photos and real-time drone imaging- like the complex technique used in the killing of the Majzoub brothers, where overhead drones monitored ground activity via cameras mounted on nearby objects- a level of capability not possessed by Syria.
Concerning the 2006 Lebanon War, DEBKAfiles boasted of other Israeli

Mista’aravim successes: “two spy rings of Lebanese agents which the Israeli Mossad” operated had “planted bugs and surveillance equipment at Hizballah command posts before and during the war. They also sprinkled special phosphorus powder outside buildings housing Hizballah’s war commands and rocket launchers as markers for air strikes. Well before the war, the Beirut ring had penetrated the inner circles of Hizballah and was reporting on their activities and movements to Israeli controllers… Run by veterans of the South Lebanese Army (the force Israel created during its occupation), its job was to “paint” targets for the Israeli Air Force and artillery..” DEBKAfiles claimed that Lebanon was “heavily penetrated by agents working for Israel intelligence.”

One Lebanese in particular, General Adnan Daoud, even appeared on Israeli televsion smiling and drinking tea with IDF soldiers while taking them on a four hour tour of his military base in Marjayoun. An hour after the Israeli soldiers’ departure, IDF bombed the Marjayoun site. (AP/Jerusalem Post, 8/7/06)

Regarding yet other Mossad agents DEBKAfiles wrote: “Hizballah’s security officials detained two non-Lebanese Arabs wandering around the ruined Dahya district, taking photos and drawing maps. Several forged passports were in their possession…”

All factions concerned with the Hariri killing- the UNIIIC, Stratfor, Hezbollah, Syria, the US, Israel and the Lebanese ‘March 14′ movement, agree on one thing- the Hariri perpetrator also carried out the other 22 assassinations, and possibly more. Lebanon’s Daily Star quoted the FBI: “the same explosive was used in Hawi, Kassir and Hamade crimes” as that used against Hariri. On May 27, 2006 the Daily Star revealed that the killers of Hariri and the Majzoub brothers could be the same: “Internal Security Forces, forensics experts, judiciary police and members of Hizbullah’s security apparatus inspected the blast site shortly after the bomb detonated. The shrapnel and iron balls found extensively around the explosion indicate the bomb was a specialized mine to assassinate individuals, and it is similiar to Hawi and Kassir’s explosives.”

Sources in Lebanon and at the UNIIIC in New York concluded that the same party responsible for Hariri’s death and the other Lebanese assassinations also committed the Majzoub killings. In June, Mossad agent Mahmoud Rafea admitted killing the Majzoub brothers for Israel.

But such irrelevant evidence has been deliberately ignored by the UN International Independent Investigation Commission. At the United Nations, this writer questioned various officials over a period of months about a possible US-Israeli role in Hariri’s murder, and if it was being investigated by the UNIIIC. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated that because the issue wasn’t raised by the US/Israeli-backed Lebanese government, that line of enquiry would not be pursued. It seems only facts supporting a guilty verdict against Syria will be considered.

“As far as Israel is concerned, it would be difficult to imagine a more convenient scenario. Its stubborn enemies, Iran and Syria, are now being accused by the international community, one for its nuclear program, the other for its behavior in Lebanon… Israel has hoped for this outcome since the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States in 2001. Immediately after the collapse of the Twin Towers, Israeli officials began to speak about the anticipated change, and expressed a hope that the United States would bring order to the region, and would deal with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and not only Iraq.”
Aluf Benn, Haaretz, October 25, 2005

From Baghdad to Beirut, the democracy dominoes keep falling. After Syria, an Iranian “Shah and Awe” forgery is the next imminent threat …

Trish Schuh was a co-founder of the Military Families Support Network and is a member of Military Reporters and Editors. She has lived and studied in Lebanon and Syria. This the third piece in a three part series on the attempted overthrow of Syria. See also “Faking the Case Against Syria” and “Operation Change of Location.”

Iranian nuclear threat, immigration and zionist dream

Last month, Ephraim Sneh, one of Israel’s most distinguished generals and now Olmert’s deputy defence minister, revealed that the government’s primary concern was not the threat posed by Ahmadinejad firing nuclear missiles at Israel but the effect of Iran’s possession of such weapons on Jews who expect Israel to have a monopoly on the nuclear threat.

If Iran got such weapons, “Most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with families, and Israelis who can live abroad will … I am afraid Ahmadinejad will be able to kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button. That’s why we must prevent this regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs.”

In other words, the Israeli government is considering either its own pre-emptive strike on Iran or encouraging the United States to undertake such an attack — despite the terrible consequences for global security — simply because a nuclear-armed Iran might make Israel a less attractive place for Jews to live, lead to increased emigration and tip the demographic balance in the Palestinians’ favour.

Regional and possibly global war may be triggered simply to ensure that Israel’s “existence” as a state that offers exclusive privileges to Jews continues.

For all our sakes, we must hope that the Palestinians and their Hamas government continue refusing to “recognise Israel’s right to exist”.

/Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the author of the forthcoming “Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State <>” published by Pluto Press, and available in the United States from the University of Michigan Press. His website is <>


If hezbollah are indeed scaring jewish immigrants away, then israel must be considering the same thing in Lebanon?