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Former Iranian Official Confirms Mossad Sabotage Behind Missile Blast

Shahab iii missile

Shahab III missile, of the type which exploded killing 17 IRG personnel including commander of Iran

The Guardian’s Julian Borger quotes a former Iranian government official as conceding that the explosion at an Iranian missile base was the work of the Mossad, news I was the first to report here based on a confidential authoritative Israeli source:

Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, however, a former director of an Iranian state-run organisation with close links to the regime, said: “I believe that Saturday’s explosion was part of the covert war against Iran, led by Israel.”

The former official compared Saturday’s incident to a similar blast in October 2010 at an IRGC missile base near the city of Khorramabad. “I have information that both these incidents were the work of sabotage by agents of Israel, aimed at halting Iran’s missile programme,” he said.

I note Borger’s report credits Karl Vick’s Time Magazine report based on a western intelligence official (likely American) who also claimed it was Mossad handiwork. But Borger doesn’t credit Tikun Olam as the first source in the world to report this. Based on Julian Assange’s decision to renounce the so-called authorized biography Borger wrote of him, I can see why he might’ve made such a decision. As far as the MSM is concerned, Rodney Dangerfield had it about right: we don’t get no respect.

Another indication that the IRG are lying regarding their contention that the explosion was the result of an accident is the arrest in Iran of Hassan Fathi, a source for a BBC Persia report, who contradicted the official claim that the mishap occurred in an ammunition depot (you may sign a petition here calling for his release). Instead Fathi said it happened at a missile base. Borger reports that the blast involved a Shahab III missile whose redeployment was being overseen by Maj. Gen. Hassan Moqqadam, the senior IRG commander who supervised much of Iran’s overall missile program.

Borger also notes the distinct possibility that Iran will begin affecting its own form of retaliation for such attacks against Israeli and U.S. targets. He also quotes a western expert on the Iranian nuclear program who says killing supposed key figures in Iranian military programs doesn’t do as much harm as the Mossad would like to think:

Michael Elleman, an expert on Iran’s ballistic missile programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies said he doubted that Moghaddam’s death, accidental or otherwise, would have a decisive impact. “Given the sophisticated and disciplined engineering management structure applied to Iran’s missile efforts, the loss of any one person should result in minimal damage to the overall programme,” he said.

Which brings me back to another theme you’ve read here before, the U.S.-Israel massive campaign of terror against Iran is not a policy. It’s a substitute for a policy. It’s a sign of how desperate and hopeless the state of international affairs is regarding Iran. There is no engagement with Iran, which seems to suit both sides just fine. In the absence of a policy, violence and mischief fill the vacuum. But killing even hundreds of Iranian commanders, scientists, etc. won’t deter Iran from its goals nor will it prevent a nuclear weapon if that is the nation’s mission. If there is any way to do this, it must be through mutual agreement. If there is no chance for that, then there will be an Iranian nuclear weapon (if that is indeed Iran’s goal). The only way to prevent such a development is through a massive military assault on Iran aiming to overthrow the Ayatollahs and institute a so-called democratic, western-backed regime as we did in Iraq. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.

Only in the wacky world of Israeli politics does a campaign of terror by the nation’s spy works killing scores if not hundreds of Iranians, allow the Israeli political echelon to argue that it doesn’t need to go to war, which would kill hundreds or thousands of times more than the terror operations do.  In a deeply twisted sense, these acts of assassination, sabotage and cyberwarfare become a more moral choice (or at least a less morally objectionable one) than the alternative.  It’s a strange moral calculus: if we kill enough Iranian generals and scientists then we can argue that we’re doing our part against the Iranian madmen, and not have to do even worse.

Last night, Maariv reporter Tal Schneider interviewed me for the paper’s weekly Q&A column (Hebrew), which profiles a newsmaker. Our conversation ran over much of this territory, but also covered the general themes of secrecy, national security, freedom of information, the public’s right to know–all the bread and butter issues of this blog. She did a great job of presenting my ideas to her readers. I’m gratified by the exposure that offered.

I’m befuddled and even a bit angered by Israeli commenters here who ask whether I don’t feel responsible for bringing Iran and Israel that much closer to armed conflict. Not only is this blaming the messenger, it fundamentally misunderstands reality. ISRAEL is the one who’s bringing itself and the region closer to conflict. I didn’t plant that bomb and sabotage that missile. Israel and its MEK henchmen did it (and by the way, in all the coverage, let’s not lose sight of MEK involvement as well–Mossad could not have done this alone). So blaming me shows a misplaced sense of things.

I’m also waiting for apologies from the hordes of “friends of Israel” who swore up and down that this story, my source and I were frauds. I may be waiting for quite a while.

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  • Yaniv November 14, 2011, 11:37 PM

    What is the benefit of admitting that it was an accident? NOTHING.
    The benefit of blaming Israel is clear.
    Now, the open question is how it can be that the IRG concluded so fast the it was not an accident.

    • Richard Silverstein November 14, 2011, 11:45 PM

      The Iranian source is NOT IRG and IRG has not concluded (at least not publicly) that it wasn’t an accident.

    • Carl November 15, 2011, 4:16 AM

      Yaniv has it backwards; Iran would prefer to claim a mistake; an Israeli source in this bombing, just like the assassinations and cyber attacks, shows Israel can striking at will and Iran to be helpless.

      • Evan November 15, 2011, 8:06 AM

        Carl and Richard have it exactly right. The Islamic Republic’s first need is to deny that the Israelis can strike at will inside Iran. That over-rides the need to stigmatize Israel and whip up the population in this case. I think it pretty much clearly shows that the Iranian government is panicking over this attack.

      • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 8:10 PM

        If Israel could strike at will & Iran is helpless then the F-16s would’ve been launched years ago. Iran will be a formidable enemy as it was to Saddam’s Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.

        • Carl November 16, 2011, 1:37 PM

          formidable advisary in war; but cannot stop the nameless stabs and slashing strikes — cyber, assassination, bombs (drone?)

          Israel benefits both by weakening the Iranian capabilities for counter-strike near and into future, but also by destabalizing psychology

        • Evan November 16, 2011, 3:57 PM

          Yes. Strike at will was not accurate.

  • dickerson3870 November 15, 2011, 12:29 AM

    RE: “Our conversation…also covered the general themes of secrecy, national security, freedom of information, the public’s right to know–all the bread and butter issues of this blog.” ~ R.S.

    SEE: A new Israel in the making ~ By Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 11/13/11
    The future is now. The revolution is in progress; just wait for what’s to come.

    (excerpts) One day not long from now we will wake up to a different kind of country…
    …The way of life in the new Israel where we will live and die won’t remind us in the least of the country we’re used to. Even this article won’t be publishable. Only proper opinions will be put into print, the ones approved by the new government-sponsored journalists’ association, whose people will sit in every newsroom so there is no divergence from the accepted chorus of opinion.
    Laws and regulations (clearly they will be passed as “emergency” regulations) will bar publication of anything that could, in the eyes of the authorities, harm the state. A new law will bar defamation of the state
    , and the newspaper you will hold in your hands will be different. It will only report good news.
    Radio and television broadcasts won’t be what you’re familiar with either. No media outlet will be able to go beyond the bounds of the law due to the draconian penalties for running afoul of them. The word “occupation” will be illegal…
    …In the not too distant future, the urban landscape will look different. What is happening today in Jerusalem will play itself out in the whole country tomorrow, when the likeness of women will be banished from public view. Today Jerusalem, tomorrow the whole country. Separate buses and streets for men and women. Radio and television will only broadcast men singing. At some point, women will be required to cover their heads. Then it will be the men’s turn. They will be barred from appearing clean-shaven or without a head covering. That day is not long in coming…

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-new-israel-in-the-making-1.395241

  • Bob Mann November 15, 2011, 1:21 AM

    Your headline does match the content of the article.

    The former Iranian official didn’t confirm anything. He just allegedly (and anonymously) said that he believed Israel was involved.

  • jahana November 15, 2011, 4:36 AM

    Borger had nothing to do with the Assange bio. You’re getting your guardian hacks confuesd.

    • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 1:48 PM

      Indeed. Who was the one who was writing the “approved” bio that became unapproved?

  • David Nelson November 15, 2011, 5:16 AM

    Of all the people who should have empathy for Palestine, Israel and her citizens have become a despicable contradiction.

    God chose the Jews to be a Nur for humanity and instead you chose for yourselves to become an open pit of darkness.

    Has not God warned before that He will eventually take his retribution?

    Whose definition of “Justice” could possibly support the genocidal occupation of Palestine?

    Because that is what the occupation is–genocide–and it is time all you Zionists cast away your morbid schizophrenia and wake up to reality. You will not win a war against a billion Muslims. Are you such arrogant bastards that you cannot see this?

    Jewish survival depends on on the Jews making the choice to leave their barbarity to join the Civilized world.

    Stand down for peace.

    • free man November 15, 2011, 7:15 AM

      Talking about racism….
      Where is the moderator now ?
      Or maybe to be a Jew hater is the right thing to do in this blog.

      • David Nelson November 16, 2011, 5:40 AM

        Free Man,

        You are right to object. My reasoning behind the comment was a little (verbal) confrontation right now to stir the issues in order to avoid a whole lot more physical confrontation by the powers-that-be later on. My intent was anti-war though my comments were received as anti-Judaic or anti-Semitic. I apologize to those who took their rightful offense.

        That said, the hot war between Iran and Israel is still avoidable, but not if the world is focused on diversions instead of causes.

      • David Nelson November 16, 2011, 5:46 AM

        *those “causes” being imho Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

    • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 1:46 PM

      This is a completely unacceptable comment violating all sorts of rules here. Read the comment rules carefully. If you violate them again by equating Israel with world Jewry you will find your comment privileges restricted.

      • David Nelson November 15, 2011, 6:15 PM

        Richard,

        I have said what I wanted to say and do not wish to change anything. I hope that you will consider joining in the un-moderated conversation over at the Race for Iran blog.

        All the hype about the Iran “threat” is a diversionary tactic of the Zionist leadership to take attention from away from the genocidal occupation of Palestine. Therefore my comment was exactly on-topic.

        If Israel is not a product of World Jewry, then what is? Doesn’t your own Rule #13 tell us exactly that, that you are one?

        Other than that, i am not exactly sure where i violated your rules.

        Peace.

        • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 7:54 PM

          You made a borderline anti Semitic statement. Israel is not world Jewry. It is Israel. World Jewry is not Israel. It is world Jewry. They’re two separate entities. Saying anything else is odious & anti Semitic. Good riddance.

    • Gil November 17, 2011, 10:00 AM

      Richard,

      Are you going to allow this rabid bile to stand?

      You should be ashamed.

      • Richard Silverstein November 17, 2011, 2:52 PM

        You must not be reading very carefully or did you miss this response I wrote:

        This is a completely unacceptable comment violating all sorts of rules here. Read the comment rules carefully. If you violate them again by equating Israel with world Jewry you will find your comment privileges restricted.

        Along with a private e mail to the commenter to which he responded in an entirely satisfactory way. Sorry, you won’t be able to stir up trouble on this one fella.

  • Julian Borger November 15, 2011, 6:04 AM

    Sorry not to have given you the credit you feel you deserve on this story. If there was one reason it was because I am not familiar with your blog and so can’t vouch for its reliability.
    In that regards, it’s not altogether encouraging that you report I wrote a biography of Julian Assange. I didn’t. Nor was I involved in the coverage of Assange or his legal problems here for The Guardian.

    • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 1:01 PM

      I apologize for my error & appreciate yr willingness to acknowledge my role in reporting the story. I appreciate the work you’ve done on this story as well & have linked here to yr reporting on this.

  • Daniel F. November 15, 2011, 7:48 AM

    David,
    “…genocidal occupation of Palestine”
    A little over the top there, mate! ……..as occupations go this one is relatively benign.
    That is not said by way of excuse but as an explanation and a statement of fact.
    Occupations,apart from being grossly unjust are inevitably also damaging to the occupier.
    Scant consolation for the occupied but food for thought for the pragmatic occupier.

    Until such time that the state of Israel accepts or is made to accept that control over Palestinian life and destiny is no longer an option and until such time that Palestinians accept that the state of Israel has a right to exist in peace as a refuge and homeland for Jews (and indigenous Palestinians) there cannot be peace.
    As with any conflict,if either side believe that it can win on it’s terms then it has little incentive
    to seriously negotiate a compromise.

    The key to disentanglement is steadfast yet gentle pressure on both parties to the conflict.
    As they say “You’ll catch more flies with honey”.

    • Elisabeth November 15, 2011, 11:24 AM

      I am glad you see Israel as refuge and homeland for Jews AND indigenous Palestinians. As a refure therefore also of the Palestinian refugees.

  • bran November 15, 2011, 3:03 PM

    A. I definitely hope that you are right and that the mosad was behind the Iranian missile blast. After years of terrorizing Israeli civilians with missile attacks it is high time that the Iranian missile builders should taste some of there own medicine. As you surely know Iran owns both Hezbollah and Islamic jihad in addition to having deep connections (but not absolute control) with hamas. It is therefore extremely important (even from a purely educational point of view) to make the Iranians mullahs realize that they are not protected from the consequences of there reckless behavior.
    B. It is worth pointing out how utterly pathetic the Iranian regime looks following this attack. Is seems that Iranian cyberspace is completely exposed. I can only wonder what Iranian air defense operators will see on there screens during the Israeli raid on its nuclear installations. Perhaps a good gefilta fish recipe?

    • David November 15, 2011, 6:00 PM

      What do you mean by “owns”? If Iran owns Hezbollah because of Iranian weapons, then surely the US owns Israel by the same token. Will you accept this? What’s the difference?

      And let’s not forget for a moment that Israel has been terrorizing Arabs of all ilks since its inception, even in the planning stages of the state. Terror is not limited to Iranian made rockets: F-16’s rain terror very effectively.

      One Gazan youngster drew a picture of Cast Lead with jets overhead dropping streams of Stars of David on her neighborhood. This was one of the drawings that the Jewish Fed of Oakland managed to close down from exhibition some months ago. (A Federation spokesperson told me earnestly: “Would you believe there is even a picture of jets dropping Stars of David?!” I responded that this is a marvelous depiction and that artist is clearly very talented and should be encouraged and exhibited. End of discussion.)

      • bran November 15, 2011, 7:45 PM

        Hello david-

        Iran owns Hezbollah and Islamic jihad in the same sense that you own your car or house. Both organization follow explicit instructions from Teheran. They where founded to fight Israel. Since Iran is engaged in warfare against Israel I do not see any reason for Israel not striking back.

        I don’t think Israel ever terrorized any Persian. Cast lead was the Israeli response to incessant missile fire coming from gaza. Did Iranian grad missiles also appear in the young gazans drawing? Why not?

        • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 7:52 PM

          Iran owns Hezbollah and Islamic jihad in the same sense that you own your car or house.

          I don’t mind people who parrot such views as long as they would do so in a careful, deliberate way. Using over the top rhetoric as you have merely discredits whatever else you may have to say which, alas, isn’t very much. If those two groups are the same as your car and house, then they have minds of their own and will drive you some place you don’t want to go and move your dwelling to a new state you didn’t intend to live in.

          Israel has constantly attempted to terrorize Iran & these attacks prove it. Or have you been sleeping through the past few yrs of Israel-Iran relations?? As for Cast Lead, it was a war that Israel WANTED to fight, not one that was forced on it. Had that not been so the IDF would not have repeatedly violated the ceasefire in effect & murdered Hamas operatives in the process. The only problem is that the IDF mistakenly thought it could wipe out Hamas in such a war, & failed in doing so.

          • David November 15, 2011, 11:24 PM

            By analogy then, the US “owns” Israel like a car or a house, eh? (Or is the other way around?). Israel has terrorized the entire Middle East with its nuclear arsenal and belligerent government, with its oppression of another people, and the outlandish lies and excuses it uses to make it all justifiable. Everyone, it would seem, every nation is anti-semitic except Israel and the US (and Micronesia, lest I forget!). It is just nonsense already.

            Turns the “Museums of Tolerance” sponsored by Weisenthal Center has nothing about intolerance in Israel. What a surprise. The Center overlooks the inconvenient truth about Israel.

          • David November 15, 2011, 11:29 PM

            I watched a documentary of Nachmani last night, a mover and shaker in the 30’s and 40’s Zionism camp. He deplored the decision of Ben Gurion and others to go to war with the Palestinians even in view of the partition that left 400,000 Palestinians in the Jewish segment and he forlornly gave up on Samaria and Judea. He said that nothing of value can come from the vicious war perpetuated by the Zionists against Palestinians and the British. And he was right. I think that perhaps that this is where Zionism went wrong. Just wanted to share this.

    • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 8:05 PM

      You’re confusing Iran with Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran hasn’t rained missiles down on anyone. And if Israel had tried to resolve its difference honestly with Palestine & Lebanon then there would be no missiles, Iran or no Iran.

      ANd I remind you that the only thing that protects Israel’s leaders from their “reckless behavior” is the protection of the IDF and security services. But every security service has its weaknesses. If Mosad can penetrate the IRG, then an Israeli enemy will some day penetrate Israeli defenses and cause havoc. The day will come. The chickens will come home to roost.

      It’s worth pointing out how utterly pathetic Israel looks after this attack. It seems that Israeli terror is almost completely exposed. I can only wonder what Israelis will see raining down on them from the skies after that Israeli attack. Perhaps gefilte fish or flying kneidles? You’re pretty repulsive.

      • bran November 16, 2011, 2:39 PM

        Richard&david-

        There is not one rocket fired by Hezbollah or IJ toward Israel that was not delivered by Iran specifically for that purpose. The supply routs flowing from Iran through Syria & Sudan to Lebanon and Gaza are one of the worst kept secrets of the world. Please cut the nonsensical drivel about innocent Iran not being involved in any military action against Israel. Hezbollah doesn’t deny it, Teheran doesn’t deny it, no reason for you to deny it either. As a person priding himself with his vast military/intelligence knowledge about the ME I expect better from you.

        Blowing up a guy firing missiles on you is not terrorism. It’s called self defense and is perfectly kosher. Allow me to remind you that giving the other cheek is a Christian concept not a Jewish one,

        Israel and Iran share no joint border, have no conflicting interests, and have no reason to be in war one with the other accepts for the theocratic Islamic ideology espoused by a group of fanatical misogynist clerics. For people like this late “martyr”, beloved by the clerics for his zealous effort to bring down death and destruction on Israel, there is only one moral and sensible response – “BOOM!”.(…and good riddance).

        • bran November 16, 2011, 2:40 PM

          David –

          Israel is an independent country with good relationship with USA based on geopolitical interests and shared cultural values. Israel is not owned by USA. However Hezbollah and IJ where created by Iran for the specific goal of waging war against Israel. They receive there instructions (and much more) directly from Teheran. They are owned by iran.

          The idea that Israel is terrorizing the ME is ludicrous. Hundreds of Syrians are butchered weekly by assad and that has nothing to do with Israel. Kurds and Copts are being persecuted in turkey and Egypt and neither does that have anything to do with Israel. Half of Cyprus is held under an illegal Turkish occupation, Lebanon is a Syrian puppet state, Iraq is dysfunctional, and the poor Iranians are held under a repressive misogynistic regime and you think that Israel is the main problem in the ME?! I suggest you wake up and smell the coffee.

          • David November 16, 2011, 4:09 PM

            First, the rockets are not fired by Iranians. Every F-16 that showered Gaza and Labanon, especially Beirut and Gaza City was American made. So there’s not much merit to your observation. Bad is bad everywhere and all the time.

            As to who created Hezbollah, one might respond that modern Israel is largely a creation of American Jewry. Certainly, it could never have become so advanced a capitalist country on its own GDP. But, it’s claim to being a “western” democracy is fast eroding. Rather it is an anachronism, a western colonial enterprise of the sort rejected by indigenous peoples throughout the 20th century. The US in Iraq was certainly terror. What else was meant by “Shock and Awe?” So is the demolition of Palestinian homes by Catepillar bulldozers. What else could it be?

            Israel has made it plain as day that it will not reach any reasonable accomodation with Palestinians ever. As this is so, the state can expect acts of rage, reprisal and revenge forever. This short-sighted decision by Israel has already changed the nature of the state toward the same sort of theocratic thuggery you cite elsewhere in the ME. Maybe this is just endemic to the region. No matter — this process of taking other peoples’ land by force has no excuse and will eventually drive Israel to a military dictatorship to maintain “order” and to align opinion among the Jewish citizens. What Israel did to innocents in Lebanon and Gaza renders your arguments empty. What it does to Palestinians in the West Bank is indefensible as well. Is it because of terror or is it terror itself?

            You may a nice day, but Israelis will always have to look over their shoulder until they recognize Palestinian rights and make amends or accomodations.

          • David November 18, 2011, 9:54 AM

            “The idea that Israel is terrorizing the ME is ludicrous.”

            Tell that to the Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Iraqis, Iranians and Palestinians.

            As to the relationship with the US, the “shared values” either means “shared money” or the shared history of forcing indigenous people onto reservations.

            And “geopolitical” means that American alienates the entire Arab world (oil included) in support of a minority of the world’s Jews in Israeli and their intransigence with respect to Palestinian rights. Hardly sounds like smart geopolitical thinking to me.

            The Israeli demo/theocratic regime run by exploiters of the West Bank is hardly praiseworthy either.

            Israel has lost its “western” credentials.

  • hass November 15, 2011, 5:58 PM

    The “former Iranian official” with “links” to the regime didnt’ “confirm” anything but merely expressed a belief: “I BELIEVE…”

    • Richard Silverstein November 15, 2011, 7:56 PM

      That former Iranian official’s “expression of belief” & today’s rpt of further confirmation by the mayor of Tehran show that if you had 10% of the knowledge tha they do about this incident you’d be a genius. But alas, you’re not.

  • bran November 16, 2011, 6:40 PM

    David-

    Of course the rockets are fired by Iranians. That’s what the word proxy means. Somebody acting under somebody else’s instructions. Why shouldn’t Israel strike back?

    There is nothing “colonial” about Israel. Israel is the national home of the Jewish nation established on ancestral lands of the Jewish people. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Israel has made it plain as day that it will reach a reasonable accommodation with Palestinians. Arafat was offered a very generous deal (including temple mt.) way back in 2000 but he refused. Abu mazen was offered a great deal by olmert in 2007 – and was rejected. It seems that the Palestinians are not ready for ending the struggle in a way that will keep the Jewish state.

    • David November 16, 2011, 8:02 PM

      Bran –

      You are just not responding to the questions, to the analogies etc. Again, by analogy, if the Iranians are firing rockets, then Americans are dropping phosphor on Gazans. Fair is fair, no?

      One of the fascinating things about the “ancestral home” talk is that so few Jews managed to make their way to the land in two millennia, two thousand years, 20 centuries prior to Zionism. If the physical “ancestral home” was important to Jews worldwide, one would expect to arrive at the Zionist era with a good population of Jews already on the land, clamoring perhaps for a nation and only aided in this by Zionism. But, the fact is entirely different. In all that time, very few Jews managed to make it back to the “homeland” despite not unfavorable administrative regimes over much of this long long time. The obvious truth here is that, in all that time, Jews didn’t really care about the physical land so much, not enough to immigrate at least, though Jerusalem always figured strongly in the spiritual life of the Jews.

      Zionism therefore started from nothing really and imported European Jews to a land occupied for at least 13 centuries by Muslim Arabs. Zionism made no secret of its goal to form a Jewish state and to not countenance a large Arab population. If you are relying on the bible for the claim to the land, then Muslims are justified in obeying their religious order to convert to world. Religious claims in the real world are always very suspect. Even if we permit the claim, the absenteeism of 20 centuries renders the claim, in my view, invalid. This is not to say that Zionism had no right to form a state for Jews in the area but they had no right to take land from other peoples and to seek to destroy those people, their memories, culture and being, as it adopted early on.

      I know for sure that Barack’s “offer” was utterly repellant placing Palestinians on the worst land and not contiguous. The “offer,” like every Israeli “offer”, was intended to be refused; it was shaped for that purpose. And what you call a “great deal” is not sufficient recognition of the rights of Palestinians, though I don’t know much about the offer (I am certain, however, it was meant to be refused because Israel obviously never intended, nor intends now, to give up the West Bank, water and land, and anything less is an insult to all those displaced by Jewish colonists since 1948.

      Let me suggest that the Jewish state solve its “demographic problem” (which will only be more pressing after annexation of the West Bank) by insisting that Zionists worldwide move to Israel! American Zionists and the Israel Lobby here is purportedly very big and powerful, yet these Jewish “strong supporters of Israel” do not support Israel in its demographic problem by moving, do they? These strong supporters are, by and large, mere hypocrites, feeling sentimental about Israel but unwilling to move, just like Jews through the twenty centuries of so-called “exile” (which it was not.) As a consequence, the 5.5 million Jews in Israel (the only real citizens of the state) subject non-Jews to unbelievable mistreatment again and again and this includes Christians and Muslims. From the Israeli POV, they should all “disappear” so the numbers would get better, and this rather than mass immigration of Jews to Israel, which the state knows well is not going to happen, strong support or not.

      Israel was born of an ok idea, but expanded through violence and more lies, made no attempt to treat Palestinians fairly and decently, and now disregards the norms of civilized states and accountability just as a matter of course and then has the gall to ask why everyone is fed up with the state and its government, everyone, that is, except the US (thanks to American Zionists who are not packing their bags!) and Micronesia (which must be 80% Jewish for all I know.) And I personally think that the overuse of the Holocaust memory to gain sympathy has increasingly less utility to the state. Eventually, the mention of the Holocaust at every opportunity to gain sympathy for the state will be an embarrassment of irrelevance.

      • Evan November 20, 2011, 7:39 AM

        Hard to know where to begin here.
        “despite not unfavorable administrative regimes over much of this long long time”
        Ummmm, name one?

        “Jews didn’t really care about the physical land so much, not enough to immigrate at least”
        I think Jews were mostly concerned with our physical survival. The hardships suffered by Jews who emigrated to the Holy Land over the centuries, not as Zionists, but simply to be on the Holy Land, is eloquent testimony to how ridiculous the above statement is.

        “occupied for at least 13 centuries by Muslim Arabs” Depends on what you mean by “occupied” If was certainly not ruled for 13 centuries by Muslim Arabs. It was fought over by European Crusaders, Turks, and the British. The actual residents–Arabs, Franks, Turks, whatever–of the area were pretty irrelevant back in the days before mass society.

        “though Jerusalem always figured strongly in the spiritual life of the Jews”
        As someone who knows his Bible, guess that’s the least you can say.

        “Israel was born of an ok idea”
        How does this reconcile with what you just said: “Zionism made no secret of its goal to form a Jewish state and to not countenance a large Arab population.”

        Dude, you really have to think before you click the “Submit Comment” button. Re-read what you wrote.

        • David November 20, 2011, 11:40 AM

          I think your use of the term “Dude” is dismissive. I could easily be dismissive with you as well, but you are the first to challenge me on this matter and I welcome the discussion.

          “The actual residents…were pretty irrelevant back in the days before mass society.” I have no idea what you mean: The actual residents are everything that matters with respect to my statements. The “actual residents” are the ones who call the area “home.” It is the whole issue right there. These residents were, for the most part, Muslim Arabs throughout that period.

          In the era before nationalisms, the administrations of the area were mostly benign with respect to Jews and the major administrators were Arab entities (Caliphs?), the Ottoman Turks, and the British after 1918. (I don’t think the crusaders ever actually administered daily life in the regions they held intermittently; but I could be wrong.) These administrations were not unfriendly to Jews in the main. Indeed, they were more unfriendly to Christians and, even here, they were accommodating. Zionism itself demonstrates just how accommodating the Ottomans were in their time.

          As to “physical survival,” I think you are being a little short-sighted. Survival in the ME was probably no more challenging, and a good deal less threatened, that survival in the shtetl or the area of Eastern Europe, sometimes called Poland, sometimes not. Life was hard in both places for everyone.

          As for my seeming contradiction: I intended by “Zionism” to mean the aggressive wing of the movement that eventually displaced a more accommodating Zionism. There is nothing wrong inherently in the idea of a homeland for the Jewish people (though I think it has little historical basis) as such. The conquest of land and displacement of other peoples for that purpose is utterly colonialist and unacceptable.

          My view of the relative disinterest of the Jews in resettling in the land may be colored by my modernity, the fact that I live in a post-colonialist time. My view is tempered by the realization that nationalisms, as such, are a late development for all peoples and, perhaps, the absence of Jewish immigration reflects the absence of nationalism among Jews, as among other peoples. If this is a strong explanation, then the religious argument that Jews were always driven to the land is false because immigration simply did not happen until a nationalist period in history and the nationalism expressed by Zionism. My statement stands then that Jews were not interested in immigration throughout 20 centuries but there may be many reasons for this.

          • Evan November 20, 2011, 3:10 PM

            Sorry I called you “Dude.” I’ll stick with “Sir” from now on.

            By your logic, the West Bank and Gaza are not occupied, since the majority of people who call it home are Arabs. If, however, we accept that these territories are occupied now by whomever was in power (the Israelis), they were occupied before them by whomever was in power (Ottomans, British, Franks, etc.), and generally not the Arabs.

            Muslim rule was more or less tolerant of the Jews, true. But this does not mean that they would have accepted mass immigration with the object of forming a Jewish homeland. This is what is generally understood to mean Zionism.

            “Zionism itself demonstrates just how accommodating the Ottomans were in their time.” Ummmm, what? The Zionists negotiations with the Ottomans went nowhere.

            “I intended by “Zionism” to mean the aggressive wing of the movement ” Fine, but I’m not a mind reader. I can only understand what you write. In any case, I don’t know what you mean by “the aggressive wing.” There were binational and non-State Zionist fringes of the Zionist movement, but they were marginal to the point of insignificance. The state-Zionist mainstream pretty much agreed on the end, however squeamish the left Zionists were about the means.

            Anyway, sir, I will give you the last word in this matter.

  • Gil November 17, 2011, 10:10 AM

    David,

    As long as there ar people with your hateful views, there will be a need for a strong Israel. Subject closed.

    • David November 17, 2011, 3:40 PM

      Gil — .Better to say “subject closed” than explain the mystery of 2000 years of indifference or explain why Zionists in America don’t simply move to Israel in “support” of the state and its “demographic problem.” Does Israel tell these earnest supporters to “stay put” and that they are valuable where they are? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised: That’s how much respect I have for the Israeli government. And these Zionists would then unambiguously be a fifth column in America.

      Almost everyone who ever really looks at this history knows that Israeli “offers” was couched to be refused. The offers make Israel look like it is cooperating in a “peace process” but the only process actually in place has been the underhanded process of theft and dispossession of Palestinians of their property on the West Bank. The peace process was a stall for time and everyone now realizes this. There will be a need for a strong Israel because of its failure to do anything at all for the original inhabitants other than the attempt to nullify the whole concept of “Palestinian.” The reliance on war not diplomacy means you will need to be strong even in the face of a demographic problem you cannot win, even if American Jews relocated to the “homeland” which they won’t do, ever.

      Israel is a major liability to the US and sooner or later Americans will recognize this at the polls and at election time. I can wait. My views are not hateful, but my eyes are open and I can see and think for myself and you don’t like my views.. Or is it possible that you don’t like my views because I’m a Mormon? That’s probably it: Yeah, you’re probably just anti-Mormon.. Just about everyone who disagrees with me turns out to be anti-Mormon in the end. I consider that obvious. If you disagree now, you’ll just prove my point. Subject’s still open, like it or not. But it is “off topic.”

      • Gil November 17, 2011, 11:07 PM

        Actually, I loved my trip to Salt Lake City. And ‘Crazy Horses’ by the Osmonds was a great song in its time.

        • David November 17, 2011, 11:28 PM

          Gil — Yeah, anti-Mormons are always saying “some of my best friends are…” when they are avoiding the questions. Subject still open.

          • Richard Silverstein November 18, 2011, 2:32 AM

            If Big Love was airing on Israeli TV he’d prob. tell you he loved that too!

        • Richard Silverstein November 18, 2011, 2:26 AM

          And David likely loves matzah, which makes him a great lover of the Jewish people. You’re pathetic. Full of artificiality, snark & condescension.

          • Gil November 18, 2011, 9:24 AM

            Richard, two posts of yours where you’ve claimed that I am either Israeli or at least live in Israel. Why do you think I’m Jewish?

          • Richard Silverstein November 18, 2011, 1:18 PM

            You have the cantankerous insulting dismissive manner of right wing Israeli nationalists. But there are many of the same type among Diaspora Jews & non-Jews as well. Frankly I don’t care who or what u are.

          • Gil November 19, 2011, 1:05 AM

            What a silly comment.

      • Evan November 20, 2011, 7:41 AM

        “Does Israel tell these earnest supporters to “stay put” and that they are valuable where they are? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised”

        Yeah. I got the memo. “Evan, stay in Brooklyn and trick the goyim to empty their pockets and give all their money to us.” That’s what the memo said. Really.

        Do you really think the Jews around the world are given marching (or sitting) orders from the Elders of Zion? This just speaks volumes of your dark world view.

        • David November 20, 2011, 11:59 AM

          One of the frightening aspects of Israeli history is that it has been hard to underestimate the cynicism and intrigue of the state. AIPAC and other groups do take direction from Israel; they do not make their own policies and, at various times, there have been movements to try to force AIPAC to register as an arm of a foreign government. What is “dark” beyond comparison is the litany of Israeli subterfuge and the absence of any limits at all. Indeed, Israel ordered the murder of 34 American servicemen on board the USS LIberty without hesitation and everyone knew it then, and knows it now. No limits.

          Evan, if you are a strong Zionist located in Brooklyn, why don’t you move to Israel? The state needs more Jews to solve its “demographic problaem.” Why don’t you help out instead of defending the homeland from afar?

        • Richard Silverstein November 20, 2011, 2:52 PM

          The fact is that Israel has used Diaspora Jews for decades as intelligence sources and even agents. So what he wrote isn’t that surprising. Israel has also sent its agents into the Diaspora to perform intelligence operations as Elie Cohen did in Syria.

          I find the mock wit about Protocols type stuff to be annoying. Lay off it.

  • David November 19, 2011, 9:56 AM

    For “Gil” — ok, maybe you’re not anti-Mormon, maybe you have reasons for your position. Here’s your chance to answer the issues I (and others) raised. Tell me about the “demographic problem.”

  • David November 20, 2011, 9:18 PM

    FOR EVAN — the last word…

    “Occupied” is a military concept and both the West Bank and Gaza are “occupied” in the military sense. The political administration historically has changed hands, but not the occupants who were mostly Muslim Arabs for 13 centuries. There’s nothing more to say on this score.

    You misconstrue my observation: Mass immigration for the purposes of forming a state was not in the cards because nationalism as a political mode of organization had not even emerged throughout much of the two millennia. Such “national” states were rare. Immigration for the purpose of settling in the land that they viewed as “home” and settling for religious purposes is another story. There was no impediment to Jews settling in a land that they prized. Statehood was not necessary to motivate immigration in a period that was not nationalist anyway. If Jews prized the land, they could have settled there given 20 centuries in which to do so. To achieve a reasonably meaningful size by the Zionist era would not require “mass” immigration at all; rather, it would have required a mere trickle of settlers remaining on the land. .

    I think I was clear that Zionism is a nationalist movement for Jews and did not emerge until the late 19th century. So, the administrators of the land in the 13 centuries cited had nothing to fear from Zionism, as such. At the end of the Ottoman period, Jews did well enough in settling in the land, but had trouble buying land. Still, I am talking about settling in the prized land, not owning it. And this Jews did not do in very impressive numbers prior to Zionism. I conclude that the land was not much prized until the concept of statehood (Zionism) arose and then it became very prized by a handful of devotees. Still today, 2/3’s of world Jewry live outside of Israel. Do you think that 2/3’s of people identified as French live outside of France? Probably not. Accordingly, Israel does not represent Judaism and its claim to so representing Jewry is without foundation.

    Zionism had an undercurrent that could envision co-existence with Arabs in some manner or other. But, I agree that early on Zionism became identified as an aggressive colonialist enterprise that, even today, makes no accommodation with the natives of the land, claiming that all the land belongs to the Jewish people simply because the bible says so.

    As for “squeamish”, many Jews then and many today are sensitive to the “means”, so much so that they are actively opposed to Zionism directly and I am one of them. If, however, you are not so “squeamish” maybe you should move to Israel and practice your tough guy Zionism while helping solve the demographic problem. There are second and third class people you can push around all you like with impunity. For every Jew who fails to immigrate, Israel has to dislodge several Palestinians to keep the ratios in line. So, in a sense, the failure of even militant Zionists to live up to their ideal through immigration is the immediate cause for the racism, discrimination, and ultimately destruction of Palestinian life by the state.