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israeli arms exports graphHaaretz reported that Israeli military weapons exports declined by 13% in the past year.  They were $6.5-billion in 2013, down from $7.5-billion in 2012.  The overall reduction was worth $1-billion and reflected the second-lowest level since 2008.  Weapons exports are one of Israel’s most valuable contributions to its GDP and overall ranked 6th among all nations.

The defense ministry indicated a major source of the reduction was the U.S. draw-down of its forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, increased competition among drone manufacturers, and general reductions in defense budgets.  A rare “bright spot” is Africa, where Israeli weapons sales doubled.  As I’ve reported here before, retired IDF officers have hired themselves out to some of the most brutal African dictators.  Among the “expertise” they offer is guidance on which Israeli weapons systems to purchase.  At times, they even offer dictators computer voting systems which seem to guarantee their return to power in sham elections (cf., Zimbabwe).

These Israeli military consultants ramp up overall Israeli arms exports to the continent, while dramatically increasing the lethality of African militaries and insurgent forces.  Israel’s weapons contribute markedly to the rivers of blood coursing through Africa.

Ironically, when U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers, offered Israel a golden opportunity to contribute to saving African lives during the Ebola epidemic, Defense Minister Bogie Yaalon demurred saying such a project was too dangerous.  The foreign ministry, after reading criticism of this decision here and elsewhere, took up the slack and recruited three mobile hospital units for service in Sierra Leone.

Note Yossi Melman’s sardonic tweet on this subject:

In fact, Yossi Melman lost his job as Haaretz’ longtime military correspondent because he crossed one of these crooked Israeli weapon suppliers.  His editors weren’t willing to back him when the ex-general threatened to sue over Melman’s stories about the former’s venal activities in Africa.

One great disappointment of the Israeli arms industry has been the Iron Dome anti-missile system.  There’s no better way to spotlight advanced weapons than showing them off in wartime conditions.  Israel has had ample opportunity to do this with Iron Dome.  Yet foreign militaries aren’t biting, as Reuters notes.  The reporter notes several major reasons for the reluctance of potential purchasers to buy: the uniqueness of military conditions in which Iron Dome is used (shooting down primitive rockets), and Israel’s refusal to sell it to countries which don’t recognize it like the Arab states.

But he omits another important reason why buyers may be holding back.  Major missile experts in Israel and the U.S. have argued that Iron Dome is not effective and has nowhere near the 90% success rate boasted by the IDF.  Unfortunately, Dan Williams has neglected to include this salient negative in his report.  In fact, he ballyhoos Iron Dome:

[Iron Dome is] an advanced new weapon system with a battle-proven success rate of 90 percent

In terms of operational achievement, tested on the Gaza, Lebanese and Egyptian Sinai fronts, Iron Dome is unrivalled in the arms market…

Its effectiveness against Palestinian rocket fire demonstrated beyond doubt since 2011 -

There is, in fact, quite a great deal of doubt.  He doesn’t even note that the 90% claim is based solely on the IDF and the company which produces Iron Dome.

One nation that is prime on Israel’s list as a potential customer is India’s new Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Given his past history as an extreme anti-Muslim nationalist, India is expected to have exceedingly close relations with Israel, which also has its own “Muslim problem,” if you will.  If India hasn’t already ordered Iron Dome (one unnamed country has agreed to buy the system), it can be expected to in the future.

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Remember that Sonny & Cher goldie-oldie from the 60s: The Beat Goes On (h/t, Lynn)?  I thought of it when trying to come up with a suitable title for this post.

Bibi Netanyahu appeared on Face the Nation (transcript of full program) and made some of his most egregious misstatements in a long career of them. Curiously, the segment I’m about to discuss wasn’t aired on the broadcast show.  That’s why you won’t find it in the transcript linked above.  Seems CBS buried the lede!

First, he had the sheer chutzpah to claim that U.S. criticism of Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian land was a betrayal of American values. Let’s pause for a second and contemplate the leader of a foreign country telling Barack Obama that he’s disgraced the values of his own country.  Imagine David Cameron telling Francois Hollande that the latter embarrassed French values.  The entire concept is beyond absurd.  What the fug right is it of Bibi to define for Americans what their values are or should be?  And to attack Obama’s valued for being un-American.  Hey, we’ve been down that road before.  We’ve had Americans telling other Americans their values betray this country.  We’ve had enough of that.  And for a foreign leader to do it?  Maddening.

Returning to Bibi’s defense of settlements: ostensibly and according to him, Israeli Jews only want to live in their own country.  Why shouldn’t they be allowed to live anywhere inside that country?  If Palestinians can live where they like in Israel, why shouldn’t Jews?

Here’s a transcript of the above video, which is a short segment of the entire interview:

First, I had a very good meeting with the president and I was baffled by this [criticial U.S.] statement [on settlements] because it doesn’t reflect American values. What we’re being criticized for is that some Jewish residents of Jerusalem bought apartments legally from Arabs in a predominantly Arab neighborhood. and this is seen as a terrible thing. You know, Arabs from East Jerusalem, Palestinians, thousands of them, but apartment in the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem. Nobody says: “You can’t do it.” If I said to you [about] some place in the U.S.: Jews cannot buy apartments here, there’d be an uproar.

I don’t accept this thing. Jews can buy private homes in Arab neighborhoods, Arabs can buy private homes in Jewish neighborhoods. It’s their right!

I was absolutely baffled by this, and it’s against American values and it doesn’t bode well for peace. The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace. I think it works against peace. I don’t think it’s a principle that should be condoned, but condemned…

The president raised the general issue of settlements and I said I think we should address the larger issue, which is not the settlements, but the question of are the Palestinians ready to recognize a nation state for the Jewish people, the way we’re willing to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people? Are they finally willing to come to grips with the existence of Israel. Those are the real issues.

[Concerning the new settlement plan approved by the Jerusalem municipality] It’s not a settlement. These are neighborhoods of Jerusalem. I think anybody who visited my office…this is three minutes from my office. This is just a neighborhood in Jerusalem. And in this neighborhood that is now being planned with about 2,400 units…what they didn’t tell you is 700 of those units are designated for the Arab residents of Jerusalem. They need housing, the Jewish residents of Jerusalem need housing. Why shouldn’t it be? What is this affront to peace? Why can’t Jews and Arabs live together? What is this…I think this whole line which says that Jews cannot buy apartments in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years since King David. Or you cannot have mixed housing projects for Jews and Arabs…I think this is anti-peace. I think [the U.S.] condemning it is wrong. I’m frankly baffled by it and it’s against American values.

Now, let’s unpack the lies one by one.  “Thousands” of Palestinians own apartments in West Jerusalem.  That’s, of course, a lie.  Almost no Palestinians own property in West Jerusalem.  Israel’s Central Bureau lists 3,400 Palestinian families living in West Jerusalem.  Almost all are renting because they cannot find housing in East Jerusalem.  The certainly cannot afford to buy in West Jerusalem given the high price of housing there.  I consulted with an Israeli expert on Jerusalem issues who told me he only knows of one East Jerusalem family that owns property in West Jerusalem.  He said that there may be more, but the number is certainly very small.

In fact, even Israeli Palestinians are severely restricted in terms of where they may live in Israel.  The Supreme Court, supposedly a bastion of liberal humanitarian values, ruled last week that Israeli Jewish residential communities may bar non-Jews from living there.  Here in the U.S., the Congress outlawed housing discrimination in 1965.  Yet in Israel it’s the law of the land.  Fair housing, that’s a real American value.

Where does the broad truth lie concerning Bibi’s claim?  There are Palestinians who move into Israeli Jewish neighborhoods like French Hill which, by the way, is in occupied East Jerusalem (not West Jerusalem).  They move there for several reasons: the housing costs less than in West Jerusalem.  And they’re forced to move from Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem because the Israeli government forbids them from building new housing in their existing neighborhoods.

silwan homes stolen

Israeli riot police confiscating one of seven Palestinian homes stolen through Elad’s “ethnic purification” plan. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Finally, let’s remember that French Hill, where thousands of Israeli Jews live in territory conquered during the 1967 War, is Palestinian.  No one in the world aside from Israel recognizes even this place as falling under Israeli sovereignty.  So if Palestinians live there, Bibi’s doing them no favors.  It’s their land to begin with under international law.

Bibi also justified the recent theft of seven Palestinian homes in Silwan, which were handed over to the quasi-official settler group, Elad, which promptly installed seven Jewish settler families.  The prime minister claimed the property sale was legal and above board.  That’s dubious since so many of these property transactions are fraudulent.  But even if the sale was legitimate, it takes place within a context in which Elad is explicitly attempting to eradicate any Palestinian presence outside the Old City.  It seeks to gradually force out every Palestinian family it can from Silwan and turn Jerusalem Arab-rein.

givat hamatos

Israel’s newest approved settlement, Givat HaMatos Reuters/Ronen Zvulum)

As for Bibi’s final whopper: he claimed that 700 of the 2,400 controversial settlement housing units in the plan will be allocated to “Arabs.”  That’s not true either.  There are four different building proposals for the area called Givat HaMatos.  Only one (containing the 2,400 units) has been approved.  Under the approved plan no housing is set aside for Palestinians.  Under one of the plans not yet approved, 700 units have been set aside for private Palestinian construction.  So no Palestinian housing has been approved and none may be approved considering what may happen between now and when all four plans are approved (if they are).

There is also a major difference between Jewish housing plans and Palestinian (such as they are) since the government guarantees and helps finances the Jewish construction.  No official entity will offer any financial support for the Palestinian construction.

Finally, Bibi’s plaintive Kumbaya moment in which he pleads for Jews and Arabs to live together, and berates Obama for interfering in such harmony-building exercises, is entirely fantasy, if not delusion. Peace Now told USA Today that from 2000-2007 only 91 of 1,694 Palestinian building permits were approved, meaning 94% were rejected. Nearly 19,000 Jewish units were built in the same period. Meaning that many more than that number were approved. In the same period, thousands of Palestinian homes were torn down for allegedly having no construction permit. Almost no Israeli Jewish housing was torn down for this reason, which includes illegal settler outposts.

I’m not opposed to Jews living in Palestinian neighborhoods and Palestinians living in Jewish neighborhoods in the context of a peace deal that recognizes Palestinian rights to territories conquered in 1967 and designates Jerusalem a shared capital in which each people exercises sovereignty in its zones or neighborhoods. But in the absence of such an agreement, what Israel is doing in East Jerusalem is outright theft. It is illegal under international law and under decades of U.S. government policy.

It’s the ultimate irony for Bibi to call U.S. criticism of Israel’s settlement plan a call for “ethinic purification.”  That’s precisely what Israel’s policy is in Jerusalem.  Elad’s mission is to eradicate Palestinian presence from as much of Jerusalem as it can.  And it’s done a remarkable job so far thanks for tens of millions of dollars in government and private funding.  THAT is ethnic purification.

So much for Kumbaya moments.  Bibi Netanyahu is a fantasist with an underlying psychopathology rooted in a nationalist triumphalist ideology. He talks a good game–and if you didn’t know the facts you might have a hard time penetrating the rhetoric. But when you parse what he’s saying he’s as naked as a settler emperor with no clothes.  And as they say about lies, if his lips are moving…

The Obama administration appears to have been unconvinced by Bibi’s performance.  Though Reuters characterized the response as withering, it didn’t seem so to me.  It seemed pallid, and little more than pandering to the Israel Lobby.  But at least it was a rejoinder of some sort:

At his daily briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “It did seem odd for him to try to defend the actions of his government by saying our response did not reflect American values.

“The fact is, American policy has been clear and unchanged under several administrations, both Democrat and Republican.”

Earnest added: “We oppose any unilateral actions that attempt to prejudge final status issues, including the status of Jerusalem. These can only be legitimately determined through direct negotiations through the parties that this president has worked hard to try to facilitate.”

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Haaretz Censors Interview Reporter Conducted With Me

debra nussbaum cohen censored

Debra Nussbaum Cohen, willingly-censored Haaretz journalist  (PBS)

About two weeks ago, Debra Nussbaum-Cohen sent me an urgent e-mail saying she was on deadline for a Haaretz story and wanted to interview me.  Since her message requested immediate attention I dropped what I was doing, contacted her and set up the interview.  She was reporting on a new “democracy” initiative launched by the New Israel Fund whose PR spin claimed it was modeled on the successful confrontation tactics used by the Israeli extreme right against NIF itself.  Nussbaum Cohen asked my views on the subject and we had a spirited discussion.  Clearly, she disagreed with some of my views, but indicated she wanted such opinions reflected in her article.

aluf benn

Aluf Benn, Haaretz’s managing editor (Haaretz)

I noted to her that I was pleasantly surprised since I knew that Aluf Benn, Amos Schocken and others have been critical of my work regarding Haaretz.  I complimented her that she was willing to be fair and courageous, to allow my perspective to be included within the pages of Haaretz.  I also told her that the fact that my voice was almost never heard in Haaretz (two articles published in the past eleven years and none in the past 18 months) was a credit to her for trying to rectify that omission.

I reminded her that I don’t like giving interviews unless I’m reasonably assured they’ll show up in the finished article.  She assured me there was no reason to think that my comments wouldn’t get published.  She volunteered to send me a link to the finished piece and I replied that I’d be happy to promote it on social media.

That was the last I heard from her.  I saw a few articles on the NIF initiative appear over the ensuring days in other publications.  But yesterday night, I decided to Google Nussbaum Cohen to see if she published her piece.  Indeed she did.  I read it and was “shocked” to find that precisely what I’d feared, happened.  I’d been left on the cutting room floor.  The only question was whether the reporter had cut me or her editors had.  So I tweeted to her and wrote her an e mail making clear I was not happy with the outcome.   This was her reply:

Listen – don’t be a jerk to me. Very nice – especially erev Yom Kippur.

I forgot that I had promised to send you a link.

I included quotes from you in the piece that I filed.  The editors took them out.

And I won’t call you again, since I know you’re not considered quotable by Haaretz in any case.

I replied to her that if anyone was being a jerk it was her since she’d assured me I hadn’t wasted my time doing the interview and that my views would be included.  I added that when a reporter makes a commitment if they can’t or don’t honor it they should either apologize or explain what happened.  She did neither.  I noted that since she’d brought up Yom Kippur, she might want to meditate during Kol Nidre on who owed whom an apology.  I also e-mailed Aluf Benn asking him why my interview had been removed.  He hasn’t replied.

This wasn’t the first time Haaretz buried an interview with me.  A few years ago, a reporter for The Marker conducted an interview with me for a profile which never ran.  The reporter similarly never explained what had happened to the piece.  I’m guessing that an editor axed it for a similar reason to this one.  Even when the NY Times published a front page profile of me related to the Shamai Leibowitz case, Yossi Melman wouldn’t wait long enough to publish his Haaretz article on the story to interview me.

Anyone reading this blog knows my views, both good and bad, on Haaretz.  It is a decent paper as far as it goes.  But it doesn’t go far; or certainly not far enough.  Haaretz is the media stalking horse for liberal Zionism.  But the latter fills a niche market within Zionism today and grows increasingly irrelevant, as does Haaretz.  The only reason Haaretz remains relevant is because the entire rest of the Israeli media scene has turned into a rubber stamp (with a very few exceptions) for the Likudist political elite.

There will be those who claim Haaretz remains a progressive paper.  That it still has real left-wing voices.  That may’ve been true in the past, but no longer.  Amira Hass and Gideon Levy are the only reporters left who represent that tradition.  While Haaretz publishes op-ed pieces by writers with such points of view, these are not permanent staffers.  They are guests.

For example, you will find very little about BDS that is sympathetic (except Gideon Levy, natch).  You will find very little about Jewish Voice for Peace that even covers it, let alone that is sympathetic.  You’ll find very little coverage of the real Israeli left (not Labor or Meretz).  You’ll find very little that poses profound skepticism about the underpinnings of Israeli society.  You will find a great deal that nibbles around the edges, that raises questions, that shouts a polite slogan or two.

Now here’s my criticism of the NIF initiative which Haaretz editors censored.  NIF plans to spend a measly $2-million to initiate programs among NGOs with which they already work (they’re adding two new grantees).  This will supposedly strengthen their commitment to Israeli democracy and the fight against the extremist anti-democratic right.  The plan is long on rhetoric and short on specifics.  It doesn’t mention specifically what the money will be spent on, except in general terms.  It’s not clear whether this is new money that will be added to NIF’s existing funding or whether it has reallocated existing funds.

NIF suffers from precisely the same problem as Haaretz itself.  Israel burns while they both fiddle a liberal Zionist tune.  They exist only so that Bibi Netanyahu can boast to the rest of the world that despite how much he hates liberals, he tolerates them for the sake of his vaunted democracy.  Though Haaretz can legitimately claim to have more of an influence on Israeli society, NIF is whistling in the dark.  The settler right has taken over the asylum.  NIF merely chronicles the takeover and nostalgically mourns the loss of some idyllic liberal Zionist past.

NIF consults with, and funds the same limited sets of voices that Haaretz publishes and covers.  If you are a Palestinian NGO and do not endorse Israel as a Jewish state,  you will either be defunded or threatened with defunding.  No matter what it say and funds, NIF is an expression of liberal guilt.  It exists to assuage the consciences of Diaspora Jewish donors who don’t want to entire abandon the concept of Israel as a liberal democracy, though that ship sailed quite some time ago.

In Nusbaum-Cohen’s published article none of these criticisms were reflected.  There was one mildly skeptical comment.   The rest was liberal Zionist pablum.

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gregory chelli

Gregory Chelli, French-Israeli Kahanist stalker

A French Jewish Kahanist named Gregory Chelli, using the code name Ulcan, has been terrorizing pro-Palestine activists in France and around the world for months.  He’s engaged in obsessive pathological activities like stalking and hacking of at least 100 websites supporting the Palestinian cause.  A French reader of this blog wrote me:

He started a chat on-line called ViolVocal (Viol means ‘rape) where he and others encouraged participants to perform ‘transgressing actions’, for instance one of the participants called the Jewish school in Toulouse where Merah killed the Jewish kids 1350 times and made anti-Semitic insults

Presumably he or one of his followers calls pretending to be an Islamist and threatens the school with a terror attack.  This will presumably further smear French Muslims in his mind.

Lately, he’s taken to attacking French journalists who’ve criticized Israel’s massacre during the latest Gaza war.  Benoit Le Corre, who writes for an online publication affiliated with Le Nouvel Observateur, wrote an expose about Chelli’s activities, which didn’t sit well with him.  As a result, Chelli began harrassing phone calls to Le Corre’s elderly father.  In one, he told the father that his son had died.  Another time, he called the police claiming the father had just murdered his wife and son.  The police came to the home at 4AM with guns drawn.  The father was so distraught that five days later he had a massive stroke.  Shortly thereafter, he died.

Chelli later called Le Corre to “offer condolences” and suggested that he and Le Corre could band together to make money off the story.  He records all the calls and airs them on YouTube or the net for the delectation of his fellow pro-Israel psychopaths.

If that were the end of the story, it would not be newsworthy beyond the confines of France.  But in this case, Chelli has fled to Israel (or made aliyah, depending on your perspective), which has offered him a new home from which to plan his ghoulish behavior.  French officials have notified Israel that he is wanted.  Israeli police have done nothing.  So Chelli is free to continue his psychopathic rampage against all who cross him.

gregory chelli underpants

Chelli in one of his more “engaging” poses

Is Chelli engaging in this behavior alone or does he have support?  If so, are his supporters individuals or associated with official sources.  Does the Israeli government or security services have a hand in his activities?  This isn’t a far-fetched question.  A French national has violated serious laws and Israel refuses to take any action.  It leads one to wonder: is it just police incompetence?  Or do the Israeli police tacitly support his agenda?  Or do even more powerful political interests support him?

The Israeli media still haven’t written a single line about this case, which is shameful.  There has been a single post in a local Ashdod-based blog.  It’s now been covered by the BBC and JTA.  Nowhere else, except the French media.

There will be some of claim that people like Chelli are an aberration, not reflective of the rest of Israel.  I’d like to believe that.  But the list of similar Israeli psychopaths infused with ideological zeal and immense hatred for Muslims is too long to be glossed over as a one-shot  deal: Baruch Goldstein, Eden Natan Zada, Jack Teitel, Ephraim Khantses.  The list goes on.  These are Israel’s Joans of Arc.  They lead the rallying cry to which many Israelis hearken.  Even if Israelis reject mass homicide of the sort these figures perpetrated, the mass are sympathetic to the political ideas that underpin their agenda.

Israel has become a state that harbors such murderers and terrorists because the state itself has become a murderer and terrorist after crimes like the Gaza war.  To modify a recent popular Bibi locution: Israel is Chelli, and Chelli is Israel.  Just as Israel acts with depraved indifference to life in the Middle East, it harbors Jewish terrorist who wreak havoc on the lives of other Jews, Palestinians and journalists who seek nothing more than to express their views in a democratic society.  Just as Chelli engages in “transgressive acts” so does Israel.  Just as Israel exploits anti-Semitism for political purposes, so does Chelli.  Just as Chelli engages in fraud, hoaxes and lies to advance his agenda, so does Israel.  It’s a match made in heaven…or hell.

If Israel wishes to disprove this, let them arrest him and ship him back home where he will face justice.  If not, they can have no complaint about the above paragraph.

I have a special interest in such a figure because another pro-Israel hacker employed by IBM Israel, Semion Kras (like Chelli, Kras’ family immigrated to Israel–from Russia), sabotaged this blog.  Kras’ efforts were supported by other pro-Israel hoaxsters and social media frauds like David Lange and Brian London.

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ebola victims

Israel to Sierra Leone Ebola victims: “Drop Dead!”

The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Powers, ever alert to opportunities to showcase Israel’s better qualities to the world (aka hasbara), suggested to the foreign ministry that it send a medical field hospital to Sierra Leone, to help that country combat the deadliest outbreak of Ebola the world has ever seen.  Powers offered Israel a golden opportunity in the aftermath of the Gaza slaughter to show the world a kinder, gentler face.

This is precisely what Israel did in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake when it parachuted a team into the country where it stayed for two weeks, named a new baby “Israel” and promptly left–after videotaping the enterprise for suitable exploitation in hasbara efforts.  I called that escapade, The Zionization of Disaster Relief.

But this time, it was not to be.  Though the foreign ministry approved the project, it required the blessing of the defense ministry.  Bogie Yaalon isn’t known for his humanitarian spirit and he showed it in spades this time.  He refused to offer assistance to an African country absolutely bereft of resources to fight the epidemic saying:

Yaalon said it would risk infecting Israeli medical teams and the army troops that would secure them, according to Ynet. Israel’s assistance was sought in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

This further reinforces the notion of Israel and the IDF in particular being racist, favoring the lives of Israeli Jews over the lives of African epidemic victims.  Of what use are Israel’s vaunted medical advances (trumpeted in hasbara campaigns the world over) if it doesn’t utilize them to help non-Israelis in need?  Think about it: the IDF just murdered 2,100 Gazans, 500 children among them.  Here it has a chance to mitigate some of that awful PR and it refuses.  Scratch your head and wonder who’s runnin’ the ship…

Add to this that Israel has 60,000 African refugees which it treats like dirt and you don’t have a very pretty picture.  The Israeli Supreme Court directed the government to close the refugee detention camp at Holot.  So far it has refused.  Remember all those pro-Israel advocates bragging about the rule of law and Israeli democracy?  Not so much in this case.

H/t Massoud Derhally.

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shlomi michael

Brig. Gen. Shlomi Michael publicly concedes execution of Palestinian kidnap-murder suspects. (Michael Kramer/Ynet)

In an interview in Yediot today, the commander of the Israeli Border Police Special Forces unit, Brig. Gen. Shlomi Michael, all but confirmed that his forces did a ‘Bin Laden,’ executing the two Palestinians who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli youth in the West Bank.  Michael’s identity may not be reported in Israeli media, but I identified him back in 2012 (when he was still a lowly Colonel).

I continue to feel any military commander who executes captives or prisoners (and that’s what the Palestians were once they were located) should be held accountable for his actions.  Not inside Israel of course, which is impossible.  But outside Israel, perhaps he will be known and judged.

Here is the translation of the relevant portion of the interview:

One of the soldiers said to the others: “This is it.  If the commander comes to talk to us here it’s a sign that this time we’re in the right place.”  And that is indeed what the commander told them: “I want every moment for you to have before you the image of those dead boys.  So that you remember well that this is the moment we’ve been waiting for.”  Afterward, as darkness fell upon them, a few moments before he left…he said, “you know what we must do.  You are ready for this mission and will carry it out well.  Because now it’s happening.

“I don’t quite know how to say it: this is a cycle of blood (“blood feud”) that hasn’t yet been closed.  It began with the kidnapping, continued when the bodies were found.  Afterward, there was war [in Gaza], and finally when the kidnappers were found and liquidated.  Did we then close the circle? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say we settled accounts.”

border police interview

Yediot interview with Border Police commander

Israel is less and less a country operating according to any principles or values we’d recognize here in the west.  It’s sunk increasingly into a vicious blood feud with its Arab neighbors.

It’s bad enough for two Palestinian troublemakers to take matters into their own hands and murder three Israeli boys.  But when Israel brings the full force of the State down upon them and executes them in cold blood and brags about it in the media, this is unconscionable.  No civilized person (unless they’re a pro-Israel true believer) can stomach this.

There will be a few who will point out what I’ve already noted above: yes, Obama assassinated Osama bin Laden.  I’ve written denouncing that bit of state terrorism.  It was inexcusable.  But Bin Laden caused the death of nearly 3,000 Americans.  The Palestinian suspects had killed three and they could easily have been apprehended and tried for their crimes.

The problem is that Israel doesn’t believe in legal process or rule of law when it comes to national security matters.  Those are niceties reserved for Israeli Jews.  When a Palestinian kills an Israeli it’s the law of the jungle.  And nations that live in the jungle can die there as well.  When the time comes and Israel needs the help of outsiders, why should they?  Israel violates the norms of civilized nations, why should a civilized nation care when the chips are down?

Why shouldn’t the world instead embrace BDS?  When faced with monsters like Brig. Gen. Michael (monsters who are totally normative for Israel) what’s the rest of the world to think about this country?

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After the supposed success of a Mossad website devoted to recruiting informers against Hezbollah, the Israeli Mossad is taking to social media to recruit its own Israeli agents and Arab double agents.  It’s created a Contact Us page in multiple languages (one of which is Farsi) on its website inviting Arab/Muslim wannabe double agents to get in touch for opportunities of “great personal benefit:”

Working for Mossad is for people who wish to get ahead, who wish to be well rewarded for their efforts. It is for those with a sense of adventure, for those seeking new and exciting challenges, for those who dream of a better life, for those who wish to travel, see the world, experience success and personal fulfillment and to work for a better future for themselves and their families.

Mossad recruitment website

Mossad recruitment website

I’m a bit confused about how working for the Mossad will make a better future for Israel or the recruit’s family unless assassinating Arabs is part of your altruistic vision of the making the world a better place.

In the splashy campaign launch, a high-concept video projects a bizarre image of a mother playing with her son and a drone, saying that “when I play with my child I feel like a child again.”  The drone then takes off and flies through many of the ensuing scenes, becoming a symbol of the Mossad’s omniscience and its ability to secretly surveill and intervene in events.  Thus it transforms itself from a child’s toy to an instrument of covert ops.  Creepy.

The video features two voices supposedly standing in for actual agents.  The first is the mother’s voice which sounds eerily like a robot rather than a human.  The male agent then begins speaking.  Sometimes they say the same words at different intervals and sometimes they recite them in unison.  The effect is equally bizarre.  Perhaps it’s meant to convey the fact that though they are two separate individuals, in service to their country they act, think and speak as one.  To the uninitiated listener it sounds curiously like two robots speaking in unison.

Other scenes in the video feature a business meeting in a plush high-rise where, I suppose, the attendees aren’t planning the latest product roll-out, but perhaps the next terror attack against Iran, or Lebanon or Gaza. In another scene, the female agent is shown videotaping a computer server array with her smartphone (really, a smartphone? can’t we do better than that all you Israeli James Bonds?).

It’s ironic that the male agent tells us that his cover job is in marketing, which is precisely what the video is designed to do.

The audio features the requisite scary singing of the muzzein calling the Muslim faithful to prayer as the camera zeroes in on a target on a map.  Presumably that’s the next Muslim country Mossad plans to attack.  There is other ominous film soundtrack-type music meant to convey suspense and dread simultaneously.

Here’s the script:

Female voice: When I play with my child I feel just like a little girl again.

Male voice: My work isn’t exactly 9 to 5.

Female: Our work isn’t child’s play. I never would’ve guessed this would be what I did with my life. Simply, opening doors…

Male: My grandfather used to say that life is what you make of it.

M & F (unison): Everyone brings their own lives, their own experiences [to the job].

F: For me, it’s like a dream.

M: My friends think I’m in marketing.

F: I’m contributing in a vital way to the State of Israel. I always know that there’s someone I can rely on.

M: …That there’s always someone by my side.

F & M: The world is changing and we need new kinds of connections in order to act.

M: Every day brings a new riddle to solve.

F: I learned things about myself I’d never thought possible.

M: Even when I’m far away, I’m fully in the field [of action].

F: Your imagination is my reality.

M & F: I know that I’m in the right place.

F: This is my world. My mission. Maybe yours too…

My fear is that the next Ben Zygier is out there waiting for his chance to become an Israeli James Bond.  He’ll watch this and dream of defending the Israeli homeland and making his own contribution.  Instead, his or her life could be much more like Zygier’s.

I’ve featured the video not because it offers any new information about Israeli intelligence.  But rather because it offers a candid self-image; or at least a projection of it as conceived by a marketing firm hired to brand Mossad as a cool, smart, mysterious endeavor.

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