Boaz and Nurit Modai, Israel’s Irish-hating diplomats in Dublin
In this blog, I’ve often covered the scenery-chewingparanoiac ramblings of Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai and his wife, the deputy ambassador, Nurit Tinari-Modai. During Operation Protective Edge, Irish activists held rousing protests outside the Israeli embassy in which they dramatized their opposition to the slaughter in Gaza. Political allies of the activist community in the Irish parliament said publicly that the Israeli diplomats should be expelled. Naturally, given the nuttiness I documented here, it’s no surprise the Irish left has had enough of the Modai hasbara road show.
Summoned to parliament in recent days, Modai has lashed out at the protesters accusing them of anti-Semitic hate reminiscent of 1930s Germany. In other words, he’s accused them of being Nazis without using the word explicitly
Ms. Tinari-Modai gave a Hebrew interview (audio) to Galey Tzahal (IDF Radio) in which she went, if possible, even farther off the deep end. Here’s what she said in part:
Ireland is divided into three parts: there’s the indifferent majority, the Righteous Gentiles who are activists for Israel, and the incited, anti-Semitic, brutish masses harboring a profound, deep-rooted, rapacious hatred of Jews. Behind the mask of concern for the rights of Palestinians they blame Israel for crimes against humanity, for [perpetrating] a Shoah [against Palestinians], and being the personification of evil. They burn Israeli flags and vandalize stores selling Israeli products. They throw goods on the floor, it’s complete hysteria. They protested here in every city last weekend. This is frustrating, it’s challenging, but we have no other choice than to be victorious.
She added that seventy years ago the Nazis dehumanized the Jews of Europe. They made them subhumans which permitted their eventual extermination. Today, in Ireland, she claimed, there was a similar ‘absolute dehumanization’ of the Israeli, the Zionist by Irish anti-Semites. Though she doesn’t say it explicitly, the unspoken corollary is that a future Shoah against Israel could being right there in Ireland. She raises the dreaded “domino” effect, saying such hatred will begin in Ireland but won’t end there. It will spread like the plague to Britain and from there throughout Europe. This mirrors a similar warning of the contagion of radical Islam which they swore would begin in Ireland and spread throughout Europe till there was no more civilization and it had all been turned into an Islamic state.
The embassy offered a bowdlerized translation of her remarks for the Irish public which significantly (but not completely) toned down the intensity of her rhetoric. Unfortunately, Irish media accepted this false representation of her remarks without bothering to get their own translation.
Hey, I don’t know about you, but if I was the foreign minister of any country which employed a diplomat spewing such invective against the local population I’d have him recalled and on a plane home so fast his head would spin. But clearly, Modai’s role in Ireland is to provoke the country’s left-wing on behalf of some imagined pro-Israel agenda. He does precisely what his bosses in Tel Aviv want him to do. They don’t want good relations with Ireland, they only want to make a point. God help the country whose diplomats have no interest in diplomacy, but rather in hard-headed provocation of their hosts.
The Israeli foreign ministry has, over the past few years, harbored its share of miscreants, sex offenders, and brutalists. None of it seems to phase Netanyahu or Lieberman.
The wonder is that the Irish political class, even those who aren’t on the left, have stood for this outrageous conduct. What will it take before these Israeli loons go too far and alienate even the political establishment?
According to news reports and my Israeli source, Hezbollah discovered Israeli surveillance gear planted within its telecommunications network. When a sapper attempted to disable and retrieve the Israeli equipment an Israeli drone overhead remotely detonated the device, killing the Hezbollah operative. Both Israel and Hezbollah make continuing attempts to hack the intelligence operations and communications equipment of each other.
My source says:
…The device was planted a few years ago in a joint operation by Shayetet 13 and Sayeret Matkal in South Lebanon’s coastal area. Its purpose was to listen to Hezbollah’s communication network. This was a new iteration created in 2008, after Unit 8200 succeeded in hacking the group’s wireless network before and during 2006 war. The new Hezbollah system covers much of Lebanon.
Not to be outdone, during the 2006 Lebanon war, with the assistance of Iranian technicians, Hezbollah monitored the broadcast frequencies of IDF units and knew in advance what they planned. This was one of the many ways in which Hezbollah made the IDF pay a heavy price for its invasion.
As indicated above, the IDF has planted listening devices in southern Lebanon, some of which Hezbollah has uncovered. Hezbollah has also exposed several Israeli spy rings which participated in planting these devices and other acts of espionage. In fact, Ben Zygier is reported to have compromised one such Mossad operation in the Bekaa Valley by exposing one of its most valuable Lebanese agents there.
Bibiton headline: “Shabak-at Least Ten Israeli Arabs Join Ranks of ISIS”
The above headline isn’t precisely correct. Shabak believes it’s exposed an ISIS cell in Umm al-Fahm, a Palestinian town in Israel. But it hasn’t yet publicly made this claim. Instead, it’s “disappeared” one resident, Muhammad Mahajna, as I reported yesterday. According to a loal source, today he was permitted a meeting with his attorney. Also today, the Shabak arrested 10-15 other residents of the town. My source didn’t know the reasons for these arrests. He believed Mahajna’s arrest involved charges of stone- and Molotov cocktail-throwing.
But through two separate Israeli sources I’ve learned the security forces believe they’ve exposed an ISIS cell in the heart of Palestinian Israel. The timing of this is curious to say the least. Just as ISIS sweeps through Syria and Iraq and Israel closes yet another failed war in Gaza, Bibi Netanyahu makes a big splash with the fraudulent claim: “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas.” That’s precisely the moment when the secret police gin up an ISIS-plot against the state. Once the gag order is lifted you’ll probably read headlines about plans to stuff Bibi into an orange jumpsuit and behead him.
It’s important to note this article (Hebrew) by Yossi Melman, which essentially argues that all claims of an ISIS presence not only in Israel, but in the West Bank or Gaza, are a crock.
It’s also no accident that just as Bibi seeks to deflect blame from Israel for killing 2,100 Gazans in cold blood, the Shabak manages to expose a huge plot to overthrow Fatah in the West Bank. All this proves that the Israeli agency isn’t really a pure intelligence or security entity, but rather one deeply immersed in politics and which yokes its wagon to the prevailing political winds. Here in the U.S., we saw how corrosive such a phenomenon was when the CIA tailored its reports to Dick Cheney’s preconceived notions about Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. It found WMD where none existed. We got into a disastrous war whose consequences and misery are still being felt. All due to the politicization of intelligence.
If anything, Shabak’s predicament is even worse. There is little or no separation between it and the political echelon and it serves at the latter’s bidding. Which is how you get concocted thrillers like this one.
These charges will further stir up hatred of Israel’s Palestinian minority among Jews, who largely see the former as a hostile Fifth Column. If you read the headline in the accompanying Bibiton front page, you can read the suspicion and hate dripping off the page:
According to information supplied to state leaders, tens of Israeli “Arabs” have joined various rebel groups in Syria since 2011. At least 25 of them, known as extremists, joined Jihadist groups. It’s suspected they’re likely to use the experience they gain in Syria and Iraq and try to amass intelligence about Israel to be used in future terror attacks.
The word “leaders” in the passage above implies the leak of this questionable claim came from the Prime Minister’s Office. This isn’t surprising since so many questionable or outright false claims about Palestinians come from this source and are published without any confirmation or skepticism by the Israeli press.
With screaming yellow journalist headlines like this, the Israeli far-right has lapsed into full-blown Islamophobic paranoia. Israel has become a land beset by hate and fear of fully one-fifth of its own citizens. It brought to my mind a tortured reading of the opening lines of the Gettysburg Address. In Israel’s case it might go something like this:
Three score and six years ago our [Israeli] fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in ethnic cleansing and dedicated to the proposition that all non-Jews are unwelcome and second class. Now we are engaged in yet another war filled with blood, guts and hate, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived can long endure.
Can an Israel drenched in such hate and paranoia long endure?
Muhammad Mahajna, latest Shabak “disappeared” Palestinian security detainee
An Israeli source informed me earlier today that the Shabak arrested Muhammad Mahajna a few days ago. He is a young Israeli Palestinian (in his 20s) from Umm al-Fahm . A month ago he was arrested and questioned for postings published to his Facebook page during the Gaza war. He was then released. But four days ago, the secret police broke into his home and arrested him again.
No one has explained the nature of the charges against him. Though my source tells me they are “more serious” than those involving the previous Facebook posts. He is being held incommunicado. He has had no access to an attorney and the case is under gag order. No Israeli publication may write about his case.
There have been a slew of such cases over the past month in which Israeli Palestinians were fired from jobs or threatened for publishing social media comments that were either critical of the Israeli massacre or sympathetic to the plight of Gaza. In this case, the IDF has made a special case out of a Palestinian who tweeted falsely that an IDF officer had been killed by Hamas. He’s now been indicted for an array of security offenses.
In Israel, perhaps you can get away with such outrageous overreaction. But in the rest of the world this will rightly be seen as pathological paranoia and it will make Israel no friends. It speaks to the triumph of the national security state and the kingdom of secrets. Where media is shackled and the mouths of citizens are taped shut.
Returning to Mahajna’s case, in the earlier stages of an arrest is when the interrogation and torture is most severe. That’s why it’s so important to circulate this information as widely as possible, and make it as public as possible. No other details are known presently.
I’ve contacted several Palestinian and Israeli NGO sources who’ve helped me in the past identity the prison where such detainees are being held, and found family members and attorneys with whom I’ve spoken. But so far, I have none of that personal information.
If you are Israeli or Palestinian please try to help discover any information you can to help find him.
First, consider that Shurat HaDin’s founder admitted to a U.S. diplomat that her group was founded with extensive help from the Mossad. Then consider that the NGO caters to terror-tourism by sponsoring tours for wealthy foreign intelligence enthusiasts who hear from Shabak agents who’ve assassinated Palestinians as part of Israel’s war on terrorism the Palestinian people. It offers an :
Inside tour of the IAF unit who [sic] carries out targeted killings.
Then consider that Shurat HaDin is attempting to hold Khaled Meshal accountable for executing alleged collaborators who are being run by some of these same Shabak agents. Wouldn’t you say the group’s hypocrisy is showing just a bit?
Second, consider that Israel hasn’t signed the ICC protocol, in an attempt to keep its own generals and spymasters out of the Hague defendant’s chair. Why should the NGO of a nation too afraid of being tried for war crimes to join the ICC have any right to summon the officials of another putative state before the same court? If it wanted to have Meshal tried, then it should get its own government to sign on to the international covenant. Of course, groups like this always find a way to pull their shenanigans: Meshal holds a Jordanian passport and Jordan has signed on to the ICC. So it might theoretically be possible to bring him before the court using this legal ruse. Of course, Jordan would never ask the ICC to try Meshal, which makes no difference to those legal solons at Shurat HaDin.
Third, consider that Israel itself, when faced with its own “collaborators” (traitors, spies, and just plain fuck-ups) kidnaps them, tries them in secret and disappears them for years. In some instances they even end up dead at their own hand (Ben Zygier) or at the State’s hands (Avner Israel). In other instances like Mordecha Vanunu, they serve out their 18-year prison term and are still imprisoned in a country they loathe, prevented from emigrating to another country. The only difference between Hamas and Israel is that the latter doesn’t put a bullet in their collaborators’ brains.
Shurat HaDin is a bunch of pro-Israel buffoons in the same way that Anne Coulter is. But that’s not the point. It doesn’t matter that their arguments are stupid or silly. The point for them is that they engage in a campaign of petty harassment that ties up lawyers and keeps both the group’s name and the case in the limelight for years. They’ve done this with decades-long lawsuits against Arab banks for supposedly funding terror. They’ve done it by charging an Australian professor with hate speech for supporting BDS. Now, they’ve chosen to nip at the heels of Hamas.
One unforeseen result of this lunacy will be raising the notion of why, if Hamas is to be brought before the ICC, Israel shouldn’t join it there. That indeed is the $64,000 Question. The idea of seeing Bibi Netanyahu and Mohammed Dahlan sporting prison stripes in the Hague is something to contemplate.
A scene from the National Geographic show, “Breakout.”
Some actions of the Israeli security state are profoundly disturbing and some are just plain stupid. This is in the latter category. The Prison Service has forbidden (Hebrew) Palestinian security prisoners from accessing the National Geographic cable channel. What’s so dangerous about lions, tigers, bears and other animal critters featured on the nature/travel channel? Apparently, National Geographic also features the show, Breakout, which recounts the most dramatic prison breaks in history and describes how the prisoners escaped and how law enforcement recaptured them. Israel apparently believes their charges will get big ideas and act on them. Maybe they’ll ride out of prison on the back of an African hippo…
It’s not clear how the skills necessary to break out of Alcatraz would translate to breaking out of Israel’s Megiddo Prison.
None of the geniuses in the Prison Service devoted any thought to non-security prisoners, who apparently may enjoy Breakout unfettered by such a ban. Either regular Israeli criminal prisoners don’t break out of prison; or the Prison Service doesn’t care if they get any ideas from the show and make an attempt.
IDF Col. Ofer Winter’s approach to Rafah: apres moi, le deluge.
The Israeli attorney general and military prosecutor have begun investigations of numerous incidents during Operation Protective Edge which may reach to the level of war crimes :
While fighting still raged, the government and IDF appointed special investigative staff to inquire into tens of incidents, among them invocation of the Hannibal Directive in Rafah, out of fear of claims by the UN [Human Rights panel] and human rights groups alleging war crimes.
During Hannibal, the IDF lays down immense destructive firepower to either kill captured Israeli soldiers (or frustrate their capture, depending on your viewpoint). As a result of this indiscriminate slaughter of enemy combatants and civilians, hundreds of Gazans were killed during the war. During the most infamous invocation of Hannibal, 160-190 were killed and large swaths of the Rafah neighborhood were totally obliterated (as was Shujaia before that). Human rights NGOs have filed protests against these military operations and characterized them as prospective war crimes violations.
One of the most notorious of the Hannibal commanders (there were at least two other invocations of the directive during the war) was Col. Ofer Winter, leader of the Givati brigade, which lost three soldiers in an ambush. During it, at least one of them being captured (or perhaps just his corpse) by Hamas. All three were killed, at least one and perhaps all as a result of IDF fire. Now, Israel is investigating Winter’s profligacy both in killing Palestinian civilians and his own troops through this procedure.
Lest any reader develop any sense of satisfaction from this news, you needn’t feel any sense of relief that Israel is concerned about following the international laws of war. In fact, these so-called investigation are a means of circumventing international law. Those who know something about the subject will remember that its premise is that countries themselves would have the obligation to investigate their own war crimes charges. Only if countries refused to investigate or charge violators, would the suspect events come under the jurisdiction of international criminal tribunals. So if Israel goes through the motions of mounting an investigation, it believes it will have satisfied the provisions of the law while avoiding any serious charges.
In line with this, the IDF chief of staff appointed the commander of the northern front, Noam Tibon, to head the panel. This is something like appointing Lt. Gen. Curtis LeMay to investigate the firebombing of Dresden as a war crime. Benny Gantz established the panel from the first moment of the war, indicating that he expected that the IDF’s war fighting strategy would draw international condemnation. This is yet another indication that the wholesale slaughter and destruction of entire civilian neighborhoods was no accident, but pre-planned. Not perhaps in all its particulars, but in the overall take-no-prisoners scorched earth strategy that was implemented on the ground.
Don’t be fooled by seemingly balanced statements like this one:
“Even now, it’s fair to say that the deliberations will not be simple. But the IDF has been prepared for this for some time…
IDF soldiers were forced to operate in problematic situations and not only regarding terrorists [presumably a reference to the killings of civilians]. They fought under very complex conditions. Terror didn’t just hide within a civilian population, it ["terror"] used it against the army [IDF]. Soldiers face complex situations.
…Yet another source involved in military investigations indicated that there was room for self-criticism, but that often the charges involved little more than a carefully orchestrated campaign of incitement…Some of the claims have already been negated and found baseless and are related to standard attempts at de-legitimization of Israel.
The source emphasized that thousands of targets had already been vetted and approved by intelligence and military legal officials before the war and deemed appropriate. The IDF adopted a wide range of measures to avoid harming civilians. including putting itself in situations which endangered our forces.
Military sources said that justice officials were reluctant to approve, both before and during the fighting, a whole range of operations which the IDF carried out…There’s conflict between the military legal officials and the justice ministry concerning certain operations during Operation Protective Edge. This has happened before during previous military campaigns. And the IDF is prepared to explain its position [regarding suspected war crimes].
If you study the tea leaves in this statement, clearly the IDF is preparing to face criticism both from the international community and within the civilian justice ministry of its aggression and slaughter of civilian populations. It is prepared to combat these charges by mounting a robust defense that includes a fixed investigation whose result is known even before it begins.
In a further indication that the fix is in, the article indicates that Tibon has already met with Winter, something that seems strange before the panel has even begun taking testimony. It strikes me as preparing the potential witness so that he gives testimony that is most favorable to himself and the IDF.
In this AP story, the IDF continues the lies regarding the Rafah massacre:
It denied firing into a densely populated area without regard for civilians, saying precise airstrikes hit targets linked to militants and artillery — though inherently inaccurate — was only aimed at open fields.
Here the IDF takes us all to be fools. Media reports have previously indicated that the IDF fired at any vehicle that approached the neighborhood’s hospital hoping to kill both the captured IDF soldier and anyone accompanying him. You don’t kill 160 civilians in a matter of hours through “precise airstrikes” and artillery firing at “open fields.”
I find the AP account of the Rafah Hannibal operation to be deeply problematic since it accepts the Israeli premise that it is meant to free the soldier from captivity. You’ll see from the army’s own account of the firepower mustered that it couldn’t possibly have intended to free anything. Rather, the goal was annihilation–of Goldin, the cell that captured him, and the remaining civilian population of Rafah:
Over the next eight hours, soldiers fired about 500 artillery shells, he said. The military said it also launched about 100 airstrikes against targets in Rafah…
The priority was to rescue Goldin.
“That’s why we used all this force,” Winter told the newspaper. “Those who kidnap need to know they will pay a price. This was not revenge. They simply messed with the wrong brigade.”
Examine that last paragraph again. Winter does not say anything about rescuing Goldin. He talks about making the “kidnappers” pay a price. In other words, by killing the captured solider, Hamas would presumably lose the bargaining chip it had gained. Of course, when he says it was “not revenge,” he means precisely the opposite, since he didn’t care a whit about civilian casualties in mounting this onslaught.
Returning to the IDF PR offensive: its fool’s errand continues here with the perfuctory–“we’re sorry, but not really:”
“If we accidentally or mistakenly targeted a civilian situation, it was a mistake, and we are very sorry about that,” an officer from the army’s Southern Command said…
I’d guess that when nations first wrote the protocol for the International Criminal Court they hadn’t banked on a country like Israel which would violate the provisions of the law with impunity, all the while maintaining a straight face about respecting it. It’s no accident that Israel become an exemplar of the Yiddish term, chutzpah.
Finally, throughout this ghastly war I’ve harped on the Hannibal Directive as one of the most troubling of IDF procedures because it is largely secret, undebated, misunderstood (deliberately so), and led to so much carnage. Now, we see that Hannibal could become a focus for war crimes charges against the IDF and those who commanded it (including the civilian echelon). And justly so. Hannibal is anti-democratic, immoral, and an outrage. Those like Prof. Asa Kasher who render such immorality kosher (even in a comment thread here), are shameful apologists for IDF criminality.