Israeli Intelligence Leaks Alleged Syrian Memo Claiming Government Support for Nakba Day Protests
A former high ranking Israeli government source revealed to me that Israeli intelligence leaked to a pro-Israel British tabloid blogger an alleged Syrian government document claiming that the Syrian government organized the bus convoys which brought demonstrators to the Syria-Israel armistice line on Nakba Day. Demonstrations on that day were met with murderous IDF fire killing 14 individuals.
Michael Weiss, the Telegraph’s pro-Israel blogger known for his neocon views, apparently lied when he claimed the government document was “leaked by the governor of al-Quneitra.” Any government official who leaked such a document would be jobless in a heartbeat, if not dead. In truth, my source says Weiss received the document from Israeli intelligence, which has been spreading rumors through the online hasbara community that the government organized the protests in order to distract from the severe instability it faced from democracy protests. Why did Weiss engage in such a prevarication? Clearly to conceal his true source. Though it’s conceivable that Israeli intelligence stole or otherwise secured the alleged memo from the governor of the province.
The Israeli media is dutifully reporting the story as if it was halacha l’Moshe mi’Sinai (‘God’s law from Sinai’). But no one appears to asking themselves how Weiss got this scoop and whose interest it would be to pass it to him? This way Israel distracts from its own murder of unarmed Syrian-Palestinians and leaves no fingerprints on the evidence.
I am in the midst of having Arabic speakers authenticate the translation offered by Weiss to determine whether it’s accurate. Here is an excerpt:
…Security, military, and contingent units in the province, Ain-el-Tina and the old al-Qunaitera are hereby ordered to grant permission of passage to all twenty vehicles (47 passenger capacity) with the attached plate numbers that are scheduled to arrive at ten in the morning on Sunday May 15, 2011 without being questioned or stopped until it reaches or frontier defense locations.
Permission is hereby granted allowing approaching crowds to cross the cease fire line (with Israel) towards the occupied Majdal-Shamms, and to further allow them to engage physically with each other in front of United Nations agents and offices. Furthermore, there is no objection if a few shots are fired in the air.
Captain Samer Shahin from the military intelligence division is hereby appointed to the leadership of the group assigned to break-in and infiltrate deep into the occupied Syrian Golan Heights with a specified pathway to avoid land mines.
It is essential to ensure that no one carries military identification or a weapon as they enter with a strict emphasis on the peaceful and spontaneous nature of the protest.
Though my Israeli source concedes that the document is likely genuine, there are aspects of it that smell “off” to me. First, why would a Syrian intelligence officer say protesters must not carry weapons, and then say that a few shots may even be fired? Unless, possibly he was saying that Syrian security forces could fire shots pretending to try to stop the protests from proceeding–though in the videos I have seen I saw no such security personnel in evidence.
Second, why would the official say that protesters should “infiltrate deep into the Syrian-occupied Golan Heights.” If you were Syrian and you viewed Israel’s Golan territory as sovereign Syrian land, you simply wouldn’t call a protest crossing the armistice line an “infiltration.”
The Mossad has, in the past, been known to leak falsified documents from Middle Eastern nations. In fact, it leaked fabricated Iranian government memos alleging work on nuclear triggering devices to another British paper, the Times, several years ago. It also leaked this story of alleged Syrian-Hezbollah war perparations to a Kuwaiti paper.
Michael Weiss is affiliated with two hawkish pro-Israel groups in Britain, the Henry Jackson Society (Jackson was an anti-Soviet hawk Democrat and one of the U.S. Senate’s most ardent pro-Israel supporters) and a pro-Israel media advocacy group, Just Journalism. It appears to be modeled on a number of such groups like CAMERA, MEMRI, The Israel Project, and Palestine Media Watch. It would make perfect sense for Israeli intelligence to exploit a willing asset like Weiss for its purposes, and indicates that the line between journalism and intelligence is a very thin one at times.
UPDATE: Michael Weiss writes to demand a retraction based upon the fact that he’s now changed his story and the source wasn’t the governor of Quneitra as he earlier claimed, but another unnamed Syrian who received it from the “office of the governor of Quneitra:”
I’m afraid you’ve got this wrong. My source was not a member of Israeli intelligence. I don’t know who you’re talking to, but it might have paid to have ringed me up to ask before you accused me, in print, of lying.
I told the Washington Times that my source was, in fact, a Syrian, not in the current government but in a position to authenticate state documents.
Apparently, the fact that he told the Washington Times something makes it the absolute truth. Note that the Times “authenticated” the document by turning to the “Syria specialist” for the neo-con Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. That’s pretty ironclad to me.
I replied to Weiss that I’d publish a correction sometime after he can get his story straight about who his real source was.
And one thing I’m not understanding is what would be the motivation of a Syrian opponent of the Assad regime furnishing a Syrian government document that would embarrass both the Syrian regime and the Palestinian cause and advance the interests of the Israeli government? And why would this alleged Syrian choose a pro-Israel journalistic martinet to do it? That’s a bit obscure to me. Not to mention it hasn’t seemed to have crossed Weiss’ mind that if his source is Syrian that they could indeed be working for Israeli intelligence. My source would be in a position to know this. Weiss wouldn’t be.
44 thoughts on “Israeli Intelligence Leaks Alleged Syrian Memo Claiming Government Support for Nakba Day Protests – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Dear Mr. Silverstein
It seems that not only the settlers have an imaginary friend that talks to them and tells them things, such as the land is yours to take etc, You do as well.
“Your Source ?” you obviously have no idea intelligence related operation are handled in Israel. The chances that a retired politician will be in the inner circle of the know how, are equal to the chance the settlers have an imaginary friend.
And you have no idea that my source is in Israel or did you not bother to read that he was a former high level Israeli gov’t official? It is you who knows nothing about Israeli politics. High level former officials have all manner of inside knowledge & information. A rather pathetic attempt to impeach my source. Other hasbarists have done much better before at this. Is this a new approach you were taught at Hasbara Central? If so, can you return to yr masters & tell them it isn’t working??
The Israelis are specialists in finding ‘proofs’ whenever it serves them. ‘Weapons’ on the Mavi Marmara, Hamas-fighters hiding under the Shifa-hospital, a ‘terrorist-in-disguise’ when the Border Police killed Ziad Jilani …
Max Blumenthal has an interesting article including an interview with Rami Zurayk in Beirut.
On the Israeli claim that Syria organized the demonstrations in the Golan Heights, Zurayk states: “No amount of Syrian money can make people run to a border knowing they will be shot at …do you really think Palestinians need Syrians to make them want to return to Palestine ?”
Blumenthal also explains that the rumors of the Syrian regime paying the demonstrators came from Farid Ghadry, a Syrian exiled in the States (and member of AIPAC – photographed next to the Israeli flag) with no credentials within the Syrian opposition.
I’m sure this poor guy wasn’t encouraged by nothing else than his dreaming of going home.
Ezzat Maswadi, born in Jerusalem in 1977 was one of the young Palestinians killed on Naksa Day.
How does a young man born in Jerusalem become a refugee ?
Ezzat’s parents moved abroad, his father returned to Jerusalem before the rest of the family, but when Ezzat and his mother returned home, they were told that they had stayed too long abroad (more than 3 years), so they’d lost their residence permits and were obliged to move back to Damascus.
Ezzat tried to enter Palestine on Nakba Day but was stopped by a checkpoint in the Golan, and on Naksa Day he was killed before even reaching the barrier.
Ezzat’s father, living in Jerusalem, is not allowed to attend his son’s funeral in Syria by The-Only-Democracy-In-The-Middle-East:
Sorry. The first link was ‘nakba’ and not ‘naksa’
[comment deleted for violation of rules]
Isn’t “Golan Heights” an Israeli name? Don’t the Syrians themselves use the term “Syrian Heights” to refer to this territory? I invite any Syrians out there to correct me if I’m wrong about this.
They’re called ‘Hadbat il-Jawlaan’ (Hadbah means an elevation or a plateau).
‘Murtafi’aat il-Jawlan’ is literally ‘the Golan Heights’.
The use of the word ‘infiltrate’ is a dead give away. Note that Israel has relatively recently started referring to anyone crossing the border, whether as a refugee or not, as an ‘infiltrator’.
This is a newly created meaning for the word.
This is a very good point. The word ‘infiltrator’ is even used by Haaretz to describe, among other people, refugees fleeing crises in Africa.
Whereas other countries in the world have issues with refugees and illegal immigration, the Jewish State has infiltrators. It suggests that any non-Jew crossing into Israel has spiteful and dangerous intentions. An act of African antisemitism, perhaps.
In fact the word “infiltrator” has a long history in Israel going back to the creation of the State. It has been used to describe Palestinian refugees trying to return home since ’48, also the ‘present absentee’, i.e. internally displaced Palestinians (IDP) in Israel who tried to return to their villages, particularly in the Galilee.
even the Sudanese government don’t call those refugees an infiltrators…. they even sending a mosad spy which look like Richard only with a bigger nose to persuade Egyptian soldiers to shot on refugees…
by the way the word infiltrator is describing a person how passing the border without an approval. so you can be an infiltrator and a refugee.
Haaretz called the Syrian Palestine who traveled all the way to Tel Aviv from the Golan during the first Nakba protest an “infiltrator,” which I thought was bizarre since he clearly wasn’t a spy or saboteur, which is the meaning the word connotes in English.
I understand you better now .
but you need to remember that haaretz is an Israeli newspaper which is written by israelis how are speaking hebrew . before you poitting on a trend .
have a good day
who instead of how….
Westerners like Mr Weiss and others like Melanie Phillips – another hate blogger here in the UK – and the likes Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Douglas Murray and the rest of the small army of Hasbara merchants exist, I believe, to do the following:
To remove from the Western mind any idea that Arabs in particular and Muslims more generally, may have noble motives or aims, or can act independently to address their problems and crises.
Therefore, when Palestinians and Syrians peacefully demonstrate their anger by marching toward Israel, they are not demonstrating anything other than, essentially, hatred for Israel and the Jewish people.
We have seen this in the coverage provided by the above ‘Rak Kach’ merchants with the regard to the Arab Spring, or, more specifically, ‘the so-called “Arab Spring”‘.
They cannot allow Westerners to sympathise for one moment with an Arab. No. His intentions are not noble. His demonstrations, his ‘Spring’, are merely Jihadist – Hezbollah -‘Islamic Supremacist’ – Hamas – Iranian-Backed -Antisemitic – Genocidal – Anti-Western – Anti-American – Nazi efforts to topple Western civilisation, with the nuclear-armed underdogs of the IDF on the ‘front line’ defending ‘our values’ as David against the horrifying Goliath of the economic power-house that is the Gaza Strip.
The crux of the matter is that Palestinians and Arabs and Muslims are simply awful, wrong and downright evil, all of the time.
The excerpt you quoted from the document said “occupied Syrian Golan Heights”, that’s quite the opposite of “Syrian-occupied”.
While I don’t pretend to know the lingo Syrians would use, let alone in Arabic, I read the paragraph as saying that an intelligence group led by Cpt. Shahin was supposed to “infiltrate” Israel/the occupied Golan under cover of the civilian protests, and “the group” in that paragraph refers to this, not the entire group of protesters.
Very interesting, Richard. I havn’t read this elsewhere on the web.
The Mossad has, in the past, been known to leak falsified documents from Middle Eastern nations.
It may not even be authorised by Mossad. It could well be a renegade section or rogue element within Mossad who did it.
Mossad is not a monolith. It has it’s splits, and loyalties, and sometimes they fragment out into rogue elements acting on their own.
LOL, this isn’t an American conspiracy movie.
There are no “rogue” Mossad elements.
Too funny that…
a) You easily believe it could be a Mossad conspiracy.
b) You believe the Syrian authorities might kill the governor if they thought he’d leaked the information.
c) You find the idea that the Syrian authorities might have organized the buses beyond belief.
I don’t “believe” the memo was leaked by Mossad, I know it was. I never said the idea the Syrians organized the buses was “beyond belief.” Indeed I reported that my source understood the memo to be genuine. I acknowledged the possibility it could be fake as well. Can’t you read? Or do you just not understand the meaning of the word “nuance?”
I can read, though the skill is sometimes unfortunate…
Yes it is unfortunate when one encounters YOUR drivel.
The real question is not “can he read ?”
but “can you write without insulting people ?”
You want to make the world a better place ?
I suggest you start by avoiding all those insults.
You know what’s insulting? The kind of arrogant deceptive statement you made on the Gaza thread that INSULTS our intelligence.
Start by practicing what you preach.
Stop telling me what to say or how to say it. Focus on substance. Comment on the post & the substantive political issues & not on any other matter. And if you insult me you will be moderated or worse. If you stick to political discussion about the issues you’ll be fine. Also, focus on facts and credible sources. Unsupported opinions are suspect and will meet a hostile reception.
I’m having a hard time following this. Richard, I was responding to “free man”. I’m assuming you were responding to him as well.
Israel has 2 goals:
1) Always turn Arabs into the bad guy to make Israel look good;
2) Demonstrate that Arabs cannot even trust each other; that Israel has collaborators everywhere and so foment mistrust and divide and conquer by keeping the Arabs weak.
I find this story leaked to the media highly suspect. Imagine that Syrian officials hand a highly sensitive memo to the governor of Quneitra , whom I assume is not part of the uprising otherwise why include him in the plan if they’re not sure they can trust him, and that the memo is left lying around for all prying eyes to glance at and then a Syrian friend of Israel passes it on to Israeli intelligence. Wow! How convenient for Israel! How timely can it all be?
I’m sure Chalabi cooked up a few fake memos himself during the planning stage leading to the Iraq war.
Isn’t the Syrian Chalabi, Farid al-Ghadry (Reform Party of Syria), an Aipac member?
There’s an Iraq chalabi, an Iranian chalabi and now there’s a Syrian chalabi…how convenient and nice for Israel. Israelis, always making all the right connections. How do they do it? Mossad?
Kalea, you forgot your meds again.
This sort of snark is NOT funny. Except to you. Which tells us a whole lot more about you than your comment does about Kalea.
You forgot you left this blog a couple of weeks ago with a very melodramatic farewell, showing your real colours.
Heureusement que le ridicule ne tue pas ! Ciao.
Thanks for reminding me. I guess she liked her hasbara assignment here so much she couldn’t bear to leave us!
This article is pathetic. It’s a hit piece that seeks to smear the background of Mr. Weiss while ignoring the legitimate issue at hand which is the authenticity of the document, and whether the claim that the Syrians did indeed organize the protests are true or not.
It’s funny that you begrudgingly sneak in the line “Though my Israeli source concedes that the document is likely genuine.”, hoping we gloss over it and get riled up with your unrelated diatribe.
So even your source realized the document is real. That’s it. Story over. Who cares who leaked it or how it was obtained. Maybe some people do care, but if so, that’s a completely separate issue. This article and the way it has been interpreted by Alex Kane of Mondoweiss purports that all Israeli claims about the Nakba protests are “propaganda” that have subsequently been debunked. This is quite simply bogus.
If the document is legitimate than the Israeli’s claim that Syria organized the protests are legitimate. Of course, in Mr. Silverstein’s mind Israel cannot be right, and if they are, something must be “off”. Mr. Silverstein’s conspiracy theories as to why the document may be fake are easily debunked. But of course if that was what the meat of this post was, it would be laughed at, so he had to shroud his weak argument with typical anti-Neocon, anti-Israeli talking points that really don’t have any importance to the matter at hand.
I wont get into the self-hating Jew canard, but it is indeed sad to see how far from objective reality some people are when issues with Israel are concerned.
I think YOU are ignoring the legitimate issue which is Israel’s refusal to return the Golan Heights to Syria which is demanded by the UN & international law. Palestinians would not protest were this matter not unresolved. So instead of attempting to expose the actions of the Syrian gov’t put some energy into resolving the conflict & encouraging Israel to return the Golan.
Weiss is a hasbara hack. YOu’re his enabler. His PR flackery for Israel & the Occupation IS one of the key issues. Sorry to have to disturb your equanimity on that one.
I didn’t begrudgingly include anything in my post. The statement & opinion of my source was there clear as day. You’d do better not to attempt to ascribe my state of mind or intent in the statements I make. Besides, the idea that you’re a fair judge of any of that is laughable.
The story ain’t over because the idea that Michael Weiss would publish material provided to him by Israeli intelligence undermines his credibility severely as a journalist & as a campaigner on behalf of media transparency regarding Israel. He is a hack attempting to call those on the left who publish in the media hacks. Hypocrisy to the Nth degree. Who cares who leaked it? Only myself and tens of thousands of others who follow the violations of morality & transparency of Israeli intelligence.
Of course it’s legitimate that the Syrian gov’t may’ve organized the protests. But there are other even more important issues which I’ve outlined above & you’ve deliberately ignored because you’re a propagandist.
Which you don’t do, I note. You see here’s the deal about how we work here: you don’t like something I say, you rebut it. Not with unsupported opinion, but rather with facts & credible sources. Until you can do that you won’t be accorded any respect here.
You just did. And if you there again you’ll be outa here so fast yr head will spin.
” So instead of attempting to expose the actions of the Syrian gov’t put some energy into resolving the conflict & encouraging Israel to return the Golan.”
Do you realize what you just said? Is this about the Palestinians or the Golan Heights? Your statement supports the view that this conflict is about the overall rejection of Israel’s existence by the Arab world and has nothing to do with any specific plots of land controlled by Israel.
My statement does no such thing. And I don’t appreciate your distorting it as you have. Israel occupied the Golan & must return it under international law. Israel expelled 1 million Palestinian residents of Israel in 1948 & it must resolve this massive act of injustice as well. Apparently, yr brain cannot hold inside the fact that one nation can commit two injustices ea. of which demands reparation.
You don’t understand my point. If they are two separate injustices, then why would Syria bus Palestinians to the border and not Syrians? In other words, the two issues are combined, not separate as you believe. These “injustices” are actually different facets of the same phenomenon: Arab rejection of Israel’s right to exist.
The Native Americans probably don’t accept the United States legitimacy but they aren’t blind to the fact that it EXISTS.
Israel exists and has ZERO legitimacy. No STATE – a political entity – has an inherent and arbitrary (because God says so/because we’re oppressed/because we’re Jewish/etc. etc.) right to exist.
The Jewish claim to Palestine is based on being Jewish whereas Palestinians LIVED there. Palestinians want to come home, whereas Jews from America and Europe are stealing their land in the West Bank.
The Nakba did not end, and the nature of Jewish immigration to Israel of course did not end. Soon, those Jews in Palestinian territories will have been there long enough to become ‘Israelis’ just as you may argue the Israelis in Israel proper have known no other land than Israel.
However, both segments of the Zionist population were put there through the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population – the Palestinians.
And it CONTINUES. Same old story. And all you talk about is how it’s anti-Israel to deny this, or antisemitic or that blah blah terrorism and all the rest.
A convenient fantasy for you, to ignore the facts on the ground and slow-creep ethnic cleansing that is still on-going in the territories.
That’s debatable. I would say Israel’s legitimacy is deeply damaged by its acts & by the Occupation. ZERO legitimacy? No.
Depends how you define “inherent.” I think membership in the UN provides an inherent right to exist at least under international law.
Jews did too, though many of those who returned did not have a direct lineage & connection to the land as indigenous Palestinians did.
Wait – the Palestinians were protesting the refusal of Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria? Maybe it was the refusal of China to free Tibet or the UK’s occupation of the Falklands?
Hey, that’s brilliant Sam. But contrary to yr rather limited imagination, the rest of us can understand that there are hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees inside Syria who wish to return to their original homes in Israel. There are also millions of Syrians who demand the return of the Golan. And actually those people might come together in a joint protest that has two related purposes, liberation of the Golan and return to Israel. You might want to try to expand yr mind & moral imagination a bit next time you decide to write a comment.
And the snark is neither witty nor funny.
Seeing two apparently distinct phenomena as parts of the same issue can also be a sophisticated way of looking at things Richard. Sam appears to be making the same point I am.
I have no idea what that point might be. Does anyone else besides these two?
You asked about motive. Maybe that Syrian official actually opposes using Palestinian deaths as a way to distract the media from Syrian deaths. Maybe that official cares more about Syrian and Palestinian people than Syrian and Palestinian leadership.
And maybe my grandma knew the Pope. You haven’t explained why this patriotic Syrian source would leak the document to Michael Weiss & not to an Arab news source such as the Daily Star. Why leak to a hasbara flack? No, sorry. This has all the markings of an Israeli intelligence ploy.