An Israeli source confirms a rumor that has circulated in Israeli media circles, that one of the Israelis murdered at the Jewish museum in Brussels worked for the Mossad. Emanuel and Miriam Riva were both accountants. He worked for an Israeli government agency called Nativ. It works among Jews from the eastern bloc and encourages them to make aliyah. During the Cold War, when Israel worked clandestinely to bring Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel, Nativ had a direct pipeline to Israeli intelligence. Miriam Riva worked for the Mossad. As far as my source knows, neither of them was an agent. So it appears that they were not targeted because of her involvement with the Mossad (though that still remains a possibility).
Channel 10 news earlier reported that they worked in government service in Germany for six years. The phrase “government service” in Hebrew can sometimes be a euphemism for spy work. In her case, the phrase fits, but only in the sense that she most likely worked for Israel’s overseas spy service in a capacity.
There is no news yet about the identity of the attacker. Neither neo-Nazis or Islamists have taken responsibility. Though clearly that has not stopped Bibi Netanyahu from getting on his high horse and blaming European Israel-haters for the crime. Bibi’s response is typically nasty, mean-spirited and ideologically-motivated, when it should be thoughtful and out-reaching:
Mr Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, seized on the arrival of Pope Francis in the Holy Land to criticise European reaction as too muted – while blaming the incident on “constant incitement” against Israel by “elements in the Middle East and Europe”.
Speaking on his arrival in Israel, the Pope referred to the attack as “this criminal act of anti-Semitic hatred.”
…”There are elements in Europe that rush to condemn the construction of a flat in Jerusalem but do not rush to condemn – or offer only weak condemnations of – the murder of Jews here or in Europe itself and, even worse, welcome unity with a terrorist element such as Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. We oppose such hypocrisy, we protest against it.”
…”I am very disturbed by the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. There must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism toward Jews and their state.”
In a typical conflation of anti-Semitism with anti-Israelism, he makes those who condemn Israel’s illegal policies of Occupation and land theft into accessories to Jew-murder. We must not let him get away with such nonsense.
The truth is that (and I say this without knowing the particulars of the killings) there are people out there who are just deranged enough and just outraged enough to perpetrate murder as a response to Israel’s bloodletting in the Middle East. Killings of Diaspora Jews (or even Israeli Jewish civilians) are no more justified than Israel’s killings. But hatred breeds hatred and killing breeds killing. No matter what any Israel supporter may say about this, Bibi clearly hates Arabs (as his father did before him) and his policies led to the deaths of several thousand Palestinian civilians. All the killings have to stop, not just those of Jews.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.