Ex-government minister’s recent warning to Palestinian flag-wavers of another forced expulsion exposes the lie at the heart of Israel’s founding
Here is a puzzle. What did Israel Katz, an Israeli legislator and until recently a senior government minister, mean when he threatened Palestinian students last month with another “Nakba” if they continued to wave the Palestinian flag?
He urged them to “remember 1948” and speak to their “grandfathers and grandmothers”.
“If you don’t calm down,” he told the Israeli parliament, “we’ll teach you a lesson that won’t be forgotten.”
Nakba denial was the Israeli state’s default position
And similarly, what was in the mind of Uzi Dayan, a former army general who is also a member of the Israeli parliament, when he warned Palestinians two months earlier “to be careful”?
They would face “a situation you know, which is Nakba”, if they refused to passively submit to Israel’s dictates.
Both threats – and similar ones from senior Israeli politicians over the years – fly in the face of long-held claims by successive Israeli governments that the Palestinian narrative of the Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe”, constitutes a vile distortion of the region’s history.
According to Israeli officials, Palestinian accusations that they were violently and willfully expelled from their homeland in 1948 are a slur against Israel’s character and its army, supposedly “the most moral in the world”. It is even suggested that commemorating the Nakba equates to antisemitism.
And yet paradoxically, Israeli politicians seem only too ready to echo these supposed calumnies against the founding of the self-declared “Jewish state”. In 2017, Tzachi Hanegbi, while serving as a senior cabinet minister, warned Palestinians that they faced a “third Nakba” – after the mass expulsions of 1948 and 1967 – if they resisted the occupation.
“You’ve already paid that crazy price twice for your leaders,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Don’t try us again, because the result won’t be any different. You have been warned!”
According to Palestinians and a growing number of scholars researching Israel’s archives, Zionist leaders and their militias waged a violent, premeditated campaign of ethnic cleansing in 1948 in which four-fifths of all Palestinians were driven off their lands and into exile. As a consequence, the Zionist movement was able to declare a Jewish state on most of their homeland.
Today, many millions of Palestinian refugees are dispersed across the Middle East and much of the rest of the world, unable to return. Israeli officials have been so adamant that this narrative is a lie to demonise Israel that back in 2011 the government of Benjamin Netanyahu passed a law to erase from the public space any commemoration of the Nakba.
The so-called Nakba Law threatens to strip Israeli institutions – including schools, universities, libraries and municipalities – of state funding if they allow any such commemoration.
In its original form, the law would have led to a three-year jail term for anyone taking part in such an event.
But even before the legislation, Nakba denial was the Israeli state’s default position.
In contrast to the Palestinian narrative, Israel denies any premeditation or malicious violence by its leaders and soldiers, and instead blames the Palestinian exodus in 1948 on other factors.
It claims that most Palestinians left on the orders of Arab leaders, rather than that they were ethnically cleansed by the new Israeli state’s army.
Officials argue too that the Israeli army attacked Palestinian communities largely in response to violence from Palestinian fighters and units of Arab soldiers from neighbouring countries that came to their aid.
Noted Israeli historians like Benny Morris continue to argue that “at no stage of the 1948 war was there a decision by the leadership of the Yishuv [pre-state Jewish community] or the state to ‘expel the Arabs’.”
On this official view, most Palestinians either chose to leave or were responsible for provoking the violence that led to them being forced out.
Israel’s hands are supposedly clean.
But if Israelis really believe this to be the case, why are veteran politicians such as Katz, Dayan and Hanegbi using the Palestinian terminology of Nakba themselves – and threatening that Israel will carry out a second or third time what officials insist never happened in the first place?
Israel’s narrative is so dominant that until recently most Israeli Jews believed that their state’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, urged the Palestinian population fleeing the large port city of Haifa to return in 1948.
Palestinians supposedly preferred to wait out the fighting until the Zionist forces were defeated.
According to this account, Ben-Gurion sent Golda Meir, later prime minister herself, on a mission to reassure fleeing Palestinians.
In her autobiography, Meir recounts: “I sat on the beach there [in Haifa] and begged them to return home… I pleaded with them until I was exhausted but it didn’t work.”
But a letter written in early June 1948 by Ben-Gurion came to light seven years ago that undermines Israel’s propaganda.
In it, he responded angrily to reports that the British consul was “working to return the Arabs to Haifa”.
Ben-Gurion demanded that Haifa’s Jewish leaders actively stymie these British efforts.
In fact, an Israeli scholar who was handed an archive file in error disclosed nearly a decade ago that the story of Arab leaders insisting Palestinians flee their homeland in 1948 was a nonsense. It was concocted by Israeli officials as a way to end US pressure on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return.
Beginning in the 1980s, a new generation of Israeli historians started trawling through Israel’s archives as sections of it were briefly opened. They unearthed documentary evidence of an entirely different set of events that accorded with the Palestinian narrative.
Military operations had suggestive titles like “Operation Broom” and commanders received orders to “clean” areas. Many hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed as soon as their populations had been driven out by Zionist soldiers, with the clear intent never to let them return.
Reign of terror
And despite Israel’s best efforts to keep it under wraps, archival evidence has kept emerging of Israeli massacres of Palestinian civilians, making explicit why the vast majority of Palestinians fled in 1948.
In one of the worst, around 170 unarmed men, women and children were executed by the Israeli army near Hebron, and hundreds more wounded, even as they offered no resistance.
A letter from the time by Shabtai Kaplan, a soldier and journalist who witnessed the Dawayimah massacre, was found in 2016. He observed that the killings were part of “a system of expulsion and destruction”.
The rationale, he wrote, was: “The fewer Arabs who remain, the better.”
Another long-denied massacre of Palestinians – at Tantura, on the coast south of Haifa – was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after a new Israeli film included testimonies from former soldiers in which they admitted committing the massacre.
Katz, Dayan and Hanegbi understand what the word Nakba means for Palestinians and are aware too that the Palestinian narrative of the events of 1948 has been confirmed by the archives.
Nakba – for them, as for Palestinians – means a reign of military terror to drive out the Palestinian population in areas Israel wishes to further colonize with Jews, or “Judaise” as official Israeli terminology puts it.
It means yet another wave of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, both those under occupation and the minority living with highly degraded citizenship inside Israel.
In threatening a second Nakba, Katz and Dayan are simply confirming that Israeli leaders, despite their protestations, have always known what the Nakba was – and have always approved of the goal of ethnic cleansing Palestinians.
The irony is that, while Israel denounces Palestinians and their supporters as liars for speaking of the Nakba, its own officials publicly cite the Nakba as a real event that can be repeated if Palestinians do not submit completely.
That should not surprise us.
After all, the goal of expulsion did not end with the events of 1948 – the reason Palestinians speak of an “ongoing Nakba”.
Israeli officials regularly employ genocidal-type rhetoric.
As head of Israel’s military, Moshe Yaalon compared the threat posed by Palestinians to “cancer” that had “to be severed and fought to the bitter end”.
Ayelet Shaked, currently Israel’s interior minister, has characterised all Palestinians as “enemy combatants” – a term suggesting they are legitimate military targets.
She has referred to any Palestinians that fights Israel’s decades of belligerent occupation as “snakes” and indicated that their entire families can be eliminated, including their mothers, otherwise “more little snakes will be raised there”.
Leading rabbis in Israel are even more explicit.
Two wrote a notorious handbook, The King’s Torah, arguing that it is permitted to kill Palestinians, even babies, pre-emptively because “it is clear that they will grow to harm us”. Neither faced prosecution.
‘Finish the job’
These types of menacing comments are not just directed at Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Notably, the recent Nakba threats were chiefly aimed at Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens, who, Israel falsely maintains, enjoy equal status with Israel’s Jewish citizens.
Palestinian citizens are the descendants of the small numbers of Palestinians who managed to avoid expulsion in 1948 – due largely to oversights and international pressure.
Exemplifying Israelis’ cognitive dissonance on this issue, historian Benny Morris has cited the existence of a Palestinian minority in Israel as proof that the Nakba is a lie and that Israel never intended to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.
He has done so even as he lamented the fact that Ben-Gurion “got cold feet during the  war” and “faltered” in failing to expel every last Palestinian.
In this, he shares the sentiments of far-right politicians like Bezalel Smotrich, another former government minister.
Last year, Smotrich addressed legislators representing the Palestinian minority, saying: “It’s a mistake that Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and didn’t throw you out in 1948.”
On another occasion, Smotrich made a barely veiled threat of expulsion: “Arabs are citizens of Israel – for now, at least.”
Caught in a trap
Israel’s security forces carried out an early massacre of Palestinian citizens, almost certainly to incentivise them to leave. Israel has also conducted at least one secret military exercise to prepare for a scenario in which there is a mass expulsion of Israel’s Palestinian minority.
Israel’s most senior politicians have proposed opaque plans to strip much of the Palestinian minority of its Israeli citizenship and their right to live in the state of Israel.
And in addition to comments by Katz and Dayan, Israeli politicians – even former prime ministers such as Netanyahu – have incited against Palestinian citizens as freely as they have Palestinians under occupation, suggesting they are terrorists and murderers.
And all of this takes place as the jurisdiction of Israel’s settlements continues to expand relentlessly in the occupied territories, and Palestinians in the West Bank face ever more pressure and violence to leave their homes and their homeland.
While Palestinians are effectively banned from publicly referring to the Nakba and may soon be barred even from waving a Palestinian flag in public spaces, Israelis can march through Palestinian communities calling out: “Death to the Arabs!” and “May your village burn!”
The reality, as hinted at by Katz and Dayan’s latest statements, is that Palestinians are caught in a trap.
If they assert their national identity, or even their most basic rights such as by waving a Palestinian flag, they risk providing Israel with the pretext to forcibly expel them, to carry out another Nakba.
But if they stay silent, as Katz and Dayan demand, the process of incremental ethnic cleansing, a second Nakba, takes place anyway – if a little more quietly.
Palestinians pay the price either way – while Israel’s policy of Nakba continues unabated.
Bigots were Zionism’s avid fans—it was the anti-Semites who championed the Zionists.
Our topic is of course the so-called “conflict” in Israel-Palestine, a tragedy that has dragged on for so long that it feels static, indeed almost normalized.
But unlike other deadly conflicts, this one is wholly in our power to stop—“our” meaning the United States and Europe.
It is in our power to stop it, because we are the ones empowering it.
We are now approaching the centennial of the British Original Sin in this tragedy, the Balfour Declaration.
The British role in Palestine was a case of ‘hit & run’: The Balfour Declaration, in which the British gave away other people’s land, was the hit; and thirty years later, Resolution 181—Partition—was the run, leaving the Palestinians abandoned in a ditch.
Zionism was of course among the incarnations of racial-nationalism that evolved in the late nineteenth century.
Bigots were Zionism’s avid fans—it was the anti-Semites who championed the Zionists.
Gertrude Bell, the famous English writer, traveler, archaeologist, and spy, reported, based on her personal experience, that those who supported Zionism did so because it provided a way to get rid of Jews.
The London Standard’s correspondent to the first Zionist Conference in 1897 I think described Zionism perfectly. He reported that
…the degeneration which calls itself Anti-Semitism [bear in mind that ‘anti-Semitism’ was then a very new term] has begotten the degeneration which adorns itself with the name of Zionism.
Indeed, most Jews and Jewish leaders dismissed Zionism as the latest anti-Semitic cult.
They had fought for equality, and resented being told that they should now make a new ghetto—and worse yet, to do so on other people’s land.
They resented being cast as a separate race of people as Zionism demanded.
They had had quite enough of that from non-Jewish bigots.
For others, the idea of going to a place where one could act out racial superiority was seductive.
As the political theorist Eduard Bernstein put it at about the time the Balfour Declaration was being finessed, Zionism is “a kind of intoxication which acts like an epidemic”.
By the time the Balfour Declaration was finalised, thirty-plus years of Zionist settlement had made clear that the Zionists intended to ethnically cleanse the land for a settler state based on racial superiority; and it was the behind-the-scenes demands of the principal Zionist leaders, notably Chaim Weizmann and Baron Rothschild.
Radical Zionist zealots like Anthony Blinken, Linda Thomas Greenfield, Victoria Nuland, and now Richard Nephew, have absolutely hijacked the Biden Administration’s key foreign policy posts. This was to be anticipated. Now it has happened.
Antony Blinken had called for ‘independent’ investigation, but State Department says US position has not changed.
“There has been no change in our approach,” a State Department spokesperson told Al Jazeera in a statement on Thursday, a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for an “independent” probe of Abu Akleh’s killing.
“We continue to call for a thorough, credible investigation that culminates in accountability.”
Israeli forces fatally shot the veteran Al Jazeera journalist on May 11 while she was reporting in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
Calls for justice for Abu Akleh have grown louder as the one-month anniversary of the killing approaches – and as investigations by the Palestinian Authority, media outlets and rights groups have concluded that she was targeted by the Israeli military.
Washington has called for accountability while insisting that Israel should lead the investigation into the incident.
This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was confronted by journalist Abby Martin over the Biden administration’s continued support for Israel and Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi and Shireen Abu Akleh.
Abby Martin: “Why is there no accountability for Israel or Saudi Arabia for murdering journalists? It is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist in Palestine.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “I deplore the loss of Shireen. She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen, as you well know. And there, too, we are determined to follow the facts and get to the truth of what happened.”
Abby Martin: “The facts have been found, Secretary Blinken, with all due respect.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, they have not yet been” —
Abby Martin: “With all due respect, it is conclusive.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, I’m sorry, with respect, they have not yet been established. We’re looking for” —
The Mapping Project: a project created by activists and organizers in eastern Massachusetts, investigating local links between entities responsible for the colonization of Palestine, for colonialism and dispossession here where we live, and for the economy of imperialism and war. Here is how the Zionists feel about it. Note that there is a difference between Jews and Zionists. The Zionists intention from the beginning has been to blend in with the real Jews. The Jews reject all forms of Zionism. This is not about Jews. It is about Zionists who work for the Zionist Entity called Israel.
“This whole project is reminiscent of a dangerous antisemitic pattern of activity known from antiquity through the horrors of the 20th century: a pattern which has led to violence against Jews and their institutions,” said Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
An anti-Israeli group in Boston, Massachusetts, published Friday an interactive map showing ostensible links between myriad Jewish groups in the state and public and private companies and institutions, in an attempt to broaden support for the demonization of the Jewish state.
The purpose of the innocuous-sounding Mapping Project is not hidden. The pro-BDS group said it “wanted to develop a deeper understanding of local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine and harms that we see as linked, such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing.”
Other “harms” they throw into the mix include “systemic white supremacy” in the U.S., “privatization and medical apartheid.” The “liberation struggles” against all these types of wickedness propagated by the “oppressors,” which the mappers claim are the U.S. and Israel, “are connected” and therefore should be fought together, the BDS activists say.
— BDS Boston (@BDSBoston) June 3, 2022
This classic example of intersectionality then displays a series of Jewish organizations whose sin, according to the group, is support for the Jewish state. The names range from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), AIPAC and J Street to Jewish charities, newspapers, and a synagogue network, along with almost all those who work for them.
They are linked on the map to such public institutions as universities like MIT and Harvard (which “engage in these multiple forms of oppression and produce much of the ruling class”), municipal governments, labor federations, and military bases. Dozens of corporations in the private sector are also targets, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Citigroup, Deloitte and DuPont.
Local police forces are a special target, as the group supports the discredited claim that officers are flown to Israel to learn anti-terrorism tactics that are then used inappropriately against minorities back home.
In a joint statement, the ADL, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) – all named by the group – strongly denounced the effort.
Its “underlying messages are clear: Jews are responsible for the ills of our community and if you maintain your relationship with Jewish organizations, you will share that responsibility,” the NGOs said.
“It is a list with names and organizations to be shunned, isolated and disenfranchised. And it draws on age-old antisemitic tropes that are all too clear to our community: Jewish wealth, control and conspiracies.”
The Israeli government also hit back, not ignoring the fact that its Boston-based consulate general to New England was a prominent target.
“Israel strongly condemns BDS Boston’s publication of a map of local Jews and its blaming them for anything and everything wrong in Greater Boston,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat.
“This publication reveals the true, ugly face of BDS Boston, which is nothing but a conspiratorial antisemitic organization. We call on all decent people to come out against this publication, and to condemn the organization and those behind this racist campaign.”
The Mapping Project says it wants to “dismantle” all its targets. The NGOs’ response: “We will not be intimidated and we will not be silent.”
Israel won’t investigate soldiers who fired in the direction of Shireen Abu Akleh, even though new evidence undermines their account of what happened.
— #FreeAhmadManasra (@freeworldun) May 20, 2022
Israel’s military police have reportedly decided not to open any criminal investigation into the fatal shooting of the Palestinian American reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, even though newly released video appears to contradict the Israeli army’s claim that the journalist was standing close to Palestinian militants when she was shot last week in the occupied West Bank.
Amos Harel, the senior military correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, reported on Thursday that the decision not to investigate the Israeli soldiers who might have fired the fatal shot came after an internal review by the commando unit of the Israel Defense Forces “found six instances of IDF gunfire at armed Palestinians who were near Abu Akleh” as she reported on an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in Jenin.
According to Harel, the criminal investigations division of the Israeli army simply accepted the accounts of the soldiers who opened fire but “testified that they did not see the journalist at all and aimed their fire at gunmen, who were indeed nearby.”
However, within hours of Harel’s report, video posted on Twitter by Rushdi Abualouf, a Palestinian journalist for the BBC, appeared to contradict the claim that Abu Akleh was near any Palestinian gunmen engaged in a firefight with Israeli troops.
The clip shows that Abu Akleh and several other journalists, all wearing blue vests marked “Press,” were instead walking in the direction of the Israeli soldiers, as young men behind them stood around talking and joking, when shots suddenly rang out and Abu Akleh and a colleague were both hit.
As the writer and political analyst Yousef Munayyer explained on Twitter, “At the start of the video you can see the mood is relaxed, what they are saying isn’t really clear mostly because they are chuckling.”
After multiple shots are heard and the young men scatter, a voice is heard saying, “Did anyone get hit?” and calling for an ambulance.
Then, after more shots, someone shouts, “Shireen! Shireen!” and, amid frantic calls for an ambulance, the desperate warning: “Stay where you are, don’t move!”
Video posted on the day of the killing last week appeared to show that people who tried to reach the mortally wounded Abu Akleh were fired on as they approached her.
Harel also reported that there were no plans for a real criminal investigation of the Israeli soldiers because “such an investigation, which would necessitate questioning as potential criminal suspects soldiers for their actions during a military operation, would provoke opposition and controversy within the IDF and in Israeli society in general.”
Moments Of Operation Protective Edge, In Gifs
1. The time the Israeli Government arrested 500 and killed 10 Palestinians in their search for the three missing Israeli teens, forgetting to mention they knew they’d already been murrdered and not kidnapped
2. The time 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped, beaten, and burned alive by right-wing Israelis
3. When Hamas fired quassam rockets, EPICALLY failing to beat the Iron Dome
4. That time IDF soldiers beat and arrested Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s American cousin, and tried to force him to say Mohammed was killed by family for being gay
5. That time Israeli airstrikes deliberately targeted houses, hospitals, and TWO disabled homes
6. This cat won’t want to be on the wrong side of Hamas again, lol
7. When Israel hit the same hospital AGAIN
8. The time an Israeli warship shelled four Gazan children playing football on the beach… twice!
By Ramzy Baroud
A succession of events in recent weeks all points to the inescapable fact that nearly 75 years of Israel’s painstaking efforts aimed at hiding the truth about its origins and its current racially-driven apartheid regime are miserably failing.
The world is finally waking up, and Israel is losing ground much faster than its ability to gain new supporters or to whitewash its past or ongoing crimes.
First, there was Tantura, a peaceful Palestinian village whose inhabitants were exterminated by Israel’s Alexandroni Brigade on May 23, 1948.
Like many other massacres committed against unarmed Palestinians throughout the years, the massacre of Tantura was mostly remembered by the village’s survivors, by ordinary Palestinians and by Palestinian historians.
The mere attempt in 1998 by an Israeli graduate student, Theodore Katz, to shed light on that bloody event ignited a legal, media, and academic war, forcing him to retract his findings altogether.
In a recent social media post, Israeli Professor Ilan Pappé revealed the reasons why, in 2007, he had to resign his position at Haifa University.
“One of my ‘crimes’ was insisting that there was a massacre in the village of Tantura in 1948 as was exposed by MA student, Teddy Katz,” Pappé wrote.
Now, some Alexandroni Brigade veterans have finally decided to confess to the crimes in Tantura.
“They silenced it. It mustn’t be told, it could cause a whole scandal.
I don’t want to talk about it, but it happened. What can you do? It happened.”
These were the words of one Moshe Diamant, a former member of the Alexandroni Brigade, who, with other veterans, revealed in the documentary ‘Tantura’ by Alon Schwarz the gory details and the horrific crimes that transpired in the Palestinian village.
An officer “killed one Arab after another” with his pistol, Micha Vitkon, a former soldier, said.
“They put them into a barrel and shot them in the barrel. I remember the blood in the barrel,” another explained.
“I was a murderer. I didn’t take prisoners,” Amitzur Cohen admitted.
Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in Tantura in cold blood.
They were buried in mass graves, the largest of which is believed to be under a parking lot at the Dor beach, which is flocked by Israeli families on a daily basis.
The Tantura massacre and its aftermath is arguably the most glaring representation of Israeli criminality: the mass murder, the cover-up, and the dancing on the graves of the victims.
But this is not the story of Tantura alone.
The latter is a representation of something much bigger, of mass-scale ethnic cleansing, of forceful evictions, and of mass killing. Thankfully, much truth is being unearthed.
In 1951, the Israeli army launched a full-scale military operation that ethnically cleansed Palestinian Bedouins from the Naqab.
The tragic scenes of entire communities being uprooted from their ancestral homes were justified with the typical Israeli explanation that the terrible deed had to be done for “security reasons”.
In 1953, Israel passed the so-called Land Acquisition Law, which turned what was supposedly a temporary situation into a permanent one.
By then, Israel had unlawfully expropriated 247,000 dunums in the Naqab, with 66,000 remaining ‘unutilized’.
The remaining land is currently the epicenter of an ongoing fight between Palestinian Bedouin communities and Israel, which argues that the land is “essential” for Israel’s “development needs”.
But according to recently-revealed documents, uncovered by extensive research conducted by Professor Gadi Algazi, Israel’s version of the truth in Naqab was a complete fabrication.
According to numerous uncovered documents, Moshe Dayan, then the head of the Israeli army Southern Command, was at the center of an Israeli government and military ploy to evict the Bedouin population and to “revoke their rights as landowners”, per the conveniently created Israeli law, which allowed the government to ‘lease’ the land as of its own.
“There was an organized transfer of Bedouin citizens from the northwestern Negev eastward to barren areas, with the goal of taking over their lands.
They carried out this operation using a mix of threats, violence, bribery and fraud,” Algazi told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The entire scheme was organized in such a way as to provide the claim that the Palestinians had moved ‘voluntarily’, despite their legendary resistance and “the stubbornness with which they tried to hold onto their land, even at the cost of hunger and thirst, not to mention the army’s threats and violence”.
More still. A newly-released volume by French historian Vincent Lemire has entirely dismissed Israel’s official version of how the Moroccan Quarters of Jerusalem were demolished in June 1967.
Though Palestinian and Arab historians have long argued that the destruction of the neighborhood – 135 homes, two mosques and more – was done per the order of the Israeli government through the then-Jewish mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, Israel has long denied that version.
According to the official Israeli account, the demolition of the neighborhood was carried out by “15 private Jewish contractors (who) destroyed the neighborhood to make space for the Western Wall plaza”.
In an interview with Agence France Press (AFP), Lemire stated that his book offers “definitive, written proof on the premeditation, planning and coordination of this operation,” and that includes official meetings between Kollek, the commander of the Israeli army, and other top government officials.
The story goes on; more heartbreaking revelations and a well-integrated version of the truth are exposing long-hidden or denied facts.
And the days of Israel getting away with these crimes seem to be behind us.
A case in point is Amnesty International’s recent report, “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: A Look into Decades of Oppression and Domination”.
Amnesty’s 280 pages of damning evidence of Israel’s racism and apartheid did not shy away from connecting Israel’s violent present with its equally bloody past.
It did not borrow from Israel’s deceptive language and self-serving division of Palestinians into disconnected communities, each with a different claim and a different status.
For Amnesty, as was the case with Human Rights Watch’s report in April 2021, Israeli injustices against the Palestinians must be recognized and duly condemned in their entirety.
“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony and maximizing its control over land to benefit Jewish Israelis while minimizing the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights and obstructing their ability to challenge this dispossession,” the report stated.
And that could only happen through mass killing, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, from Tantura, to the Naqab, to the Moroccan Quarters, to Gaza and Sheikh Jarrah.
Israeli soldiers raided Nablus and extra-judicially executed three Palestinians
Feature Image: The Burning of the Temple, by Francesco_Hayez. Not much has changed except the Zionists are throwing the Palestinians out
A difficult week – and the following one seems even worse
…from Gush Shalom
[ Editor’s Note: Adam Keller uses this short and sweet message style, as he is paying for print media placement. The original post was in a narrow newsprint format.
His material is a good quick read for those wanting to know the latest occupation force nasty treatment of its open air prison subjects.The US looks the other way on almost all of Israel’s aggression, due to our compromised Congress, via decades of blackmail material compiled on them, and then ‘influence’ over their reelection status.
As for our military, it is along for the ride, loving the free trips to Israel and getting schmoozed; treatment that does not really come free. ‘Things’ are expected in return and refusals can trigger ‘issues’.
As has been stated here by many, hard line Israelis view America as their golden calf. Someday, if and when Israelis get to experience what it is like to endure the treatment they have dished out to the Palestinians, they will remember the taste of the bitter fruit.
I hope I live to see it. It will be a glorious day… Jim W. Dean ]
First published February 20, 2022
PHILIP GIRALDI • JANUARY 18, 2022
There have appeared a couple of stories recently that illustrate how there is only one “red line” that no one dares cross in Washington and that is criticism of Israel and its associated supportive mythologies of increasing “holocaust denial” and “surging anti-Semitism.”
The rule is ruthlessly enforced by the Israel Lobby, often by its redoubtable Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is based in New York City but has a regional office in the capital, conveniently close to government offices, from which vantage point it can observe possible deviations and mete out instant punishment.
If one wants to learn how hypersensitive (and vicious) defenders of Israel and/or Jewishness can be it is only necessary to read about the recent experience of strongly pro-Israel Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
He denounced “upscale liberals who control the media” in a tweet and was immediately attacked for “the anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the media,” which of course they do, but Rubio is too stupid and too fearful of Jewish influence to be suggesting that.
So, one must conclude it is not even safe for a conservative friend of Israel to mention the “liberal media” for fear of being labeled as guilty of “coded anti-Semitism.”
Likewise, any mention of the malign influence of George Soros by Republicans is likely to bring down the wrath of the usual suspects, not because it is a fiction but solely because he is Jewish and it implies that Jews can interact conspiratorially, which is demonstrably true.
Another interesting story concerns a government institution that I had never heard of before, the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (USCPAHA), and guess what?
It is nearly all about Israel, Jews and the so-called holocaust! If you don’t believe that bold assertion on my part, go to the organization’s website which includes multiple pictures of people handing out holocaust related “Cultural Pluralism Awards” and smiling for the camera.
The commission was created by Public Law 99-83 in 1985 and its ostensible purpose stated on the website is to “1. identify and report on cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe that are associated with the heritage of US citizens, particularly endangered properties, and 2. obtain, in cooperation with the Department of State, assurances from the governments of the region that the properties will be protected and preserved…
The establishment of the Commission recognized that the population of the United States is mostly comprised of immigrants and their descendants.
The United States has an interest in the preservation of sites in other countries related to the heritage of these Americans.
The Holocaust and 45 years of atheist Communist governments created a critical need that led to the Commission’s establishment.”
The site also includes a list of “projects” , which are overwhelmingly Jewish/holocaust related and located in the parts of Europe where Jews settled.
Alison Weir’s “If Americans Knew” has reported how in the past congress there were 70 largely hidden bills that in some way benefited Israel, and the creation of America’s Heritage Abroad has that smell to it, yet another gift that flies beneath the radar by being attached to a larger piece of legislation.
America’s Heritage Abroad only surfaced in the news due to a stink being raised by ADL over one of the organization’s 21 commissioners, all of whom appear to be Jewish judging from their names.
He is Darren Beattie, who has been described as a “Right-wing conspiracy theorist [who] continues to occupy a position in the federal government given to him by Donald Trump, almost a year since Joe Biden took office and gained the ability to fire him.
Beattie was appointed by then-President Donald Trump in November 2020 to serve on the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.
Its main responsibilities are seeking to preserve monuments in eastern and central Europe, many of which memorialize Holocaust victims.
He gained new prominence in recent weeks promoting conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot, earning public praise from Trump.”
Recently, the ADL criticized the appointment and said that Beattie, who describes himself as a “proud Jew” on Twitter, should not be continuing to serve on the commission.
Spokesman Jake Hyman complained that “Since Beattie’s appointment to the Commission in November 2020, he has continued to spread outrageous and deeply harmful falsehoods and misinformation, including about the January 6 insurrection, that are at odds with serving in such positions of official responsibility.
We retain our view that Beattie, who once attended an event with white supremacists and participated in a panel discussion with white nationalist Peter Brimelow, should have no place on a commission that plays a special role preserving Jewish heritage sites from before the Holocaust.”
Beattie claims that he is still on the commission even though he no longer appears on its website.
He states that “I’m proud to serve president Biden to honor the memory of the Holocaust” before criticizing ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt as a “Democrat apparatchik” who has “destroyed the reputation of the ADL during his tenure.”
So, the United States is now in the business of promoting holocaust remembrance on the taxpayer’s dime.
Another fascinating news report that just surfaced also has a holocaust plus “surging” anti-Semitism back story.
It is all about how numerous Biden nominees are stuck in the Senate waiting for approval, but it is really about Deborah Lipstadt who is described as a “renowned holocaust scholar.”
Lipstadt is the Dorot professor of Modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Atlanta’s Emory University, as well as founding director of Emory’s Institute for Jewish Studies.
She has also held senior positions at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, another taxpayer supported enterprise that promotes the Israel narrative. Lipstadt has sharply criticized some progressives in the Democratic Party who have dared to criticize Israel, including Representative Ilhan Omar, for describing pro-Israel Americans as a “political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Such statements are “part of the textbook accusations against Jews,” Lipstadt countered, but Omar was, of course, right, though not allowed to get away with the truth when confronted by the Democratic Party establishment led by a foaming at the mouth Nancy Pelosi.
The White House announced in late July that Lipstadt would lead an expansion of the activity of the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, which is tasked with tracking and countering the alleged rise of anti-Semitism abroad.
For the first time, the position will have the rank of ambassador, which makes necessary Senate confirmation.
Bear in mind that these are all mechanisms set up specifically to promote the narratives favored by international Jewry.
Apart from affirmative action for blacks and other set-asides to favor them, there exists nothing in the US government to enhance the status of any other European, Latino or Asian ethnic groups or religious persuasions that is in any way similar.
These commissions, offices and special ambassadorships were established through the assiduous marketing of their brand by Jews using their methodically exploited financial power and the political access that it buys.
To cite only one example of what all that networking produces, politically wired Jewish organizations already receive more than 90% of the discretionary grants for “security” issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
And the end result is that Washington is a helpless giant that is drawn into conflicts in the Middle East that it would best avoid while also funding the Jewish aggressors, most recently in response to a demand to rearm the Israeli military with $1 billion, conflicts which serve no US national interest.
Finally, should the United States be so obsessed with a narrative that is certainly in many respects questionable and which relates to events that largely took place many years ago overseas?
Should the American taxpayer continue to foot the bill for all these contrivances to bind the US government hand and foot to the “heritage” of a small minority of the population and to its favored foreign state?
These are questions that are almost never asked though, as Voltaire allegedly put it, “If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.”
Moshé Machover slams the hypocrisy of an Israeli aggressor state demanding sympathy as a victim state
At the time of writing, the outcome of the Vienna talks about restoring the Iran nuclear deal – the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapon capability1 – is hanging in the balance.
Should we believe persistent news reports of an ‘unbridgeable gulf’ between the positions of the US (which withdrew from the deal during the Trump presidency) and Iran? Perhaps.
But they could just reflect bargaining postures, as often happens in hard negotiations, which seem to be at the precipice of breakdown before a last-minute agreement.
One thing is sure: Israel, the kibitzer in this political poker game, is doing all it can to prevent any real rapprochement between its US patron and the Iranian bête noire.
What are Israel’s real concerns?
Israeli propaganda repeatedly claims that Iran is aiming to achieve capability to produce nuclear weapons, because it intends to annihilate Israel.
Here is a typical example, from an address by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 15 2015:
Just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilisation and to establish a ‘master race’ to replace it in controlling the world, while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region, from which it would spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state.
Iran is advancing in two directions: the first is developing the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons and accumulate a stockpile of ballistic missiles; and the second – exporting the Khomeinist revolution to many countries by heavily using terrorism and taking over large parts of the Middle East.2
This is, of course, sheer nonsense. Iran has neither the intention nor the ability to ‘obliterate’ Israel.
Allegations to the contrary are figments of hasbarah, Israel’s efficient factory of falsehoods.
True, Iranian leaders have occasionally expressed the hope that the Zionist regime would collapse and disappear.
But this is wishful thinking rather than a threat that Iran was going to initiate military action to bring about the demise of Israel, as claimed by the Israel-friendly media.
The most notorious instance of this deliberate falsification involved a statement made on October 26 2005 by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He was quoting the Islamic Republic’s first leader’s expectation that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.
This was widely misrepresented as a threat to “wipe Israel off the map”.3
Moreover, even if Iran achieves “the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons”, it would pose no existential danger to Israel.
This was emphatically pointed out by Ephraim Halevy, a former chief of Mossad (Israel’s counterpart of the CIA and MI6).
Addressing a conference held in February 2008 in Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies,
Ephraim Halevy slammed Israeli political leaders for calling Iran’s nuclear threat ‘an existential threat’.
“There is something wrong with informing our enemy that they can bring about our demise,” Halevy said.
“It is also wrong that we inform the world that the moment the Iranians have a nuclear capability there is a countdown to the destruction of the state of Israel.
We are the superpower in the Middle East and it is time that we began behaving like [a] superpower,” he said.4
Of course, Israel is not indifferent to the prospect of Iran achieving nuclear weapon capability.
But its concern is not fear of being ‘obliterated’; rather, it is worry about any erosion, however slight, of its position as hegemonic regional superpower.
This position depends, among other factors, on its being the only Middle Eastern state possessing a nuclear arsenal,5 as well as the only one that has refused to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
It is by far the most aggressive, expansionist state in the region, operating a prolific policy of assassinations;6 frequent, widely reported bombings in Syria and Lebanon; and attacks at sea on ships carrying Iranian oil.7
This state-terroristic practice depends on its enemies and rivals having no effective means of deterrence, as that would tilt the military balance and diminish Israel’s overwhelming advantage.
Iranian nuclear capability could constitute such a deterrent, albeit not a very serious one.
In fact, a more credible deterrent is Iran’s development of conventional missiles that would exact an unacceptably high price in retaliation for an Israeli attack8 – which is why Israel is lobbying for inclusion of a ban on this development in any revived Iran nuclear deal.
By the way, the same logic applies to Israel’s evident concern about the rather advanced state of missile build-up by Iran’s Lebanese ally, the Hezbollah.
There is no real danger of Hezbollah initiating an aggressive military action against Israel; but its missiles are now a credible deterrent against a repeat of Israel’s extensive, aggressive incursions into Lebanon, or a massive strike against Hezbollah’s patron, the Islamic Republic.
However, from the perspective of preserving Israel’s absolute regional hegemony, the greatest concern is not the purely military one.
It is political. In his lecture, from which I have quoted above, Ephraim Halevy went on to say: “Iran’s real goal [is] to turn itself into a regional superpower and reach a ‘state of equality’ with the United States in their diplomatic dealings.”
This is a rather inept way of putting a valid point.
Of course, Iran can never reach a state of equality with the US in diplomatic dealings; but a détente between the global hegemon and the Islamic republic would certainly upgrade the latter’s regional position.
This would imply some erosion of Israel’s regional hegemony, because it is unlikely that as part of the US-Iran deal the latter would acquiesce in Israel’s leading regional dominance (as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have done).
I have repeatedly pointed out that in this respect Israeli interest may diverge from American ones. For example, a year ago I wrote:
I have my own view on the possibility of an arrangement of some sort between the United States and Iran.
Of course, it would depend on many contingencies, but, as the nuclear deal struck by Barack Obama proved, there are circumstances where it is possible for these two states to come to an agreement. In my opinion, Israeli hostility to Iran is more far-reaching than that of the USA. It would be acceptable for the Americans under certain circumstances to strike such an agreement – provided Iran behaved like an obedient client state. That would involve giving Iran some kind of respect as a major power in the Middle East. But Israel would oppose such an arrangement, because Iran is regarded as an obstacle to its own regional hegemony.9
This explains Netanyahu’s vehement efforts to dissuade the US Congress under the Obama administration from signing the 2015 nuclear deal, and his encouragement to Trump to withdraw from the deal (not that Trump needed much encouragement). As several Israeli military commentators pointed out, the US withdrawal left Iran free since 2017 to enrich uranium to a higher concentration, thus coming closer to nuclear weapon capability than while the deal held. Netanyahu’s anti-deal advocacy would indeed have been irrational if his main concern was Iran’s nuclear capability. But it was quite rational, given that his priority was to exacerbate US-Iran relations.
The same logic applies to the Vienna talks. As the well-informed Iranian-American scholar, Trita Parsi, has recently pointed out,
It’s not the nuclear deal that’s the problem for Tel Aviv, but the very idea that Washington and Tehran would reach any detente at all …
[T]he details of the deal are not the real problem. It’s rather the very idea of Washington and Tehran reaching any agreement that not only prevents Iran from developing a bomb, but also reduces US-Iran tensions and lifts sanctions that have prevented Iran from enhancing its regional power …
There is a curious passage in the [New York] Times piece [published on December 10]: “American officials believe that so long as Iran has not moved to develop a bomb it does not have a nuclear military program, since it suspended the existing one after 2003. Israeli officials, on the other hand, believe that Iran has continued a clandestine effort to build a bomb since 2003.” If true, has Israel shared that intelligence with Washington?
If so, it has failed to persuade the CIA and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
If it hasn’t been shared, why not? And why did the Times choose to publish this rather inflammatory allegation without investigating these very basic – not to say critical – questions?
The moral of the story is this: US and Israeli interests on Iran diplomacy are irreconcilable.
Biden’s efforts to square the circle have predictably failed. Biden must choose whether he will pursue America’s interest or Israel. This should not be a difficult choice.10
Whatever political differences we may have with Parsi, his diagnosis of Israel’s main concerns is correct.
Israel is doing its damnedest to prevent any agreement in Vienna. It resorts to various provocations, including barely veiled threats of taking major unilateral military action.
In my opinion, the probability of such action – an all-out Israeli attack on Iran – is thankfully not high.
There are no signs in Israel of serious military preparations for this scenario, or of fortifying civilian population centres against expected Iranian and Hezbollah retaliation.
However, escalation of the relatively low-level raids and assassinations that have become routine is most probable; and these can get out of control and lead to an unintended major conflagration.
Meantime, as Akiva Eldar, a senior Israeli political commentator, has recently remarked, what could deflate Israel’s puffed-up bullying posture is a serious proposal for a nuclear demilitarisation of the Middle East. In an article entitled ‘The Iranian threat: no nukes for us – or Israel’,11 he writes:
Over the years we have learned that when a politician or a general declares that “all options are on the table” he is actually referring to a single option – the military option. Supposedly that’s the only option that will remain to Israel if the negotiations with Iran don’t produce a nuclear agreement that satisfies the political leadership in Jerusalem.
… Has anyone read or heard about preparations for the possibility that Iran will announce that it accepts all the restrictions that the United States wants to impose on it; that in addition, it will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit its nuclear installations without advance warning, and will even agree to extend the treaty by another 15 years – all that, on one condition: that Israel signs exactly the same document?
… As far as is known, the decision-makers in Jerusalem, those who declaim that “all options are on the table”, did not consider the possibility that Iran would pull out the doomsday weapon: an overall agreement for nuclear demilitarisation of the Middle East – including Israel – and acceptance of all the demands. It’s much sexier on television to show helmeted pilots talking about preparations for war.
Akiva Eldar has his tongue firmly in his cheek when warning against this “doomsday weapon”. But the point he is making is serious. We should call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. Israel will, of course, reject the very idea – as it has done in the past – but it will serve to expose its hypocritical stance of an aggressor demanding sympathy as a victim.
Major Organized Crime Families Have Been Moving Freely Between Israel and U.S.
Was Loophole Left Open on Purpose?
I have never heard of a watch list to impede their [“Israeli” ]access here.
And yet, the stories of innocent Americans caught up on no fly lists are legendary, as are their tales of trying to be removed…easy to get on but hard to get off.
“…application of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(ii) against Israeli OC [Organized Crime] is not specifically authorized per Foreign Affairs Manual 40.31 N5.3.
As such, Israelis who are known to work for or belong to OC families are not automatically ineligible for travel to the United States. “
I am not making this up folks.
You would think that with all the War on Terror lists, the overseas phone monitoring, emails, Intel sharing…the list goes on and on, that Israeli Organized Crime (OC) families could not travel freely between the U.S. and Israel, but think again.
The new Wikileaks US Embassy in Israel cable (released August 26th) gives you a peek into the gang who can’t shoot straight.
Or maybe someone has poor aim on purpose.
We are spending a fortune on Homeland Security and have given up all kinds of freedoms to ‘be safe’.
If you or I donate to the wrong charity that has a tangential tie to a listed terrorist group that we did not know about, we can find our selves in a felony prosecution with no premeditation.
Europeans have tens of thousands doing hard time for WWII historical dispute ‘thought crimes’.
Yet when it comes to known mobster family law enforcement the cops throws their hands up and claim ‘doo doo happens’
That Israel can’t shut down the known crime families in a country deemed the most secure on the planet can only mean that key organized crime people are moonlighting for powerful entities who want the doors left open.
The Israeli tourism minister murdered some years ago was thought to be implicated in their White Slavery trade
It is not a big secret in the trade that big international crime organizations are usually tripping all over themselves to do anything they can for certain Intel agencies for the wonderful get out of jail free card it can bring.
Small fry don’t get these of course. They are for the big boys only.
The Afghanistan drug money has our political system awash with the purchasing of protection money, and the high end crime bosses having the pick of the litter for retiring counter intelligence people looking to make more money than they ever dreamed.
And they can do some Intel work for the folks back home on the side.
We just had an example of this done American style with ex-Deputy Secretary of State David Welch, now with the huge Bechtel international contractor, advising indicted war crimes criminal Gaddafi and family on how to defeat NATO, including American service men and women in harm’s way.
The captured Gaddafi Intel documents reveal that Welch even suggested laundering what certainly seemed to be a request for negative Intel on the rebels by running it through Israeli Intel so it would sell better on the home front.
If you are wondering I think Welch and Bechtel were offering this assistance for some financial gain, the answer is yes.
And I don’t think Welch ever cried himself to sleep one night over it, nor is he now.
There are a lot of hard working cops ( as you will read below) chasing these crime family guys around but they never seem able to deliver the knockout blow.
The loophole noted up at the beginning is still open over two years after it was written.
There is a criminal statute, I think they call it ‘theft by conversion’…where someone takes money for a service and then does not provide it, like a home remodeling ‘advance for the materials’ scam.
Folks, besides all the back slapping these security people wear themselves out giving each other, major threats continue because the perps have a lot of political juice.
That is where all the mega criminal activity is now because the ‘safety’ record of virtually no one going to jail is carved in stone.
The scandal of the decades long massive Israeli espionage operations here is a glaring example.
I have never heard of a watch list to impede their access here.
And yet, the stories of innocent Americans caught up on no fly lists are legendary, as are their tales of trying to be removed…easy to get on but hard to get off.
I included the full cable. I wanted you to see that these embassy people are trying hard…and passing on the full story. But nothing has been done.
There are many, many security things where nothing has been done, and I pose to you that the same thread would be found in many of them.
They have political protection…all that they need.
For those of you thinking Mr. Jim is going overboard on this, save it for the next one.Israeli Shin Betcan and has tortured Palestinian kids as young as 12 years old, with Supreme Court approval, just to get them to spill the beans on who Uncle Ahmed has been visiting late in the evenings.
They could clean these gangs out in a year…if they wanted to.
Someone didn’t want to. But fortunately they are making some progress.
And just like with Gaddafi, when the Bush crowd came in, and Blair, they offered him protection…with a dress on it.
Do you think they did that for the goodness of their hearts, or did he give them some things that they really wanted?
And who paid for this largess? Forty thousand detained Libyans are still missing.
So who aided and abetted terrorism on a grand scale?
More on the long CIA history with Gaddafi will be coming out.
We have already reported here that he was a protege of Richard Helms last week.
How many of you knew part of Gaddafi’s holdings that we are supposed to be keeping in cold storage here is a 30% stake in daddy Bush’s Cargill Corp?
Was that same corp that supplied chemical weapons to Saddam to test out on the Kurds?
U. S. forces found some of the remnants buried in the Iraqi desert with the labels still on them. So again, who were the aiders and abettors of that terrorism?
It’s a nasty world folks.
A Promised Land for Organized Crime?
1. (SBU) Organized crime (OC) has longstanding roots in Israel, but in recent years there has been a sharp increase in the reach and impact of OC networks.
In seeking a competitive advantage in such lucrative trades as narcotics and prostitution, Israeli crime groups have demonstrated their ability and willingness to engage in violent attacks on each other with little regard for innocent bystanders.
The Israeli National Police (INP) and the courts have engaged in a vigorous campaign against organized crime leaders, including the creation of a new specialized anti-OC unit, but they remain unable to cope with the full scope of the problem.
Organized crime in Israel now has global reach, with direct impact inside the United States.
Post is currently utilizing all available tools to deny Israeli OC figures access to the United States in order to prevent them from furthering their criminal activities on U.S. soil. End Summary.
Crime War Hits the Streets of Israel
2. (SBU) In November 2008, Israeli crime boss Yaakov Alperon was assassinated in broad daylight in a gruesome attack on the streets of Tel Aviv, only about a mile away from the Embassy.
According to several media accounts, a motor scooter pulled up alongside Alperon’s car and the rider attached a sophisticated explosive device with a remote detonator to the car door.
The bomb killed Alperon and his driver, and injured two innocent pedestrians.
The hit was the latest in a series of violent attacks and reprisals, and indicated a widening crime war in Israel.
3. In July 2008, a 31-year-old Israeli woman was killed by a stray bullet on the beach in Bat Yam in front of her husband and two children during a failed assassination attempt on noted crime figure Rami Amira.
In a feud between the Abutbul and Shirazi clans, crime boss Shalom “Charlie” Abutbul was shot by two gunmen in September 2008, an attack that also wounded three bystanders.
In December 2008, Charlie Abutbul’s son-in-law, Nati Ohayon, was gunned down in his car in Netanya.
Before the fatal bombing of his car, Alperon himself had survived at least three previous attempts on his life before his assassination, and was engaged in an ongoing feud with the rival Abergil clan (although there are numerous suspects in Alperon’s murder).
The day after Alperon’s death, two members of the Abergil syndicate were sentenced for conspiring to kill Alperon’s brother, Nissim, in May 2008.
4. (SBU) In response to rising concerns for public safety, former Prime Minister Olmert convened an emergency meeting of top law enforcement officials, cabinet members, and prosecutors in December ¶2008.
He promised to add 1,000 officers to the INP and to allocate approximately NIS 340 million (USD 81 million) to improve the INP’s technical capabilities.
In general, the rise in OC-related violence has led some public figures to call for emergency state powers to attack criminal organizations, and OC became a minor but important issue in the February 2009 Knesset elections.
Former Labor Party MK Ephraim Sneh publicly decried criminal extortion in his campaign ads, only to have his car torched in apparent retaliation outside his home in Herzliya.
5. (SBU) Organized criminal activity is not a new phenomenon in Israel, and major crime families are well known to the Israeli public (the Alperons even featured in a recent reality television program).
Five or six crime families have traditionally dominated OC in Israel, although the names and makeup of these syndicates have fluctuated in recent years.
The Abergil, Abutbul, Alperon, and Rosenstein organizations are among the most well known, but recent arrests and assassinations have created a power vacuum at the top.
New names such as Mulner, Shirazi, Cohen and Domrani have moved quickly to fill the gap.
Other up-and-coming groups include the Harari, Ohana, and Kdoshim families.
There are also a number of rival families active in the underworld of Israel’s Arab sector.
6. (SBU) Traditional OC activities in Israel include illegal neighborhood casinos, prostitution rings, extortion, and loan sharking, with each family controlling a different geographic region.
The Alperon family, for instance, dominates the Sharon region, while the Abutbul operation is based in the coastal city of Netanya.
The focus is largely on easy money guaranteed by the limited use of violence.
Criminal involvement in the recycling business, for example, has been well covered in the press.
OC families collect bottles illegally from municipal recycling bins and restaurants, return them at the collection centers claiming twice the actual numbers, and pocket the change for millions in profits.
Not Your Grandfather’s Mob
7. (SBU) Despite their notoriety, OC figures have generally been viewed as a nuisance to be handled by local police.
Law enforcement resources were directed to more existential security threats from terrorists and enemy states.
In recent years, however, the rules of the game have changed.
According to Yaakov Lappin of the Jerusalem Post, the old school of Israel OC is giving way to a new, more violent, breed of crime.
Lappin told conoffs that the new style of crime features knowledge of hi-tech explosives acquired from service in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a willingness to use indiscriminate violence, at least against rival gang leaders.
New OC business also includes technology-related crimes, such as stock market and credit card fraud, and operates on a global scale.
8. (SBU) As the reach of Israeli OC has grown, so have the stakes.
Crime families are working further from home and exporting violence abroad.
Older gambling schemes have grown to include sprawling casino franchises in Eastern Europe.
The Abutbul family began its gambling business in Romania over a decade ago, and now owns the Europe-wide Casino Royale network.
In 2002, Israeli OC turf wars spilled into Europe when Yaakov Abergil and Felix Abutbul were killed two months apart.
Abutbul was gunned down in front of his casino in Prague in a show of force by the Abergils as they attempted to capture a portion of the European gambling market.
9. (SBU) Israeli OC now plays a significant role in the global drug trade, providing both a local consumer market and an important transit point to Europe and the United States.
In 2004, Zeev Rosenstein was arrested in Israel for possession of 700,000 ecstasy tablets in his New York apartment, destined for distribution in the U.S. market.
He was ultimately extradited to the United States in 2006, where he is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence.
Two other crime figures, Meir Abergil and Israel Ozifa, are also facing U.S. extradition charges on charges that include smuggling 100,000 ecstasy tablets into the United States.
10. (SBU) The prostitution business has also grown beyond the neighborhood brothel.
In March 2009, the INP arrested twelve suspects in what is believed to be the largest Israeli-led human trafficking network unearthed to date.
Ring leader Rami Saban and his associates were charged with smuggling thousands of women from the former Soviet Union and forcing them to work as prostitutes in Israel, Cyprus, Belgium, and Great Britain. Some women were flown to Egypt and smuggled across the Sinai border by Bedouins.
Law Enforcement Steps up the Pressure
11. (SBU) After years of perceived inaction, in 2008 the INP created a new unit called Lahav 433.
The elite unit operates under the direct command of the police commissioner, and is charged specifically with infiltrating and eliminating Israel’s major crime syndicates.
Lahav 433 also cooperates closely with district investigative units to combat smaller criminal organizations, many of which are aligned with the larger crime families.
12. (SBU) Following Alperon’s assassination, the INP initiated a series of raids that led to the arrests of a number of leading crime figures.
Among their targets were Aviv and Adam Abutbul, sons of crime-family head Charlie Abutbul, both charged with possession of illegal weapons.
(A third brother, Francois, is already facing murder charges for a nightclub killing in 2004.)
Police also arrested gangland figure Amir Mulner for weapons possession and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Mulner is known to be an explosives expert by army training, and is a suspect in Yaakov Alperon’s murder.
He is also believed to be managing affairs for Rosenstein while the latter serves his sentence in the United States.
13. (SBU) Yaakov Alperon’s brother Nissim was arrested with 18 others in December 2008, in what was reported to be a “mafia meeting” in a Tel Aviv-area caf.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the group may have been planning a revenge attack for his brother’s recent assassination.
Alperon’s son Dror, recently dismissed from his army service for disorderly behavior, also faces several counts of assault and was convicted on extortion charges.
Also in December, police in Netanya launched several raids on illegal gambling houses and the homes of suspected money launderers with ties to the crime families.
In Ashdod, brothers Roni and David Harari were arrested on charges of extortion.
Regional police stuck a blow against the Jerusalem Gang, and convicted its leader Itzik Bar Muha.
Skepticism Hovers Over GOI Efforts
14. (SBU) Journalist Yuval Goren of Ha’aretz told conoffs that “thousands of foot soldiers” remain active on the streets despite these aggressive anti-OC operations.
He noted that approximately 2,000 people attended Alperon’s very public funeral.
Goren expressed skepticism that recent arrests will bear fruit in the long term without a sustained commitment to enforcement.
He noted that many of the crime leaders remain active while in prison and their operations are not hampered significantly even when they are convicted and jailed.
15. (SBU) In December 2008, former Prime Minister Olmert himself admitted that efforts to combat OC have long been diluted among different agencies, and that INP technology lags far behind that allocated to security services for counterterrorism.
Given the recent change in government and the current economic crisis, there is public skepticism as to whether GOI promises to remedy the situation will be fulfilled.
In 2003, following a failed assassination attempt on Rosenstein, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made similar promises to commit manpower and resources to combating the problem.
16. (SBU) It is not entirely clear to what extent OC elements have penetrated the Israeli establishment and corrupted public officials.
The INP insists that such instances are rare, despite the occasional revelation of crooked police officers in the press.
Nevertheless, there have been several dramatic revelations in recent years that indicate a growing problem.
In 2004, former government minister Gonen Segev was arrested for trying to smuggle thousands of ecstasy pills into Israel, a case that produced considerable circumstantial evidence of his involvement in OC.
The election of Inbal Gavrieli to the Knesset in 2003 as a member of Likud raised concerns about OC influence in the party’s Central Committee.
Gavrieli is the daughter of a suspected crime boss, and she attempted to use her parliamentary immunity to block investigations into her father’s business.
(Gavrieli is no longer a member of the Knesset.)
Just last month, Israeli politicos and OC figures came together for the funeral of Likud party activist Shlomi Oz, who served time in prison in the 1990s for extortion on behalf of the Alperon family.
Among those in attendance was Omri Sharon, son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was himself convicted in 2006 on illegal fundraising charges unrelated to OC.
Courts Testing New Powers
17. (SBU) In 2003, the GOI passed anti-OC legislation that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for heading a criminal organization and three years for working in such an organization.
The law defines such a body as a group of people working in an “organized, methodical and ongoing pattern to commit offenses that are defined by the laws of Israel as crimes.”
The law also allows for property forfeiture, both in the wake of conviction and in cases where it is proven to belong to a criminal organization.
18. (SBU) Until recently, said Lappin, judges and lawyers have been slow to make use of this authority, and are hampered by a lack of resources, insufficient understanding of the tools at their disposal, and reticence to mete out tough sentences.
A witness protection program for those who testify against OC is just now getting off the ground, and is not backed by any specific legislation.
Nevertheless, on March 16th, a Tel Aviv district court took the important step of sentencing 14 convicted criminals belonging to two mob organizations in Ramle and Jaffa to up to 27 years in prison.
19. (SBU) Increased efforts by Israeli authorities to combat OC have engendered retaliatory threats of violence.
Recent press reports indicate that as many as 10 Israeli judges are currently receiving 24-hour protection by the police against the threat of violence from members of crime organizations.
Israeli OC appears to be intent on intimidating judges personally, as a way of influencing the legal process.
Judges in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa have been assigned police protection, underscoring the depth of the problem.
Israeli Crime Reaches American Shores
20. (SBU) Israel’s multi-ethnic population provides a deep well of opportunity for Israeli OC to expand into new territory.
Most Israeli crime families trace their roots to North Africa or Eastern Europe, and many of their Israeli operatives hold foreign passports allowing them to move freely in European countries, most of which participate in the visa waiver program with the United States.
Approximately one million Russians moved to Israel following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and Russian citizens no longer require visas to enter Israel.
Many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of OC groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country.
Little is known about the full extent of Russian criminal activity in Israel, but sources in the police estimate that Russian OC has laundered as much as USD 10 billion through Israeli holdings.
While most Israeli OC families are native-born and the stereotype that Russian immigrants tend to be mobsters is greatly overblown, indigenous OC groups routinely employ “muscle” from the former Soviet Union.
21. (SBU) The profit motive serves as a great unifier among Israel’s diverse demographic groups.
According to Goren, some Amsterdam-based Hasidic groups allegedly are implicated in international drug smuggling through links to Israeli OC.
Arab and Jewish Israeli criminals routinely cooperate and form alliances to expand control of lucrative drug, car theft and extortion rackets.
Even hostile and closed borders pose few obstacles to OC groups.
According to the INP, 43% of intercepted heroin in 2008 was smuggled from Lebanon, 37% from Jordan, and 12% from Egypt.
Israeli OC Operating Freely in United States
22. (SBU) Given the volume of travel and trade between the United States and Israel, it is not surprising that Israeli OC has also gained a foothold in America.
Over the last decade, media reports have detailed a number of high-profile cases involving Israeli OC, ranging from large-scale drug deals to murder.
The ongoing Central District of California grand jury investigation against the Abergil family, where a RICO conspiracy case was initiated in December 2007, best demonstrates the full extent of such criminal activity.
Investigators have linked Yitzhak Abergil and his entire network to crimes of “embezzlement, extortion, kidnapping, and money laundering.”
Yitzhak Abergil is currently under arrest in Israel and facing extradition for related charges linking him to the murder of Israeli drug dealer Samy Attias on U.S. soil.
23. (SBU) As part of an ongoing effort to track Israeli OC through media reports and police sources, Post so far has identified 16 families and 78 related individuals who are at the center of Israeli organized criminal activity.
The consular section has revoked several visas for those who have been convicted of crimes in Israel, but many OC figures have no prior criminal convictions and carry no visa ineligibilities.
As a result, many hold valid nonimmigrant visas to the United States and have traveled freely or attempted to travel for a variety of purposes.
24. (SBU) In March 2009, Post received information from law enforcement authorities that convicted criminal and member of the Abergil organization, Mordechai Yair Hasin, along with his pregnant wife and child, was intending to flee Israel for Los Angeles on valid tourist visas.
Hasin’s visa was revoked based on his conviction, as were his family’s visas after they were determined to be intending immigrants.
25. (SBU) As in the Hasin case, Post is using every available tool to limit OC travel to the United States, but such efforts are not always successful.
In June 2008, Post issued Adam Abitbul a valid tourist visa. Abitbul had no prior criminal convictions, and carried no visa ineligibilities.
Several months later, Post received information from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) that he had traveled to the United States to carry out a hit.
Abitbul returned to Israel prematurely for his father’s funeral, at which time Post revoked his visa.
(Post can only revoke the visas of Israeli citizens while in country.)
In a similar case, in October 2008 Post issued Moshe Bar Muha a tourist visa; he claimed to be traveling for medical treatment.
Post subsequently received information from the LAPD that Bar Muha is in fact the brother of Itzik Bar Muha of the Jerusalem Gang (see above) and a convicted criminal.
26. (SBU) As recently as March 2009, Zvika Ben Shabat, Yaacov Avitan, and Tzuri Rokah requested visas to attend a “security-related convention” in Las Vegas.
According to local media reports, all three had involvement with OC. Post asked the applicants to provide police reports for any criminal records in Israel, but without such evidence there is no immediate ineligibility for links to OC.
Luckily, all three have so far failed to return for continued adjudication of their applications.
Nevertheless, it is fair to assume that many known OC figures hold valid tourist visas to the United States and travel freely.
Comment: Israeli OC Slipping Through the Consular Cracks
27. (SBU) Given the growing reach and lethal methods of Israeli OC, blocking the travel of known OC figures to the United States is a matter of great concern to Post.
Through collaboration with Israeli and U.S. law enforcement authorities, Post has developed an extensive database and placed lookouts for OC figures and their foot soldiers.
Nevertheless, the above visa cases demonstrate the challenges that have arisen since the termination of the Visas Shark in September 2008.
Unlike OC groups from the former Soviet Union, Italy, China, and Central America, application of INA 212(a)(3)(A)(ii) against Israeli OC is not specifically authorized per Foreign Affairs Manual 40.31 N5.3.
As such, Israelis who are known to work for or belong to OC families are not automatically ineligible for travel to the United States.
A Jerusalem-based human rights group on Tuesday released new statistics revealing that Israeli security forces and armed settlers‘ violence against Palestinians in the illegally occupied territories escalated in 2021 to the highest levels in seven years.
Last year was the deadliest year for Palestinians living under occupation since 2014, when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge and killed thousands in the Gaza Strip, according to B’Tselem – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
The latest figures from B’Tselem follow Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021.
More than two-thirds of all Palestinian casualties last year were from that assault of Gaza.
As B’Tselem details:
In 2021, Israeli security forces killed 313 Palestinians, including 71 minors: 236 in the Gaza Strip, 232 of them during Operation Guardian of the Walls; and 77 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).
Three other Palestinians were killed either by armed settlers or by soldiers who were escorting them; another Palestinian minor was shot by an Israeli civilian and later by Border Police officers; and two Palestinians were killed by armed settlers.
Nine Israeli civilians, including two minors, were killed by Palestinians, six of them by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Three foreign nationals were also killed by rockets. Two members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians.
— Exposing Zionism UK: Free Palestine (@EZUKFP) January 4, 2022
The group notes that it was unable to determine whether Israeli attacks or rockets fired from Gaza during the May operation killed eight Palestinians, six of them minors.
At least 25 Palestinians were killed by rockets fired at Israel that landed in Gaza and two others were killed by Palestinian Authority security forces while being arrested in the West Bank.
Blasting “Israel’s lethal, wanton, unlawful open-fire policy,” B’Tselem says that while the policy has been defended by Israeli government ministers, legal advisers, and military commanders, the facts show deadly shootings “are a routine affair, and no one is held accountable.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently updated its official policy. The Times of Israel reported last month that it used to “allow soldiers to open fire only while trying to arrest a suspect if that person were still in the act of throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails at cars, but not after the fact.”
The newspaper explained that “under the new policy, if soldiers see a Palestinian person throwing a rock or firebomb at cars, they are permitted to go through the arrest protocol in its entirety, including the use of deadly force if necessary, even if, by that stage in the process, the suspects no longer have firebombs or rocks in their hands.”
B’Tselem points out that “eight of the fatalities in 2021 were killed at or near protests against the establishment of the Eviatar outpost on land belonging to the villages of Beita, Qablan, and Yatma—demonstrating the means Israel’s apartheid regime takes over Palestinian land for the purpose of establishing Jewish settlements.”
The group also highlights how many Palestinians were displaced because Israeli authorities demolished their homes, estimating that 895 people, including 463 minors, were left homeless due to the destruction of 295 residences.
“Another 548 nonresidential structures were demolished on Israeli authorities’ orders, including cisterns, warehouses, agricultural structures, businesses, and public structures,” the group says.
“These demolitions are not a matter of ‘law enforcement,’ as Israel claims, and Palestinians who build without permits are not ‘criminals,'” adds B’Tselem.
“The Israeli apartheid regime blocks almost all Palestinian development in vast parts of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem—while building massively for Jews.
This policy leaves Palestinians no choice but to build without permits, so as to have a roof over their heads.”
The new statistics come amid an International Criminal Court probe into allegations of war crimes against Israeli forces and Palestinian groups since June 2014. The U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said last year that the Israeli military’s bombing of certain structures in Gaza during Operation Guardian of the Walls could amount to war crimes.
HRW’s Gerry Simpson declared that “Israeli authorities’ consistent unwillingness to seriously investigate alleged war crimes, as well as Palestinian forces’ rocket attacks toward Israeli population centers, underscores the importance of the International Criminal Court’s inquiry.”