Germany to Try Alleged Israeli Agent in Dubai Hamas Assassination

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alg_mug-shots.jpg(collection of photos from passports of individuals suspected in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh)
This just in from CNN:

– Alleged Israeli agent to be tried in Germany over charges relating to the murder of a Hamas leader in Dubai.

G. John Ikenberry has written some of the most impressive work I have seen on how world powers — no matter how powerful — can see their power “bounded” by others in the international system.
This seems to be happening to the United States — but also to Israel.
This is what I wrote about the assassination of Hamas military wing commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in February 2010.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “Germany to Try Alleged Israeli Agent in Dubai Hamas Assassination

  1. Carroll says:

    Let’s do discuss ‘dual loyalty”.
    Of course it exist in many forms, allegiances to religion, principles, ethnics and etc., but I do think Walt generalizes it a bit and stays away from the bottom line to avoid the McCarthy syndrome.
    The real question pertinent to dual loyalties is this…Where should the line be drawn when loyalities and interest conflict?
    Where does the individual with dual loyalties draw his/her line and where does the government of a sovereign country draw that line?
    Is is natural for a Cuban immigrant to feel concern for family and even country left behind and express those feelings to their government representative to be considered in US policy affecting their travel and ability to send money to their relatives or their relatives welfare. Yes.
    Is it acceptable for militant Cuban exile groups to use money and political influence to in effect bribe politicians thru campaign donations to maintain trade restrictions on Cuba that prevent American groups like our arg industry from doing non political business with Cuba that would humanely benefit both us and the Cuban people? All because they want the US to overthrow Castro for them so they can reclaim their previous elite status in Cuba? To say nothing of the criminal enterprises of some foreign allegiance groups like this on our soil,like blowing up a plane of innocent people. Is it acceptable for a Cuban-American congressman to state his goal and reason for being in the US congress is to ‘use US resources’ to free Cuba then proceed to do just that without any regard for how it might conflict with American’s interest?
    No.
    I don’t have to give examples of the dual loyalty question for the Jewish or zionist pro Israel groups. We all already know all the facets of that.
    There will always be the problem of many people’s I.Q’s being ruled more by the emotional, not rational, and they are unable to examine, compartmentalize, separate and prioritize their different loyalties. Let’s call them the torn and confused.
    Then we have some delusionals and rationals who are well aware their activities and agenda are harmful to the welfare of Americans and US interest. Or even if not ‘well aware’ of everything involved, they simply don’t care. They have chosen their prime loyalty. And will claim their allegiance to whatever entity, no matter how conflicting to national majority interest, and their activities, no matter how despictable, as their ‘democratic right’.
    So when it comes to dual loyalties of a country’s population and their effect on a government’s deliberations on it’s national policies where should the line be drawn? Should we have lines?
    Actually I think there always were lines, but the body responsible for seeing these lines weren’t crossed in ways that harm the country is now too corrupted to do that job.
    When Steve posted Chuck Schumers.. ” A vote against Bolton is a vote against Israel” that said it all. Because in own words Schumer wasn’t
    saying Bolton was the right man to represent the US, he was saying very plainly the United States UN Amb should be the right man for interest of a foreign country, Israel.

    Reply

  2. samuelburke says:

    Phil weiss is carrying the day again on the I/P issue
    exerpt below…
    “2. I’ve never seen Hedges in action, he spoke like a churchman; I believe he is the closest thing to a blue-eyed transcendentalist in the Emerson Melville Thoreauvian tradition that you will find anywhere these days. It is amazing to think that this guy was recently a New York Times reporter, amazing to consider what he may have been suppressing to perform that role. For instance, he quoted “my friend” Rev. Jeremiah Wright (the chickens coming home to roost 9/11 sermon) and Edward Said and Rachel Corrie lovingly. The Said quote was savage/knowing: It was about intellectual courage, it was about recognizing those moments when one wants to turn away from the truth because describing it will endanger prestige, invitations, honorary degrees, access. And no truth is more dangerous to professional progress, Said said, than the great injustice of Palestine, which has left many people “hobbled, blinkered and muzzled.” Talismanic words.
    But Hedges’ own incantatory rhetoric deserves quotation. He began by saying that he had no doubt, based on an encounter he had with a hasbara informant when he was in Jerusalem for the Times, that a paid informant for Israel/the lobby was in our company and so he wanted to pass the other side a message.
    “I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in the darkness, we are in the light.” And now their moment is coming to an end. “The arc of the moral universe is long… You may have commandos who descend on ropes… we have only our hands, our hearts, our voices… But note this, note this well: it is you who are afraid of us, not us who are afraid of you… When there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive you…”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/08/young-palestinian-americans-take-leadership-role-in-us-campaign-for-gaza.html

    Reply

  3. JohnH says:

    Israel has lost control of the narrative. The mainstream media used to watch Israel’s back and make sure that any criticism was muted. But the internet, combined with Israel’s own obliviousness to its continual, atrocious behavior, changed all that.
    Being labeled anti-Semitic used to sting. But now the epithet has been so overused that it has lost its potency. The accused tend to be bemused rather than affected by it.
    People used to have a sense that Jews were so persecuted that they deserved a little reprieve from criticism. And did Israel ever take advantage of that! Instead of mature, measured behavior, Israel has this attitude of entitlement to do whatever they want, whenever they want, with total impunity.
    Finally we’re getting to the central question–why should it be Palestinians who pay for the sins of the Jewish Holocaust?

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing. An alleged Israeli agent is going to be prosecuted for a relatively minor aspect of a major crime he participated in, and Nadine still figures out a way to paint Israel as the victim.

    Reply

  5. Dan Kervick says:

    On the dual loyalty question, I do think there is one point that can be made that shouldn’t be very controversial. If someone maintains citizenship status in two different countries, then it is very reasonable to infer that they are loyal to both countries. I don’t know what percentage of Americans have multiple citizenships. But I don’t think it is out of line to conclude that most of them have dual loyalties.
    It is one of the oldest themes in literature that people have multiple loyalties that ordinarily pertain to different spheres or are otherwise easily harmonized, but that in certain circumstances can be thrown into conflict. We all have such multiple loyalties.

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  6. Dan Kervick says:

    “Ah, but Dan, have you forgotten the Litvinenko case? The Guardian could have chosen to recall the Russian propensity to murder people right inside Britain — but they did not.”
    ??? I’m not sure what your saying, but my impression is that the Litvinenko case has been very extensively covered in the UK, with as great an abundance of anti-Russian fulminations as one could possibly ask for. You’re really straining now to find evidence of persecution.
    Look the recent Russian spy case hasn’t generated a lot of outcry here in the US or elsewhere because it is rightly seen as mostly benign and even relatively humorous. It wasn’t even much of a “spy” case, since the agents don’t appear to have gathered any sensitive information. The Russians just decided to send some folks to America to blend in, try to make important friends, and see what they could learn. They didn’t kill anybody or steal anything; and they don’t appear to have learned anything that you and I couldn’t have learned by trolling the net. It was just an intelligence agency boondoggle. Comparing it to an assassination team is a bit silly.

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  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine, that was a distraction, but anyway: England expelled
    four diplomats as a reaction to the Litvinenko assassination:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jul/16/russia.politics
    and the Guardian wrote a lot about it at the time!
    —————————-
    “More recently, however, scholars have used the term “dual
    loyalty” in more analytical and neutral fashion, based on
    the obvious fact that all human beings have multiple
    loyalties or attachments.” (Walt)
    That would be sort of like calling someone a racist, Paul, but in
    a nice way, a “more analytical and neutral fashion”.” (Nadine)
    Is this a deliberate misinterpretation or just a distortion,
    Nadine? Personally, I have multiple loyalties, like most people.
    That’s a fact. If you pointed out that fact, I would not interpret
    it as if you called me a racist.
    Walt mentioned this as a fact within a chain of arguments,
    where he OPPOSES the use of “dual loyalty” within a political
    context.
    ——————————————-
    “Claiming that Israel has not been criticized in America is
    ridiculous.”
    I agree, Nadine. No one said that Israel has not been criticized.
    ————————————–
    “What is new is, on the one hand, mainstreaming the view that
    Israel ought to be destroyed, which used to be beyond the
    pale…”
    Mainstreaming? Where is the evidence? Is Steve Clemons (or
    Stephen Walt) perhaps “mainstreaming the view that Israel
    ought to be destroyed” – or is this perhaps more an issue of
    monitoring the comment sections of internet blogs?

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  8. sdemetri says:

    “The reaction to the Dubai case was extraordinary.” As it should have been. Comparing track records of recent highly public events, Russia, while certainly not blameless (no country is), has kept its nefarious dealings either less public and better controlled, or more legitimate. Assassinations tend to catch the public’s eye and imagination. Poorly executed assassinations of controversial figures in highly public conflicts especially.
    I suppose considering this victim just another dead Arab “terrorist” should have been considered less extraordinary.

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    “More recently, however, scholars have used the term “dual
    loyalty” in more analytical and neutral fashion, based on
    the obvious fact that all human beings have multiple
    loyalties or attachments.” (Walt)
    That would be sort of like calling someone a racist, Paul, but in a nice way, a “more analytical and neutral fashion”.
    Once a term is as tainted and as evocative as “dual-loyalist,” claims of “oh, I was just using it innocently in a neutral fashion” don’t cut the mustard.
    Claiming that Israel has not been criticized in America is ridiculous. Its policies have often been roundly criticized for generations.
    What is new is, on the one hand, mainstreaming the view that Israel ought to be destroyed, which used to be beyond the pale, while white-washing the open aspirations of its enemies to destroy it. (“It’s absurd to believe that Hamas actually intends to destroy Israel.”)
    That is NOT criticism like other countries receive. In no other long-standing conflict, do we see a refusal to acknowledge the existence of one party or to insist that it be wiped off the map. Turkey and Greece recognize each other. India and Pakistan recognize each other.
    Bias and imbalance, past a certain point, denote animus. That’s all I am saying, or Wigwag, or Lee Smith.

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  10. nadine says:

    Ah, but Dan, have you forgotten the Litvinenko case? The Guardian could have chosen to recall the Russian propensity to murder people right inside Britain — but they did not.
    “Just as governments get very angry about having their currency counterfeited, they also don’t like it when their passports are counterfeited.”
    Sometimes they make a fuss, more often they don’t. The reaction to the Dubai case was extraordinary.

    Reply

  11. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan, the Russian spies who were traded back about a month ago also used British passports in some cases. Yet in that case, Britain wasn’t “put out” at all; no Russian diplomat was even called in for an explanation, much less expelled; no column inches in the Guardian were devoted to reviewing Putin’s history of assissinating enemies even inside Britain, etc.”
    Surely governments will respond differently to the use of forged passports to murder people and the use of forged passports merely to schmooze young, low-level professionals. I doubt the Mossad team would have raised much of a ruckus if their mission had consisted solely in making friends with young Dubai technocrats. Rounding them up might not even have been reported.
    On the other hand when a passport is forged, and is then used in assassination operations, that damages the integrity of legitimate passports, and puts all of the other people who carry the legitimate passport at risk of heightened suspicion and tightened security.
    But in any case, your representation of the Russian spy case case is faulty. No forged passports were involved. Only one of the ten Russians carried a UK passport, and the woman in question was not using a forged British passport, but had acquired her passport legitimately, through her marriage to British man. She was subsequently stripped of her passport by the Brits, but not because it was a forgery.
    So to get an analogy with the Russian case, you need to imagine a Mossad team that was on a mission, not to kill, but to schmooze or reconnoiter; and you have to imagine that they were traveling on legitimate passports. And frankly, I suppose that there are a any number of such Israeli missions going on all the time, and they don’t cause much alarm or outcry.
    Just as governments get very angry about having their currency counterfeited, they also don’t like it when their passports are counterfeited.

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  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine said:
    “What I do object to, is Steve Clemons once again carefully
    cherry-picking news of Israel’s “villainy” while ignoring or
    downplaying the serious news of the Mideast. Once or
    twice is an accident. Five, ten times is a pattern.”
    “Walt and Mearshimer have gone far down this path and
    Steve seems determined to follow them.”
    Nadine quotes Lee Smith (in her last comment above):
    “Walt and his anti-Israel blogging colleagues have become
    the respectable face of Jew-baiting. They

    Reply

  14. Dirk says:

    Uri Brodsky, the Mossad spy in question, is not wanted directly for the assassination in the UAE but for applying for a German passport with false credentials as well as for using said ill gotten gains in the commission of a crime. Brodsky apparently passed on the passport to another Mossad agent who used it in the crime.
    He will likely face a relatively small sentence and since he wasn’t involved in the assassination directly, he likely won’t face an extradition request from the UAE, although maybe…
    It’s interesting that since the last time that Israel played fast and loose with other country’s passports (Canada and New Zealand), when the got verbally chewed out, this time countries are taking a very dim view.
    o UK deported the Mossad attache at the Israeli embassy in London.
    o Australia deported the Mossad attache at the Israeli embassy in Canberra.
    o Ireland not having a Mossad attache, deported a security attache of some sort.
    o Germany having determined a fraud had taken place, put out an EU(not Interpol) alert for Brodsky, which a fellow EU country could not ignore, and eventually got their man.
    o Only France hasn’t yet, that I’m aware of, taken punitive action.
    One thing is apparent, if you accidentally or deliberately allow your passport to be used by Israel, your future international travel will be “interesting”.
    It also raises the question; why doesn’t Israel just forge US passports when they do there little dirty work? I’m sure they could find some scum that would give them blanks.
    Other countries and especially the EU won’t take this shit, that’s for sure.

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    Lee Smith lays out the effects of Walt, Weiss, Greenwald, and Sullivan, and the media companies who publish them, in mainstreaming anti-Semitism on the internet and making it respectable again.
    Nobody can look into Walt’s heart and say that this is his intention. But they can point out that this is the effect of his words.
    Carroll, I do believe Lee Smith has given you your fifteen minutes of fame in this article.
    Mainstreaming Hate
    How media companies are using the Internet to make anti-Semitism respectable
    By Lee Smith | Jul 21, 2010 7:00 AM
    Clockwise from upper left: Phillip Weiss, Stephen Walt, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan.
    Clockwise from upper left: Sadredearth.com, Politico.com, WikiMedia, Getty Images
    One reason for the surge of public criticism of Israel over the last decade is the increasing interest of American media consumers in the Middle East as U.S. involvement in the region deepened after Sept. 11. The other reason is the triumph of the Internet, which lends itself to anti-Semitic narratives. The genius of the web is its interconnectedness, the facility with which it is capable of making links based on other links, which allows a chain of unbroken and unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo to acquire the stature of fact.
    As far back as 2003, David Brooks, writing in the Weekly Standard, was among the first to note the resurgence of anti-Semitism,

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  16. nadine says:

    “The French and Brits were justifiably put out by Mossad’s use of forged British and French passports in the assassination. For one thing, every government has a powerful interest in preserving the integrity of their passport, for the sake of both the safety and convenience of their nationals traveling abroad.”
    Dan, the Russian spies who were traded back about a month ago also used British passports in some cases. Yet in that case, Britain wasn’t “put out” at all; no Russian diplomat was even called in for an explanation, much less expelled; no column inches in the Guardian were devoted to reviewing Putin’s history of assissinating enemies even inside Britain, etc.
    This “justifiable” indignation you refer to is highly selective. It is a symptom of Israel’s scapegoating rather than an explanation for it.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Really all….it’s waste of time except for occasionally poking nadine and wig in the eye to talk to or about them.
    They are what they are…they aren’t going to magically grow a conscience and see the light.
    We need some new blood on here commenting, the nadine-wig circus has gotten repetitive and boring.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This really sucks. Why is Hillary getting a free pass on shit like this????? (Letter, below.)
    Its bad enough that Israel owns Congress, but it really frosts my ass that our Secretary Of State is a bigger whore to Israel than the Congress critters are.
    And why has Steve ignored the part she plays in FP issues???? I don’t get it. It is truly inexplicable. Is it fear? That would be my guess. I have no doubt that Clinton is a very formidable enemy to have in the sewage pit of DC politics.
    Or are Steve, his friends, and his cohorts, simply far too close to her to be subjective?
    Bucking for a spot in the next admin, Steve???
    Don’t hold your breath. Obama is such a huge dissappointment that it will take a major miracle to put another Dem in the White House, even one that thinks she can get in by whoring for Israel.
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/05-6
    Published on Thursday, August 5, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
    Secretary of State Clinton: Now That the Wedding Is Over, Could You Respond to Requests From American Citizens on the Gaza Flotilla?
    by Ann Wright
    Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
    I am a retired US Army Reserve Colonel with 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves and a former US diplomat who resigned after 16 years in the US State Department in opposition to the war on Iraq.
    I was one of fourteen American citizens on the Gaza flotilla.
    On June 14, 2010 I delivered to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of American Citizen Services a letter to you requesting investigation of the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla in which one unarmed American citizen was killed by Israeli commandos and fourteen other American citizens were kidnapped from international waters and taken to Israel against their will, imprisoned and their personal possessions stolen by Israeli commandos.
    Despite numerous inquiries to the State Department about the status of the response to my letter, after seven weeks I have not received a response to the letter nor to the 80 questions that I requested that the United States government pose to the Israeli government concerning their attack on the Gaza flotilla.
    As an American citizen, I am distressed that no one in the State Department government will not respond to this request for assistance.
    As a former US diplomat who worked for 16 years in the State Department and served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan (I helped reopen the US Embassy in December, 2001) and Mongolia, and who received an award for heroism from the State Department for actions during the evacuation of the US Embassy and the international community during the Sierra Leone civil war, I am deeply saddened by the lack of professionalism in my former organization in responding to such a request.
    Now that your daughter Chelsea’s wedding is over, could you please ask the State Department’s Inspector General to determine why after seven weeks there has been no response to my June 14, 2010 letter?
    Could you also determine if the State Department has made a demarche to the Israeli government concerning the circumstances surrounding the commandos deadly shooting of unarmed 19 year old American citizen Furkan Dogan, who was shot 5 times, several times to the head?
    Of much less importance, but still of concern because of evidence contained, I want to know if a demarch was made for the return of our personal possession including cameras, cellphones and computers taken when the Israeli commandos forcefully boarded all six of the ships in the flotilla. We returned to the United States with the clothes on our backs and our passports. Despite lists of our possessions being given to US consular officers during a June 2 visit to us while we were in prison in Israel, and to US consular officers in Istanbul, Turkey during our brief stay after being deported from Israel and to American Citizen Services officials at the State Department in Washington, DC, virtually nothing has been returned to us (I did receive a diary sent from the US Consulate in Istanbul, but nothing else –no computer, camera, cellphone, clothing, handbag, address book, $800 in cash, backpack, suitcase, etc.). Phone calls in Israel have been made on cellphones in the possession of the Israeli government
    In case the State Department bureaucracy did not make you aware of my June 14, 2010 letter to you, I am copying it for you here.
    Signed,
    Ann Wright, former US diplomat and retired US Army Reserve Colonel
    ORIGINAL LETTER
    June 14, 2010
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    Department of State
    Washington, DC 20001
    Dear Secretary Clinton,
    I am a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and a former U.S. diplomat (Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia) who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.
    I was one of twelve U.S. citizens that was on the Gaza Flotilla. I have just returned to the United States from having been kidnapped and imprisoned by the Israeli government.
    I appeal to you to institute a U.S. investigation into the murder by Israeli military forces of American citizen Furkan Dogan, a 19 year old high school student on the Mavi Marmara ship.
    I also ask that the United States demand the return of one U.S. flagged vessels that were seized in international waters in an act of international piracy by the Israeli military.
    I ask that the State Department assist in the location of the personal possessions that were stolen from American citizens in international waters by the Israeli military including computers, cameras, cell phones, identification, credit cards (one credit card has been used in Israel for over $20,000 in purchases), clothing, miscellaneous items such as notebooks, diaries and other personal papers.
    I also ask that the United States demand that the Israeli government cooperate with the offer of the European Union to inspect ships and cargo destined for Gaza which would allow the siege to end and commerce to begin.
    I ask that an investigation into whether U.S. made military equipment or equipment purchased with/through U.S. funding was used in the attacks on the six civilian, unarmed vessels, and if so, that sanctions against Israel available through the U.S. Arms and Export Control Act be implemented.
    I am attaching a list of 80 questions that an inquiry should answer. The list of questions comes from Uri Averny who head the Israeli human rights organization Gush Shalom.
    I also ask that U.S. funding for the reconstruction of Gaza be disbursed immediately. There are many non-governmental organizations in Gaza that can assist in the reconstruction activities if they have funding.
    Sincerely,
    Ann Wright
    Honolulu, HI 96826
    Ann Wright is a retired US Army Reserve Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. She was in Gaza three times in 2009 after the Israeli attack that killed 1440 Palestinians, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless. She helped organize the Gaza Freedom March that brought 1350 citizens of 50 countries to Egypt in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. she is a part of the effort to raise funds to send a ship in the name of U.S. citizens on the October, 2010 Gaza flotilla to break the continuing siege of Gaza.

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    Jewish Supremacists have long used charges of anti-Semitism like McCarthy used charges of Communism–to muzzle detractors and stifle debate.
    They succeeded for a long time, but the genie is now out of the bottle and cannot be put back in. Public criticism of Israel’s notoriously inhumane behavior is increasingly widespread in America.
    And so, people like like Nadine are desperate to return to the good old days, when legitimate criticism of Israel would magically disappear if the proper epithet was applied to people who were aware of what was going on.
    Instead of wasting her time trying to defend the indefensible, Nadine would be better off trying to get the Israeli government to change its behavior and comply with modern, international norms.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “… but no reasonable person who reads your remarks could come to any conclusion other than a belief that you hate Israel and an are indifferent to all of the behavior of Israel’s neighbors”
    Thats hilarious. If you were to poll the commenters here, and, I suspect, the reading lurkers, I think most would agree your comment is ludicrous.
    Steve’s comments about Iran are hardly oppositional to the White House propaganda, or even the Israel hasbara.
    And if Steve “hated Israel”, as you allege, I doubt he’d be giving Hillary the free pass she enjoys at TWN, and I’m sure he would be giving the Goldstone Report and Israel’s maiming of American citizens far more exposure in his essays.
    Truth is, with bigots and Israel firsters like yourself and Nadine, any essay, comment, or opinion that isn’t in line with the Israeli narrative must be written by someone who “hates Israel”. Its just the same old shit from you two jackasses. Attack the messenger, claim Israel is only defending itself, impose the Jews eternal victimhood on the debate, point a finger and spit “anti-semite” at anyone criticizing Israel.
    I noticed you avoided the thread about Israel cloning “Hitler’s Youth” with a contingent of despicable little racist Jewish teen punks. Good for you. Your absence at least telegraphed that you recognize how absolutely immoral and self defeating such policies are for Israel. Unfortunately, your failure to condemn the policy also sends a clear message.
    Are any of your grandkids in either of those photos, Wiggie??? Do you wish they were?

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    “You have said that you are not anti-Israel and that you don’t believe in a zero sum scenario for the Middle East; but no reasonable person who reads your remarks could come to any conclusion other than a belief that you hate Israel and an are indifferent to all of the behavior of Israel’s neighbors.” (wigwag)
    I disagree heartily with this statement and find it an example of what Steve referred to as wigwag and nadine “assailing” his position, as if mere assailing , in an aggressive, zionist-centric manner will in itself carry the weight of authority. “Hate Israel”? I mean , really wigwag, why don’t you just bait a little more. It is an arrogance borne of, well, arrogance, that sees fit to attribute disagreement with Iraeli policy as anti-Semitic and seeks to demonize, characterize and lie about criticism shamelessly. I agree that the bottom line is not to merely flood the comments with hasbara rhetoric, but to ultimately cast doubt — recently very openly — on Steve’s soundness as a policy commentator but, more disturbingly, on his honesty and credibility as a person. There can be no explanation for such open warfare except it goes beyond the bounds to honest debate — though wig and nadine throw opinion and fact around, intermixed liberally — to a concerted effort to discredit the blog.
    Apparently neither wigwag nor nadine can conceive that strong critics of Israel can be anything but anti-Semitic, or at least use that excuse to trot out the countervailing ‘tropes’ they often falsely infer.
    For all their slick rhetorical skills, covering very nasty accusations, what I find most outstanding is their apparent brazen assumption that slander will continue to be tolerated.

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    There really is no hope for you nadine.
    “Michael Totten has a new interview posted, with a young Israeli writer named Ben Kerstein, which I think you would find interesting:
    http://pajamasmedia.com/michaeltotten/2010/08/04/the-greatest-collection-of-nightmares-on-earth/
    Totten asks what it’s like to read foreign press accounts of Israel, and Kerstein replies: “Surreal.”
    I clicked on this thinking it might be some realistic piece about interactions between Arabs and Jews.
    Should have know better, it’s a travelogue about how misunderstood and wonderful Israel and the Jews are and all their bad things are caused by the….drum roll please…Holocaust nightmares. As usual.
    Should have know when I saw pajamasmedia.

    Reply

  23. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine,
    That’s a reasoned comment above, and to be candid, I too have concerns about the comments of some readers. I have on many occasions issued strong statements about my standards and preferences for commentary but I don’t have the ability to be a strong enforcer of these rules. But the lack of civility that sometimes breaks out here disturbs me — as well as occasions of overt anti-semitism which I try to remove when alerted, or ad hominem attacks, other bigotry and homophobic attacks. All of these happen here on occasion, and they disgust me. I have been contacted by lots of readers when commenters — including occasionally, you, POA, others — go over the line, and when complaints come in I try to remove the most offensive commentary. I just can’t review it all…but do what I can.
    Given your sincere commentary above I wanted to offer equally sincere response that I have no interest in breeding anti-semitism or any other attacks. I believe in strongly criticizing the behavior of political actors for political decisions — including Israel’s — for failures in the international policy realm.
    Once when speaking to Israel’s then Deputy Foreign Ministry Spokesman Gideon Mair (I may be misspelling), he told me that wide public debate was healthy and Israel “could handle it”. What he said Israel sometimes couldn’t handle was all the well-meaning efforts of its diaspora communities to decide what Israel’s interest were. He said that they often hugged Israel so much it hurt.
    So, onward. I have no more interest in this subject — and will keep posting and writing as I do. Hopefully you will keep commenting and remain out of the personal.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    Hi Wigwag,
    Since Steve Clemons is starting to be listened to as part of the FP establishment, I have watched with dismay as he follows the bad example of Walt and Mearshimer; he post arguments which, though not themselves anti-Semitic in content, resonate strongly with hoary anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish control of the media, the banks, America, the world, dual loyalty, etc.
    When these arguments predictably draw hoards of openly anti-Semitic commentators who cry, “Oh thank you, Mr. Expert, for saying what we always knew, about how those loathesome Zionists/Jews control the world,” he does almost nothing to disassociate himself or his arguments from this bigoted following. At that point, his following reads follow-on posts pointing out Israel’s venality, law-breaking, excessive use of force, etc. as nudge-nudge-wink-wink confirmation of their views.
    But should anybody point out to him that he is sounding rather like an anti-Semite – ah, the complaints of unjust accusations! the indignation! Walt and Mearshimer have gone far down this path and Steve seems determined to follow them.
    As for the Foreign Policy Establishment view of the Middle East — that Israel is a superpower that should just chill, it has no real worries that it isn’t causing by its own behavior, and that the totality of Middle East politics depends on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, whose impasse Israel is always responsible for, even when it’s the Palestinians who won’t even talk — it all seems detached from everything I think I know about the Middle East, to the point of insanity.
    Israel has survived this long because it WAS the regional superpower against the Arab bloc; however, whether it will remain a superpower against the new “Axis of Resistance” (Iran, Syria, Turkey, Hizbullah, and Hamas), whose very existence Steve has been downplaying to the point of denial, very much remains to be seen. If Israel does not have a right to be cavalier with America’s interests, neither does America have a right to be cavalier with Israel’s survival.
    I would put forth this empirical point of evidence for my view: Most Americans Presidents take office believing some version of the Foreign Policy Establishment Middle East Model. After a period of time, in which they try certain actions which ought to make progress according to the FPEMEM, they figure out that they are going backwards, not forwards, and begin to change their model of reality. It took Bush about 12 months to reach that point; Obama seems at that point now, after 18 months.
    Michael Totten has a new interview posted, with a young Israeli writer named Ben Kerstein, which I think you would find interesting:
    http://pajamasmedia.com/michaeltotten/2010/08/04/the-greatest-collection-of-nightmares-on-earth/
    Totten asks what it’s like to read foreign press accounts of Israel, and Kerstein replies: “Surreal.”

    Reply

  25. samuelburke says:

    keep it up steve this is a huge big deal for the Land of the Free.
    the zionists are like white washed sepulchres to quote a 1st
    century jewish rabbi.

    Reply

  26. samuelburke says:

    let me inject a little balance on israel so she or it can be judged
    in the light of actual events.
    you defenders of israel are ridiculous just as israel is
    ridiculous…the only thing that keeps the locomotion of your
    project going is big dollars to shut the politicos the hell up and
    american press complicity.
    american politiicos ought to be ashamed en masse by the way
    they suck up to israel on most issues…and the united states
    intelligence agencies must either be sick and tired of being made
    fools off or just plain ole chicken shit for some reason or
    other….the silence is deafening on the part of america.
    the general petraeus incident with max boot was absurd to the
    n-th degree.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/08/israel-says-video-of-crying-
    palestinian-boy-was-staged.html
    “Israel

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    I also recommend reading the Crisis Group report Carroll
    linked to above. Highly informatve.

    Reply

  28. sanitychecker says:

    Far from it, Israel has not learned from its mistakes. The flotilla incident was a disaster for Israel. On the battlefield, Israel hasn’t won a war since 1973 — and has lost every conflict against its Lilliputian neighbor to the north. It never learns from its mistakes. In that sense, it’s similar to the US, which from Beirut to Mogadishu to Baghdad to Kabul, has made losing wars the new national pastime.

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    From Col Pat Langs site…Sic Semper Tyrannis
    ‘Hasbara Attacks
    Not surprisingly, we have seen a renewal of Hasbara attacks, most recently from Montreal. They will not be posted. If you see this as a free speech issue, so be it. pl
    05 August 2010 ‘
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It will probably slow down in September when they all have to go back school. LOL

    Reply

  30. lally says:

    Carroll.
    The tree-trimming incident is the convenient spark to light a
    Congressional fire aimed at dousing US aid to Lebanon, particularly
    military aid.
    The GOI’s main concern is and has been, growing strategic
    cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah.
    Another factor is the Israeli suspicion that equipment acquired by
    Lebanon has been a key factor in the ongoing round-up of Israeli
    spies; according to Nasrallah the count is 100 plus. Rarely does a
    week go by without news of yet another arrest.
    It’s SOP that low-hanging Congressional fruits will be recruited to
    implement their agenda in the US.

    Reply

  31. Carroll says:

    “He also suggested that the ability of the United States to deal with the I/P conflict might have become so compromised and politically fraught that it would be best if the US sub-contracted the lead mediating role to others.”
    Agree and have said so many times.
    It’s a fact that the US government and political system is too corrupted by lobbies, donors and politicans for Israeli interest to be of any use whatsoever.
    As tyical, US Rep. Klein, who just happened to be visiting in Israel this week, immediately called for congress to stop all aid to Lebanon becuase of the tree incident.

    Reply

  32. Carroll says:

    Well there is nothing mystifying in wig wags and nadine’s constant attacks on Steve.
    Nadine in the prior Israel post comments assailed Steve personally by saying in effect ‘how can you be a gay person and not be for Israel because they have gay pride marches’.
    Insinuating that somehow gay people think differently and view ‘everything’ as related to issues on gay rights.
    It is typical of wig and nadine to attack people personally instead of their ideas.
    The truth as I see it is that Steve recognizes the injustices in I/P ‘occasionally’, but his his Israeli post are concentrated on addressing how Israeli actions affects both American and world interest. That’s his focus and area of expertise and the main theme of this blog as we all know.
    Some of us would like Steve to be tougher on Israel but we know it isn’t going to happen barring some new or final horrific event. This isn’t a partisan or crusader blog.
    What the Israeli activist on here really want is to censor Steve or goad him into banning them so they can claim he is biased. Because this blog does have creditability and is ‘balanced’ and by being balanced doesn’t fall 100% on the Israeli side.
    For all the food fights and mud slinging on here we are really just the side show, Steve and TWN is their actual target.

    Reply

  33. Dan Kervick says:

    I didn’t really see anything in Steve’s post about Israeli “venality”. Rather the point was just to highlight an illustration of the fact that even the most powerful countries do not have unlimited power.
    Putting this post together with the original post on the al-Mabhouh assassination, which Steve seemed in February to interpret as an attempt by Israel to squelch an initiative by Hamas to “diversify its relationships and adjust its posture to potentially join a unity government in Palestine” – an initiative whose existence was confirmed to Steve by officials in the Israeli government – the overall lesson Steve seems to draw about recent Israeli behavior is that Israel is on a self-destructive course rooted in a delusion about the extent of its power, and about its ability to write its own rules and make its own destiny in the Middle East without regard to international repercussions.
    He also suggested that the ability of the United States to deal with the I/P conflict might have become so compromised and politically fraught that it would be best if the US sub-contracted the lead mediating role to others.
    Steve took no position in that original post on the morality or venality of assassination. But he clearly leans toward the view that Israel’s effort to squelch the possibility of a Palestinian rapprochement was probably bad for Israel in the long run – and certainly bad for the US.
    The French and Brits were justifiably put out by Mossad’s use of forged British and French passports in the assassination. For one thing, every government has a powerful interest in preserving the integrity of their passport, for the sake of both the safety and convenience of their nationals traveling abroad. Also, the use of these passports would certainly suggest to others in the region that Mossad is in cahoots with the governments of the UK and France, and that puts British and French citizens at risk.
    Americans need no excuse for paying special attention to Israeli actions. Given the depth and extent of the US-Israeli relationship, and the enormous range of interests involved, it is good for Americans to keep a closer eye on Israel than other countries, so they can be apprised of potential divergences between Israeli interests and American interests. Given Steve’s overriding and unsentimental interests in US foreign policy and in the advancement of US interests abroad, he hardly needs to excuse himself for not turning his blog into an equal-opportunity crusading broadsheet to expose foreign venality, wherever it lurks. He appears to put his focus on those areas where US interests are most at stake, and where US policies and relationships are most in need of recalibration and reappraisal.
    Steve seems to have a lot of confidence in Obama’s ability to keep us out of wars that some in Israel seem eager to provoke and start in the near future. Let’s hope so. But so far in his administration, Obama seems to have been more of a spectator of Middle East events, reacting to events he does not control, rather than a conductor of those events. It is hard to avoid the fear that he can be manipulated into war, even if it is a war he sincerely doesn’t want.

    Reply

  34. Zach says:

    Steve:
    Were you referring to any particular work Ikenberry has done or just in general?

    Reply

  35. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for your well-meaning comments Wig. I don’t have the
    sense that my perspectives are out of balance, but perhaps that
    is the curse of us all. I believe that Israel’s current leadership is
    making decisions that undermine Israel’s long term interests and
    are playing cavalierly with US interests. I am an admirer of Haim
    Ramon, Ephraim Sneh (though we disagree on Iran), Ami Ayalon,
    Tzipi Livni (though we have key differences) — and am on record
    that I think that the status quo in Israel’s standoff with Palestine
    on the Occupation is unacceptable, like many others in the US
    foreign policy establishment feel. I think Israel is diverse – and
    has a mostly healthy debate domestically about these issues
    which impresses me — in part because the breadth of debate is
    so much more broad and serious than in Washington.
    I think Israel-Palestine issues are one of the key pivot points in
    global affairs today that really matter and where progress can
    and should be made. I think Netanyahu has the capacity to
    deliver on a deal, but lacks the will — and has outfoxed
    President Obama on too many occasions.
    Israel is the superpower in its region, but it’s behavior today is
    undermining its security. Those are my views — and I hope that
    Israel reigns in its misdirection before it causes irreparable harm
    to its interests and possibly to its relations with other key
    partners.
    I recognize that these are not your views — but I listen and read
    what you write — as well as Nadine, and I won’t get into
    personally maligning either of you.
    The blogosphere is a free trade zone for perspective and
    commentary – and I write about a great number of things. You
    are very sensitive on these issues and you both try to assert
    things about my views that are untrue or often wrong.
    You made the comment that you were certain that I would write
    five major pieces on Netanyahu’s visit to DC. I did not – though I
    didn’t read that line of yours until after the trip, but where is
    your retraction? or your own humility about these issues.
    I clearly state that I do not support the pugnacious nationalist
    course Israel is on, and I think that there are many American and
    non-American and Israeli Jews who agree with me….not enough
    to make a difference, but they are there. I will continue to
    criticize Israel’s course and do what I can to highlight the efforts
    to manipulate US policy in ways that are unhealthy for both
    countries.
    So, let’s keep at this — but as far as Nadine is concerned, she is
    welcome here if she debates the issues — but when she goes
    after me at a personal level, she really isn’t welcome. She can do
    that on her own dime and blog, not on mine. At least Kotz has
    three or four blogs of his own where he posts his theatrical and
    sometimes endearing criticisms of me.
    I don’t want to go deeper into this as I just don’t have the time -
    - and am writing a couple of big pieces now, one on Israel and
    Middle East issues and one on China/Asia. So, will be out with
    both soon – -and we can have a friendly, constructive
    discussion, hopefully.
    all best, steve

    Reply

  36. Bart says:

    The CNN link is not forthcoming. Are any of these
    perps in Germany or in custody somewhere?

    Reply

  37. Cee says:

    Good relations with Germany since the 60′s ey?
    http://www.wsws.org/news/1998/aug1998/bomb1-a27.shtml
    By a German correspondent
    27 August 1998
    A documentary broadcast August 25 by German public television presents compelling evidence that some of the main suspects in the 1986 Berlin disco bombing, the event that provided the pretext for a US air assault on Libya, worked for American and Israeli intelligence.
    The report, aired by Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF television), is of the greatest relevance to events of the past three weeks, in which attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania have become the justification for US missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan, and a shift in American foreign policy to an even more unbridled use of military force internationally.
    With Washington declaring “war against terrorism” and arrogating to itself the right to use its military might unilaterally against any target anywhere in the world, the German TV report raises the most serious and disturbing questions. All the more so, since the US media and leading Republican politicians, within hours of the American embassy bombings, began citing Reagan’s 1986 air attack on Libya as an exemplary response to terrorist attacks, and pressed Clinton to carry out similar military action.
    The air strike on Libya
    On April 15, 1986 US war planes bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. They destroyed the home of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and killed at least 30 civilians, including many children. Gaddafi himself, the main target of the air strike, was not hurt.
    Two hours later President Ronald Reagan justified the unprecedented attack on a sovereign country and its head of state in a national television address. The US, Reagan claimed, had “direct, precise and irrefutable” proof that Libya was responsible for a bomb blast in a West Berlin discotheque. The explosion 10 days earlier at the disco La Belle, a favorite nightspot for US soldiers, had killed three people and injured 200.
    Since November of 1997 five defendants have been on trial in a Berlin court for their alleged involvement in the La Belle attack. But in the course of more than half a year the case has proceeded very slowly. ZDF television, which carried out its own investigation into the case, explained why in the August 25 documentary produced by its political magazine Frontal.
    What the German documentary reveals
    The Frontal report arrives at the following conclusions:
    1) The lead defendant presently on trial, Yasser Chraidi, is very possibly innocent, and is being used as a scapegoat by German and American intelligence services.
    2) At least one of the defendants, Musbah Eter, has been working for the CIA over many years.
    3) Some of the key suspects have not appeared in court, because they are being protected by Western intelligence services.
    4) At least one of those, Mohammed Amairi, is an agent of Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
    The man charged with being the mastermind of the La Belle attack, 38-year-old Yasser Chraidi, was a driver at the Libyan embassy in East Berlin in 1986. He later moved to Lebanon, from whence he was extradited to Germany in May 1996.
    Frontal interviewed the two Lebanese responsible for the extradition of Chraidi: the former public prosecutor Mounif Oueidat and his deputy Mrad Azoury. Both confirm that the German authorities used deceit to have Chraidi extradited.
    According to Azoury, he received no evidence that Chraidi was actually involved in the attack; there were only “hints.” Oueidat states that the Germans showed tremendous interest in getting Chraidi. “The Americans were behind this demand,” he says. “This was obvious. They spurred on the Germans to speed up the extradition.”
    Eventually Chraidi, declared to be a “top terrorist,” was flown to Germany in a spectacular security operation. But a Berlin judge found the evidence presented by the prosecution so weak, he threatened to release Chraidi within three weeks unless more proof was presented.
    At this point another man was brought into the case, who, according to Frontal, “was obviously supposed to be spared by the prosecution until then.” On September 9, 1996, the very day the Berlin judge threatened to release Chraidi, Berlin public prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, Berlin police inspector Uwe Wilhelms and a Mr. Winterstein of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) met Musbah Eter in the Mediterranean island state of Malta.
    CIA involvement
    The meeting had been prepared by the BND, which maintains close connections to its American counterpart, the CIA. Musbah Eter was running an international business in Malta, which, according to Frontal, served as a cover for extensive intelligence operations on behalf of the CIA.
    The German authorities wanted him on a murder charge. But during the Malta meeting a deal was struck: “Immunity for Eter, if he incriminates Chraidi for La Belle.” The next day Eter went to the German embassy and testified. As a result, the warrant against him was scrapped and he was allowed to travel to Germany.
    In the words of Frontal, Eter is “the key figure in the La Belle trial.” At the time of the disco bomb attack he worked for the Libyan embassy in East Berlin. But he paid regular visits to the US embassy. According to Christian Str

    Reply

  38. WigWag says:

    Unfortunately Steve, Nadine is right; your views about the situation in the Middle East are wildly unbalanced. That’s okay, so are mine and so are Nadine’s. But your perseveration on what you consider the venality of Israeli behavior is so excessive that you run the risk of sounding like many of the most shrill and intolerant posters in your comment section.
    You have said that you are not anti-Israel and that you don’t believe in a zero sum scenario for the Middle East; but no reasonable person who reads your remarks could come to any conclusion other than a belief that you hate Israel and an are indifferent to all of the behavior of Israel’s neighbors.
    Either your posts don’t reflect what you have told us you believe about the nature of the conflict in the Middle East or your posts are truly emblematic of what you believe and your assertion that you don’t believe in a zero sum Middle East scenarios is inaccurate.
    Which is it?
    I say this with respect and even affection, but in light of much of the commentary that you ignore at the Washington Note, your criticism of Nadine in your comment above is mystifying.

    Reply

  39. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine, thanks for your comments and your constant counsel on
    what you think I should write about here. I write about a ton of
    different issues – and what I choose to post or highlight is highly
    subjective. You may move on if you don’t like the mix. Or better
    yet, get your own blog. I’ve written more than 4000 posts and
    articles in the last few years. You are welcome to do the same. .
    All best, steve clemons

    Reply

  40. nadine says:

    jonst, Israel’s relations since the 1960s have been quite good with Germany – certainly much better than with Britain or France.
    What I do object to, is Steve Clemons once again carefully cherry-picking news of Israel’s “villainy” while ignoring or downplaying the serious news of the Mideast. Once or twice is an accident. Five, ten times is a pattern.
    Notice how, when it’s Israel, Steve Clemons rejoices in seeing its power “bounded”?
    But Turkey? Iran? Hey, see no evil, hear no evil. Gotta work for Flynt Leverett’s Grand Alliance. Look for somebody to declare a “moderate” so you can “engage” him. Spike all stories that provide evidence that Iran is not engageable.
    Yesterday Lebanon staged a deliberate provocation by ambushing Israelis who were trimming trees on their own side of the border. Note that they didn’t shoot the actual tree trimmers, but the commanding officers who were well back from the border, and who were wearing helmets and flak jackets. They were shot in the head by snipers; a Lt. Col. is dead and a Capt. wounded. It turns out that the Lebanese officer who ordered the snipers is a Shia who hangs out with Hizbullah, according to the Israeli reports.
    Nice timing for a provocation, don’t you think, with the Hariri assassination about to be laid at Hizbullah’s doorstep, and by implication at Syria’s and Iran’s, their masters? The indictment is due next week.
    Plus, Iran is worried about the new hard-line talk coming from DC after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reportedly gave Obama an ultimatum that containment was not good enough. (Gee, will we see conspiracy theories about the power of the Saudi Lobby? not at TWN).
    So it looks like Iran decided to play some brinksmanship, remind everybody how easily it can order a new Lebanese war — aside from the civil war that is already brewing. But not through Hizbullah directly, not obviously. Muddy the waters, use the Lebanese army, maybe that way they figure they can send their message, score one on Israel, and get off with no reprisals. That’s what it’s looking like. It would be just their style.
    But Iran may get its war. Israel has demanded that the officer who ambushed its men be court-martialed or dismissed. They have sent the message through UNFIL and some foreign attaches in Beirut, if debka can be trusted (when the subject is the Israeli military, debka usually can be trusted). That won’t happen. Israel is threatening to attack Lebanese border installations if its demand is rebuffed.
    We’ll see what happens next. Hizbullah must be tempted to start a war to escape from the Hariri indictment — the old “escape by running ahead” [into war] ploy that was one of Arafat’s favorites whenever he got into a jam.
    However, boasting aside, Hizbullah remembers how badly it got beat last time, and Israel has studied its mistakes & will execute better next time. So I don’t think Iran and Hizbullah really want to pull the trigger, just send a message and play footsie. But the situation is very tense; any incident could make it blow up.

    Reply

  41. Blaine Garvin H. says:

    Good lesson for those who operate under the cloak and dagger. Phillip Agee has mentioned it that you will continue to live a false and double life, and ultimately upon retirement will be diagnosed with ptsd. the hit man may think he is smart and intelligent, but no one is smarter than the law whose long arm will always wait for their victims to get back to them.the agent should be hanged upon conviction or less life imprisonment without parole

    Reply

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