The KGB’s Middle East Files: The fight against Zionism and world Jewry
Break-ins, forgeries, creating front organizations and even planting bombs – all means were justified in the battle that the Soviet intelligence agency waged against the Zionist movement, the emigration of Jews from the USSR and the world’s major Jewish organizations. Classified documents now reveal that the agency’s leaders saw Zionism as a real threat to the Soviet empire, and did everything in their power against it.
In January 1972, Operation Simon entered its final stage. A team from Service A, a key department in the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (which was responsible for collecting intelligence and special operations outside the USSR) traveled to Paris to gathered intelligence ahead of the operation. Service A was responsible, among other things, for the operations against Zionist and Jewish organizations, an issue of utmost importance as far as the omnipotent KGB head, Yuri Andropov, was concerned.
In the Soviet intelligence’s glossary, Operation Simon meets the definition of “active measures.” Their practical meaning was “aimed at exerting useful influence on aspects of interest in the political life of a target country, including its foreign policy; the solution of international problems; misleading the adversary; undermining and weakening the adversary’s positions.”
Operation Simon included secretly infiltrating the World Jewish Congress (WJC) offices in Paris and copying internal material—mostly documentation on the members of the large international organization— in order to map its ties to other key Jewish organization. The Russians’ surveillance of the headquarters, located in the heart of the City of Lights, revealed that the employees did not sense any danger. While the threat of global terrorism had already been raised at the time, no one in the WJC bothered to install an alarm system or have the offices guarded at night. A KGB team obtained a key to the front door from one of the employees and copied it. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Ruthie Blum: Note to Israelis: The US is not racist
Since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election last month, Israelis have been engaged in a heated debate about how the victory of the billionaire businessman who gets into fights on Twitter will affect the Jewish state.
The Left, which has been fawning over Barack Obama for eight years, has been attributing all the ills of his country and the world during this period to a combination of piggish capitalism and racism ostensibly so indigenous to America that even the Great Black Hope was unable to stomp them out. Members of this very vocal sector of the Israeli media and academia are naturally appalled by Trump, but point to his success as evidence that their analysis of the character of the United States is accurate.
According to this position, it was not the failures of the Democratic Party that led to its defeat, but rather the very nature of the voting public. The holders of this view went as far as to claim that a country with such a number of yahoos and evangelical Christians was simply not ready for a woman president.
This is exactly how these same Israelis interpret the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just broken David Ben-Gurion’s record for the length of tenure in the office of the premiership, though the primitive and religious voters whom they put down are Orthodox Jews and those of North African descent. Different culture, same snobbery. And a virtually identical — delusional — outlook on peacemaking in the Middle East.
In contrast, the Israeli Right has been celebrating Trump’s win, highlighting two causes for optimism. One is the assumption that the president-elect is sympathetic to the settler enterprise — since he does not consider it to be at fault for a lack of peace with the Palestinians — and therefore will not respond to every additional Jewish apartment built in the West Bank with the apoplexy exhibited by the Obama administration.
Atma Singh, an aide to Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor of London, has claimed he saw Ken’s staff “cheering” 9/11 as they watched events unfold in the mayoral press office:
Q: “You were in the Mayor’s Office during the actual attacks. What was your and others’ reaction inside the Mayor’s Office?”
Singh: “I watched the attacks unfolding while I was in my office as one officer had come into my office in the Mayoral corridor to inform me about them. Then, as the situation unfolded, I went into the Mayoral Press Officer’s room to watch the terrible events. I was disturbed to see a few people cheering the events. Others watched soberly and others talked matter-of-fact about the consequences for London.”
Q: “Celebrating the attacks?
Quite an allegation from a former aide…
In the wake of the US presidential election, BDS supporters have joined some far-left anti-Trump protesters, and a BDS supporter became the leading candidate to head the Democratic National Committee. In academia, the Middle East Studies Association proposed redefining itself as a political organization in order to support future BDS resolutions. Meanwhile, federal legislation to limit Israel boycotts has been introduced. The polarization of America has increased and the position of BDS as a far-left cause may shift as the political and cultural landscapes change.
The November election was a turning point in US history. In some of the protests that ensued, BDS supporters were present, along with other groups, including ANSWER and Black Lives Matter. Palestinian flags, “free Palestine” chants and calls for intifada were heard at street protests in New York and other cities. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters participated in the protests.
BDS support for anti-Trump protests expands the “intersectional” alliances with far-left movements, in this case ANSWER and Socialist Alternatives. Another recent example is BDS support for protests against the Standing Rock Sioux pipeline. Such alliances feature BDS activists attempting to usurp media attention, usually against the will of the hijacked cause.
The Trump election may have a direct impact on BDS. The nomination of South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations would see a strong BDS opponent in a critical position, as would rumored appointments for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. If rumors are true that the Trump administration will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, SJP and its sponsoring organizations could also be in jeopardy.
In response to the Democratic collapse, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison put himself forward to head the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Ellison has roots in the Nation of Islam, has fervently defended antisemites like Louis Farrakahn, supported the BDS movement, is effectively a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and has encouraged rewriting the Democratic party platform to oppose the Israeli “occupation.”
When the UN, on November 29, 1947, voted in favor of the partition of Palestine, the Jews in the British-controlled Yemenite city of Aden cheered. But then, 69 years ago today, the local Muslims viciously set upon their Jewish neighbors, leaving 87 dead and many more wounded. Ofer Aderet describes the events. (Free registration may be required.)
The rioting began on December 2, 1947 and lasted three days. “On the night of December 2, the Arabs started to burn Jews’ cars in the streets,” Shimon Sasson [who was fifteen-years-old at the time], recalled. “The next day they invaded our neighborhood. The streets were totally empty. We threw bottles at them.”
A day later Arabs started to torch Jewish stores, businesses, and homes. “A few families fled their homes and ran to our house, which was in the middle of the neighborhood. I opened the door and took in five families,” whose names he still remembers.
The Jewish leaders asked the British for help. In response, they sent a unit of Bedouin policemen under British command. “That’s when the disaster started,” [the Jewish Agency representative in Aden, Ovadiah] Tuvia wrote [in a report to his superiors]. “The hooligans started to loot Jewish stores. The policemen stood aside and smiled. Another minute and you could see them assisting in the looting and pillaging.”
The strategy is pretty simple.
During Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, Israel is portrayed as an obstacle to the birth of Jesus.
During Lent, the 40 days before Good Friday, Israel is portrayed as a source of Christian suffering in the Holy Land, similar to the Roman and Jewish elites who oppressed Jesus and His followers in first century Jerusalem.
Using the stories of Advent and Lent as hermeneutics to interpret the Israel-Palestinian conflict turns it into a cosmological affront in which Israel, the Jewish state, is always guilty and the Palestinians are always innocent.
The use of these narratives to frame the Israel-Palestinian conflict also appeals to a deep-seated tendency on the part of Christians to view Jews as villains who obstruct God’s purposes for humanity. It casts Palestinians as innocent Christ-like sufferers who are in no way responsible for the conflict and the suffering it causes to themselves or the Israelis.
With this strategy, so-called Christian peacemakers condone, reward and encourage more bad behavior from the Palestinians who have learned to rely on human rights activists in both secular and religious communities to broadcast their propaganda to Westerners.
This behavior also engenders mistrust on the part of Israelis who have grown tired of hearing one-sided complaints from Christians in the United States who do not have to live with the consequences of the conflict they help inflame with their distorted narrative.
Airbnb is the company everyone loves to hate, until they are looking for the perfect charming low-cost vacation rental with a view of the surf. Because they refuse to discriminate against Jews who list their homes in Judea and Samaria, Airbnb has been in the Israel’s hater cross-hairs for some time now.
Jewish Voice for Peace and friends launched the Stolen Homes campaign, which follows the JVP formulaic and entirely predictable modus operandi. A petition! A hashtag! Aging hippies holding signs!
No doubt the 30 billion dollar company was left quaking in its shoes. No! Not hippies holding signs!
Andy Griggs and Emma Rosenthal are members of Labor for Palestine, the Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee and the Cafe Intifada, and have been involved in many social media campaigns designed to demonize the only democracy in the Middle east. No one doubts their commitment to quashing the state of the Jewish people, unless of course, their personal livelihood is involved. That would be different.
Andy and Emma list rooms at their Dragonfly Hill Urban farm on Airbnb, and choose to ignore the “call from Palestinian civil society” ostensibly because it might interfere with their bottom line. They’ll endlessly harangue community organizations to divest “from companies doing business in Israel”, but they can not be bothered to do so themselves.
Makes me wonder. Could self righteous virtue signalling hypocrites be at the core of the failure of the BDS movement in America?
Sorry guys, but Arab Muslims whose families lived thousands of miles away from Europe have no right to determine or revise the history of the Holocaust to suit their own pretty transparent political agenda.
Here we have it, folks. More proof that antisemitism has been normalized on college campuses, swept aside the student union execs who feel the politically correct thing to do is to accept and acknowledge Holocaust denial as a viewpoint worth discussing. Not only that, but the word “antisemitism” was not even included or even alluded to in the statement, and no acknowledgement of wrongdoing was made.
The reason given for staging the walkout was that other genocides wouldn’t be acknowledged, especially their pet “Palestinian Holocaust” that resulted in a tenfold increase in the Palestinian population in a 68-year period.
Ironically, the woman who brought forth that point of view is the head of Ryerson’s chapter of the BlackLivesMatter movement. What she did was basically equivalent to saying “#AllLivesMatter,” but of course minimization is only okay when it’s Jewish struggles. So much privilege that three-quarters of a century ago, 6 million of us were killed en masse for no reason, followed by 900,000 expelled from their homes in Arab lands, which mainstream “progressive” groups love to gaslight. But please, do go on about how we have privilege.
Another amendment was proposed by a different speaker to have the event focus on all genocides and not have the event focus on just the Holocaust specifically.
“Members from [RMSA] and [SJP] tried to create an amendment that equivocated conflict in Israel and Palestine to the Holocaust, which is actually extremely anti-semitic,” Hillel at Ryerson social justice chair Aedan O’Connor said.
O’Connor also said that members from RMSA and SJP were allegedly “snickering and jeering” when Cooper was presenting her motion and that comments were made about there being too many Jewish students speaking and that they should all sit down.
Quorum was lost before any voting on the motion could begin. O’Connor and Cooper said they think quorum was lost as a result of members from RMSA and SJP purposefully leaving so the motion couldn’t be voted on.
“It was evident people were walking out as an act of silencing this motion,” Cooper said.
She said she saw over 100 people walking out. “At no other time during this meeting [was there] any call for quorum other [than] during the discussion of the motion for Holocaust education week.”
An anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist nominated as one of three candidates for the top leadership position of Britain’s national Jewish student organization has a “definite chance of winning” amid declining participation in the group by Zionist students, a British campus affairs expert told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Jonathan Hunter — co-founder of the UK-based Pinsker Centre for Zionist Education — was referring to University of York’s Eran Cohen –himself an Israeli and a Jew — who is running in the upcoming Union of Jewish Students (UJS) presidential election.
Cohen’s chances are high because his supporters are “hardcore,” Hunter said, while “the much broader constituency of students sympathetic to Israel don’t feel the urgency or want to make the effort to go on the internet and vote.”
According to Hunter, those backing Cohen aim to “subvert UJS — a body that has outwardly identified as Zionist for the last 90 years — and turn it into some fictional Yiddish, socialist, non-Zionist, all inclusive group which stands for absolutely nothing.”
An Egyptian rock band is facing boycott threats from Palestinian university students after it coordinated an upcoming show in the West Bank with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
Massar Egbari (“Compulsory Detour”) — a four-member group founded in Alexandria in 2005 — is set to perform on Saturday at Birzeit University, north of Ramallah. However, the nrg report said, some students there have declared they will not attend the concert, claiming it would promote the normalization of ties between Israel and Egypt.
On social media sites, these students are using the hashtag #normalizationisnotcompulsory, a play on the band’s name. Some have suggested that Massar Egbari wait to come to the West Bank until after the establishment of a Palestinian state and the “liberation from the Israeli occupation.”
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel, though the relationship has at times been strained over the years. Israel-Egypt ties have improved since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took power in Cairo in 2013, after ousting his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Any money you guys (Richard Silverstein, Ben White and others) collect via Paypal is ill-gotten gains, according to your warped principles.
Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and PayPal, the US company that operates an online payments system, said they would partner in joint research and development in the fields of big data, machine learning and cybersecurity. It is the first such collaboration between PayPal and an Israeli university, BGU said in a statement.
So feel free to remove your Paypal buttons and return donations you collected using Paypal.
Meanwhile, I am very supportive of this relationship. So dear readers, you should have no qualms about clicking on the donate button under this post!
The death of Fidel Castro has led to a flurry of obituaries over the past week, with some lauding him as a “hero”, and others referring to him as a “torturer and tyrant”. It is interesting to compare the Guardian editorial on the death of Fidel Castro with their editorial last year on the election victory of Benjamin Netanyahu.
The contrast between the two articles highlight some of the systemic flaws with media coverage of Israel, both at the Guardian and more broadly.
The Guardian piece on Castro is very balanced, as it presents both his positive and negative sides. The article lists his crimes – sham trials, summary executions and a situation where “power flowed from the gun, and a repressive state pointed weapons inward.” But the article then lists his achievements – “a remarkable system of healthcare and education,” as well as aid to Third World countries, such as sending 1,200 medics to Haiti. By presenting both positive and negative aspects of Mr. Castro, the article has attempted to provide a balanced picture of the man.
When the Guardian talks about Benjamin Netanyahu`s victory, this balance does not exist. Netanyahu is described as having “crossed red lines,” “dealt a grievous blow to any prospect of peace process,” and is accused of having “trampled” upon democratic principles.
Sunday’s New York Times magazine will carry a long and heart-rending account, by a writer named Rachel Kushner, of the miserable lives of some residents of the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem.
One of the fine things about the Internet is that even before the story was delivered to print subscribers of the Times, readers have had the chance to rebut it. The Times online commenters (at least the ones not likening Israel to the Nazis) have done a pretty good job already.
“I will look forward to Ms. Kushner’s next story from Aleppo. If she can write these many words about the ‘suffering’ Palestinians, I am sure her story on Aleppo will take up 1,000 times more column space….and will get this same top billing from the NY Times,” wrote “Ralph” from Chicago, sarcastically.
“Working Mama” from New York City wrote, “If you want to be taken seriously about the Middle East, you need to have the same standards for all players. Where are your accounts of the plight of Palestinian Arabs kept in camps in Arab nations? Where is the mention of the 800,000 or so Jews forced from their homes in Arab countries contemporaneously with the creation of Israel? Why no coherent discussion of why refugees from 1948 have failed to resettle or assimilate to new homes over nearly 70 years?”
There also are a few points I didn’t see addressed by the Times commenters that are worth adding.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd pledged $17 million to protect Jewish schools, colleges, nurseries and synagogues in Britain.
Rudd made the pledge Wednesday at a UK-Israel conference in parliament, the London-based newspaper The Telegraph reported.
Rudd said that she decided to fund guards for all Jewish institutions after receiving 924 reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including 86 violent assaults, last year.
“Let me be clear, any attack of that kind is one attack too many. Sadly the Jewish community knows all too well what it’s like to live with the threat from terrorism and hate crime,” Rudd said.
“We take the security of the Jewish community seriously, and we will continue to put in place the strongest possible measures to ensure the safety of this community – and all other communities too,” she added.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the elected representative national body of the Australian Jewish community, released their annual Report on antisemitism in Australia, for 2016. The ECAJ Report records antisemitism in two broad categories: incidents and discourse. A link to the full report is at the end.
The twelve month period ending 30 September 2016 saw a 10% increase over the previous year in antisemitic incidents in Australia involving threats or acts of violence, as documented in the annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia published by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).
The ECAJ, Jewish community roof bodies in each State, and other Jewish community groups logged a total of 210 antisemitic incidents during the period, including physical assaults, abuse and harassment, vandalism, graffiti, hate and threats communicated directly by email, letters, telephone calls, and leaflets. This compares to a total of 190 such incidents logged by the same sources over the preceding 12 month period.
Attacks (assault, abuse, vandalism, and graffiti) accounted for 70% of the total number of incidents, with 149 incidents. Two of these categories, the most serious categories – physical assaults and abuse/harassment of Jews – comprised 45% of the total incidents. Threats (email, letters, telephone, leaflets) accounted for 30% of the total number of incidents, with 61 incidents. There is also much anecdotal evidence of incidents which go unreported.
An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany’s Dachau with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.
“Due to an anonymous tip-off, police in Norway’s Bergen have secured an iron gate with the well-known text,” said Bavaria state police.
“From the picture transmitted, police believe it is highly likely that this is the iron gate that was stolen from Dachau.”
The theft of the 100-kilogram (220-pound) gate was reported on November 2, 2014, sparking an uproar, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel calling it “appalling.”
Forty years after his reporting exposed one of the worst war criminals in Dutch history, Hans Knoop is still celebrated in his native Netherlands as a hero.
On November 23, more than a million television viewers watched a public broadcaster’s historical period drama on how Knoop, a Dutch Jewish journalist, unmasked the art collector Pieter Menten in 1976 as a monster who murdered hundreds of Polish Jews and stole their property with help from German Nazis. It was the highest rating for such a production in the Netherlands.
The host of the Netherlands’ most-watched talk show, Jeroen Pauw, last week called Knoop’s discovery “a brilliant, unmatched journalistic achievement.” He recalled how the Knoop expose led to Menten’s arrest in a country that was profoundly shocked by his ability to escape justice and amass a fortune built on pillage.
But alongside this recognition, Knoop, a father of two whose mild manners and amiable expression conceal a steely determination, has paid a heavy personal price for the discovery. Harassed by Menten’s lawyers, supporters and even other journalists, Knoop said the scoop effectively ended his career as a working journalist in a country that many believe has still not fully owned up to its Holocaust-era history.
“Things don’t always go as they should go,” Knoop, 73, told JTA in an interview.
Menten, whose belated conviction for war crimes exposed deep flaws in Holland’s ability to try collaborators, eventually served five years of a 10-year sentence — itself a concession to his advanced age — before he died in 1988 at age 81.
Israel “Izzy” Papa decided to make helping others his vocation when he was in high school. The 22-year-old paramedic with Magen David Adom (MDA) started volunteering at Israel’s national emergency medical service and disaster-relief organization as a teen “because it was cool.”
“I saw some people in really awful situations and I realized that someone needs to help. I felt like I need to do it. That’s what I want to do; help people,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “It’s also so satisfying. When you save someone and he gets to live another day, that is a crazy feeling. The best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
Papa hit the headlines in Israel recently after becoming the first paramedic, and the first Israeli, to join the Red Cross and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) vessel in the Mediterranean Sea.
His team included international humanitarians, security professionals, medical staff and experienced maritime officers from Malta, UK, US, Slovakia, France, India, Italy, Denmark, Canada, The Netherlands and Sweden.
Two winning Israeli mixed martial arts fighters donned tzitzit, the Jewish ritual fringes, and kippahs following their victory in a competition in Israel.
Elazar Tariku and Almog Shay are both observant Jews who wear traditional Jewish garb in daily life. As each of their victories were announced on Nov. 11, with the referee raising their gloved fists in the air, a rendition of the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael blasted over the loudspeakers.
Tariku and Shay were on the preliminary card ahead of the main event in Menora Mivtachim Arena in south Tel Aviv. Tariku, a lightweight at 155 pounds from the southern city of Ashkelon, won his second professional fight by forcing fellow Israeli Ron Becker to submit with a shoulder lock in round one. Almog, a 135 pound featherweight also from Ashkelon, took his first fight by heel hooking Russia’s Vitaly Khmeinytsky, also forcing a submission in the first round.
The winner of the main event, American welterweight Douglas Lima, settled for climbing the cage around the ring in victory.
When Avram Hershko was a post-doc fellow at the University of California in San Francisco from 1969 to 1971, he made an unexpected discovery that led to his receiving the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology tells ISRAEL21c that he was interested in examining the mechanism that causes protein degradation in living cells. He assumed it had to do with running out of energy. Surprisingly, his experiments revealed the opposite: Proteins need energy to fall apart.
“It was serendipity,” he recalls.
A Nobel prize in chemistry
Rather than abandoning the research due to this unexpected result, he and his Technion graduate student, Aaron Ciechanover, spent years unraveling the mystery. They found that for protein degradation to occur, a “tag” or marker called ubiquitin must selectively attach to the protein – and this process requires energy.
“The lesson is that when you discover something that is not what you asked for, you should follow it up,” says the Nobel laureate.
Andrew Sachs, the British actor best known as the lovable Spanish waiter Manuel on the 1970s BBC sitcom “Fawlty Towers”, has died aged 86.
Sachs, who played a waiter from Barcelona on the series co-created by Monty Python star John Cleese, died on Nov. 23, his wife Melody told the Daily Mail.
Sachs, who was diagnosed with dementia four years ago, was buried in North London on Thursday.
According to a report by the Association of Jewish Refugees, Sachs was born in Berlin in 1930 to a Jewish father and a gentile mother. He only realized he was ‘different from his classmates’ when his best friend told him that his parents had forbidden him from playing “with a half-Jew.”
Sachs’s father was arrested for being Jewish, but his mother’s family’s good relations with the police earned him a temporary reprieve. Sachs later fled with his family to London to escape the Holocaust.
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