Friday, June 3, 2011

When The Ex-Mossad Chief Thinks You're Crazy...

This article in the New York Times is interesting. The recently retired head of the Israeli Mossad (i.e. CIA) is using his newfound civilian freedoms to run around and say that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are, basically, f***ing nuts. Now, anyone with access to information more substantive than FOX News has probably known or suspected for some time that the Israeli leadership are apartheid-organizing, ethnocratic, colonialist scum - but that some of the people in the top tiers of the Israeli leadership think Bibi and Ehud are bonkers it tells you something. Just to put it in perspective, the ex-Mossad chief is hardly a bleeding heart liberal or lover of freedom. As the Times notes:

While in office, Mr. Dagan served three prime ministers, was reappointed twice and oversaw a number of reported operations that Israelis consider great successes — forcing delays in Iran’s nuclear program through sabotaging its computers and assassinating scientists; setting the groundwork for an attack on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007; and assassinating Imad Mughniyeh, a top Lebanese Hezbollah operative, in 2008 .

When Ariel Sharon, the prime minister in 2002, appointed Mr. Dagan, he was reported to have told him he wanted “a Mossad with a knife between its teeth.” Mr. Dagan is widely thought to have complied and is not seen as a soft-hearted liberal.
What this schism reflects is the pressure coming to bear on sections of the Israeli ruling class as a result of the Arab revolutions, which are causing the region to shift wildly under their feet, and the growing sense that Israel is a pariah state utterly uninterested in peace or justice. The only thing that really allows the Israelis to continue with their policies is American support - political, financial and military. Israel wouldn't last a day without America. But there is a weariness within a section of the American elite for the rabid nature of the Israeli leadership. It's still a minority strand, to be certain, but it is an expression of the fact that some doubt how useful is a despised Jewish Sparta, surrounded by a sea of resentful Arabs ruled by increasingly unpopular and unstable dictatorships (also sponsored by the USA).

Well, the more splits the merrier, as far as I'm concerned. Splits make it more difficult for the Israelis to attack Iran - as Dagan suggests the leadership around Netanyahu wants to do - and can create an opening for the Palestinians to drive a wedge, particularly if there are more successful revolutions in the Arab world and the revolution in Egypt deepens. For one thing, Israel is at risk of losing a key ideological prop: it's claim to be the only democracy in the middle east. That looks laughable as 80 million Egyptians build a vibrant democratic society next door and, meanwhile, the majority of the population under the effective control of the Israeli government (i.e. the Palestinians inside Israel and in the Israeli colonized and controlled Territories) have no civil or democratic rights over that government.


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