Two documents reported on this week shed a troubling light on the US government’s attitude toward Israel.
The first is a 27-page FBI search warrant affidavit from 2004 targeting then-senior AIPAC lobbyist Steve Rosen, published Wednesday in The Washington Times.
The second is WikiLeaks’ leaked secret State Department cable from October 2008 signed by then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice directing US officials to spy on Israel.
Both indicate that in certain quarters of the American government, Israel is viewed as at best a banana republic and at worst an enemy of the US.
The text of the FBI affidavit directed against Rosen makes clear that the FBI had no particular reason to suspect that he was an Israeli agent or was harming US national security. Rosen’s activities during his tenure as AIPAC’s senior lobbyist as described in the affidavit – meeting with government officials, journalists and Israeli diplomats – were precisely the type of activities that lobbyists in Washington routinely engage in.
Despite this, the FBI followed Rosen for five years and indicted him and his AIPAC colleague Keith Weissman on felony charges under the all-but-forgotten 1917 Espionage Act. The FBI probe and subsequent trial harmed AIPAC’s reputation, destroyed both men’s careers, and did untold damage to the reputation of both the State of Israel and its American Jewish supporters. That it took five years for the Justice Department to drop these outrageous charges is a testament to the strength of the FBI’s commitment to criminalizing American Jewish advocates of a strong US-Israel alliance.
And then there is Rice’s secret cable. Just days before the 2008 presidential elections, the secretary of state instructed US diplomats in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA to conduct a massive espionage operation against Israel. The sought-for information covered all aspects of Israel’s political system, society, communications infrastructures and the IDF.
Regarding the IDF, for instance, among other things, diplomats and spies were asked to gather intelligence on planned Israeli military operations against the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria, and to probe the attitudes of military commanders.
They were also told to gather information on “IDF units, equipment, maintenance levels, training, morale, and operational readiness[;] IDF tactics, techniques and procedures for conducting conventional and unconventional counterinsurgency and counterterrorist operations[; and] Israeli assessment of the impact of reserve duty in the territories on IDF readiness.”
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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