Saturday, April 10, 2010

"A Threat to Democracy"

Earlier this afternoon I was at a weekly gathering of some 15-20 friends. A judge, four professors, four mere PhDs (that's me), some attorneys, a few physicians, some highly successful business people. We convene for a Talmud study session led by the judge, but the participants are of varying degrees of religious observance, from not at all to rather strict. Our politics are likewise diverse. The consensus was that Haaretz has broken all the rules; three of those present said they were going to cancel their subscriptions. I can't remember the group ever being so agitated.

The Poles have far greater woes this weekend than the Israelis, as do the Thais. The Anat Kamm story which has us all worked up is not really important, and I hope to stop dealing with it very soon. Yet I do wish to summarize it as it looks after spending a few hours carefully reading Haaretz - where it was by far the main story - and some other papers, where it was major but not exclusive.

The story began when Anat Kamm allegedly stole 2000 classified documents from the office of her commander, CO of the Central Front, Yair Naveh, between 2005-2007. Allegedly, because she hasn't yet been convicted, let us not forget. The documents dealt with many matters, of varying seriousness. The security forces say that once they had figured out what had been stolen they had to make changes to operational procedures and change operations, out of fear their details had leaked. We're a country at war, people get killed in our wars, and this theft interfered. No-one's saying anyone was killed, but as we say in Hebrew, that was more luck than brains. Also: the documents are still out there. They haven't been retrieved yet.

The lesson to be drawn from this part of the story is that the counter-espionage folks better get their act together.

Kamm's upcoming trial may cast light on the matter of her motives. We know (because she has openly said) that she holds seriously Left political opinions. However, she tried to join pilot training when she was 18, and during her military service she tried to be sent to officer training; both would have meant adding time to her service, and neither indicate an anti-Israel position. It sounds like she was a Meretz voter, and those people don't engage in treason anymore than anyone else. I'm not a lawyer, but my sense is that they're doing her a disservice by playing up any ideological motives. Were I in their place I'd portray her as silly, unthinking, and hope for 3 years in jail rather than 20.

Some of Israel's critics are dong everything in their power to portray her as a brave whistle-blower. (Silverstone, Mondowiess). The problem with this story line is that she didn't blow any whistles while she was in a position to do so, and after she left the army it took more than a year before she found anyone willing to look at her documents. (A journalist at Yediot, Israel's most popular paper, seems to have refused to look). My sense is that she tried to show the whole trove, not a specific document in it - but I could be wrong.

Eventually Uri Blau at Haaretz was interested. That was the turning point which changed the story from minor to major, and will probably cost Anat Kamm an extra decade in jail.

Before picking up the Haaretz strand, a reflection on political theory. In democracies, the electorate is sovereign. It expresses its sovereignty by periodically electing legislators who then elect the executive (or the executive is directly elected, in presidential democracies). The executive operates according to the law, as legislated by representatives of the electorate, and within the parameters of the constitution, which is also ultimately subordinate to the electorate. In order to ensure that the sovereign electorate is well informed about what its various elected representatives are doing, in the legislature and the executive, it's important to have freedom of speech, and freedom of information.

I recognize that it's more complicated than that, but those are the outlines.

The press does not have exemptions from the law, though in practice the executive is expected to respect the crucial role played by the media (when it does its job).

Over the weekend I spoke to a number of attorneys, including attorneys trained outside Israel. All were emphatic that journalists are not allowed to break the law. Not in Israel, not elsewhere.

Uri Blau did, when he published a story based on Kamm's stolen documents. Moreover, his editors (stupidly, in retrospect), published full pictures of some of the documents, thus giving the counter-espionage people a starting point for their investigation - which they duly used.

Haaretz republished most of Blau's story over the weekend, to remind us that the real culprits are the generals who are not behaving correctly. In brief, the High Court of Justice ordered that Palestinian terrorists not be assassinated in cases where they can be arrested; Kamm's documents seemed to be saying the generals were disregarding this order. Since Haaretz was so helpful as to re-publish the story, I feel confident in saying it isn't convincing. The documents they cite seem to be saying that the terrorists must be arrested, but if the choice is between letting them get away or killing them, they should be killed. In other words, precisely what the High Court said. There was also mention of the fact that should there be a need to fire at the terrorists, this would be permissible even if there was one single unidentified individual with them - but not two, say, or four. We know that in the invasion of Iraq the Americans were allowed to assassinate identified enemies along with up to 29 civilians - so the documents Kamm stole seem to prove the opposite of what Uri Blau said they proved.

So Kamm wasn't a whistle-blower, and Blau wasn't uncovering an uncomfortable truth the IDF needed to hide.

Much has been made about the fact that the story was submitted to the censor, so it must have been OK. This is dishonest, as the purveyors of the line know perfectly well but their gullible audience may not. It could perhaps have been true back in the 1960s, when the censor had teeth and was active. Ever since then, however, the powers of the censor have been whittled away, by technology, by public pressure, by reality. Nowadays the censor blocks stories with the potential to cause harm to life in clearly identified ways, but that's about it. A story in November 2008 about a discussion between officers in 2006 about an event which has long since passed won't be blocked by the censor.

You don't believe me? Go to the archives of Channel Two radio and see all the stories broken over the years by their fantastic correspondent on military matters, Carmela Menashe. Go to the archives of the newspapers and see the stories of reserve soldiers who reported - in real time, not two years later - that Israel's allies the Lebanese Phalanges were murdering people in Sabra and Chatilla in September 1982. Or go to the websites of Breaking the Silence, or for that matter, to the websites of any of the two dozen left-wing NGOs who regularly tell about all the awful things Israel does (or more accurately, often doesn't do but the stories are there anyway). Then ask yourself what sort of a censor it is who "allows" all these stories to appear, and if the Uri Blau story of November 2008 was so daring.

Since Haaretz had so helpfully shown the stolen documents, the counter-espionage officials came to talk with Blau. Had he been anything other than a journalist, he'd have been summarily arrested and facing many years of jail. But since he's a journalist, and democracy needs journalists to be able to act freely, he wasn't arrested. A deal was cut with him and he agreed to give back the stolen documents, so that they'd never reach someone more dangerous than Haaretz.

Blau returned 50 documents. When the investigators found Kamm independently of him, she told them there had been 2000 documents, not 50. The went back to Blau and his newspaper to retrieve the other 1950 documents, but he absconded, and his lawyers - who are the lawyers of Haaretz - have refused to return the documents.

All the attorneys I talked to over the weekend agree this is illegal. It's also stupid, I'd think. If I were in the Iranian intelligence services I'd be frantically looking for Uri Blau about now, obviously. Our counter espionage forces say this fear is what lead them to insist on that gag order until after they got the documents back, which makes sense but was probably a bad decision for other reasons. Yet if that's how it happened, Haaretz carries some responsibility for the gag order, too.

So far, Haaretz comes out of the story badly. Their Friday (weekend) edition made things much worse. The editor in chief collected his entire staff and told each and every one of them to write a story based on their particular areas of expertise, but the common line was to be that the State if Israel is wrong. It's laws are outdated. It's system of classification of military documents is designed to protect the generals, not to serve the security of the state. Uri Blau wrote about how he's the protector of our democratic freedoms. And so on and so on and so on. Importantly, the attack was not against the Netanyahu government: it was against the State of Israel, its laws and its institutions. All of the articles were translated to English, of course, and put on the paper's website:
Ze'ev Segal, the editorial, Anshel Pfeffer, Amos Harel, Uri Blau, Ron Leshem, Aluf Benn, Gideon Levy, Reuven Pedatzur, Akiva Eldar. Avi Issacharoff wasn't pulled into the morass, perhaps because no-one could figure out an angle to use his Palestinian sources to besmirch the country in this context.

For many years Haaretz used to advertise itself as "The newspaper for thinking people". This was an edition indistinguishable from Pravda. Every single one of the articles trotted out the party line; not a single journalist dared let out a peep of dissent. There was chattering galore about the freedom of press which is somehow under siege, and the sanctity of the High Court which was allegedly tainted, but not a single word about the bald fact that Haaretz has been and still is engaged in brazenly illegal actions. Silence, nada, nothing. Brezhnev would have been proud.


AKUS said...

Yakov, I listened to the Mabat broadcast last night that included an interview with Anat Kam's father (no mother, if there is one, was present).

Like any good father he is doing his best to protect his daughter, but when he claimed that she had no ideological leanings, in the face of her own attestation that she is very left wing (and I don't mean that that should be taken as a negative), he lost all credibility for me. Obviously, she did not do this simply as a "collector of interesting documents' - there was a motive behind it. In fact, I suspect two - one, in the hope that this would give her credibility for a start as a journalist, and the second a sort of naive desire to be "Western" and "enlightened" and "blow the whistle" on something she disagreed with. Well, America is not faced with daily threats to blow it off the map, or rockets fired into its territory, and if she doesn't understand the difference between America's situation and Israel's, she is a lot stupider than we think.

Blau clearly was hoping to make his mark as "Uri Blau - master journalist", and is the sort of despicable creature usually found writing for the gossip magazines - except this time, he endangered security and possibly lives. As for Ha'aretz - the more people cancel their subscriptions to that mini-Guardian the better, and if the government has any case to sue them into bankruptcy, so much the better, taking Blau, Gideon levy, Amira Hass and the rest of them into oblivion.

Kam and Blau are traitors, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of Israel's laws. Naivete or ambition, are no defenses.

You mentioned Silverstein - that pompous, arrogant and crude Israel hater is crowing because he was mentioned in the NYT, and makes a great issue out of the that it was three weeks before they published something on this story - as if they rely on that idiot in Seattle for their news leads.

NormanF said...

The real reason people read Haaretz in Israel at all is not for its uniformly leftist opinion but for Makor, which is widely regarded as the best business section in Israel, let alone the entire Middle East. But now, one has to wonder whether the Hebrew Palestinian Pravda of Israel should continue to be propped up at all. Israelis who share its views are insignificant fraction of the electorate and those will decline even more given the the light in which Kam and Blau have left the "thinking man's" paper of Israel in. My view is Haaretz should be banned outright but in Israel it is protected by the fact the Far Left has long been treated with kid gloves for its treasonous activities by the Israeli establishment.

Anonymous said...

"The Anat Kamm story which has us all worked up is not really important"?!?!

I am at a complete loss to understand "not really important" here. Do you mean the personal details as opposed to the national security implications of an IDF soldier purloined a huge number of secret military documents and turning them over to a journalist to use however he may see fit? Perhaps it doesn't measure up to the legal definition of "treason," but surely what has been alleged is an extremely serious crime, one that is deserving of a long prison sentence notwithstanding the accused's age. (And one for Blau too, if he is apprehended and convicted. Is he and his newspaper currently engaging in "graymail," that is trying to cut a deal in return for non-disclosure of the secret documents he has in his possession?)

Anonymous said...

"This was an edition indistinguishable from Pravda." As long as I can remember, every edition of Haaretz has been indistinguishable from Pravda.

Jon said...

@above anon: then you're just as biased as the lefty crazies.

@Yaakov: I think I'm missing something. I didn't catch the anti-government spin in Harel's or Pfeffer's articles (I didn't look at the others because I don't really care what they think.) If anything, I thought Pfeffer's was pretty neutral, and Harel's cast the government in a positive light.

Sylvia said...

Not important? Why? Because violating a code of ethics or a pledge of confidentiality has become such a "banality"? Or is it just the culture?
A lot of people and professionals find themselves in situations where they have to handle confidential materials: from corporation secretaries to attorneys to editors to translators. They all have a political opinion. Yet they understand the seriousness of stealing documents that do not belong to them.

Alex Stein said...

Yaacov, you make some interesting points. As disingeneous as ever, but interesting. For now, one question: if the documents reputedly in Blau's possession are so important, and could potentially endanger Israeli lives, why have the Shin Bet drawn attention to the fact that he is wandering around London with them unprotected?
Here are some more Haaretz lies for you -

If this country collapses, I will hold people like you responsible.

Sylvia said...

Alex Stein

Blau himself leaked to bloggers that he was "in exile in London". The demand to lift the gag order had to unveil the fact that he was in possession of the documents and as logic dictates, that he would be a natural target for other intelligence agencies. But don't tell me you didn't anticipate the consequences when you read it on Richard "Jew!Jew!Jew!" Silverstein'site, long before the Shin Bet said anything. Surely, you can think that far?

Anonymous said...

here is the e-mail address for Haaretz' German part-owner


Anonymous said...

only partly off-topic
here is the latest on the now feeling "persecuted" Wikileak, an outfit that might be a heroe for Uri Blau

they announce they have another video in the pipeline and - surprise - all of a sudden the Iraq video has 38 minutes as if they (all of them) had never said anything else


Anonymous said...

"We know that in the invasion of Iraq the Americans were allowed to assassinate identified enemies along with up to 29 civilians...." Yes, I'm sure that was spelled out specifically according to DoD rules-It must be simple to do the math in the middle of a firefight.

Alex Stein said...

Sylvia - thanks for clarifying that.

Why is everyone on this thread talking as if this is the first time military documents have ever been leaked?

Anonymous said...

2000 of them?
- just grabbed a whole filing cabinet?
- look at printer paper in case you use such stuff
- the packets come at 500 a piece and mind you that's pages - documents may be a lot lot more - in clerking circles it is rumored that some documents may be as thick as a hundred pages and some are said to have exceeded even that ;-(

Anonymous said...

to support your point:

"but at the moment the first bullett whizzed by me, all emotion vanished, my breast calmed, and my limbs drew upon an unexpected source of energy. I was entirely lost in the ardour of battle ... Reflection on the brutal nature of war and the sanctity of human life suffered TEMPORARY suspense ..."
quoted or paraphrased from the journal of a British soldier in the American war of independence by WW1 veteran of the Western front Robert Graves in 1940. - BTW the same soldier equally plausible vomited when he witnessed one of his comrades cleaning his bayonet of human blood.

We are demanding a terrible maybe even a superhuman lot of soldiers when we expect them to act in combat like a clerk at his desk and we should never ever forget reports like the above when listening to those who sneer at them like all our media do right now because of what soldiers said during the Wikileak-video - what do they want them to say? - oh my I can't go on I just killed somebody I am a terrible terrible guy?


Gavin said...

There's a moral in this story, about ambition and temptation. The documents that were stolen were tainted. Some might have been useful to a journalist but most needed to be destroyed. The journalist Blau has let his ambition lead him into big trouble. Printing the useful documents has revealed the existence of the other documents which Blau should have refused to accept. The first journalist who rejected the documents was smart, Blau walked right into a trap of his own making. He should have told Kamm to destroy all of the documents and mention them no more, instead he got greedy and looks to have made himself an accomplice to criminal activity. Reading the Haaretz articles I'd say they know exactly how much trouble they're in.... they'd have to call up a lot of favours to get out of this one.


Anonymous said...


Are there any circumstances under which you *would* want to treat Kamm as a whistle blower? Imagine she had taken just a few documents, that she felt showed the IDF to have behaved illegally, or even just immorally. Would you say she should be prosecuted then, too?

There's a reason why open societies tend to be much stronger than closed ones - the freer people feel to uncover official misconduct, the more likely the system is to correct itself. Militaries and security services throughout history have *always* sought to over-classify information; knowledge is power, and the more information officials can hide from the public, the more corrupt they are likely to be. That's why it is absolutely crucial *not* to overreact to cases of leaks, and not to hurry to jump on the "treason" bandwagon. From the little information we have at this point, it seems likely that Anat Kamm deserves some kind of punishment, but there can be (almost) no doubt that "aggravated espionage" is a majorly over-trumped charge which by its very lack of proportionality threatens to "over chill" democratic discourse. Soldiers who leak secret information should take such a step extremely seriously, and should have to counter a strong presumption that they have done the wrong thing. But threatening them with overly harsh penalties may have the undesired effect of "chilling" future potential leaks that may, in certain circumstances, be just as crucial to national security as the secrecy itself. Excessive secrecy, which allows the military too much of a free hand, can lead to unnecessary use of force and unnecessary deaths of soldiers; a democracy must protect itself from such eventualities, among other things by treating leaks proportionally.

AKUS said...

Alex Stein:

"If this country collapses, I will hold people like you responsible."

You have some cheek.

What has your contribution to Israel been, beside blowing your horn on a silly blog and propping up your disgusting friend Seth Freedman?

When you resume begins to read like Yakov's, you may have earned the right to make comments like that - till then, you should keep shtum.

As for calling Yakov "disingenuous" - .... well - words fail me.

Anonymous said...

would you kindly address the 2000 documents fact? just 4 packs of printer paper at 500 each augmented by all second, third, fourth and whatever pages.

If the 2000 pages fact is true then your whole argument is totally besides the point and constitutes slander of the prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

ooops 2000 pages should of course read 2000 DOCUMENTS also

Anonymous said...

what a lousy open to all kind of interpretations choice of words is this - wha about the other 1300? did they vanish?

"Months later, the Shin Bet claimed that Anat Kam, who is suspected of giving the documents to Blau, gave him 2,000 documents. In the meantime, this number has been reduced to 700 documents classified "secret" and above."

other than that I read today a bit more of Haaretz than the headline and the teasers in their newsletter - they are generally very good at insinuating - as a foreigner at whom I imagine the English version is also aimed - the German owner's website mentioned a connection to the Herald Tribune - I am after one paragraph of it so confused that I give up at even trying to understand what they want to tell me even though they seem to try to do their best to convince me that Israel is very very bad.


Anonymous said...

I find myself amazed and enthused by your perceptions AND choice of topics.
Keep up the good work!


Sylvia said...

To put things in their correct perspective, just imagine it's not Anat Kamm, "Salt of the Earth" from North Tel-Aviv, but a soldier from a West Bank settlement who stole 2000 documents of which two are secret plans for settlement withdrawal, then passed them to a Journalist from the Right. Then that newspaper has the arrogance to blackmail the security apparatus into a deal.

Barry Meislin said...

I suspect that Gavin is right.

The barmy Israeli Left---at least what's left of it---is scared. Ha'aretz, up to its eyeballs in this matter, is, likewise, scared. As a result, they are circling the wagons. Time for them to attack and to call in their international reinforcements.

For this is a watershed event. Ha'aretz (and all the usual suspects) are saying, outright, that traitorous activity is, in fact, virtue. They are not only saying it. They are actively defending the "virtuous." And although they've been pushing "Through-the-Looking-Glass" positions for a long time, this is a true moment of clarity. All is out in the open. Where you line up on this issue defines you once and for all.

(And so you get, for some comic relief, perhaps---perhaps not--- people such as Gideon Levy lecturing us on just what true loyalty is. And you get Amira Hass, that slick purveyor of meta-truth, with another---and oh-so-timely, at that---truer than true report of the wretched state of Israeli morality. Note to anyone who is prone to believing Amira Hass: be very careful, unless of course you dearly wish to believe what she so preciously spews.)

So what happens now? Can we count on the Israeli Left to get even thinner than it already is. Will a public square may be named after Anat Kamm in Teheran (or in London). Of course, Israel will be further bludgeoned and delegitimized. This is, after all, the point.

But will it be bludgeoned sufficiently? Or will Israel's true patriots be patient enough to wait until the noose around Israel, tight as it is currently, be tightened further?

(After all, how much patience must one have---can one have---when it comes to the sacred duty of protecting Israel from itself?....)

Anonymous said...


"Slander of the prosecutors"? In what sense? As I said, if Kamm really took 2000 sensitive documents, then it is indeed likely she deserves some punishment; but regardless of the number of documents, "aggravated espionage" is an ridiculously disproportionate offense. For one thing, it requires that the individual act with the *purpose* of damaging state security, and the very fact that Kamm gave the documents to an Israeli journalist (who is subject to the military censor) proves that she had no such intention. She may have been stupid, but she certainly didn't intend to damage national security. Using disproportionate legal tools to combat such phenomena is dangerous, both because it is unfair, and because it may make people over fearful to leak sensitive information in those cases where it is justified. Leaks are important in a democracy, and are no less important than secrecy in protecting national security.

Alex Stein said...

AKUS - if you want to say something personal, I suggest you email me at I'm also happy to meet in person. Do you live in Israel?

Sylvia - I have never suggested that Anat Kamm doesn't deserve punishment; merely that high treason is probably an exaggeration.

Sylvia said...

There is a difference between "high treason" and "aggravated espionage".

This might surprise you, but those days when a spy left secret documents in a hollow tree in a secluded area of the public park for someone else to pick up are long gone. Today, these kind of things are done over the Internet. And what safer way is there to transmit information to an enemy than through an Israeli journalist from a widely read online newspaper? Anyone can then pick up the information, ni vu ni connu. The means and the alibi all in one.One click and you're done.

The United States counterespionnage agency recognized that more than a decade ago when they arrested a scientist of Chinese descent who had done just that, pass classified information over the Internet.
And why go very far, just recently Leibowitz the son, who went to work for an American government agency as a translator, was arrested for leaking the contents of a document to a blogger.

Yet, I wouldn't call for too harsh a punishment as long as the label "aggravated espionage" remains.
The ones who are really enraged are her "hevre" those soldiers who were with her at boot camp.

Anonymous said...

"And what safer way is there to transmit information to an enemy than through an Israeli journalist from a widely read online newspaper?"

Oh come on; do you really think Kamm *intended* to pass on information to an "enemy"? Don't forget, Israeli journalists are all subject to the Military Censor, who has the power to block truly dangerous revelations. Kamm, her people have argued, gave the information to an Israeli journalist (and not to family members, for example, who work for international media), precisely to make sure that she would *not* damage security. I agree that we don't have all the facts yet, but from what we do know it seems abundantly clear that she acted, perhaps stupidly, perhaps naively, in order to bring the documents to the attention of the Israeli public - and not to aid enemies of Israel.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Sylvia
the way I read it the white-washing procedure of Kam is underway exactly as predicted by you

"leaks are no less important than secrecy"

seems to be the mantra of the day - to me that reads like a meaningless generalisation but it sounds nice and enlightened and cool and laid-back, in short very much in the know on how states are to be run these days ... no need to spell the whole BS

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

the documents Kamm stole seem to prove the opposite of what Uri Blau said they proved

No, they don't. Melman at Tablet:

"Blau revealed that in March and April 2007, while Kamm was working at the office of the IDF’s head of Central Command, the army’s highest ranking officers knowingly planned to violate a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that forbade the assassination of Palestinian militants when their arrest was possible. In April 2007, the IDF’s Central Command received permission to assassinate an Islamic Jihad leader named Ziad Malaisha. The assassination, Kamm’s documents reveal, was planned and approved in meetings with the head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate, Brig. Gen. Sami Turjeman, and the IDF’s Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.

Summaries of the meetings reveal that the officers were aware of the Supreme Court ruling they would soon violate. The assassination, which was postponed because of the April 2007 visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, took place in June 2007, the month Kamm left the army."

What I'll never understand is Yaakov's urge to angelize Israel. What's wrong with admitting there are bad apples?

Over the weekend I spoke to a number of attorneys, including attorneys trained outside Israel. All were emphatic that journalists are not allowed to break the law.

The problema here is that the law is applied in a way reminiscent of the most totalitarian dictatorships. The procedure is well known:

1) Enact Draconian laws no one can abide by.
2) Tolerate the breaking of the law in most cases, thus helping conceal the fact that they're Draconian.
3) Selectively enforce the law against people or organizations you don't like.

If the law Blau broke were enforced in all cases, all Israeli military correspondents would be in jail.

Gavin said...

You should try improving your reading comprehension Ibrahim. The court ruling had a condition attached to it; that it had to be possible to arrest the militants. For the IDF to have breached the court order it had to be proven that it was (reasonably) possible to arrest the militants. No such proof was offered, ergo there is no proof that the court order was breached.

There is only assumption that the IDF flaunted the court order. Without knowing the wider context, ie the risk assessment of attempting to making an arrest, one cannot claim that the court order was breached.

You accuse Yaacov of angelizing Israel when he is merely addressing the facts as they have been revealed. It is you who is making accusations based on insufficient evidence.


Pro-Zionist said...

Kamm and Blau should be prosecuted for espionage and given long sentences.

Haaretz and the Guardian should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting Kamm and Blau, and shut down in Israel, with their decision-makers in Israel put in the cells next to Kamm and Blau.

Sylvia said...

"Don't forget, Israeli journalists are all subject to the Military Censor"

Joking, right? The Military Censor today is nothing but an automatic stamp. It has no teeth. I'm not sure they even read the material before them. That has become clear to all during the second Lebanon war, when the TV Channel 2 reporter standing right at the border, was telling to the world the itinerary the soldiers were going to take.

Anyone invoking the Military Censor either works for Haaretz or hasn't lived in Israel for a long time.

Sylvia said...

""leaks are no less important than secrecy""
and its variant
"a threat to the democracy". Human morning Rights lawyer Michael Sfard had to come back to a radio talk show yesterday, to say just that in case someone missed the slogan.

I also like the way Kamm's father put it:
"So she took a few papers without permission"

Sylvia said...

1. I understand you're something of a legal expert. How can you rely on Yossi Melman? Yossi Melman works for Haaretz, a defendant in this case, and we know that almost all their journalists have been mobilized for a major major assault on public opinion. All you have to do to realize that was read Haaretz this week-end.
This is the same Yossi Melman who immediately attributed the Dubai assassination to the Mossad based on the mere fact that the MKs were smiling that day (!). This is the same Haaretz that knowingly falsified poll results regarding Obama's ratings in Israel.

2. The IDF will have to explain it and it will. In this early morning news, Ashkenazi is reported to have said that those documents were part of a whole and their interpretation is misleading. Why not control you urge to demonize Israel until we get all the details?

Barry Meislin said...

...angelize Israel....


(Presumably, then, anything that can't be used to demonize the country, is either false or propaganda?...Or naive?...)

But it seems that the demonizers do have the upper hand.

For which, congratulations!

(But to what end?....)

Anonymous said...

all of you who take on Ibrahim should not miss out on his latest post

- now finally finally he has found an angle that will silence all of you and paralyze with admiration for him - he should try his hand at comedy, properly trained he may come up with something ...

on the other hand he has to up the ante - ever since Yaacov told him to "get a life" his commenters seem to have lost interest - which makes me wonder why? He still has traffic according to the widget on his site but doesn't seem to inspire his buddies with Logorrhöe any longer
is "not feeding the beast" after all the best strategy to get them out of business or is there another level where they now huddle together?


Sylvia said...

My feeling is that Ibrahim is one of those self-proclaimed "Arab Jews". Does anyone else get that impression?

Yaacov said...


A number of people from his home town of Rassario have assured me Fake Ibrahim has a Jewish grandfather, but I'm not in the position to prove this. What's clear is that he isn't Arab, except perhaps as a fantasy.

Sylvia said...

Did they tell you the family name?

Yaacov said...

Sylvia -

They probably did, but I don't remember. You can ask Fake Ibrahim himself; maybe he'll tell you.

Anonymous said...

commenters on Ibrahim's blog insist on calling him Alberto - is that a name by which pride in Jewish ancestry is shown? I wouldn't know
in my book Ibrahim can't be Jewish because I have been told all my life that Jews love to learn and Ibrahim definitely does not - therefore he can't be a Jew
Even worse Ibrahim insists that he knows everything already and so does not need to want to know what he doesn't know
as to his last name:
try to convince him that you are an enticing female, maybe he offers you a one on one as he did with me. If you then have the stomach to go ahead with it maybe he tells you his last name.


Sylvia said...

It's not that important, but yes, Alberto, Albert (French pronunciation) is a name widespread among Jews from the Middle East and North Africa and some French speaking countries. It is the equivalent of Abraham, which in Arabic is Ibrahim. Being from an Arab country myself, I also have two names, a "neutral/western" official name (Sylvia)and a Jewish name (unofficial/unregistered). The Hebrew/Jewish name is used for synagogue purposes. So following that Jewish model, if he wants to be Arab (whatever it means these days) or if he has converted to Islam, Ibrahim would be the Arabic Muslim equivalent of Alberto(Ibrahim as a first name is strictly Muslim, though it can be Middle Eastern Christian as a family name). However, I am not aware of these onomastic patterns among Muslims.

Sergio said...

So, Ibrahim Al Bertoh , our Cat Stevens of the Pampas, is back with his famous lectures on everything legal agaist Israel...Now he's a tenured expert on angels, gobblins and the like.
Talking about intellectual dwarfs...


Sylvia said...

On the other hand, Silke, these people who call him Alberto could very well be Jews who are aware of those name equivalencies and who just wanted to embarrass him. I imagine he must have made a lot of people mad on the Internet.
But in any case, Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf is definitely not a real name, whether he is "Arab" or not.

Anonymous said...

since you are online - maybe you'll enjoy this made me think of you - if you're not a listener there seems to be a transcript also


Anonymous said...

amazing ... I lived for some 20 years way out in the mountainous middle of Germany and there were quite a number of Albert-s from the war and pre-war times - as they chose to remember Jews only as livestock-traders I can't imagine that they would have liked to find out their names derived from Abraham ...
how could they ever come up with the plan to label any member of such a webbed society.

Sergio said...


Thank you for the kind reminder and link.
I read Gray's "Straw dogs" and, frankly, I didn't like it much. At least he recognizes that science progresses; but his other ideas, like his "great" discovery that we are animals too... oh my. And lots of additional sloppy thinking. I do not recommend.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

thanks Sergio
so I was right, when I didn't care much for Part 1 and found him interesting only in Part 2 where he talks a lot about foreign policy and its possibilities.
I found it only recently and listened 2 days ago.
BTW I don't care for all this animal talk either - it seems way too often like a kind of posturing to me - i.e. doesn't synch with what my cats taught me ;-)