The Jerusalem Post held its endlessly-flacked pro-Israel conference in New York, this weekend, and attendees got much more than they bargained for. A junior cabinet member who no one’s ever heard of, took it upon himself to dress down one of Israel’s most decorated IDF officers and security officials, Meir Dagan. The latter, not a man to suffer fools gladly, tore him to pieces (rhetorically) and accused him of being a liar:
Dagan was asked about statements made by former head of the Shin Bet security service Yuval Diskin. Diskin criticized Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday over their bellicose stance on Iran, as well as what he called the premier’s unwillingness to advance peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Dagan said that Diskin was his friend, and added that he “spoke his own truth.” “Diskin is a very serious man, a very talented man, he has a lot of experience in countering terrorism,” he said, adding that he “talked about a matter that is close to his heart.” Dagan also dismissed criticism of Diskin for not voicing his opinion to Netanyahu and Barak earlier. According to Dagan, Diskin had done so “in close quarters and on many occasions.”
Ehud Olmert also attended the conference and spoke up in defense of both Dagan and Diskin, both of whom served him as intelligence chiefs while he was PM.
I wasn’t even aware that there is a proposed bill, “Dagan’s Law,” specifically designed to prohibit the former Mossad chief from continuing his political crusade against an Israeli strike on Iran. Dagan’s warning to the Netanyahu minister was chilling and prophetic:
“As in Germany, you know where you begin but you don’t know where you end.”
I’ve reported here before that Dagan’s grandfather was murdered by the Nazis, so such statements contain both political and personal emotional elements. Imagine a democracy that tells its former intelligence officials that they may not speak on matters of policy for a year after they exit their position. What do they take Dagan for? A cipher? Or a citizen? Does someone who serves his country at such a high level lose his rights as a citizen when he leaves office?
In Dearborn, MI today there was a different sort of conference, this one hosted by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. The subject ostensibly was Muslim honor killings and the event was named in memory of an American Muslim woman who was not, in fact, killed in an honor killing. Eli Clifton attempted to cover the conference but was escorted off the premises by Dearborn police and given no reason for his ejection. Similarly, actual Muslim woman attempted to attend and they too were thrown out.
This begins to remind me of the provocations by Baruch Marzel and his Jewish settler thugs who try to march through Israeli Palestinian villages in order to provoke violent responses. Dearborn is the American city with the largest Muslim population in the country. Holding a conference that is so insulting toward Islam is Geller’s deliberate attempt to provoke and deride American Muslims. It’s also reminiscent of American Nazis marching through the largely Jewish suburb of Skokie, IL in the the 1970s.
This article appeared at Tikun Olam
About the author: Richard Silverstein
Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.