Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Picking Up Again"

Arlene Kushner

After a Pesach recess it would be lovely to return to good news, but that is hardly to be expected.

The most "optimistic" information I've encountered is the report, today, that Abbas, returning from a visit with Bush, is not upbeat about the chances for "peace" by the end of Bush's term. Seems the US won't pressure Israel enough for Abbas's satisfaction. Abbas -- upright fellow that he is -- says he's going to keep negotiating to the end; that happens to be the only way to keep getting all those international perks, it should be mentioned.

Hamas officials are urging him to give it up and turn back towards mending fences with them. What I'd like to focus on here is the arrest this past week of US citizen Ben-Ami Kadish, for alleged espionage. Much ado is being made of this, but it is not quite what it appears.

The charges involve transfer of classified information by Kadish, who was a US army mechanical engineer, to someone in the Israeli consulate, between the years 1979 and 1985. The level of information was not high, as Kadish did not have a high clearance, and the number of transfers of data was relatively small. Most significantly, it is my understanding that the US KNEW about Kadish's activities since 2004, at which time he was questioned by the FBI.

So why arrest him now?

The answer is political. Quite simply, while we find firm friends in the Congress and the Pentagon, there are also anti-Israel forces at work in the US -- in the State Department (which is self-evident) and in the Justice Department and within the Intelligence community. Seeing Israel as a burden that gets in the way of US relations with the Arabs, rather than a critical ally, they are seeking to undermine Israel's position at a critical juncture.

There are various theories as to precisely what the goal of this arrest is, but the guessing is that this may involve either pressure on Israel for more concessions to the PA, or Bush's up-coming visit here for Israel's 60th Independence Day. Bush has tentatively planned a variety of "gifts" for Israel that involve military cooperation and sale of cutting edge military equipment.


Caroline Glick has yet another theory about what may be going on. Kadish's arrest, she points out, happened on the same day that the news broke that Congress was going to be briefed about Israel's strike on the nuclear reactor in Syria last September.

It seems that Israel's absolute silence on this matter was at US insistence. Stories regarding American concern that this news would cause unrest aside, Glick points out that there were other US motivations for keeping this quiet. Israeli intelligence acquired the information on the reactor while US intelligence had missed it -- thereby exposing the superiority of Israeli intelligence and Israel's value to the US as an ally. Then, too, there is the fact that the reactor was put together with N. Korean assistance, even as Rice continues to delude herself regarding her diplomatic success in getting N. Korea to abandon nuclear efforts. Embarrassing for the US. So, a good time to embarrass Israel. /servlet/Satellite?cid=1208870487119&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


A regular pattern of attempts by the US Intelligence community to go after or embarrass Israel can be traced. Remember the AIPAC officials who were charged four years ago with passing information to Israel? The case, which has shown itself to be weak to the point of the ridiculous, has never come to court. And there are similar other instances of such actions.


What is particularly galling is the fact that some spying is "routine" even between presumed allies, and most of the time not much is made of it. On several occasions, Israel has caught Americans spying here, but these spies receive no more than a slap on the list and banishment from the country. There are no arrests and no PR spectacles. Glick suggests that this should chance, and I very much concur.

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