18.2.10

Scandal over Mossad use of UK passports curiously fails to materialise with Britons awe struck at Israeli daring

(The Israeli mother of captured and killed soldier Ilan Saadon displays her son’s portait in her house in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon. Hamas leader al-Mabhouh was responsible for the abduction and murder. He traveled to Dubai under a false passport, as did Ilan Saadon's avengers).

Robin Shepherd Online:
There is something very strange going on in Britain, and Israel’s detractors are hopping mad. Not, I hasten to add over the apparent use by the Mossad of six British passports in the assassination in Dubai of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Criticism on that score is both reasonable and necessary. No country can allow its passports to be used by a foreign state, let alone in the course of a secret service hit job. Britain is no exception.

What vexes them is not so much the use of the passports per se as the fact that the kind of hyserical public furore that we have come to expect whenever a stick presents itself for the beating of Israel has singularly failed to materialise. On the contrary, large sections of the British press have responded with barely disguised awe at the audacious operation that the Israelis had the balls to carry out. 
See also Times of London Commentary by Michael Evans: Mossad ties are vital for the security of Britain
Diplomatic outrage is one thing, but severing ties with Mossad to punish Israel’s secret service for using British passports for an assassination would be to Britain’s detriment.
The intelligence world is dirty and grey, and Britain, despite its attempts to be perceived as a moral force, has to play with the dirtiest to ensure that it can share information that is so crucial to maintaining a handle on enemies and potential enemies.
If you work in the intelligence game, you have to be aware of the grey areas. Mossad may have no time for MI6’s more bureaucratic rules, but the Israeli organisation is a unique asset.
Times of London Columnist Melanie Reid: We’re all thrilled by Mossad the movie

Of course we should condemn extrajudicial murder, but I still can’t help admiring Israel’s nerve.
It is an unfashionable thing to say, but I have a considerable admiration for the Israeli way of doing things. They want something, they get it. They perceive someone as their deadly enemy, they kill them. They get hit, they hit back. They don’t waste time explaining or justifying or agonising; nor do they allow their detractors to enter their country and then afford them generous welfare payments. They just act. No messing. No scruples. Not even a shrug and a denial, just a rather magnificent refusal to debate anything.
This absolutism, based on their history, carries its own moral weight; one that is rather electrifying in a Western world grown flabby with niceties. Clearly, the Israelis could defend their policies if they wanted to, but they quite simply can’t be bothered. It’s a waste of breath. One admires them for that, too.
Read Robin Shepherd's book, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe's Problem with Israel

Product description: Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and the wider Muslim world also takes place across one of the great fault lines in global politics. No-one with a serious interest in international affairs can ignore it. But why have so many people and institutions of influence in Europe chosen to place themselves on the side of that fault line which opposes Israel? Where exactly does all this hostility come from? Can this really be put down to a revival of anti-Semitism on a continent which gave the world the Holocaust? 'A State Beyond the Pale: Europe's Problem with Israel' looks at the roots of anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe and shows why there is now a risk that it may even spread to the United States. In the author's view, the Israel-Palestine conflict can be seen as a test case for the West's ability to stand up for the values it claims as its own. In Europe, important institutions and individuals are now failing that test. This book explains why.

Reviewed in The London Telegraph

"Robin Shepherd...explains that Europe's pacifism is not, despite what it likes to believe, a symptom of maturity, but of tiredness, nihilism and suicide. Europeans no longer believe in Europe, they are not prepared to fight for it, and they are unwilling to believe that its enemies are willing to destroy it. So had the Nazis not faced the golden generation but instead the bed-wetter generation, how would history have spanned out?" (TELEGRAPH.CO.UK - 7.09.09 )

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