The willful blindness of Israel’s partisans is running smack up against a widely-circulated report in the mainstream media that Israel’s Finance Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was tipped off to the London terrorist attacks.
A news report from Associated Press reports:
“British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday’s explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said.
“Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to attend an economic conference in a hotel over the subway stop where one of the blasts occurred, and the warning prompted him to stay in his hotel room instead, government officials said. … Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.
“The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of his position.”
The Brits deny giving the Israelis any warning, but Stratfor.com isn’t buying it:
“Contrary to original claims that Israel was warned “minutes before” the first attack, unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that the Israeli government actually warned London of the attacks “a couple of days” previous. Israel has apparently given other warnings about possible attacks that turned out to be aborted operations. The British government did not want to disrupt the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, or call off visits by foreign dignitaries to London, hoping this would be another false alarm.
“The British government sat on this information for days and failed to respond. Though the Israeli government is playing along publicly, it may not stay quiet for long. This is sure to apply pressure on Blair very soon for his failure to deter this major terrorist attack.”
I have my own spin on this rather startling story, which I explain at length is this blog entry. and this subsequent column. The idea that the Israelis warned the Brits, who then ignored the tip-off because … well, just because, is not credible, but at least Stratfor doesn’t try to deny the veracity of the AP story — unlike the denialists over at a blog called “Balloon Juice,” which Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit links to. According to a Mr. John Cole, the proprietor of said website — which employs very tiny type, in an unconscious reflection of his own small-mindedness — this is all “refuted” by this link, which takes us to a story in the Jerusalem Post which states:
“The Foreign Ministry, and Israeli embassy officials at the highest levels, totally rejected the report.
Oh, wow — “at the highest levels,” yet! Well I guess that takes cares of that! Oh, but there’s more:
“What one source did note, however, was that Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a call from British police soon after the first explosion, but before the full extent of the attacks was known, because it had occurred by the site of a conference at which he was to speak and for which he was about to depart. After the call from the police to his security staff, Netanyahu stayed put.”
That’s what Netanyahu says, but why would a “senior Israeli official” who insisted on remaining anonymous “because of his position,” make up a story like this — and why would AP carry it? Oh, it’s all an “anti-Semitic” conspiracy, screeches Cole — the all-purpose smear that is supposed to put a halt to any further inquiry. Glenn Reynolds also links to something called “Protein Wisdom” — why do these right-wing blogs have such … icky names? — which doesn’t even bother to refer to the AP article, let alone try to debunk it, and seems totally unaware of the Stratfor piece.
As an example of “early reports,” clever Michelle links, not to the Associated Press report, but to some obscure item from a website known as “Arutz Sheva,” which normally carries violently pro-Israel material: their story doesn’t cite the anonymous Israeli official, says the report comes from Israel radio (and is “unconfirmed”), and the piece bears no byline. The real “early reports” from Associated Press are not linked to or even mentioned by Malkin.
Malkin’s evidence that these “early reports” were “erroneous” goes to a brief story detailing the pro forma denial of the Israeli Foreign Minister. Very convincing….
Even less convincing is the Powerline link, which also ignores the AP report in favor of the same obscure “Arutz Sheva” story, and avers “I’m afraid we may have an urban legend in the making,” because, you see, “this report has now been corrected” — and the proof it has been “corrected” is proven by a link to the same official denial by the Israeli Foreign Minister linked to by Malkin. This is, quite literally, circular logic: Malkin links the Israeli Foreign Minister’s bland denials, and Powerline, while Powerline links to … the same meaningless denials. Both accounts totally ignore the AP piece, the provenance of the Netanyahu tip-off story. And as the piece-de-resistance of the Powerline non-“debunking,” we are given a link to this little tidbit from National Review‘s “The Corner” blog, a note from one John Rosenthal, who “used to work with Bibi”:
“I have just spoken to a source very close to Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu was scheduled to speak later today at an economic conference in a London hotel directly above the site of one of the subway explosions.
“‘The explosion happened just beneath the hotel at the same time the meeting with businessman interested in investing in Israel was expected to begin,’ said an aide to Netanyahu.
“There were published reports early this morning that Scotland Yard officials contacted the Israelis minutes before the attacks to warn them of imminent terrorist strikes.
“My sources in the Israeli Government are denying those reports. They say the Israeli Embassy and the Netanyahu security team received reports immediately AFTER the first explosion, warning Netanyahu not to go to the hotel.
“There was no early information about terrorist attacks,” said Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on Israel Army Radio. “After the first explosion an order was given that no one move until things become clear.”
Shorter version: The Israelis deny it. What else do we need to know?
It’s amazing how the critical faculties of Reynolds, Malkin, et al, go on the blink whenever the Israelis come into the equation. It is reasonable, in light of the AP story and the Stratfor piece, to at least consider the possibility that Israel’s very efficient intelligence service had some inkling of the London events: but, oh nooooooooooooo. According to Israel’s Amen Corner, to even refer to the AP article is evidence of “anti-Semitism” — equivalent to citing “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” They obviously believe the Associated Press is run by neo-Nazis: a startling accusation, but hardly surprising to me: after all, these are the same people who think the “MSM” (blogger-talk for “mainstream media) is making up all those terribly unpatriotic stories about the disaster now unfolding in Iraq.
The reality is: these people could care less about the truth. For them, it’s all emotion. As John Cole of “Balloon Juice” puts it:
“I really hate these people.”
Hate is what Cole is all about, if you read his vitriolic blog. Hate, not only for me, but for objective reality, which has to be blanked out if it conflicts with his dogmatic insistence that Israel can do no wrong. (Although, to his credit, Cole at least acknowledges the existence of the AP report by linking to it — if only to dismiss it because, as we all know, the Israeli Foreign Minister wouldn’t lie, now would he?)
His Smugness, Professor Reynolds, doesn’t link to the Netanyahu tip-off story, either. After all, his whole purpose in life is to maintain that the “MSM” is not to be trusted, and that AP, in this case — and practically all cases — is probably lying. To get our news we must turn to the “blogosphere” — pretentious little neocon shits like “Balloon Juice” and “Protein Wisdom” (and, of course, Instapundit).
Ignore the reported facts, treat Israel’s denials as if they were holy writ, and, most of all, smear the messenger in hopes of obscuring the message: that about wraps up the Reynolds-Malkin-wingnut approach to the Netanyahu tip-off story and journalism in general. If it doesn’t toe the party line, it can’t be true.
What’s really pathetic about this sort of tunnel vision is that even the “evidence” they utilize to dismiss the questions raised by the AP story — the Jersusalem Post piece — shows why the story is credible:
“One [Israeli] official suggested that the ‘conspiracy theory’ about Israel’s prior warning lasted all day, despite immediate official denials, because a dispute still rages about whether Israeli officials tipped off British intelligence before the Israeli Embassy was bombed in 1994.”
The reason this “conspiracy theory” lasted all day — and will continue to haunt the Amen Corner for a long time to come– is because it is based on a news story by a reputable news agency, and not obscure “weblogs” with cute-sy names. Instead of citing self-interested Israeli government officials, and someone who once worked for the ultra-right-wing Netanyahu, it cites an Israeli government whistleblower who has nothing to gain from telling the truth, and everything to lose (including his job).