Tuesday September 2, 2014
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02.09.2014
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'Someone is trying to sabotage US-Israel cooperation'
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Dan Margalit

Find another excuse

Let's begin with the bottom line: I have no objection to the fact that the United States requires Israelis seeking to enter it to apply for a visa. A world where borders are respected is a better one. This is true for parent-children relationships, for teacher-student relationships and to the relations between nations.

This is doubly true when it comes to the rule of law and criminal activity. After all, it is very easy to disappear in Europe now that the borders between countries have all but become null and void.

It seems, however, that someone in the U.S. has decided to wage a battle against Israel on this issue -- and only against Israel. Once again we are treated to the same old song, suggesting the Jewish state is spying on the U.S. and therefore Israelis must be excluded from the Visa Waiver Program.

Coming from the country that developed the most extensive and intrusive espionage and surveillance system in the world, it sounds like a bad, albeit funny, joke. Edward Snowden is living proof of that, and it is no coincidence that he has chosen to hide in Russia, behind Vladimir Putin's new Iron Curtain.

According to Newsweek magazine, 16 years ago, during a visit by then-U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a member of his security detail uncovered an Israeli spy hiding in the air duct of Gore's Jerusalem hotel room.

This is a preposterous and unfounded tale, if nothing else for the fact that in the late 20th century, Israel was in possession of surveillance methods that were somewhat more sophisticated than having an agent crawl through an air duct.

When it comes down to it, the Jonathan Pollard affair still clouds American Jews' relationship with Washington, and it is still prominently featured on the Israeli-American agenda. But Israel has pulled the plug on espionage attempts against the friendly superpower, and in the 29 years that have followed the Pollard affair, every Israeli government has opted to turn a blind eye to the American espionage efforts on its soil.

Those privy to such matters know that the accusation is without merit. Former Military Intelligence chief Brig. Gen (ret.) Amos Yadlin noted Saturday that for 29 years, the heads of Military Intelligence have done nothing to infringe on U.S. sovereignty.

Who, then, seeks to muddy the waters? Who has an interest in providing such information to Capitol Hill, the seat of the very Israel-friendly American Congress? Who seeks to create the false impression that the Pollard espionage years are alive and well?

Newsweek is no longer the second-most influential magazine in the U.S. but its headlines still received extensive media coverage worldwide. Such reports can be very damaging, which is exactly why those behind these falsities chose to feed them to the magazine. There is no real way to trace the report's sources, but there is a way to trace those providing such information to Capitol Hill.

The only fair and right course of action for the U.S. at this point is to issue an official White House statement debunking the report as a lie. If the Americans still seek to exclude Israel from the Visa Waiver Program, let them find another reason. There is nothing wrong with that to begin with.

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