How we got there is a long story. But, the person (agent) came to a coffee shop that I frequented and made himself very visible talking audibly about certain areas that were my interest.
I'm a very outgoing person so after over-hearing him by the second or third encounter there, I approached him or he approached me by asking to share a table. Don't fully remember.
After several meetings, he tried to goad me into saying things which were utterly antisemitic and anti-Israel. So I started to suspect something was off and those days I had a very good memory and I started noticing some contradictory stories from meetings to meetings.
So suspecting something was wrong, I dropped all contact. Then he started calling me and asking me why I'm not coming to the coffee shop anymore and used other phone numbers that were not identified as his to try to call me.
After a while of ignoring him, he stopped calling. But, the whole experience was rather strange and made me realize how easy it is for the Israelis to run a spy network (or a soft spy network) in the open.
So when I see stories like these, I'm not only not surprised but I'm wondering why there are not more of these published on the press.
edit some related news:
1 - An Israeli spy firm was reportedly hired to dig up dirt on ex-Obama aides involved in the Iran deal
2 - UK campaign to smear Corbyn. Note, the source here might be a biased here as they're fighting what they perceived to be Israeli occupation
3 - Additional reporting on Israeli spying on American citizens
It sounds like nothing came of it, but screenshots of text messages, call logs, or other information you have may be of assistance in other investigations.
One would likely be more concerned with being accused of "anti-semitism" and having your name google-bombed by a Zionist smear campaign like Canary Mission.  Imagine having a potential client or employer finding your name on a list of "anti-semite Israel haters" for doing nothing more that suggesting Palestinians have human rights or that Israel engages in an aggressive espionage campaign against the United States?
Now if it would be an Iranian spy for example, they would hunt him/them down with the full force.
The US has been very aggressive against Israeli espionage [0,1,2] and the president doesn't exercise much control over counter-intelligence investigations.
1 was spying on Israel for the US and was arrested and convicted by Israel.
China has been doing this too. Any time someone brings up Chinese civil rights abuses, there's always one or two people crying racism, even though the victims are (mostly) also Chinese.
I wouldn't spend much energy trying to second-guess who was ultimately behind the meeting. Especially if it is nefarious, often the initial contact is done with a cut-out or other intermediary and true affiliations are almost never disclosed initially (or perhaps ever).
Several agencies of the US govt are known to deploy facial recognition monitoring of social media for known foreign agents and place calls to employers if their employees take selfies with them, in order to scare the employees that they're a) being watched and b) to make them more paranoid around unknown individuals. Even if it's a casual hang-out at a conference, the US government will nudge average people to make sure they don't associate with people on certain watch-lists if they work for a large corporation in a sensitive field.
PS: If you watch Thom Hartmann and TRNN, Mossad and the Israeli government actively sabotage BDS and nonviolent pro-Palestinian groups on American college campuses with a deep, well-coordinated campaign of dirty tricks and manipulation in order to cover up and confuse people about the Likud hard-liner apartheid state. They're well-funded and student activist groups are absolutely no match to their tactics, resourced and support from both Christian evangelicals and Likud.
The issue is complicated by Israel being a US-ally so technically it's not that much of an issue of Israeli "agents" talking to Americans.
There's always a middleground. Never forget that a country's government and intelligence services are not its people. Just as someone criticizing the NSA or CIA or Blackwater shouldn't be assumed to hate Americans, someone criticizing Mossad or Black Cube shouldn't be assumed to hate Israeli or Jewish people.
"Apartheid state" doesn't make it better, either.
Actually antisemitism is being against Jews, and criticism of the israeli government is about particular political and military actions of a certain set of people and a certain state.
If one doesn't have a problem with e.g. Brooklyn jews, then they are not antisemites, no matter how much they disagree with Israel (which they might even believe has no right to exist).
> "In general, Israeli society is a healthy society, and the majority of it is sane and aims for a Jewish, democratic and liberal country," Ya'alon said. "But to my great sorrow, extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and the Likud Party and are shaking the foundations and threatening to hurt its residents."
> Responding to the resignation of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon earlier in the day, Barak said that it "should be a red light for all of us regarding what's going on in the government."
> "Life-sustaining Zionism and the seeds of fascism cannot live together," Barak told a Channel 10 interviewer.
> Ya'alon's resignation is "the end of a chain that began with the case of the soldier who shot [a wounded Palestinian assailant to death]," Barak said. "Such incidents give us an X-ray image that is opposed to the will of the people.
> "What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements. And it's just the beginning."
> To illustrate his point, Barak referred to legislation promoted by members of the coalition, including the law to lift the parliamentary immunity of Knesset members who allegedly support terrorism and a bill to impose Israeli law on Israelis living in the West Bank.
>U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the “first of its type” from a U.N. body that “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people”.
Article points out however, that the statement does not represent the position of the UN secretariat.
1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid#Forced_removals
NSO Group, the firm mentioned in this and other articles, and firms like Black Cube (hired by Harvey Weinstein to spy on accusers) seem to be effectively running an intelligence-agency-as-a-service model. They'll deploy agents and compromise devices to discredit any potential witness, gather reconnaissance on potential stories that are being written, spread disinformation, influence policy, etc. All you have to do is give them money.
As for the motive: no idea. But this seems to be a popular tactic for discrediting people, especially recently after some people accused NSO Group of helping spy on Jamal Khashoggi (edit: and there's also at least one lawsuit). Tarring their accusers as anti-Semites is one way of dealing with bad PR. I don't know what the parent poster may have done or what their situation might be, but they or their employer may be in competition, or a feud, with some resourceful Israeli companies or individuals.
>Compromise [...] Coercion [...] Extortion
That’s putting it mildly: I’m entirely aware that there’s a concerted campaign in the UK to smear Corbyn by fabricating a story from out-of-context quotes and, despite not being a fan of Corbyn, I’m entirely on board with the idea that he’s being unjustly targeted and probably isn’t actually antisemitic. But so far there’s no evidence that Israel is behind this effort. A more likely explanation is that he’s a thorn in the side of the Tories and the conservative-leaning establishment media, and the campaign successfully undermined Labour’s (and specifically Corbyn’s) public support (which the polls clearly reflect: they’re losing out agains the most incompetent and least-liked UK government this generation has seen).
There’s no need for Israeli operatives to get involved, and considering the potential fallout if this got out, it would seem to be a risky undertaking. Much easier to publicly denounce Corbyn, as both Netanyahu and the Israeli ambassador to the UK have done (along with the Foreign Ministry, if I remember correctly).
I've no issue with the Jews (I don't actually know any) but specific things the Israeli government does sure I do.
Of course it's useful for people to conflate the two as they do with Corbyn or anyone who condemns Israel.
Frankly I've no dog in the fight, I think Israel and the Palestinian's are frequently in the wrong.
It's quite possible for there to be no 'good guy'.
I think that this statement is false in almost every case. (I hadn't heard about UAE, so don't have any perspective there.)
x = israel -- 616k
x = china -- 57k
x = saudi -- 50k
x = russia -- 28k
x = turkey -- 15k
x = america -- 15k
x = iran -- 11k
x = korea -- 11k
x = uae -- 10k
x = britain -- 6k
x = sudan -- 4k
x = venezuela -- 2k
Anyway, as far as using Google results to measure societal trends goes, "boycott Microsoft" yields 3.83m results, and I don't think it's fair to conclude that criticism of Microsoft is disproportionate compared to that of all the countries you listed.
Amazon is the only one that comes "close" - 98k -- 15% that of "boycott israel".
Boycotting Israel is an order of magnitude more than China, and 40 times that of Turkey, despite China doing far worse things over a constant period, and Russia and Turkey actually occupying developed countries
"Few" is obviously a relative term, and given that even China is less than 10% of Israel shows that Israel receives a disproportionate amount.
Or more specifically: an area it occupied in 1967 during a defensive war against an attacking coalition of neighbour states.
That's the point. People on the pro-Israel side of things know that being antisemitic is very much not acceptable for anyone in a position of power in the 1st world to be in this day any age so they try their hardest to conflate the two.
It's much more obvious when the conflation is much more of a stretch, e.g. "how dare you not support gun control, don't you care about children" or "how dare you not support corporate tax cuts, are you some sort of communist." Conflating Israel as a nation with all Jewish people is subtle enough that you can get away with it most of the time.
It's basically a reverse straw-man where you conflate your position with something that nobody can tear down in a sufficiently politically correct manner (like a race of people) or the opposing position with something so politically incorrect that nobody will stand behind it.
If you're looking for it you'll see this behavior a lot on HN though people are typically slightly more tactful about it.
At the simplest, there's genuine confusion over symbolism, like people mistaking the Magen David for the Israeli flag. A lot of other times, there's way less excuse; I think the infamous example here is (ex London Mayor) Ken Livingstone comparing a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard. His justification was that people are afraid to criticize Israel - despite having been speaking to a British reporter covering a domestic beat.
Honestly, I think that's part of what makes the conflation so enduring. If it stemmed from one side, people would get used to dismissing it as a partisan move. But depending on who you're appealing to and what you're justifying, it can be run from all different political starting points, so no one is putting it in political cartoons as "that thing the other guys do".
ctrl+f "the Jews". I wouldn't make your opinion of what is "offensive" depend on an ad-hoc poll in times where even the most rudimentary looking into things for oneself seems to be getting rare. (or where people think clicking a button constitutes an argument, for that matter)
In this case, the comment also said "the Palestinians", and if you hear someone say "the blacks", as well as "the whites", yet you only retain the one and discard the other, that says more about the absurd climate than that person.
I totally agree, but they wondered if saying "the Jews" is offensive as such. It's not, as such.
When someone who cares a lot about the issue constantly mixes that up, that's very different from not getting it perfectly right on the first attempt because they're not familiar with the subject. And hey, even confusing Jews and Israel doesn't necessarily mean a person as an anti-semite, they could also belong to one of several schools of right-wing Israeli thought. But your point stands regardless.
I didn’t feel the need to defend myself since a charitable reader wouldn’t assume malice and an uncharitable reader.. what would be the point.
The other removes the emphasis on them being people and is pretty depersonalizing.
As you can imagine, it's much worse when it's a historically marginalized group--as an example, fewer people will care if you say "blondes" vs. "blonde-haired people".
Though this thread has been fascinating.
I think your comment is far more offensive than someone claiming they take issue with the actions of a nation state.
Which is mostly irrelevant, given the large and diverse groups of secular Jews worldwide. More importantly, you've moved the goalposts from having to defend a fairly extreme statement to trying to defend something like "Jews are more likely than average to support the modern state of Israel", which is just kind of obvious.
I find it surprising more Jewish people don't get angry at the use of their religion to justify/cast smoke clouds around human rights violations by the Israeli government. What a shield to put up - someone's religion! A history of Holocaust! It seems dirty to me, but I don't practice Judaism so I can only comment from the outside looking in.
There is quite a bit of evidence that pro Israel Lobby groups, as well as Israeli Embassy Staff are heavily involved.
There is a documentary about the whole issue from Aljazeera, which allegedly got censored due to intervention by the Qatar government.
Some reporter went undercover for 6 month with a hidden camera infiltrating some of the groups.
As a result, one embassy official had to resign
Presumably (although I guess your sentence is also true) you forgot an 'anti'?
I sat down and did the maths based on tax revenues and so on and Corbyn's plans roughly call for £500bn of additional borrowing. I'm not saying don't do it but it's scary this isn't communicated clearly to people the costs of renationalising water/rail/university fees etc. etc.
What makes you think there is a campaign against him or just that he simply isn't that popular apart from with a small section of society for whom he can do no wrong (i.e. Labour party members)?
Because his policies are virtually never mentioned, he’s being attacked for made-up allegations instead. This very fact that, as you point out, his policies are not discussed in the media is why people think there’s a smear campaign against him. People wish the press would engage him on policy grounds. As for the borrowing specifically, when this policy was initially proposed by McDonnell, it was made abundantly clear that this would involve large-scale borrowing. See e.g. this article in the Economist: https://www.economist.com/buttonwoods-notebook/2017/05/16/ol...
On a more political note, whether this large-scale borrowing is a good idea is obviously worth discussing. But it would almost certainly be more popular than the Tories’ continued twin policies of privatisation and austerity, which, besides being phenomenally unpopular, is largely based on bad science, to boot.
Replace israel with russia. Can you imagine any politician passing a law criminalizing any company from protesting or boycotting russia? The hubris to even think up such an anti-american law like this is worrying.
The behaviour sounds almost exactly like how my stalker inveigled his way into my life and then behaved when I cut him out.
Presumably they recorded the meeting with a hidden camera and planned on blackmailing the researchers into altering or stopping their research. It must be an effective tactic, because that's just so blatant and obvious.
> one man caught up in the litigation said he recognized Almog-Assouline because he’d been approached by the same operative under a different identity several years ago. “I recognized the individual, down to the accent and the anecdotes,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Hmm, I wonder if they did manage to find something to blackmail him with and that's what he means by retaliation and hopefully not something more sinister...
1. As a vendor of security sensitive products, any NSO deal would be approved by Israel's MOD.
2. They naturally employ loads of secret service "graduates" because it's good for business.
Consequently, calling an apparently clumsy NSO employee "an Israeli spy" comes across as kind of fake news.
Not to say there aren't Israeli spies in NY, I just don't think he's one of them.
Maybe not "spy" but ex-security official at least. Not sure how thinly that's splitting hairs though.
Also as an unrelated nit: Ramat Hasharon isn't a "plush suburb", it's where people without enough money to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv go live (Tel Aviv being "valley" expensive)
Also people who live there identify it as a “plush suburb” themselves.
But even if your estimate is correct and the difference in prices is “categorical”, the author of the piece could simply have had in mind the streets with private houses, which mostly cost north of 1.5-2 million USD. This is rather plush, I guess.
Now, that book has been denounced by some but large parts of it seem plausible.
I'm not saying I agree with that line of attack; it just feels like an own-goal.
NSO is a private company who is US owned and at odds with the Israeli government often.
As an Israeli I’m pretty confident Israel would not send spies in order to do things related to NSO’s private business.
If anything - these are US spies and not Israeli ones. It just doesn’t make sense for Israel to do this.
Not that Israel doesn’t do shabby spywork or it’s ethically above this - just not for NSO.
But is stuffed full of ex-officers from Israel's military. Don't you find it odd? Why they seem to keep coming, while at the same time switching back and forth in between army and "civilian" career?
That's a rather dumb cover.
I also don't get why this is being downvoted... this is a legitimate question. And actually:
I do, and I think it's abuse that private companies have been stealing the army's IP to develop their own infrastructure and sell it for a profit.
While the army mass-producing good software engineers is a boon for the economy it has also spawned a bunch of companies that use army-related IP.
That's even _more_ for a reason for this not being an Israeli spy though. It doesn't make sense for the government to do this.
Does it enrich the selected few? Yes it does. But enriches the country as a whole as well.
That's not how anybody's career can work. And nobody in his sane mind will accept severe demotion on rejoining the service, nor will choose a very different branch of service.
A diplomatic security corps officer, will not be making a good sailor. Those things are just screaming "a good pretext to station uniformed spy abroad" - these two for example, are pretty much the only two ways Israel can put a man in uniform into another country legally.
What is the source for this?
> What is the source for this?
NSO Group Technologies founders are Unit 8200 alumni (Niv Carmi, Omri Lavie, Shalev Hulio). While the "revolving door" between NSO and 8200 is pretty well understood and undisputed in many security circles, I don't have any other public reference. But I'd like to point something: confusing 8200 veterans and common veterans is extremely naive. I don't think anything going on inside NSO is unknown to the government/intelligence (even if they're supposedly separate entities).
I gave a tip in the previous HN discussion (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19006477), and now a broader pattern has been publicly exposed. How many other "phishing expeditions" can you discover by going to look for websites that follow the same pattern (Namecheap, Wix, etc)?
Christiana Markou -> www.eneinvestments.com , Alaa Mahajna -> www.lyndonpartners.com , Masri Mazen -> www.apoiconsulting.com , John Scott-Railton -> www.cpw-consulting.com
Following the crumbs would give more reasons to think that distinguishing whether these are orchestrated by NSO or Israel is pointless.
 Of which there are tens of thousands, since 8200 is one of the biggest units in the IDF (maybe the biggest). And if you count veterans of 8200 spin-offs then you're at some 10s of % of Israelis working in software.
probably because of this:
> comes across as kind of fake news.
I have lots of Israeli cousins and see their Facebook posts. I think maybe there's not widespread awareness over there how far apart we are on this.
Was it just me, or was it difficult to follow this article without already having a lot of background info on the principals? What ever happened to putting "who, what, where, why, when" in the first paragraph?
-Sending people to their homes claiming to sell paintings, usually in order to fix their location, get current pictures of them, ask neighbours questions, scope their homes and/or offices etc.
-Sending of verbal and written death threats. Calls on phone, stuff sent in the post.
-Covert entry operations against individual's homes and/or offices
-Following and open photography of human rights defenders (living in European cities) and their children in parks and outside schools.
-Pictures or knowledge of their children, schools etc sent to them.
-Smear campaigns design to make them look like terrorists (even through they were human rights defenders / lawyers) sent to people in their community. Designed to make them either look radical or in some cases attack them on a personal level (sexual in a conservative community). Sometimes this included organised protests against offices based upon totally false representation.
-Overt and covert physical surveillance of them as they travelled to and from their place of work and home.
-Doxing of their personal details online so people knew where they lived and called
-Threats made to them based upon knowledge that likely could only have been gathered through bugging and in other cases insider threats.
-Attempts to entrap individuals with online conversations (personal/sexual information etc)
-Abuse of flight stop lists and other measures to prevent people doing their work and travel.
-Abuse of bank, company, charity, data protection complaints etc to try to harass them in their work
-Abuse of medical healthcare (e.g allowing relatives who live in Gaza to travel to get urgent cancer/heart treatment) to pressure individuals to stop investigating human rights abuses.
-Sending of fake journalists etc as send above.
-Malware etc as above. Also DDoS, orchestrated campaigns online etc
Why am I not surprised that it's linked to Cambridge Analytica?
I mean if you break it down in the simplest way possible (for example what the public see on TV and call a spy), what they are seeing is various people who are:
-Agent of influence
-Mobile Surveillance Officer
etc etc etc
And every so often, scandals get dragged through the media. The US / 5 Eyes had Snowden, Russia the whole Trump/Democrat email hacking, China a boatload of industrial espionage and now it's this Israeli half-scandal here.
I would not throw this into the bin with the usual anti-Israeli agenda pieces that arise e.g. with reports about the Palestine conflict.
The jews and their magic money, right?
AIPAC spent 3.5 million on lobbying in 2018. Do you have any idea how infinitesimal that is?
There was $5.7 billion dollars spent on lobbying during the mid term elections.
In 2018, Google spent $21 million
The Healthcare industry spent $556 million
The Mexican government spent 2.3 million
But AIPAC is by far and away the real problem.
Exhibit: that NSA shares US citizen's private data with Israeli spooks is not newsworthy to NYT , even though Israeli paper Haaretz thinks otherwise .
How does one go about luring cybersecurity reaserchers?
Surely a cybersecurity researcher is not you’re average mark?
Luring is generally something an adversary does to an one who is unsuspecting.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say the us of the word is dishonest, but it sure seems to be leaning toward hyperbolic, or histrionic.
Maybe targeted would be a better word?
MICE: Money, Ideology, Compromise or Coercion (depending on source), and Ego or Extortion (depending on source).
Edit, found the previous HN article (this is the same article but on a different site, the NY Times article is no longer accessible):
In the same way you do it in Silicon Valley - pretend to be a member of a VC fund with a lot of money. Plenty of people have been duped into giving up secrets and product ideas to fake and real VC members.
Given the overwhelmingly male demographic of people who describe themselves as "cybersecurity researchers", probably with $2000 escorts and hotel rooms rigged with cameras.
It's not rocket science, literally one of the oldest espionage compromat tricks in the book.
...not that I would know...