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I don't quite get why an Israeli spy would like to get you to say something anti-semitic/anti-Israel. Would he want to blackmail you then? Did he want to make sure you are supportive of Isreal, sort of reverse-psychologically?



It depends. It could've been grooming for recruitment or unwitting exploitation: either he was trying to prove he wasn't Israeli by dabbling in anti-semitism and/or collect Kompropat that could ratchet up leverage from one minor ask to gradually larger ones.

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.


I sense some anti-isreali sentiment among somewhat valid criticism right there.

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.


That's partly why this is such an effective tactic for Israeli (government or private) intelligence. The presence, or mere accusation, of anti-Israeli government sentiment can be pretty easily spun into accusations of anti-Israeli and/or anti-Semitic beliefs. So it can kind of create a chilling effect on these discussions in general, like in this comment sub-thread. There are so many outlandish conspiracy theories out there about Israel and Jewish people that they can group you in with those types of people and paint you as a kook or bigot when there actually is some merit behind a theory.

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.


The difference between criticism of the Israeli government and Antisemitism is the simplification of the problem and putting the blame solely on the Israelis without making an effort.

"Apartheid state" doesn't make it better, either.


>The difference between criticism of the Israeli government and Antisemitism is the simplification of the problem and putting the blame solely on the Israelis without making an effort.

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).


If you can convincingly support how misguided "Apartheid state" is then yes, I would agree. Unfortunately Israeli policy does seem to support the definition.


Is it not essentially official state policy in Israel to label anyone criticizing the Israeli state as an antisemite? Hasn't this been one of their primary weapons against the boycotts?


What of the criticism is not valid, so it can only be explained by "anti-Israeli sentiment"? Is someone who is critical of some of the doings of the NSA or CIA "anti-American"? The issue is complicated by antisemitism being very real, just like there's people who hate America as such. But there is no need to jump to that, especially when you haven't even said what in your estimation makes the criticism only "somewhat" valid.


"Likud hard-liner apartheid state" is a pretty strong hint.


For anti-Israel sentiment? Leibovitz and others also dropped pretty strong hints, but you can hardly call them anti-Israel, and Desmond Tutu also urged people to recognize Israeli as being an apartheid state. When the shoe fits, it's time to stop buggering messengers.

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.720653

> "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."

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.720715

> 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.


Also https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-repor...

>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.


Considering that South Africa views many of the current Israeli government's actions as similar to what they had[1], I am not sure "apartheid" is such a wrong word to use here.

1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid#Forced_removals


In my opinion it is one thing to compare Israels policies to Apartheid, it is another to equate and judge them.


The foreign agent might have had some suspicion that the target wasn't a fan of Israel or that he was sympathetic to the Palestinians so the agent played a hard-line approach in hoping that he would fall more towards anti-semite than just a person that disagrees with Israel's policies. When you can bond with someone over a passion for something, some technical topic and antisemitism in this case, the target might be more open to sharing more about themselves. They may see the agent not only as a colleague but a comrade. Now the agent has an in as a friend, they can hang out with the target more and share information that two colleagues who don't work at the same place might not necessarily share. Trade secrets, non-public business plans, classified information, and even just access to more people in the community the agent is trying to infiltrate. "Hey Jim, meet my new friend Ben. He's working with blahblahblah right now, I knew you were trying to get funding for some new blablahblah design at work so I figured maybe you two should bounce ideas off eachother". Sounds pretty innocent but maybe Jim is dumber than the first target so the agent gets even closer to the true goal. Maybe Jim has access to source code or production servers for some system the Israelis are trying to hack. Maybe Jim is into fringe activities and can be blackmailed or is careless with his work laptop while the agent is hanging out at Jim's house. Either way, the "cold call" meeting is probably just the beginning of a complex plan to get close to the real targets.


Massive discredit for any cause you push?


it's just a bit outside what I/we consider spies roles. This sounds more like the usual PR trick.


It's because it isn't the Israeli government/Israeli intelligence who's doing this (even if many or most of the operatives are ex-intelligence): it's people in private industry. It's plausible some aspects of the Israeli government also have a hand in this stuff, but I think it's explainable without that as well.

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.


Something similar happened in 2016 in Romania, with the chief prosecutor of the national anti-corruption agency.


that's what I was trying to say, boldly discrediting people seems outside the spying field. I defined it as 'stealth information acquisition'. Not political con artistry.


s/some people accused/lawsuit was put against/g


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motives_for_spying

>Compromise [...] Coercion [...] Extortion




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