Sunday, April 10, 2005

Israel Honors Members of Terror Cell Which Bombed U.S. Government Building in Alexandria

No, folks, this isn't some sort of belated April fools joke. This is about what is known as the 'Lavon Affair' -- an operation involving Egyptian Jews recruited by the Israeli military intelligence staging attacks on U.S. and British targets in Egypt. In the U.S. case, it was the U.S. Consulate's library (what later became USIA). The attacks were staged late at night, and involved no injuries, but still -- we're talking about an attack against a U.S. government facility.

All of this is old news for anyone who knows anything about the history of the region. The political objective, in the case of the U.S., was to convince Eisenhower and Dulles that Nasser's government was irresponsible, incompetent, or both -- and thereby drive a wedge between the U.S. and the largest Arab country -- an attempt to manipulate U.S. foreign policy, during an era when Israel's political influence in the United States wasn't nearly as strong as it would later become. In 1954, when this happened, the U.S. was still ambivalent about the new regime in Cairo, and relations with Nasser hadn't reached the level of acrimony they did in later years. Dulles still had some hope of getting Nasser's tacit cooperation against the Soviets. (The well-known "Czech arms deal" that cemented Nasser's East Bloc orientation didn't take place until a year later, in 1955.)

What's surprising, though, is that the Israeli government held a cermony to honor some of the people involved last week. You'd think, for PR purposes vis-a-vis their biggest aid donor (i.e. US!), they'd keep this quiet, but no, they're apparently so confident in their hold over the U.S. that they don't have to pay us that courtesy.

Of course, when Ariel Sharon comes to visit Bush, this won't be mentioned. The U.S. media won't touch this. By contrast, what do you think we'd do if Egypt held a ceremony to honor Abdelkader Helmy?

Thanks to commenter John for the tip.


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