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IDF Is Probing Foreign, Left-Wing Groups

Why the military should stay away from non-military questions

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The IDF logo.(Wikipedia)

The intelligence branch of the Israel Defense Forces, previously entrusted with keeping tabs on Iran’s nuclear program and the inner workings of the Syrian regime, now has a new target: Left-wing groups in Europe and America. Several months ago, Haaretz reported yesterday, Israeli military intelligence began collecting data on foreign organizations critical of Israel. Specifically, it has formed a department, headed by a major, dedicated solely to collecting information on groups that advocate anti-Israel sanctions. It plans to eventually share its findings with the foreign service, the prime minister’s office, and other civilian bodies, military sources say.

The foreign ministry criticized the initiative, arguing that uniformed officials should steer clear of political questions. It certainly raises several serious questions. Even if one overlooks the problematic nature of involving the army in a thoroughly non-military matter that should be addressed by the proper civic authorities, and even if one is willing to ignore the inherent risks associated with snooping on organizations operating according to the law in Western, friendly countries, one is still likely to come up against the unsolvable conundrum of just what sort of activity qualifies as sufficiently anti-Israeli. “We ourselves don’t know exactly how to define delegitimization,” a foreign ministry source told Haaretz. “This is a very abstract definition. Are flotillas to Gaza delegitimization? Is criticism of settlements delegitimization? It’s not clear how Military Intelligence’s involvement in this will provide added value.”

Under this thinking, it is bad enough that the Knesset is considering a law to defund groups considered insufficiently supportive of Israel and that it is holding hearings (opposed by many groups, including the Anti-Defamation League) into J Street’s pro-Israel bona fides.

To involve one of the world’s greatest armies in such intractable questions, though, is even worse. Some anti-Israeli criticism is legitimate, and some is not: It’s a fine line to draw, and without drawing it clearly the new, military department is left with a wide-open mandate to act against civilian, non-combatant targets—a premise that should be unacceptable in a democracy.

Military Intelligence Monitoring Foreign Left-Wing Organizations [Haaretz]
Related:Knesset Set to Vote on Law To Determine if a Group is Pro-Israel [Haaretz]
J Street Head in Israel to Lobby Knesset Over Group’s Commitment to Israel [Haaretz]
Earlier: Honest Abe

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

Actually the lines between these so-called “political groups” and what are the traditional concerns of the IDF intelligence bureau are quite blurred and arguably the IDF’s initiative in this area is quite appropriate.

For starters, one of the main criticisms of the ill-fated Turkish flotilla interception last June (immortalized in Latma’s brilliant satire “We Con the World” ( was the lack of good intelligence on the organizations fielding and manning the boats especially the Marmara. Clearly the sort of intelligence gathering described here would have helped.

Second, many of these so-called “progressive” lefty groups are heavily involved in abusing “universal jurisdiction” to arrest and try present & past Israeli soldiers on trumped up war crimes charges. Clearly the IDF has a responsibility to its soldiers, past and present, to protect them from such attacks where possible or at least warn them about who would do them ill.

Third many of these “progressive, peace” groups are far from harmless lefties, & work with the Pals especially the more radical groups either to interfere with the IDF carrying out its duties or pass on intelligence & even weapons to them (ISM & PSM are prime examples).

There are other reasons as well. But it’s telling that Liebovitz myopic vision is so limited to the far left-wing ideological bubble in which he exists that he cannot see the threat that the IDF needs to address.

I am also sure that if the IDF were to monitor right-wing groups (and they well may) that Liebovitz doesn’t like so much he would be cheering the IDF on for its prescience and initiative. Hypocrisy thy name is Liel.


Three things: (1) The IDF DOES monitor right wing groups. Fair is fair. (2) The leftists and “progressives” DO aim to destroy and deligitimate Israel. That some of these left wing haters happen to have Jewish ancestry simply goes to show that some of today’s Jews have substituted the false gods of Marxism, diversity and the New York Times editorial board for the Baal cult of the ancient Near East. (3) Why are the leftists, J Streeters etc afraid of the truth?

Doug says:

It’s no question that some criticism is legitimate, but if you do some background research on the foreign groups being monitored by the IDF you will soon see that the aim of most of them is to deligitimize and weaken Israel, undermining our right to self-defense, while advancing Palestinian state power. Every army has a right to gather information on enemies and potential enemies. I would guess that every army in the world does so.

Samantha says:

Who says the West is “friendly” to Israel? With friends like those, who needs enemies!


These left-wing groups are certainly enemies of Israel and of Jews (for being Jews.

Bill Levy says:

Once more into the breach. Most of these left-wing groups are aided and financed by Jews. The Nazis would have loved these people.

These people who think of Israel as the “enemy” and guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes should be taken to the woodshed. Jews have no problems fighting other Jews but they can’t fight an enemy who literally wants to destroy them.

Jews have embraced the propaganda of the Arabs. The only reason for the conflict is the occupation of the Arab territories by the Israelis. Tom Friedman who accepted Saudi King (I can’t remember his name.)’s Peace Plan and brought it to the American president wants Israel to give back the territories and half of Jerusalem and there will be peace. I have a documentary of the 6 Day War where then the King was interviewed of the purpose of the war against Israel, which hadn’t yet begun, he said “Extermination”. Tell that to Tom Friedman and all the other Jews including the Holocaust surviver who was aboard the ship to Gaza. What is wrong with these Jews?

Bill Levy

tillkan says:

You commenters that think anything but Israeli policy is delegitimizating Israel are like kids just shouting lalalala with their hand over their ears.

Joel Gayman says:

If the U.S. public was outraged and fed up with Nixon and Hoover spying on and infiltrating perfectly legal American left-wing groups who were “delegitimatizing” and “undermining” the U.S. military through their opposition to the war in Vietnam, why do you think it’s a “nifty idea” for the IDF to earn further U.S. outrage and enmity by a foreign government attempting to undermine the political freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution?

I realize far too many Israelis have no regard for their own political liberty or freedom of thought or that of Israeli Arab citizens. But many Americans still care a fig about our own!

Be Warned: How many other Israeli spies would you like filling the insides of U.S. prisons? And can Israel’s serious security concerns (e.g., Iran) really risk the further, complete alienation and hostility of most of the U.S. public?

You guys seem to be as strategically and politically stupid as Netanyahu!

David Star says:

Fortunately, the vast majority of the US public disagrees with the New York Times, Tom Friedman, J Street and Hussein Obama. Every survey of American citizens indicates overwhelming (most statistical analyes consider 2/3 an overwhelming factor) support for Israel.
Unlike Haaretz and the Times we do not spend our time licking the boots of the Arab League as the American Jewish Left has done since “Time Immemorial”.
We go about a vigorous political debate and keep our powder dry.
The strategy of Netanyahu which seems to enrage Gayman, has always been the antithesis of the “Socialist” Jewish Left in America from the the time of the establishment of the modern state, when it rejected the Soviet model of government.


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IDF Is Probing Foreign, Left-Wing Groups

Why the military should stay away from non-military questions

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