NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply troubled that supporters of unilateral Israeli retreat from Gaza are using false claims of a possible threat against them, to delegitimize, demonize and intimidate those who have legitimate concerns about the dangers of a Gaza pullout.
In recent days, Prime Minister Sharon and Police Minister Tzahi Hanegbi have claimed that opponents of the Gaza retreat might use violence against government officials. But now the Jerusalem Post (July 6, 2004) reports that, in fact, No concrete evidence exists to harm the Prime Minister or any other senior officials, according to security sources quoted on Army radio Sources close to Hanegbi said his comments arose from an assessment of the tense atmosphere and were not based on intelligence reports.
Moreover, former Security Services (Shin Bet) head Carmi Gillon, who has joined in the claims that there is a rightwing threat, has admitted that as opposed to 1995, when specific intelligence existed, the main sources for the current claims are analysis of media reports.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: It is a sad day for democracy when government officials use false claims to demonize and intimidate those who have legitimate concerns about rewarding terrorism; about the immorality of expelling 8,000 Jewish men, women and children from their homes; and about the Palestinian Arab terrorist state that will inevitably arise if Israel withdraws from Gaza.
The ZOA recalls that prior to the Rabin-Peres government’s concessions during the Oslo process, false claims were likewise made in order to demonize opponents of concessions. Later it turned out that many of those false claims were the work of Avishai Raviv, an agent of the Israeli Security Services (Shin Bet), whose job was to make Israeli nationalists appear to be extremists.
* Raviv was responsible for distributing and publicizing a poster showing Prime Minister Rabin in a Nazi uniform. Raviv displayed the poster in front of television cameras at rallies against the Oslo accords. (Jerusalem Post, Nov.21, 1995) The Shamgar Commission, which investigated the Rabin assassination, later confirmed Raviv’s role in the poster episode.
* After the murder of an Arab in the village of Halhoul in 1995, Raviv telephoned the media and claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of a fictitious Jewish group; later, it turned out that the murder was committed by Arabs as part of an internal dispute. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 17, 1995)
* In the autumn of 1995, Raviv arranged for Israeli television crews to film a completely staged event, in which he had youngsters pretend to be Judea-Samaria residents training in firearms to resist future Israeli withdrawals from the territories. (Israeli Army Radio, Nov.23, 1995)
* An internal Justice Ministry document dated June 16, 1996, quoted then-State Prosecutor (now High Court justice) Dorit Beinish going so far as to give approval to Raviv for an action to be done next to Bar-Ilan University in which someone else would be incriminated in order to be apprehended, in order to protect Raviv from suspicions that he was a government agent. (Ha’aretz, Nov.12, 1999)