Oftentimes there is no definitive proof, just loads of circumstantial evidence without the smoking gun. There is still debate about the 1967 war and the sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty; about the JFK Assassination; about the untimely death of Gamal Abdel Nasser. What is of growing significance though and how more and more the idea that one way or another the Israelis helped push the U.S. into the Iraqi invasion and occupation is gaining more and more legs as we go. Readers of MER for the past few years won't be surprised; many others certainly will be.
"Show the proof"
Haaretz Editorial, August 30, 2004
A surprising affair was laid at Israel's doorstep over the weekend. A Pentagon official by the name of Larry Franklin is suspected of passing on apparently classified information to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Jewish lobby in Washington, which in turn, it is claimed, passed it on to Israel.
Numerous questions surround this affair. But the lack of clear-cut and open proof and the fact that the main suspect, the supposed mole, has not even been arrested do not prevent Israel's transformation, almost "naturally," into being blamed for spying in the heart of the defense establishment of its best friend, the United States.
Israel already got itself a dubious reputation back in the 1980s when it ran Jonathan Pollard as a spy. The echoes of this affair have not died down to this day: Pollard is serving a heavy sentence, sensitivity and suspicion have not receded in the security relationship between the two countries.
Israel and the United States have understandings going back many years not to operate spies. After the Pollard affair, Israel strengthened these understandings. It is not known if Israel really did stop its improper behavior, but by the same token the opposite may not be assumed without clear proof.
Exposing the Franklin affair - if such an affair even exists - without presenting clear proof may raise the suspicion that interested parties in Washington are looking for a scapegoat. These parties may come from the intelligence community, which was unable to correctly assess the course of the war in Iraq and did not warn of the destructive developments that would proceed from it.
Other parties, apparently to be found in other administration departments, may have opposed the war and, unable to express their opposition publicly, may therefore have prefered to leak that the United States went to war in Iraq "for Israel's sake."
There are also elements in this region with an interest in disrupting the relationship between Israel and the United States, just as certain American political elements would happily do damage to President George W. Bush's reelection campaign by ostensibly casting aspersions on his Israel policy.
There is nothing like an espionage affair to meet the objectives of all of these groups. The administration, and especially the White House, should therefore have a prime interest in grounding its suspicions, presenting its proof publicly and bringing the accused to trial.
Because if the United States really did wage a war that brought about many deaths and may transform the strategic balance in the Middle East based on a whim of conservative administration officials, Jews and supporters of Israel that spied for it, who cooked up a plot right under the president's nose, Washington will not be able to maintain its status in the region and the world without investigating the goings-on in its own back yard.
But if this is a malicious leak, an unfounded suspicion and an effort to move the finger of blame from the Pentagon to Israel, American officials at the most senior level are called upon, immediately, to stop this foul wave.