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Blaming Israel for Mumbai By: Seth Frantzman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, December 09, 2008


William Pfaff, in an oped in the New York Times on December 4th, 2008, writes regarding the Mumbai terror attacks; “are we witnessing an indiscriminate war between civilizations? But we know that the modern conflict between Muslims and Europeans and Americans began with…Israel’s European-supported installation in Palestine.”

Pfaff is an American born writer residing in Paris whose ideas are widely read in the mass media. Perhaps, when one is used to the way in which terrorism gets twisted around and becomes ‘freedom fighting’, it should have been no surprise that it would only be a matter of time before Israel was blamed for the Mumbai attacks.

The idea that Israel is responsible for the ‘clash of civilizations’ is not unique. It is often pointed out whenever Osama Bin Laden references Israel, which he rarely does, in the context that Israel and the ‘Middle East Conflict’ are fanning the flames of terrorism worldwide. There was no shortgage of voices after the 7/7 London bombings that wanted to show that Israel and the ‘conflict’ had ‘radicalized’ those who carried out the attacks.

Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth, is the author of Israel and the Clash of Civilizations. He is a frequent contributer to the U.K’s Guardian and Observer as well as Le Monde and The Herald Tribune. In his book he argues that “from the early 1980s, it was Israeli policy to subdue the Palestinians, fragment Arab rivals, and foster ethnic and religious discord to maintain unchallengeable regional dominance.”

Israel is even involved in fostering enmity between Sunnis and Shiites because many Middle Eastern states are “uncomfortable amalgams of Sunni and Shia populations’ because they were combined into unnatural states post-WW I.” As Stephen Lendman at the ‘progressive’ countercurrents.org shows, Israel intends to go even further and “encourage discord and feuding within nations, destabilize them, and arrange their dismemberment into mini-states. Tribes and sectarian elements could be turned on each other, and alliances with non-Arab, non-Muslim groups like Christians, Kurds and Druze could be cultivated to advantage…containing China by controlling its main oil source; it may also be easier to dismember the country the way the Soviet Union was dissolved…Serbian, Ukrainian and Georgian ‘pro-democracy’ groups incite political instability in Moscow.” If only the Israeli government knew it was so powerful and its influence stretched so far.

The real question should not be to debate these wide-ranging conspiracy theories but to wonder why many educated people in the West and elsewhere want to believe these things. Is it because this allows an easy scapegoat for the world’s problems? China has unstable minorities, Israel must be to blame. The Sunni and Shia and fighting a low intensity civil war in Iraq: Israel is to blame. The Kurds don’t get along with the Turks and the Azeris don’t get along with the Persians and the Baluchis don’t get along with the Sindis: Israel is to blame. Terrorism in Mumbai is carried out by ‘militants’: Israel must be to blame. It makes it easier that a Chabad house was targeted. Whereas the world’s media first speculated that “it was not known if the Jewish Center was strategically chosen or if it was an accidental hostage scene” now one can say ‘if it wasn’t for the presence of Jews we would not have been targets.’

It is extrardinary that blaming Israel for the ‘clash of civilization’ and Mumbai terror gets widespread attention but it points to an age old scapegoating of Jews for the world’s problems; from economic downturns to war and the plague. It can be found in the Elders of Zion and it can still be found today.


Seth Frantzman is doing his doctorate in Jerusalem at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His articles have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Middle East Quarterly and the Tucson Weekly. He lives in Jerusalem.


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