Rise and Kill First reveals Israel’s deadliest secrets. The history of targeted assassinations precedes the establishment of the state and continues to the present. Israel has killed terrorists, political figures, nuclear scientists, former Nazis and a UN negotiator; questions still swirl around the death of Arafat.
When does Israel strike, and when does it abort a mission? Ronen Bergman’s exposé obtains material never before released, and he talks with people who never talk. Here he discusses why and how Israel imposes the death penalty outside of any courtroom, based entirely on its own rules.
This season of the Tel Aviv Review is made possible by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, which promotes humanistic, democratic, and liberal values in the social discourse in Israel.
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Photo: An empty chair seen below a portrait of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on the 12th anniversary of his death. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/FLASH90
3 comments on “If Someone Comes to Kill You: Exposing Israel’s History of Targeted Assassinations”
Whenever I think about Israeli intelligence I smile at the thought of all those countries with compulsory chadors…
“How many meetings with God did you arrange [I asked], and saw that the Germans with me were horrified.”
[paraphrased, but essentially a quote from the interviewee herein]
Sitting in the Mensa at the University of Bonn, tables full, a German assistant [either PhD student or the US equivalent of a post-doc] asked to sit with me. Within 20 minutes or so he was somehow apologizing for the Holocaust and the death camps–I cannot recall pushing the topic that way, but who knows. I pointed out that only Germany, as perpetrator (that I know), has preserved the camps for memory; that only in Germany do major cities retain one ruin to remind what total war is. I pointed out that the US Japanese internment camps are nothing but a few signs with no buildings at all. “You have no reason to apologize. You have kept memory for us all.” He nodded.
Let the Germans be horrified as witness to what was and can be again. Let others listen to the satisfied intelligence behind “No, no: only God can decide the guilt of such acts [mass terrorism]. I just arranged some meetings with God.” The world is polymorphic in strategies and world views. It will always be so. No strategy or world view can truly saturate a population let alone the world. There are those who refuse that which I consider to be a relentless empirical outcome of social processes, who will always stamp the world as hard as they can into correctness. There are many Germans too; but the Germans in that room were there to warn. I would hope that all security services would want some such just over their shoulder, to keep security from becoming a closed primate dominance of which authors have warned for centuries. Please tell me when to stay my hand. Please. One of the very few high spots I have found in our new almost wars is that of a General, name slips me, now relieved of command for divulging secrets to his lover, who said the reason to not torture, distinct from the rapid decay of information thereby derived or false information given to belong to stop the pain, is to tell ourselves there are some things we will not become.
A true interview lets the subject speak in a caring understanding, and this one is admirably that. The interviewee has both patriotism and sorrow, saying he is now a historian above all else–an allegiance to the future, a future for Israelis that goes beyond Israelis. Not to all–there is no all–but to an indistinct posterity beyond our cookie cutter peoples. The last question in this interview is a beauty, asking how it is that those closest to the bloodied hand now, crying out against a march toward more trampling, can be ignored by a populace in the throws of righteous safety. Where are the worried Germans in Israel? Is not Breaking the Silence, its words taken down for reasons of State security, exactly that?
The view from nowhere, that view lived by none, created by entering perspectives then exiting into other perspectives the first would blot out, again unto again: that is where history goes. Few can live their long. Instead we take historical figures and make them one of us in our nows. But no house becomes the world, that what I believe those horrified Germans were saying in their uncomfortable silence.