By Richard Silverstein: In the midst of complaining about the Islamist threat to Israel and the world, Bibi Netanyahu conveniently forgets that his own country enjoys a tacit alliance with ISIS in Syria. It is an alliance of convenience to be sure and one that’s not boasted about by either party. But is not terribly different from one than Israel enjoys with its other Muslim allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Bogie Yaalon served as defence minister in the current government till he had a falling out with Netanyahu. Now Yaalon plans to form his own party and run against his former boss. Unfortunately for him, he’s not polling well and doesn’t appear to be much of a political threat.
So Yaalon enjoys the position of having little to lose. He can speak more candidly than the average politician. In this context, he spoke at length on security matters at a public event in Afula. There is always much that I disagree with whenever I read Yaalon’s views. For example, while warning about the danger of favoring too heavily one side over the other, he essentially justifies Israel’s interventionist approach, which largely has favored Assad’s opponents. Nor do I like his choice of political allies–from Pam Geller to Meir Kahane’s grandson.
But he did reveal how closely tied Israel is to ISIS in Syria. I’ve documented, along with other journalists, Israeli collaboration with al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. But no Israeli till now has admitted it has forged an alliance with ISIS as well. Below Yaalon implicitly confirms this below:
…Within Syria there are many factions: the regime, Iran, the Russians, and even al-Qaeda and ISIS. In such circumstances, one must develop a responsible, carefully-balanced policy by which you protect your own interests on the one hand, and on the other hand you don’t intervene. Because if Israel does intervene on behalf of one side, it will serve the interests of the other; which is why we’ve established red lines. Anyone who violates our sovereignty will immediately feel the full weight of our power. On most occasions, firing comes from regions under the control of the regime. But once the firing came from ISIS positions–and it immediately apologized.
The attack he refers to was never reported in Israeli media. Either the information was placed under gag order or under military censorship. It was suppressed most certainly because both the firing by an Israeli Islamist ally on Israeli territory and ISIS’ apology would embarrass both Israel and the Islamists.
Keep in mind, this is the same ISIS which beheaded a Jewish-American who’d lived in Israel: Steven Sotloff. The same ISIS which raped Yazidi women and threw gay men off buildings. The same ISIS which has rampaged through the Middle East sowing havoc and rivers of blood wherever it goes. The same ISIS which Netanyahu routinely excoriates as being the root of all evil in the world.
It’s common knowledge that Israeli foreign policy going back to the days of Ben Gurion has been exceedingly opportunistic and amoral. So I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised at this new development. But still it does momentarily take one’s breath away to contemplate just how sleazy Israel’s motives can be.
Tikun Olam (Hebrew: תיקון עולם tikkun olam, "repairing the world") is a Seattle-based political blog that regularly reports on Israeli security matters. The blog was created in 2003 by Richard Silverstein and covers the Arab–Israeli conflict. Silverstein describes it as a "liberal Jewish blog" that "focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state".