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Reasons why Israel probably didn't mastermind the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and the Camp David presidential retreat:

  • It wasn't in its political interest. Israel has come under an increased, rather than decreased, as is erroneously claimed, amount of pressure to stabilize the situation in the region in order to pacify the Arab members of the current incarnation of the international coalition. A very similar dynamic was in evidence around the time of the Gulf War, and eventually led to the Oslo peace talks taking off in the first place. Additionally, the current US administration, which was rather content, by all accounts, to leave the Israelis and Palestinians to sort themselves out, is all of a sudden very interested in the fates of both nations - not a situation which a militant isolationist like Sharon is going to like.

  • It wasn't in its national interest. Jews don't like to kill each other for show, whatever people tell you about us. Neither are we so stupid that we will undermine the American economy, on which prosperity much of the aid money to Israel depends, or global financial services, in which we are notoriously very much involved. What are we, crazy? (don't answer that!)

  • As for Israel's being the most militarisitc society on earth, well, I would rather beg to differ - surely Yemen, which boasts the nighest ration of arms per population in the world, has first claim to that dubious honour. Failing that, there are Sudan, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Afghanistan... Come to think of it, if we were to calculate some kind of statistic mean of personal arms and national military expenditure plus overall fire power and military involvement, I'm pretty sure the most militaristic society on earth would be the good old US of A itself.

  • Regarding the startling indiscretion of leaving a copy of the holy Quran and other incriminating evidence in a hire car outside the airport from which the attackers launched their deadly missions, I would care to remind the gentle reader of the only Darwin Awards winning entry from Israel, that of two terrorist groups in cars full of explosives who detonated themselves en route to their destinations because they had forgotten to synchronise the timers on he bombs with daylight savings time. Even freedom fighters can be complete morons.

I don't support the attack on Afghanistan. I think it is a humanitarian and international atrocity. None of the outrage felt by muslims worldwide and shared by me, however, is enough to justify such rampant conspiracy theories or cast any substantial shadow of supposed involvement on the state of Israel.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that the "Israel attacked the WTC" meme is extremely common in Pakistan (and to a lesser extent, Indonesia and other Muslim countries) - especially among the younger, more radical Muslim scholars.

Many of the young men marching in the streets of Islamabad and Jakarta believe this (according to TV interviews), and despite denials by the older ulamas, apparently this is being taught as gospel in some of the smaller provincial Islamic schools. All those protesters aren't marching because they think Americans should die - more worrying, they're marching because they sincerely believe that Israel has successfully duped the US government into declaring war on Islam.

Apparently, Arabs in the Palestine area also believe that Israel is behind the September 11 attacks - the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass has expressed exactly this opinion, that Mossad was behind the attacks and that thousands of Jewish employees had been told not to go to work that day.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Iran, Lebanon, and (ironically) Kuwait were some other Arab countries where this view was prevalent.

Personal opinion: This propaganda isn't aimed at you, the American public. This is aimed at swaying the rest of the Muslim world to the Taliban's side, the ones who only have one news channel, or the ones who don't have TV, but go to read their lessons at the mosque every day.

Sources:
Star TV Focus Asia interview, Sunday night, October 21, 2001 broadcast.
Jerusalem Post, Friday October 19, 2001 (http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/10/19/News/News.36550.html)
All quoted bits from the now-defunct post by Jaez in italics; all bits that are my opinion (I think) clearly labelled as such. If you think not, let me know via /msg.

(For the 2nd Time) ...no better than the first, apparently...

It is a valid theory, in that it does fit the facts. Israel has ample motive, and has had ample opportunity to attack the world trade center. The anger it would bring down upon Israel's enemies (the Muslims) is motive enough, something that should be apparent to anybody.

Nope nope nope. It's not a theory. A theory is a hypothesis or set of hypotheses that have been empirically proven to be valid. Now, if you'd said hypothesis, well, sure, I'd be happy to accept that. I could, for example, say that I hypothesize that it's the combustion of Anti-Semitic weakbrained idiots that is responsible for global warming, but then I'd need to test this hypothesis. Can I set you on fire?

Israel does not have 'ample motive.' The immediate result of this fiasco has been the U.S. Government, their benefactor and supporter, pushing even harder upon them to support a full Palestinian state. It also has the effect of making the U.S. eager to go bomb somebody, which increases the pressure on Israel - they're easier to hit than us, especially by nation-states with ballistic weapons or individuals with Kalashnikovs.

The anger it would bring down on Israel's enemies (the Muslims) is motive enough... If you believe that, then you're even more credulous than the people swallowing and parroting this line of disinformation in the capitals of Middle Eastern states as we speak. They have the excuse of having lopsided information (or incomplete information) available to them. If you're here, you presumably could get real information, although (OPINION) whether you'd recognize it or not if it bit you on your ass and shouted DAYENU! is unlikely(/OPINION). ...apparent to anybody. The old saw that says facts don't speak for themselves, and that anytime someone states 'the facts speak for themselves' they are a) speaking for the facts and b) hoping desperately you won't take a good critical look at those facts, holds (sadly) quite true in this case.

It is by far and away the most militaristic society on earth, even moreso than WW2 era Germany was, and that is saying something. Mossad (the Israeli secret service) especially are not known for their morality, and have been involved in assassinations and kidnapping as far afield as Britain, Columbia, and even Florida (you forgot Argentina! -TC). They certainly have the training and experience to be able to pull off a stunt like the WTC attacks, not to mention the ability to doctor evidence to point to the most likely accused, the innocent Arabs who may have been simply sitting quietly in their seats when the attacks occurred.

Nope, it isn't the most militaristic society by a long shot. First of all, if you're going to make wild claims that expose your (MY OPINION) sheer idiotic refusal to think rationally (/OPINION) then please provide some references to back you up. You won't even tell us how you 'measure' a society's militaristic tendencies. Percentage of the population in the armed forces/reserves? Number of guns present? Number of military rank holders in government?

even moreso than WW2 era Germany was... Bwahaahaha. Show me the numbers. Germany in WW2 was a) in a full-scale war (believe me, Israel is not; if they were, there would be many, many more dead people and the economy there would be on hold while everyone suited up). I'm not going to even bother here.

Mossad are 'not known for their morality.' Um, how precisely does morality apply to sovereign state actions in pursuit of survival? For that matter, if you can present us with a list of the things that make a group moral, let's apply it side-by-side to the Mossad, the participants in the Intifadah and the al-Qaeda group, that would be helpful. I'd actually like to read that; it at least implies thought instead of blind repetition of (OPINION)steaming loads of crap(/OPINION). 'Assassinations and kidnappings as far afield as (blah blah)' - again, so? What would you call the Lebanese hostage-takers in the Eighties, or the killing of Zeevi? Get a grip. Produce something (anything!) that isn't hate-based opinion and we can argue instead of watch you (OPINION) make a further ass of yourself(/OPINION).

They certainly do have the ability to doctor the evidence. But so what? How about the British? Check it: Tony Blair can now hold Bush and the U.S.'s nuts to the fire on their support of the IRA through funding and havens. Maybe it was the British! Heavens! Now, tell me why that hypothesis is any less likely than yours? Please?

See, 'innocent Arabs who were sitting in their seats when the attacks occurred...' here you have a point. I think there were innocent Arabs sitting in their seats, not only in the WTC but I bet in the planes...but the hijackers (captured on video entering the aircraft, mind) didn't care about them. They were fresh from their night of hookers in Portland and were jazzed up to kill. Yup, they sound like Real Muslims(tm).

This is a fact that often doesn't occur to Americans, that despite hostility to them, Muslims might very well be innocent of this crime. Seating rotas are easily switched, and apart from seat numbers there is little to identify the hijackers aside from their attack. There were as many Jews on board those planes as Arabs, and if you ask the investigators, they will tell you that the working assumption in those first few days was that every Arab on board those planes was a suspect hijacker. It was only when one of the seats matched an Arab name, that they jumped to the conclusion that it was an Arab hijacking in the investigation. Also, if these were the highly trained killers that we are supposed to believe they are, why would they be so careless as to use a hirecar to go to the airport, and just HAPPEN to leave behind a Quran, a letter about Bin Laden, and of course a flight training Video! In a car! In the Airport! That they were finished with! On the way to a hijacking! Somehow, I don't think that any hijacker worth his salt would make so blatantly stupid a mistake. It boggles the mind.

Yup, it does boggle the mind. That (OPINION) you can swallow this and have enough rational intellect to even use a web browser amazes me!(/OPINION) Okay. I'm so glad you have a clear picture of what a hijacker 'worth his salt' is. Muslims ARE innocent of this crime, thank you for trying to foment racial hatred further. Certain individuals who subscribe to a belief system completely separate from Islam (save to use to get credulous, oppressed-feeling weak-brained fools to back them), are guilty of this crime. Some of them may in fact have been raised Muslim; I, for one, as an American Jew, refuse to associate the term 'Muslim' with this crime. In fact, it's really been the radical fringe that considers itself 'Muslim' that's been busy associating 'Muslim' with 'American target'.

Hm. It wasn't that the seats matched Arab names. It was that in many cases they matched the names of individuals (using video, especially, at boarding) who had admitted or been photographed in involvement in prior acts of terrorism. While I do not deny there is a regrettable backlash in this country against people of Arabic descent, especially in the air travel industry, I personally am in favor of nailing said airlines and aircrews who discriminated to the fucking wall, naked, flaying them, and pouring lemon marinade on them. Well, okay, at least in court. As David Bowie said, "This is not America."

Your enthusiastic adoption of exclamation points notwithstanding, we haven't said they were highly trained killers. We've said they were fanatics who had a manual and were sloppy at following it; not just that day but all along. Let me present an alternate question: can you explain to me why (IF they did do it) they wouldn't want their origins to be known? Advertising their origins themselves allows bin Laden and company or whoever backed them to plausibly deny any connection while making it perfectly clear in the minds of the public who 'did it,' regardless if it's 'right.' Among the dozen-plus of them, whoever they were, you can tell me that it's likely that NONE of them wanted to 'sign' this noble act for which they were sacrificing their lives? Hm.

Isn't it perfectly plausible that the USA simply DOESN'T KNOW who did it, and is using this opportunity to settle a few scores with a likely scapegoat, and to make and example of him and his people?

Sure. It's possible we don't know who did it. However, the second two parts of your sentence I'd even agree with! This is a target who admitted the bombing of a U.S. Navy ship and who (among other things) has called a fatwah against the U.S. (a declaration of war) despite happily wearing a Timex watch while doing so (Made in the U.S.A. with pride, Osama). Once he's declared war, we don't need a 'scapegoat' to go try to kill him. That's the privilege that declaring war on us gets you - we get to come make war right back, and you know what? We're pretty good at it. Declare war on us at your own peril.

To put it another way, what have Muslims, in general, and so called Islamic terrorists to gain from the WTC attacks? Worldwide abuse of muslims living in predominantly non-islamic countries? Isolation? An increase in political tension? A witchhunt against many innocent people? The freezing of the accounts of thousands of Islamic charities across the world? A huge cutback on civil liberties that freedom loving people all over the world have been fighting for for decades? It simply doesn't make sense! Maybe not to you. Let me take this moment to make something perfectly clear, and it is opinion: I do not argue this with you because I think you have either the inclination or the brainpower to cope with rational argument. I argue this because I hope against hope that your poisonous bullshit does not settle unopposed upon the minds of those who may come across it and have not yet made up their own minds, a process with which you are apparently entirely unfamiliar. To continue...

What have Muslims in general to gain? Nothing. Muslims in general didn't do it. See above. 'So-called Islamic terrorists' - um, wrong. 'Terrorists who claim Islam as a justification and guiding principle.' See, there's a difference, if you can remove your head from your undoubtedly uncomfortable rectal insertion to have a look. You, my not-friend, are the only one who keeps insisting that the enemy is Muslims. I've said it before, but (OPINION)you are the weakest link!(OPINION). Given that, the rest of this paragraph is pointless. Moving on.

Now look at what Israel has to gain:

  1. A relief of the international pressure piling on Sharon and the Israeli government to deal equitably with the Palestinians.

    Heh. Do you read news? Can you read? Events would seem to directly contradict you on this one. They have, if anything, been under increased pressure to settle things down because of this; the current quietude on the part of their allies is because even if government ministers are venal bigoted assholes, that doesn't make shooting them in the head and chest with silenced pistols okay. NEXT!

  2. Sympathy from the west, by saying "Hey, look what we suffer. Isn't it *tragic* that you had to undergo the same?

    Again, wrong, sorry. Israel and its policies have, in fact, been even further in the spotlight as a lightning rod for this trend towards anti-American action; the U.S. has (if anything) a motive to push Israel to behave better (and, again as an American Jew, I think it definitely needs to behave better, as do the Palestinians). If Israel was to say that, it would sound stupid given that one of the main reasons the 'scapegoat' (in your mind) group claims to be trying to kill Americans is due to Israel in the first place.

  3. An offered truce to draw heat off the Palestinians.

    What? Whatever you're smoking, please ship me some IMMEDIATELY. Where did you even get this?

  4. The "punishment" of Israel's enemies, Iraq, and the Arabs in general

    Uhhhhh, okay. Israel has, especially in your own rantings, never lacked the means to punish their enemies (unfairly, hideously, and lethally) all by their lonesome selves. Why should they want to risk their primary support relationship like that? They are, in fact, better at the 'punishment' part than we. Your Iraq statement is irrelevant; are you implying that Iraq is distinct from 'Israel's enemies?' If so, then logically, you are claiming that the 'Arabs in general' are distinct from that group also. Thanks! I've been trying to explain the latter to you. If, OTOH, you mean that Israel's enemies comprise Iraq and Arabs in general, see, you're busily stating untruths to foment disturbance. Even Israel has very specific notions of who their enemies are; if they didn't, they wouldn't be trying to hit very specific cars/rooms/buildings, now, would they? They could just declare open season on everybody! Sheee.

  5. A shift of focus away from Sharon's useless domestic policy. High unemployment, mounting job losses, rises in inflation, etc

    Um...I really don't think anyone in Israel is terribly concerned with the economic policy over the security situation, especially now. That's just my opinion, though.

  6. A shift of focus away from the possibility of him being indicted and tried for the Massacre of Sadra and Shatilla

    What? Sure, that's why they keep using heavy weapons on Palestinian individual targets in full view of the press. If that mattered to them, there sure seem to be a hell of a lot more pressing and effective ways they could deal with it. Besides, you can't 'indict and try' a nation-state. Get it clear. You can only do something akin to that in the court of world opinion, and if Israel has demonstrated anything, it's that they really couldn't care much less about that. Do you mean Sharon? Do you think Israel actually worries that others would be able to come in and take their Prime Minister for trial without their consent? (Rhetorical question, I know. Sorry. I don't think so.)

    The demonisation of Islam

    You're repeating yourself with no better argument or evidence, and again, you are the one equating 'Islam' with 'target.'

  7. Leverage to get more US aid in the form of weapons of mass destruction, and also monetary aid to prop up the already heavily subsidized Israeli economy.

    See, I love doing this with you. You can't even stay consistent. That aid is one reason why (ostensibly) bin Laden and company want to stick it to the U.S. Given that, the only way the U.S. reasonably increases Israeli funding (admittedly, reasonably in my eyes) is with strong conditions attached to try to minimize the reasons Israel is handing out for the U.S. to be a target. Besides, if Israel wanted the U.S. to take care if it ourselves, why does 'giving them more money' arise? We need that money for the action ourselves, don't we? Weapons of mass destruction...I'm quite sure Israel has all of those they need already, without help from us.

I think you get the picture. Israel has as much if not more of a motive to plan and carry out those attacks than the Muslims.

Oh, yes, I do get the picture. I'm afraid it's not the one you've been trying to draw with borrowed hate; it's one I, myself, have constructed through dint of my own efforts. Doesn't that just burn you? All that vitriol and propaganda effort wasted. Hint: Be more subtle next time. (OPINION)Not everyone who reads it (and, likely, few) are as stupid and credulous as you appear to be in these pages, and you'd need to enlist someone smarter to convince them.(/OPINION)

To give you another insight, Osama hasn't left Afghanistan for years, there are no operational airfields in Afghanistan, and no one, including the Taliban flies planes there. He has no pilots, nowhere to train them, no way to co-ordinate the attack (no coms equipment, remember?) and very few resources. His famed wealth was siezed about half a decade ago by the Saudi banks, and since then he has been living on meagre donations and proceeds from the sales of those video tapes of his training camps. Put simply, his guys couldn't afford the airfare to the next city, never mind set up as affluent westerners and buy tickets across America. It is just ridiculous, and that does leave us to explore the other possibilities, of which Israel is very definitely one. I don't think we should dismiss it simply because it is Israel, and not some other country.

BWAHAAHAAHAHAHA. "Insight?" Please read the definition of insight and play again, thank you. Osama hasn't left Afghanistan for years...so what? As to no-one flying planes there, how then did the Taliban ambassador return to Kandahar from Pakistan (and then go back)? Surely that means there's some form of transportation? How did the Taliban spokespeople reach the U.N.? How do Taliban, Northern Alliance and regular citizens show up on Al-Jazeera? Hm, you think it's because camera crews go there? Besides, until we started all this, there wasn't anything preventing him from driving, was there?

His famed wealth was seized...er, first of all, according to the Saudi government (which has every reason to convince the U.S. they got everything, right?) says they only got less than a million. They do say that that's because he didn't have anything beyond that. Do you believe that? Besides, if 'all Muslims' are behind him, are you suggesting that 'all Islam' has no resources? Iraq seems to be doing okay. The Taliban seem to have fun selling poppies for some nice cash. No-one claimed the hijackers set themselves up as 'affluent Westerners' anyhow.

It is just ridiculous, and that does leave us to explore the other possibilities... Um, yes, but we've never not been free to do so. That's the whole point of this country, old chap. In fact, various pundits and analysts have considered Americans quite seriously as the instigators many times. Isn't that even juicier than your rantings here? Finally, I don't think we should dismiss it simply because it is Israel, and not some other country. I got news. That sentence is pretty close to meaningless. The very statement 'because it's Israel' implies the support of a set of reasons for that. Work it the other way, which is what most folks seem to be doing...rather than just determining what Israel has to gain and comparing that with rhetorical statements and straw men, actually balance it up against what (narrowly) bin Laden and al-Qaeda (NOT Muslims, mind you) have to gain. THINK for yourself. Don't believe me. Don't believe Jaez; think about it based on data you have, and not some unbacked assertions laced with hate and opinion. Don't accept my data. Find it for yourself. What you're being told here is that you shouldn't bother to figure out what's going on; you're being told that the U.S. is lying to you and that some folks will helpfully hand you a constructed rationale and ask you to swallow it without showing you facts.

Nolite bastardes carborundum!

This question was the subject of a 16 minute story broadcast on the PRI program This American Life, episode 196, "Rashomon."

The story was titled "1001 Arabian Nightly Newscasts," and was compiled by Julie Snyder.

Julie is friends with a first generation Palastinian family, specifically their daughter, Rawa. Rawa is a Chicagoan, a college freshman, and a student of computer science. Rawa's family watches satellite tv broadcasts from the Middle East. Not surprisingly, these newscasts claim a lack of evidence pointing to Osama bin Laden, and the existance of evidence pointing to American militia groups wanting revenge for the execution of Timothy McVeigh.

Where did these ideas come from? Why is Israel, a tiny state surrounded by hostile neighbors, supposedly the center of a vast Zionist conspiracy?

Think of it this way: go all the way back to the creation of Israel after World War II. In the West, this was seen as a great event: a long displaced people who had just been nearly obliterated in the Holocaust finally getting a state of their own. In the Arab world, Snyder reports, this was seen as the world's Jews coming in and occupying land, kicking out the Muslims who lived there, and then convincing the rest of the civilized world that they hadn't done anything. If Israel was capable of this fundamental instance, what couldn't they do?

Until now, supposedly, the problems in the Middle East had always been between Israel and Muslims, but now, the Muslims fear, the United States will feel forced to involve itself in these conflicts, creating a war between the United States and Islamic nations. This, they claim, is what Israel has wanted all along, and it is why Israel would attack the United States, and frame the Arabs.

Besides, Rawa notes, Muslims couldn't have done it, because it would violate the Koran.

In a way, this "Israeli Boogeyman" is similar to the current fears of Osama bin Laden in the US. How can a tiny nation-state cause so much trouble for the world's fastest growing religion? How can a guy with a couple million dollars catch the world's most powerful nation completely by surprise? They must have tentacles everywhere!

It's an incredibly interesting story, and it gave me a deeper understanding of the fallout of the attacks on the US. Personally, I look foward to many years from now having my grand children come visit me, and tell me what they learned in history class about the Fall of 2001. Maybe by then, we'll finally have an answer to what really happened?

A RealAudio encoded version of this episode of This American Life can be found at: http://www.thislife.org/ra/196.ram

Peace.

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