The Unbelievable Reach of Mossad

Conspiracy theory is one of the most curious phenomena of the modern world. Everybody has access to so much myth-busting information that you wonder why anybody thinks some of the things which may have been more excusable in less information-drenched times. And yet the vast and overwhelming amount of information now available for people to access is precisely one of the drivers of the growth of conspiracy. On YouTube, people can see any number of slickly-produced videos pretending that the Twin Towers were brought down by anyone other than the people who did it and by any means other than the means that brought them down. And of course somewhere behind much of the overwhelming amount of contradictory and confusing information put out there lies the fear of chaos. Perhaps nobody has a handle on the world? Perhaps it is all chaotic and even meaningless?

In this gap conspiracy theory becomes not just a solution but a comfort. Someone, somewhere is running the world for good or more usually allegedly malign reasons. This week saw a new contribution to this school of unreason with the reflection by a prominent Muslim ‘spokesperson’ and self-described ‘leader’ who lost a shoe. The loss was, somewhat surprisingly, immediately attributed by the said spokesperson to the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad. For once the conspiracy was seen to be so ludicrous that its author became the butt of a glorious national and international online and media frenzy. The Israeli ambassador in South Africa joined in, pretending that he had the missing shoe. Jewish and Zionist groups worldwide joined in as did many others.  Much fun – it is fair to say – was had by all.

But after the laughter, a serious point remains. Conspiracy theories no less absurd percolate through the Middle East on a daily basis. Birds, fish and sharks are alleged to be agents of Mossad. The Jewish state or Jews in general are seen not only in that region to be behind every bad event but also behind the failure of any potentially good one. This is the paranoid, conspiracy-laden mind-set that has bedevilled and held back the Arab states for almost seven decades. But as this week could remind us, such craziness is not limited to the Middle East. It remains perfectly possible to appear to be a normal, educated and modern person in a developed democracy and still hold onto ‘theories’ that are enough to make a cat laugh.



This week saw The Henry Jackson Society host a very moving meeting commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in the last months of the Bosnian War.

It is of course difficult to contemplate that just two short decades ago, a brutal conflict took place on the European mainland. Over three years – four if including the Croation War that preceded it – Europeans stood by and watched as international aggression from a vengeful Serbia angered by the breakup of Yugoslavia played out into ethnic cleansing and genocide.

But worse than this, they tried to rationalise what was happening before their eyes by suggesting that this was nothing more than a civil war and the inevitable expression of ancient ethnic hatreds being allowed to run rampant. And they contributed to the deaths of thousands through their refusal to intervene to stop the conflict or to lift an arms embargo that prevented the Bosnian government from arming itself, while also stymieing the attempts of others – principally the Americans – who wanted to take more decisive action. Not that the US can escape its share of the blame for having not had the courage to push through its convictions over British and French objections.

It took the appalling massacre of innocents at Srebrenica to finally shake the West out of its moral torpor and to take the steps necessary to launch the first airstrikes ever carried out in NATO history in 1995. But by then, the damage had been done. Leaving aside the tragic murders, rapes and refugee crisis in Bosnia itself, the bonds of the transatlantic alliance were seriously frayed by the rifts between the US and Europe – as was given voice by those questioning the value of a NATO alliance that was seemingly the most powerful military force in the world but which could not plink a few tanks and stop genocide within Europe. And in an echo of the situation we see today in Syria, Islamists were able to use Western non-intervention in Bosnia as a recruiting sergeant for young and impressionable Western Muslims who were sold a story of Western complicity in the murder of their co-religionists.

So as we remember Srebrenica, let us also remember the message of the massacre for decision makers today: that non-intervention is in itself a choice, and can lead to consequences far worse, and more longer-lasting, than intervention ever would. And that for ‘Never Again’ to have any meeting, we sometimes have to have the courage to take the difficult decisions it at first appears easier to avoid.

Dr Alan Mendoza is Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society

Follow Alan on Twitter: @AlanMendoza

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Diva a character in the popular CBS TV series NCIS character. Diva is a Mossad agent working with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

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