From the Editors

published in MER136

Lest anyone be tempted to dismiss the title of this issue as unduly melodramatic, we would like to call attention to an early November meeting of the Council of Settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. According to its bimonthly newspaper, Aleph Yud, the settlers decided to take an “active stand” against the Peres government’s efforts to reach some agreement with King Hussein of Jordan about the future of the West Bank.

Hundreds of Communities Hold "Speak Out" Activities

by Dorie Wilsnack
published in MER138

It was a small but brave demonstration. On October 23, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 20 people marched down a major street during lunch hour, carrying an Israeli and a Palestinian flag. Sponsored by a local coalition of Jews, Palestinians and peace activists, the group distributed leaflets and postcards along the route, urging people to write Congress to promote US recognition of the PLO and mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO.

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The Fall of Safran

by Jack Trumpbour
published in MER138

Nadav Safran will step down as director of Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) this summer, following a three-month investigation into his acceptance of over $150,000 from the Central Intelligence Agency. Michael Spence, dean of faculty for arts and sciences, accepted Safran’s resignation “with sadness and deep reservation.” Spence proclaimed that Safran’s “erudition and objectivity as a scholar have not been questioned,” and told reporters that Safran was under no obligation to resign as CMES director. Safran will retain his tenured post as Murray Albertson Professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of Government.

Israeli Spies in the US

by Jeff McConnell
published in MER138

November 21, 1985, was a remarkable day. FBI agents arrested a civilian terrorism analyst working for the US Navy, Jonathan Jay Pollard, outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, where he had gone seeking political asylum. Six days later, Pollard was arraigned in federal district court on several counts of espionage against the United States as a paid agent for the government of Israel.

Ekin, Enduring Witness

by Dale Bishop
published in MER140

Larry Ekin, Enduring Witness: The Churches and the Palestinians (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1985).

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Findley, They Dare to Speak Out

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER140

Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill and Company, 1985).

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US Corporate Ownership of Israeli Military Industries

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER144

US Corporation: AEL Industries, Inc.
Israeli Corporation: Elisra Electronic Systems (formerly AEL Israel)
Financial Relationship: AEL owns 58 percent of Elisra.
Military Products: Electronic warfare systems; telephone switching equipment. In 1984 approximately 50 percent of sales were for export. Awarded Israel Defense Prize in 1983 for collaboration with the Israeli navy on computerized battle systems. [1]

US Corporation: Astronautics Corporation of America
Israeli Corporation: Astronautics CA
Financial Relationship: Subsidiary.

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US Military Contractors in Israel

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER144

Over the past two decades, a combination of factors has significantly reoriented the Israeli economy toward military production -- weapons for Israel’s military and for export to juntas, minority regimes and dictators around the world.

Israeli officials justify this development of military industries and arms export markets on the need for independence from foreign suppliers and the consequent need to lower the per-unit cost to the Israeli military. Israel now appears to be the largest producer of armaments in the Third World. [1]

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Exporting Nuclear Triggers

The Strange Case of Richard Smyth

by Richard Sale , Geoffrey Aronson
published in MER146

Richard Smyth, indicted in May 1985 for illegally exporting nuclear trigger devices to Israel, is now a fugitive. In August 1985, two days before he was scheduled to appear in court, Smyth and his wife sailed his boat to Catalina Island, off the coast of southern California, and disappeared, forfeiting his $100,000 bail. Some US intelligence agents believe Smyth was murdered. Other reports now place him in Israel. “There was no way Israel could afford an appearance by Smyth in court,” said one US operative.


Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Do We Know Enough?

by Stephen R. Shalom | published February 2013

In January 2007, amid the furor over Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, former President Jimmy Carter made his first major public appearance about the book at Brandeis University, which defines itself as “the only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university” in the United States. He received a standing ovation, going on to say that he had chosen the word “apartheid” for his book’s title “knowing that it would be provocative” and to deliver a speech describing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands as “cruel oppression.” Carter then departed, and Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel, rose to offer a response. Half the audience walked out. A year later, the Brandeis student senate voted not to congratulate Israel on its sixtieth anniversary.