The Mossad in Hollywood Movies

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Someone should write a study of the portrayal of Mossad agents in US movies. Israel’s spy agency has a special place in US popular culture. It is rather bizarre, if you think about it. It is unimaginable that Turkish intelligence or Syrian intelligence would be heroically portrayed in American culture. But the centrality of Israel in the American imagination is unmatched. No country has achieved that status: not even the UK. No one speaks of a British lobby as they speak of the Israeli lobby. And since Israel does not have an actual history beyond its years of conquest since 1948, it had to invent for itself a narrative derived from science fiction. Former CIA director (in Carter’s administration), Stansfield Turner, once said that the Mossad excelled in PR and not in intelligence.

The Mossad’s propaganda was so effective that it penetrated into the Arab psyche and affected how Arabs viewed their own capabilities. Arab regimes helped in that effort: they wanted Arabs to feel impotent vis-à-vis Israel in order to accept the regimes’ defeatism and weakness. There are no good books that talk about Mossad failures (like the Lavon affair, for example, or the bungled pursuits of commanders of Black September which reveal deep ignorance of their real culprits), but there is a number of books that talk about the case of Elie Cohen. We now know that Israel wildly exaggerated the achievements of Cohen, who was exposed by a diligent Syrian intelligence officer. Instead, several books and movies were dedicated to Israeli skill in penetrating the highest echelons of Syrian government. But Western accounts always ignored the facts: that Cohen never reached the highest echelons of government, and that he never ever met Col. Amin Hafiz (not in Argentina and not in Syria during his spying years). Arabs were fascinated by the spy novel narrative of the Mossad’s excellence and the Mossad most likely helped in recruiting journalists to sing its praises (there are Western journalists who are specialized in praising the Mossad’s work). The Mossad’s chase of Black September operatives involved so many mistakes and blunders that the story lent itself to comedy were it not for all the innocent people that Israel habitually kills.

The Mossad’s propaganda focuses on “espionage” ignoring the terrorist work of the organization. This is an organization that works more through car bombs than through chases and spy work. I thought about all that as I watched the new movie, The Debt. It is based on a work of fiction but talks about the Mossad’s attempt at capturing a Nazi doctor and bringing him to face trial in Israel. The Mossad likes to pretend that the bulk of its work is to chase and punish Nazi war criminals while in reality the Israeli government has for years worked closely with Western right-wing political organizations possessing anti-Semitic leanings or ideology (like the Israeli alliance with the Christian Right in the US). The Mossad (and Hollywood movies) want to focus on Israel’s hunt for Nazi criminals but not on the Mossad’s murder of a Moroccan waiter because he merely resembled a Palestinian leader. In the movie, Mossad agents are portrayed, typically, as smart, strong and burdened with moral indoctrination. They don’t even want to beat a Nazi war criminal: this is about Israelis who have regularly been seen beating and murdering Palestinian children.

Western depictions of Israeli terrorists always include invented stories of “anguish” and moral “reflection”: Western Zionists need to offer propaganda in order to soften the impact of Israeli terrorism. And certainly, Western portrayals of Mossad “adventures” skip over their most memorable acts: their kidnapping of a man in Lebanon in 2006 because they mistook him for his namesake Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah; their many assassinations of innocent Palestinians because of mistaken identities typical Israeli terrorist recklessness; their famous dispatch of a hit team of fools to Dubai last year to target an unarmed Palestinian; the uncovering of more than 180 Israeli spy in Lebanon in the last two years (none of the Western media took note of that because they deemed it to be too embarrassing to Israel). But the Mossad needs extra help these days: what they can’t or fail to do on the ground, they can do instead in Hollywood movies.


for all the self serving comments and the name calling and hatred and bigotry against israelis and americans, and Imperialists (this lidia lady is the angry female version of As'ad, and she hates anything that is west of the jordan river apparently (israelis, christians, westerners, americans, europeans)..

it is what it is. an intelligence agency serves one purposes and one purpose only, and that is intelligence and control of information, be it misinformation, or hiding information. Mossad is good at what they do.. and their objective is to serve the state of Israel, and rightfully so, they should.

I would recommend watching the movie “Munich” (2005), which also plays on the theme of revenge as Mossad agents attempt to retaliate the death of Israeli athletes during the Olympics of 1972. It portrays these agents as highly professional and –to some extent- immaculate in their work. In fact, my professor of Intelligence Studies recommended it to the whole class as an example of impeccable spy work.

"[...] none of the Western media took note of that [failed Israeli spy network in Lebanon] because they deemed it to be too embarrassing to Israel."

Do you have anything documenting this here quote? Was there a meeting where they (who?) all came together and decided it was too embarrasing?

And, maybe more interesting, why is an exposed network of Israeli spies -in Lebanon- interesting to the international media? Israeli spies, in general (if they don't commit internationally interesting crimes of course (which they often do)), are not interesting to the international media! So why would -exposed- versions of these people be interesting?

By the way: Why was the international press -all over- the Dubai incident? You just said that they're not interested in exposing Israeli failures (as you deemed it). I know the answer, of course, but you seem too disillusioned to figure it out.

In your follow-up post, please point out exactly which paragraphs in this post are made up of logic (in your opinion). Would be interesting to see your thoughts on that. Because this is maybe one of the world's most unecessary blog posts. To write all this crap, just to come to the conclusion that Mossad is not perfect? Please, tell us something we didn't know from before. If you think the far-right American is an average citizen of this planet, you're dead wrong. And if you think the far-right American will ever read al-Akhbar online, you're even more disillusioned than I thought. All al-Akhbar readers will of course already know that Mossad isn't anything extraordinary. A bunch of thugs like most other intelligence services.

Please, choose topics according to your readers. You know very well that your readers are mostly leftists with a grudge towards today's political powers. Challenge -us-! Challenge the way -we- think. Don't inform us about Mossad just because you have a special grudge against them. And don't think we're far-right Americans.

I could not speak for As'ad, but I have impression that so-called "progressive" Americans are not less full of Zionist PR than other Americans (I am not speaking here about people from non-imperialist states, it is another story). They just got it from other sources - not from FOX but from CNN and so on. As'ad all time reminds us how some "progressive" media like Nation are peddling the same Zionist prop. So, I am sure he does his job well - but one could not make the horse drink :(

The depiction of the Mossad that reaches most Americans, and perhaps others in syndication, is the TV show NCIS, about Navy cops, which has a Israeli character called Ziva David whose father is the head of Mossad. Ziva herself was Mossad seconded to NCIS for several seasons, and is now an NCIS agent. She is shown as a superwoman supposedly typical of Mossad agents. NCIS is the most popular scripted TV show in the U.S. I am addicted to it myself.

It seems that PR is still working - for SOME :) next we'll read about how poor little David is fighting mighty Goliath. Yawn.

And why As'ad does not write his one stories? He does. If some hasbara people know nothing about them, it is not As'ad fault. But he sure has not ways to make his own movies - after all, not only all USA money are busy doing Mossad PR, USA puppet rulers of the ME are not so eager for truthful movies about Mossad torturers and mass-murderers - no matter if they murder a real hero of anti-Zionist struggle or just a dark-skinned waiter.

In your article you mention there are no good books that talk about Mossad failures. I'm wondering what you make of Victor Ostrovsky - whether his defection is real and the quality of his books?

Given that Americans read their fiction/see their movies about CIA/FBI/Seals mostly being great and fascinating, not torturers and murderers, they sure have no problem with the same b...s about Mossad. After all, Turks are NOT "white" for a typical USA settler, and Israel settlers are.

So, as much as I see Zionist lobby as a mighty force in USA, this particular PR effort should not be too hard to pull out.

oh right. talk all you want about the so-called 'failures' of "stupid" mossad agents (btw- dubai was a success albeit embarrassing it achieved its objective.)

But you must be correct. Mossad really must ONLY excel at PR and their agency really stinks.

Eichman didnt happen

Neither did Entebbe.

And that reactor in Iraq-pure science fiction with almost no collateral death

and Muganiya was a myth along with the Syrian reactor site. All BS.

Its all just a PR lie yes? {maybe the secret of a good intelligence outfit is having its enemies think everything its ever accomplished is nothing but bullshit. think about it}

Why don't you tell your own stories. Write your own movies. (Oh right-they already made that ridiculous Valley of the Wolves:Filistine where Turkish 'agents' killed about 100 mossad in less then 3 days to avenge the MaviMari)

Keep dreaming

Re "And that reactor in Iraq - pure sci fi with almost no collateral death."

Mossad genius? No, just sheer luck:

"'The planning was precise', said the Jerusalem statement, and the operation had been carried out on Sunday to avoid casualties among the '100-150 foreign experts... who would not be there on the Christian day of rest. This assumption proved correct', said the statement. 'No foreign expert was hurt'. In fact most of the 170 foreign technicians were working on Sunday. They took off Friday, the Muslim 'day of rest', as did (and do) virtually all foreigners working in the Arab world. Fortunately, the Israeli planes had arrived just at the end of the working day. Nevertheless, one French technician, a M. Chausspied, was killed in the raid. Alas, Begin had yet again been the victim of 'poor staff work'." (Living By the Sword, Stephen Green: America & Israel in the Middle East 1968-1987, p 140-141)

In the future when people remember mosad and israel they will ask themselves how they could be so ignorant and brainwashed when it came to zionism. Truly, there is no other state nor organization in the world which is involved in so much propaganda as israel. Not even North korea or China. The entire zionist media whether in occupied palestine or in the US is filled with propaganda by the zionist state and military. They use hollywood for their propaganda, they pay talk-backers to post their propaganda on news sites and blogs around the web, they insert their propaganda in many american tv-shows, wikipedia, school books etc etc. China would never be able to have their propaganda reach an american school book as an example if the purpose isent to belittle it, however israel on the other hand has more power in the US than the american people have.

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