- Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad case officer, is the author of two exposés of Israeli covert action, By Way of Deception, published in 1990, and The Other Side of Deception, published in 1994. The former is available from the AET Book Club for $5 and the latter is available from AET for $18.
- Par VICTOR OSTROVSKY
- 1995 JANUARY-FEBRUARY
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1995, Pages 17, 88
By Victor Ostrovsky
I was seated in the Ottawa studios of Canadian Television’s « Canada A.M., » getting ready for an interview with Valerie Pringle, hostess of Canada’s national morning show. I knew that Josef Lapid, an Israeli columnist and former general manager of the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, was going to be interviewed before me from Tel Aviv via telephone. He was invited to appear on the show to explain comments he had made about me on Israeli television.
There, on a show called « Popolitika, » he had said that Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence service, with which I once worked, should arrange for me to have a car accident. He had then elaborated on this in his column in the mass circulation Israeli daily newspaper Ma’ariv, in which he wrote that I should be assassinated and that it should not have to be done by the Israeli government, but rather by an individual who should take responsibility to do the job.
Lapid’s wrath was in response to excerpts from my new book, The Other Side of Deception, published in the largest Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. The book—published in the United States by HarperCollins—deals with my activities in and against the Mossad. Following is the transcript of that CTV interview on Oct. 21, the aftermath of which I found to be quite incredible.
VALERIE PRINGLE (Anchor): Victor Ostrovsky is a former member of Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad, who wrote the book. I guess the first one that caused an enormous stir was called By Way of Deception: An Insider’s Portrait of the Mossad. It angered many people around the world. The Israeli government tried to prevent its publication. Another book is out, called The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad Secret Agenda. Again it’s caused a furor. One Israeli columnist has gone on to say that Ostrovsky should be killed for his treachery.
In a moment Victor Ostrovsky will be with us from our Ottawa studio, but first, on the line from Tel Aviv, is that journalist, Josef Lapid.
You’ve called for Victor Ostrovsky basically to be killed. Why have you done that?
JOSEF LAPID: Well, in this country, as you probably know, Israelis occasionally die for their country. And I don’t think that anybody should make a living out of betraying it. I think that Ostrovsky is the most treacherous Jew in modern Jewish history. And he has no right to live, except if he’s prepared to return to Israel and stand trial.
PRINGLE: Do you feel it’s a responsible statement to say what you’ve said?
LAPID: Oh yes, I fully believe in that. And unfortunately the Mossad cannot do it because we cannot endanger our relations with Canada. But I hope there will be a decent Jew in Canada who does it for us.
PRINGLE: You hope this. You could live with his blood on your hands?
LAPID: Oh no. It’s to…only it will not be his blood on my hands. It will be justice to a man who does the most horrible thing that any Jew can think of, and that is that he’s selling out the Jewish state and the Jewish people for money to our enemies. There is absolutely nothing worse that a human being, if he can be called a human being, can do.
PRINGLE: What response have you had to this statement, which is, you know, basically the sort of jihad that Salman Rushdie has had—or fatwa, sorry.
LAPID: No no no. Rushdie has expressed his views in a novel, and there is no reason why anybody should not express his views in a novel. I am talking about somebody working for the Israeli Mossad and then going abroad and selling for money whatever he learned there. Ninety percent of what he’s writing is simply lies and inventions, but there is 10 percent truth, and I’m not against his inventions, but I’m against his telling any truth that he learned here.
PRINGLE: Have you been answered in Israel?
LAPID: … So this comparing him to Salman Rushdie is a compliment which Mr. Ostrovsky does not deserve.
PRINGLE: Just to briefly wrap up, have you been censured in Israel for what you say?
LAPID: Nobody is ever censored in Israel. It’s a free country.
PRINGLE: No, but censured! Have people said « this is appalling what you’ve said. We don’t agree with you. »
LAPID: Oh, I think—yes, I’ve had reactions. Some people thought it is appalling. The great majority of the reactions were very favorable. And I think I do express the opinion of the great majority of Israelis and the great majority, too, of Jews anywhere.
PRINGLE: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Lapid. I don’t, you know, know about whether or not this is the opinion of Israelis or if they agree with what Mr. Lapid said.
Several things were going through my mind as I was listening to Mr. Lapid. On the one hand I could see the smiling faces of the Judeo-Nazis also known as the « Kahane Chai » people in their paramilitary training camps across Canada and the U.S., rubbing their hands in satisfaction, having just received a call to arms from the so-called « respectable center » of the Israeli political scene. And although this mental picture was disturbing, at the same time I was pleased that at last the public could see the ugly face of Israeli nationalist militancy, demonstrating that Israeli zealots were no different than other extremists in the region.
A Shocking Stranglehold
It was only in the days following that revealing interview that incredulity replaced my satisfaction. I realized that what I had thought to be an Israeli influence on American and Canadian media through the Jewish community in the United States and Canada was in fact a stranglehold. Many thousands of people must have heard for themselves Lapid’s call to « any decent Jew in Canada » to assassinate me on behalf of the state of Israel. But the subsequent refusal of the North American media to report the appeal, much less condemn or even discuss it, was more shocking and far more frightening to me than the call itself.
I then realized that the occupation of the North American media is complete. In subjects dealing with the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, there no longer is a free press.
Had this call for assassination been made by a Muslim, that same media would have been all over it, first reporting the story and then keeping it alive by themselves, or provoking responses from Muslim leaders the world over. And should such respondents not be unequivocal in their opposition to such a call, they would instantly have been branded terrorists and, needless to say, « anti-Semitic. »
I had always known there was a double standard when it came to dealing with subjects that were dear to the Jewish community. I had not known, however, how hypocritical that community and the media that lie at its feet can be. I had known for some time that this community has all but taken over the film industry and has a strong grip on Washington, having the strongest lobby there. Now, through intimidation and double dealing, it obviously has taken over large portions of the media. To all those who knew this all along, and were silent, and to those who remain silent now—shame on you.