Egypt charges American citizen with being spy for Mossad

Israel/Palestine
on 28 Comments

Reuters: “An alleged Israeli spy arrested in Egypt is an American immigrant to Israel who once wrote that he hoped to promote Israeli policies in the Arab world, according to information he and others provided on websites.” At Facebook, the guy said he was “preaching” at Al Azhar University in Cairo. BBC: Israel says the student has no connection to its intelligence agencies.

From State Department briefing yesterday, before the subject got changed.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on an American citizen, a student in Egypt, who’s been arrested and accused of being a Mossad spy?

MR. [Mark] TONER: I do, but it’s very preliminary information. But we are aware that U.S. citizen Ilam Chaim Grapel was detained on June 12th by Egyptian authorities. A consular official did visit Mr. Grapel on June 13th at the prosecutor’s office; that was in New Cairo. He’s – we’ve confirmed that he was in good health. Mr. Grapel’s family is aware of his arrest and I refer to you Government of Egypt for details on the charges against him.

QUESTION: Do you have any opinion on those – on the accusations of him being a spy?

MR. TONER: Well, again, the – right now, our function, as we would in the case of any American citizen held overseas, is to provide him with consular services, work with local authorities to make sure he’s being treated fairly under local law, provide information about the local legal system and facilitate communication with his family and friends. The Egyptian authorities did give us almost immediate consular access, and as I said, he’s in good health. And I believe now that they’ve got a number of days to carry out an investigation and elaborate on the charges against him.

QUESTION: You have reason to believe that he is innocent or guilty?

MR. TONER: Again, no. We don’t have any opinion as of yet. I mean, they’re carrying out an investigation, and we’ll wait to see what that –

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. TONER: Sure.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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28 Responses

  1. GuiltyFeat
    June 14, 2011, 10:18 am

    From the Reuters piece:

    “Articles about Grapel’s military service in Israel appeared in the New York Daily News and Israel’s Haaretz newspaper in 2006. They said he had been wounded in the Lebanon war that year while serving as an Israeli paratrooper and had immigrated to Israel in 2005 from Queens, New York, at the age of 22.”

    “Two years later, Grapel took part in the Israel Project’s media fellows program in Jerusalem on “educating top young leaders in how to educate the press on Israel and Iran.””

    Worst. Spy. Ever.

    • seafoid
      June 14, 2011, 10:25 am

      Pollard was worse

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 14, 2011, 10:39 am

        Pollard was worse. But if it was up to me, I would say that any American who spies for a foreign country should spend the rest of his or her life in prison.

    • Chaos4700
      June 15, 2011, 9:56 pm

      I agree. The guy might be a turncoat from the US and he may be a war criminal from the 2006 invasion and massacre, but it isn’t likely that he’s a spy. A handler maybe, but I doubt it.

  2. seafoid
    June 14, 2011, 10:25 am

    Egyptians are very wary of spies, in my experience. I once had the pleasure of flying from Cairo to Khartoum with Egypt Air and engaged the person beside me in conversation. We had a fabulous chat in arabic until he asked me where I had learnt the language. When I said “Palestine” he stopped talking and said I must be a spy. There could be no other reason why a white person would be interested in the language, he said. But what about Umm Kulthoum ? Mish mumkin.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 14, 2011, 10:38 am

      Given the deviousness of the Israel state, can you blame them?

      • GuiltyFeat
        June 14, 2011, 10:46 am

        Woody, do you honestly believe that were it not for Israel, Egypt would be an open society with no paranoia or suspicion and everyone trusting everyone else and saying whatever they want about the army and Islam?

        I think it’s incredibly patronizing of you to suggest that the cultural identity of 80 million Egyptians is based on Israel’s deviousness.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 14, 2011, 10:57 am

        “Woody, do you honestly believe that were it not for Israel, Egypt would be an open society with no paranoia or suspicion and everyone trusting everyone else and saying whatever they want about the army and Islam?”

        No I don’t, nor did even suggest anything of the sort. Why do you have to make up such things? Are you that insecure on your position of the topic at hand??

        But if you don’t believe that Egyptian fears of Israeli spies is well founded, given Israeli’s past actions, its interests, methods and its deviousness, they you are either a fool, ignorant, a liar, stupid or brainwashed.

        “I think it’s incredibly patronizing of you to suggest that the cultural identity of 80 million Egyptians is based on Israel’s deviousness.”

        Well, then thank gawd that I did no such thing. Glad we cleared THAT one up.

      • mig
        June 14, 2011, 11:04 am

        “I think it’s incredibly patronizing of you to suggest that the cultural identity of 80 million Egyptians is based on Israel’s deviousness.”

        ++++ Experience from past ? Like before peace E/I. Some Egypt army general told when Israel PM told in news ” we reach our hands towards to peace”. After that Egypt army raised readiness state to red, because experience told that air raid or something is gonna follow pretty soon…..;)

      • Mooser
        June 14, 2011, 11:22 am

        “I think it’s incredibly patronizing of you to suggest that the cultural identity of 80 million Egyptians is based on Israel’s deviousness.”

        I was getting all worried because the “report this comment” button disappeared. But thank God, Guilty Feat is here to moderate the discussion and inform us that “we suck”.
        Just think about this, all you Israel-haters! If Israel and Zionism goes away, who will be the world’s moral arbiters? We’ll be lost!

      • Donald
        June 14, 2011, 1:36 pm

        “Egypt would be an open society with no paranoia or suspicion and everyone trusting everyone else and saying whatever they want about the army and Islam?

        I think it’s incredibly patronizing of you to suggest that the cultural identity of 80 million Egyptians is based on Israel’s deviousness.”

        There needs to be a name for the rhetorical trick you just employed here. Maybe there is one and I don’t know it. What you did was insult 80 million Egyptians while further standing on a soapbox and saying it is patronizing to blame their suspiciousness on Israel. Referring to their suspiciousness as their cultural identity gets you bonus points. If you think Egyptians are suspicious and that it isn’t in any way Israel’s fault, just say so directly and don’t engage in this hypocritical posturing.

        I first noticed this trick when reading rags like The New Republic, Commentary, and the NYT. Writers in those publications will take blame off the West by pretending that what they are doing is defending the dignity of people victimized in part by the West.

      • GuiltyFeat
        June 14, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Seafoid was the one who claimed Egyptians were wary. Woody compounded this generalization when he said the Egyptians could’t be blamed for their suspiciousness due to Israel’s deviousness. For myself, I make no claims at all about Egyptians.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 14, 2011, 2:53 pm

        “Seafoid was the one who claimed Egyptians were wary. Woody compounded this generalization when he said the Egyptians could’t be blamed for their suspiciousness due to Israel’s deviousness.”

        Wrong. Seafoid said that Egyptians were wary “of spies.” And given that they are targets of devious Israeli spies, I asked who could blame them. This was a discussion limited to their view of spies.

        “For myself, I make no claims at all about Egyptians.”

        False again. It was you, and only you, who generalized from a discussion about spies and essentially stated that the Egyptians were not an open society, suggested that they paranoid, were suspicious and intimated that everyone was distrusting of everyone else. (Followed by your concern trolling, of course.)

        Why do you have to make stuff up?? Are you that insecure about your position that you have to fabricate things??

      • American
        June 14, 2011, 3:22 pm

        That’s not what Woody said.

        I would be suspicious of Israelis, everyone is suspicious of Israelis..and rightly so.

      • eGuard
        June 14, 2011, 3:50 pm

        Yes, the trick must or should have a name. To me the pattern is: Always turn the topic to be the other persons moral fault. The name of the trick is: monotheistic religion. First appearance: bible, page 1-end.

      • ToivoS
        June 14, 2011, 4:26 pm

        Donald wonders:

        There needs to be a name for the rhetorical trick you just employed here. Maybe there is one and I don’t know it.

        How about ‘stupid sarcasm’.

      • Mooser
        June 14, 2011, 5:50 pm

        Fer Gawd’s sake, how many times do I have to post it? It does have a name. It’s called a 3+4, with a full twist.

        I hate to keep harping on it, but that link is one of the simplest, plainest explanations of how Zionists work. And don’t forget, the axioms in the article were personally endorsed by a foremost Zionist troll, “eee”, as valid and correct ways to argue.
        Sure, the cleverer ones mix ‘em up and give ‘em a twist, but it’s all there in the article.

      • stevieb
        June 15, 2011, 9:36 am

        GF – Egyptian cultural identity is not solely based on Israel’s ‘deviousness’, obviously – but it is most certainly a part of it. Three major wars and countless Mossad ops directed at Egypt will do that to you.

        But I really don’t see where WT suggests what you accuse him of, either…

      • Charon
        June 15, 2011, 2:02 pm

        I’ve noticed this trick myself all across the Internet. You see it in the talk section of controversial Wikipedia articles, comments areas of journalism articles, Facebook, etc.

        It involves the use a rhetorical question, weasel words, loose facts taken out of context, propaganda slogans, and lies usually.

        If they disagree with your opinion, they respond with this trick and pick a straw man to argue with. They will put words in your mouth that were not even said and generally spin the response in to a rhetorical question as a method of deflection.

        They do this so that when lurkers read among the comments they will hopefully come across their response and form an opinion based on it. Rhetorical questions answer themselves making them more difficult to respond to and easier for a casual person to base their opinion on.

        They will employ propaganda instead of facts or use loose white-washed facts based on the consequences instead of the root problem.

        I don’t know what you call it, but IMO it is a form of terrorism. Internet terrorism. Information terrorism. Call it what you will. It is obvious to me that these are not normal every-day people employing these tricks. These people have been trained to use this technique. There are far too many patterns in all of these responses for it to be a coincidence. This isn’t just something you learn in debate class, often the exact same slogans are used verbatim as if they are bullet-point responses copied from a book.

  3. eljay
    June 14, 2011, 10:53 am

    >> A statement issued by Egypt’s public prosecutor said the suspect, ordered held for 15 days, had been sent to Egypt to recruit agents “trying to gather information and data and to monitor the events of the January 25 revolution.”

    Wow, that’s a pretty lame-sounding charge. Well, try him fairly and either convict him or release him.

    • Walid
      June 14, 2011, 11:05 am

      They’ll probabbly release him with a bit of fanfare. The Egyptian top brass want to maintain good relationships with the US and Israel.

      Whatever became of Israeli Ambassador Levanon that was also suspected of recruiting during the Tahrir uprising?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        June 14, 2011, 12:33 pm

        I wouldn’t be too sure of that. By appearing to take a hard line on Israel the new Egyptian ruling clique can continue cracking down on internal dissent

        I expect him to join Gilad Shalit on the next poster depicting Israeli victims of world-wide anti-semitism and for Nancy Pelosi to obtain a copy of his dog tag so she can carry it around in her purse with that of Shalit and the two Israeli soldiers that were captured and died from wounds in the fight with Hezbollah that triggered the 2006 war. And, oh yes, I forgot the Congressional resolution, to be passed unanimously by voice vote, demanding that Egypt release Grapel or face a cut in military aid.

      • Walid
        June 15, 2011, 3:58 am

        I’m sure you’re right about the Egyptian army putting on a show with the arrest of the alleged spy just as I’m sure the guy will be eventually released. It’s not unlike the 2007 story of Daniel Sharon, the Israeli-German that was held in Beirut and released after 3 weeks when he was inadvertently caught in a murder investigation and admitted being an Israeli. He had visited Beirut 11 times in the preceding 2 years using his German passport. Sharon, an Arab Jew, loved Lebanon and its democracy. He was interviewed by the gutsy Canadian-Israeli Lisa Goldman that travelled to Beirut to tape a TV news report about the recovering city right after the 2006 war:

        link to lisagoldman.net

  4. ToivoS
    June 14, 2011, 4:33 pm

    This guy Grapel can’t be too swift. A US citizen but is so dedicated to Zionism that he volunteered to join the IDF so he could kill Arabs, is identified as such in the American press and decides to go to Egypt and participate in an Arab nationalist uprising. Maybe next he will take up residence in Beirut.

    Mossad can’t be this bad, can they? I would be one very worried Zionist right now if this guy turned out to be working for the Israelis in this caper.

  5. Les
    June 14, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Did US counsular officials visit the American prisoners Israel took after attacking the 2010 Gaza flotilla?

  6. DICKERSON3870
    June 14, 2011, 5:20 pm

    So, I take it they remembered to get a Privacy Act waiver signed this time! Will wonders never cease? Oh right, he’s a law student.

    State Dep’t kicks can down the road on Israel’s crippling of Munib Masri - link to mondoweiss.net

  7. tod
    June 14, 2011, 6:02 pm

    It’s good to see the USA caring about it’s citizens. I can only hope he gets all the support that Furgan Dogan received. And his family too!!! They must be devastated!

    • Chaos4700
      June 15, 2011, 9:58 pm

      Not to mention Rachel Corrie and Tristan Anderson. Or the survivors of the USS Liberty.

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