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Israel lobbyists smear Khashoggi as terrorist so as to maintain Saudi alliance — and plans for Iran war

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Even as headlines around the world say that it murdered a critical journalist, Saudi Arabia has some friends in the U.S. The Israel lobby is going to bat for the theocratic dictatorship over the alleged killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Last night on i24 news, EJ Kimball, an Israel advocate at the Middle East Forum, suggested that Khashoggi deserved to die. The journalist’s “ties to al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” raise “a whole lot of other issues” about the Saudi tradition of exporting terror, Kimball said. The much bigger picture, he said, is the new Saudi Arabia taking on Iran.

Josh Block of the Israel Project made a similar allegation about Khashoggi two nights back. Pro-Al-Qaeda media are pushing the Khashoggi story, Block said, “because Khashoggi was a radical Islamist terrorist ally who was close to Osama Bin Ladin, ISIS, Hamas & wanted to overthrow the Saudi ruling royals, who oppose both the Sunni terrorists, sponsored by Turkey & Qatar, as well as Irans’s Shia terrorist armies & allies.”


Josh Block’s tweet on Jamal Khashoggi, preserved by Remi Brulin

Meanwhile, Israeli leaders have been staying quiet about the Khashoggi murder, as James North has repeatedly pointed out on our site. That’s because Israel and Saudi Arabia are now allied against Iran, evidently seeking an American-led war against the country, and all the attention to the rubout of a journalist is throwing a wrench in the works.

A former US ambassador to Israel who now lives in the country and serves as an Israel advocate explains the silence:

The Israelis are “in a very difficult position,” Dan Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, told BuzzFeed News. “They count very much on Saudi Arabia,” which is “central to their strategic concept of the region.” Saudi Arabia, after all, is their partner in arms in countering and isolating Iran and Israel’s “strategic anchor” in the region.

Max Blumenthal explains the importance of Saudi Arabia:

For the Beltway’s Israel lobbyists, it’s all hands on deck this week for Saudi Arabia and MBS [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman]. Their war on Iran party has been unexpectedly disrupted and a natural ally is on the brink.

Israel and the Saudis have been quietly cooperating in the last couple of years as they face a mutual enemy/regional rival in Iran; and Jared Kushner’s much-anticipated peace plan surely involves an Outside-In approach, in which Saudi Arabia and its friends would seek to force Palestinians to accept Bantustans on the West Bank as supposed sovereignty, and put quibbles over Jerusalem and refugees behind them forever. It’s reminiscent of what American elites were able to overlook in the Egyptian dictatorship for decades, just because Egypt recognized Israel. Saudi Arabia surely wants the same treatment.

A lot of the press heralding Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as a great reformer–the man now accused of ordering Khashoggi’s elimination– must be revisited now and seen as an effort by Israel’s friends to prepare Americans for the new alignment. For instance, the crown prince of Israel lobbyists, former peace processor Dennis Ross (who says American Jews “need to be advocates for Israel”), went to Saudi Arabia twice to watch bin Salman in action and wrote a piece in the Washington Post last February, calling the prince the “driving force for change” and a “revolutionary” the U.S. should support.

His efforts to transform Saudi society amount to a revolution from above…

if it was not for the turmoil and conflict that are consuming the region, the big story in the Middle East would be the transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia.

Ali Gharib noted: “This line from Dennis Ross should live in infamy, as a testament to his incredible wrong-headedness on so many subjects: ‘Ironically, the skeptics are primarily outside Saudi Arabia and not in it.'”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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31 Responses

  1. WebSkipper on October 19, 2018, 4:53 pm

    An oped in Haaretz smeared him as a “supporter of Palestinian terrorism”

    Jamal Khashoggi was a victim of Saudi terror. He was also a keen supporter of Palestinian terrorism

    • Atlantaiconoclast on October 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

      Why is Palestinian resistance called terror, especially when its victims are so much more often NOT civilian compared with Israel’s victims?

    • Misterioso on October 20, 2018, 10:59 am

      @WebSkipper, et al

      No matter how much thuggish, not very bright, vicious, utterly corrupt MsB with the assistance of his goon squad try to cover it up with bogus ever changing explanations, it is blatantly obvious he gave the order to murder and dismember Saudi citizen Jamal Kashoggi and dispose of his remains. MsB is now permanently and rightfully tainted. We can be certain that Trump and Netanyahu are lamenting his sudden fate. Now an international pariah, he will no longer be a useful tool for either of them to oppress, murder and dispossess Palestinians and slaughter Yemenis with American arms.

      For the record:

      Bloomberg News, Oct. 20/18
      “Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted”
      “Now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could become the biggest risk to his own project. Everything changed when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and didn’t come out. Allegations rapidly spread that the Washington-based journalist was murdered by a hit team sent from Riyadh. And suspicion naturally fell on the oil-rich kingdom’s de facto ruler, the 33-year-old heir to the throne.

      “Prince Mohammed, who’s denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate, still has his defenders -– notably Donald Trump. The U.S. president and his top diplomat have cautioned against putting America’s decades-old Saudi alliance at risk while they await the results of a Saudi investigation. But that’s in sharp contrast to a growing chorus of outrage, putting pressure on the White House to act. In Congress, lawmakers from Trump’s own party denounced the prince personally and demanded sanctions.

      “And, crucially for Prince Mohammed’s economic plans, the global business leaders he courted are distancing themselves. The bosses of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ford Motor Co. and Uber Technologies Inc. are among dozens of executives and policy makers scrapping plans to attend the prince’s business forum next week.”


      The New York Times, Oct. 18/18
      By Ms. Madawi al-Rasheed, historian of Saudi Arabia.

      “Why King Salman Must Replace M.B.S.”

      “To save its reputation and avoid becoming a pariah state in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Arabia should replace its crown prince.”

    • Misterioso on October 20, 2018, 12:54 pm

      Al Jazeera, Oct. 20/18
      “Khashoggi on life under MBS: ‘Nobody dares to speak.'”

      “In his last interview with Al Jazeera UpFront, the late Saudi journalist spoke on the need for debate in Saudi Arabia.”

    • Misterioso on October 20, 2018, 1:00 pm


      And the author of the Haaretz article denigrating Khashoggi would have undoubtedly described French resistance against the Nazis as “terrorism.”

    • Elizabeth Block on October 23, 2018, 11:50 am

      Palestinian resistance, even unarmed, even nonviolent, is always called terrorism. BDS is called terrorism.
      Someone once defined power as “what you can get away with.” MBS thought he could get away with a highly public murder. And yes, it’s shocking that the murder of one man counts for more than bombing children – but it does. Remember how the death of one little boy, Ayman Kurdi, drowned trying to escape from Syria, galvanized the Canadian public into taking in Syrian refugees. (And pushing their government into doing it, too.)

      BTW: No relation to Josh Block!

  2. Ossinev on October 19, 2018, 5:24 pm

    Panic over folks. Mad Melanie Phillips (with the help of her own dedicated informers and insiders LOL) has got it all figured out on behalf of her country (no not the UK stupid – Israel).

    According to MMP it was a simple routine planned kidnap and extra judicial extradition by a Saudi non hit squad involving a tranquiliser gun which went wrong because the silly non hit squad overdosed him and he suffocated and the body has simply gone missing. So what`s all the fuss about ? Mistakes or call them debacles happen get over it etc

    Focus on the “civilisation fight” ball says Mad Mel:

    “This is surely the reason why, despite this debacle, the United States will continue to support MBS. It’s not because Jared Kushner is his friend, or President Donald Trump loves despots, or the West has always sucked up to Saudi Arabia. It is because the West faces two giant threats in both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime. And to aid it in that great civilizational fight, the West needs Saudi Arabia”.

    BTW according to MMB routinely covering her Zioposterior :
    “Whatever Khashoggi’s political views, it remains wrong to kill, muzzle or jail dissidents”

    Unless of course Zioland is the perpetrator in which case it is perfectly fine because of it`s special “security” needs oh and also what it says in the Torah.

    Mad bad and hilarious to read.

    • Marnie on October 20, 2018, 12:38 am

      “And to aid it in that great civilization fight, the West needs Saudi Arabia’. For what? Outsourcing torture and murder of journalists who are too good at their jobs? She sounds like she’s a recruiter for Crusader’s 2.0 and is throwing a big old bone to the devil worshipping “Kingdom”.

      ‘Meanwhile, Israeli leaders have been staying quiet about the Khashoggi murder, as James North has repeatedly pointed out on our site. That’s because Israel and Saudi Arabia are now allied against Iran, evidently seeking an American-led war against the country, and all the attention to the rubout of a journalist is throwing a wrench in the works.’

      Israeli leaders staying quiet is suspicious enough but would not at all be surprised at the end of the smear campaign against the butchered journalist that it was a joint us/israeli endeaver, maybe a test by saudi arabia to see how much the new prince can get away with because as per usual, there are a few days of the obligatory clutching the pearls and grabbing the smelling salts and then nothing. tRUMP believes the ridiculous story being spun by the saudis and he has his fox and friends and others to help sweep this story under a rug and next week it’ll be Khashoggi who? Or is this all merely a lesson for journalists all over the world how easy it is.

  3. JWalters on October 19, 2018, 8:53 pm

    Yes, the rulers will try to keep the plans on course despite this big mess.

    MBS may have felt that if the Israelis and Americans can do this sort of thing, so could he. He may have even asked advice from the Mossad or CIA. But apparently nobody foresaw the victim’s fiance waiting in the car, and noticing that he went in and never came out, and the confirming security cameras. “Dunderheads! How could you make such a stupid mistake!”

    Or maybe somebody above MBS’s paygrade decided he needed to be replaced. So he was discredited and that pesky journalist eliminated all in one operation.

    I’m inclined toward the botched MBS job, but the spooks can be highly imaginative in these things.

    • Mooser on October 20, 2018, 12:29 pm

      “Rush Limbaugh this week implied that MBS’s thuggery was worth it cuz Iran.”

      Oh, you know how Limbaugh is. Always the iconoclast.

  4. Atlantaiconoclast on October 19, 2018, 11:12 pm

    Rush Limbaugh this week implied that MBS’s thuggery was worth it cuz Iran. He actually tied Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is pretty outrageous. Surely he is smart enough to know that Iran and the MB are not on good terms.

  5. chris_k on October 19, 2018, 11:50 pm

    I wonder whether Israel is playing both ends of this.

    Why did Marco Rubio and Lindsay Graham sign the Senate letter against Saudi Arabia? Did they do this in defiance of Israel, out of their human rights convictions? Or does Israel want Saudi Arabia to weaken Syria and Iran, but worry that the Saudis are getting too big and powerful?

  6. Kay24 on October 20, 2018, 6:55 am

    Typical zionist methods….blame the victim. How many times have we seen this happening? Let’s see….Rachel Corrie, the victims on the Gaza flotilla (who were attacked by IDF commandos), the horrible deaths of young people, including a medical assistant, all unarmed, during protests, even when they collectively punish the Palestinians, there is alway some made up story. All these brutal killings are usually followed by some lame blame game by the occupiers. They usually throw in the worlds “terrorist” or “terrorist sympathizer”.

    I guess we know who is directing the propaganda for MBS, and they are masters of it.

  7. CigarGod on October 20, 2018, 11:08 am

    10 missing fingers…
    Perhaps there is a reason for the silence of the traditional voices.
    No one wants an unexpected Fedex delivery.

    • Maghlawatan on October 21, 2018, 1:17 am

      The beheading was real house execution style. Totally Saudi. Pour encourager les autres.

      Poor Israel. It can’t fight Iran on its own because it is too small. And MBS thought he was Putin. The dynamics are very interesting.

      • CigarGod on October 21, 2018, 10:10 am

        The usa and our allies have been rendering and teaching others to render for a long time.
        International law has become a mirage.

  8. HarryLaw on October 20, 2018, 11:43 am

    The US has to be good friends with Saudi Arabia. Keeping the Saudi relationship is paramount. US need to control middle east oil. US oil companies make vast profits from Saudi oil extraction and refining, the Saudi’s are key to the petrodollar system, and the Saudi’s buy US treasuries and buy hundreds of billions of armaments to keep the MIC happy. Human rights, basic human dignity and International law be damned. Trump admitted it when he said… ‘we don’t want to lose 600,000 jobs those Saudi arms sales bring’. The 5 veto wielding powers plus Israel and Saudi Arabia are above International law for all time, what matters now in this world is the power to control others with your financial power or agree with Chairman Mao when he said ‘power grows out the barrel of a gun [unfortunately he was right] Maybe this was alway’s so,

  9. Mooser on October 20, 2018, 12:20 pm

    ‘we don’t want to lose 600,000 jobs those Saudi arms sales bring’

    Trump has not made any hard deals with the Saudis. All “letters of intent” and such. Saudis haven’t committed to much at all.
    So our master negotiator showed the Saudis that merely the possibility of arms sales will get them what they want. What a bargainer.

    • Mooser on October 20, 2018, 4:11 pm

      Apparently the number of US jobs supported by Saudi arms sales is up to 1 million, according to Trump. And may be subject to later upward corrections.

    • Tuyzentfloot on October 21, 2018, 8:00 am

      These days when the Saudis commit to anything they have to lend money for it. I just read that the investments in Saudi Vision 2030 used to be around 18billion, in 2016 they had dropped to 7bln, and in 2017 to 1.4bln. That’s before Mister Bone Saw became impopular here. Two weeks ago a huge solar project was cancelled because of ‘technical feasibility issues’–wsj.html .

      In these conditions, friends tend to be the vulture type who will exploit the weakness of the kingdom in exchange for protection.

      In that respect I want to emphasize it’s easy to blame MBS for KSA problems. But the economical problems are older than him, and KSA is the ultimate trickle down economy(the US MIC is also a bit like that ). Peace is maintained by money flowing down from the top. Once that stops it becomes instable and you have to increase repression, with or without MBS.

      • Maghlawatan on October 21, 2018, 1:43 pm

        Saudi is a powder keg.

      • gamal on October 21, 2018, 3:45 pm

        ” a powder keg”

        you remember Al Obeid in the tunnels, during the hajj?, next time will be much worse.

      • Tuyzentfloot on October 21, 2018, 3:53 pm

        Maghlawatan says

        Saudi is a powder keg.

        I’m tempted to say yes but I don’t know. I just found this by the Council of Foreign Relations
        There’s always stuff they can’t say of course. And stability estimates are notoriously unreliable.

        At the moment everything feels unstable, not just Saudi Arabia.

  10. James Canning on October 20, 2018, 12:56 pm

    Yet more viciousness in reckless effort to harm Iran to facilitate the crushing of the Palestinians.

  11. Tuyzentfloot on October 21, 2018, 8:13 am

    If Trump says MBS wouldn’t last 2 weeks without US support then I think we should question whether Iran is a primary concern for Saudi Arabia . It certainly isn’t in Yemen and in Saudi Arabia proper.

  12. Tuyzentfloot on October 21, 2018, 8:43 am

    Angry Arab also discredits Khashoggi

    Propaganda is about narrative, not so much about lying. It’s not because the Israelis smear Khashoggi that they have to lie doing so. They’re selling a narrative, they’re telling you how to interpret the situation. The NYTimes also does not lie that often.

  13. annie on October 21, 2018, 2:24 pm

    did anyone read this, hysterical:

    “He repeatedly displayed a realpolitik way of viewing the Middle East, praising Saudi Arabia for buying arms from the United States, reiterating the importance of oil prices and trashing Iran, saying: “We’ve got nobody else over there” to help protect Israel.

    “I would love if he wasn’t responsible,” he said of MBS. “I think it’s a very important ally for us. Especially when you have Iran doing so many bad things in the world, it’s a good counterbalance to the world. Iran, they’re as evil as it gets. They’re probably laughing at this situation as they see it. Iran is as evil as it gets.””

    trump also referenced jared’s bromance w/mbs, just 2 youths with so much in common or something.

  14. pgtl10 on October 21, 2018, 7:52 pm

    The Angry Arab is not doing what Israel is doing. Israel wants to protect an alliance. The Angry Arab is setting the record straight. Two different things.

    Also the Nytimes don’t lie? What rock do you live under. They practically made up Iraq’s WMDs.

    • Tuyzentfloot on October 22, 2018, 12:05 pm

      Maybe it feels like nitpicking but I’m distinguishing lying from propaganda. The NYTimes mainly spread other people’s lies. They quote. If the NYTimes lies they are directly going against journalistic guidelines.

      The main characteristic of the mainstream press is who they consider worthwhile and who they dismiss. Generally official sources are trustworthy and to be treated as truth until proven otherwise by other trustworthy sources. Alternative media aren’t trustworthy so their arguments don’t count. The mainstream can be very critical – towards untrustworthy sources. That’s the baseline of the system.
      Obviously it becomes attractive then for the trusted sources to start spreading lies. And it can become acceptable for mainstream media to become complicit in lies. But most of the lies are just gullible quotes of trusted sources.

      When NYTimes journalists don’t trust the usual sources they can be quite good.

      • pgtl10 on October 23, 2018, 12:08 pm

        In other words, the NYTimes commits journalist dishonesty by not bothering to challenge their sources because they want to promote a narrative.

        Also I’ve read things like the NYT reporting on “Iran’s nuclear weapons program” even though the IAEA reports have repeatedly said no nuclear was diverted to a weapons program.

        I call that lying.

      • Tuyzentfloot on October 23, 2018, 6:07 pm

        Then are you going to take this extreme case represent mainstream media and conclude they are all liars?
        I think that doesn’t fit the situation.
        My model just means that if you take the official sources seriously and you respect them and you use a very high threshold before contradicting them, then you can be acceptable for a job in the mainstream. That applies to the majority of mainstream journalists. Without lies. From there it’s not such a large step to shift from access journalism to being honoured to carry water for elites.
        In my model the extreme cases like David Sanger may well be liars but the mainstream has enough problems without lying.

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