Daily Israel Report

Israeli Officials: Spying Allegations 'Smell of Anti-Semitism'

Israeli officials denounce Newsweek report which quoted officials as saying that "Israel crosses the line for espionage in the U.S."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/7/2014, 12:12 AM

Netanyahu and Obama (archive)
Netanyahu and Obama (archive)
Flash 90

Israeli officials denounced on Tuesday evening a report in Newsweek which said that American intelligence officials have linked the U.S. visa crisis to Israeli espionage.

The report cited these American officials as saying in closed conversations that "Israel crosses the line for espionage in the United States."

In response, Israeli officials told Kol Yisrael radio’s diplomatic affairs correspondent Chico Menashe that the report “smelled of anti-Semitism.”

"The allegations of espionage in the U.S. are false. Israel is not spying there. The report in Newsweek smells of anti-Semitism, we are portrayed as an enemy country,” one official told Kol Yisrael.

Another official added, “We condemn any attempt to impose on Israel a false and outrageous accusation such as the one published in Newsweek today."

Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an internal review into claims that hundreds of young Israelis were being barred from entering the U.S. for political reasons. An initial investigation found that the rejection rate of visa applications for young Israelis ages 21-26 had doubled, from 16% in 2009 to 32% in 2014.

Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated that the visa crisis is close to coming to an end several days later.

The statements in Newsweek, if true, also touch the delicate issue of the imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard is now in his 29th year of incarceration in a U.S. jail for passing classified security-related information from America to Israel. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and has been held ever since, including eight years in solitary confinement.

Pollard was arrested on charges far less serious than those that landed other spies in jail, yet those spies served a few years jail time at most, critics noted, slamming the U.S. for "hypocrisy." 

In addition, documents leaked several months ago by American whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed American spying on Israeli targets, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak.