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Team B and the Jerusalem Conference: How Israel Helped Craft Modern-Day “Terrorism”

Since Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza began, Zionist officials, pundits, journalists, and their Western opposite numbers have endlessly invoked the sinister specter of “terrorism” to justify the industrial-scale slaughter of Palestinians. 

Kit Klarenberg

Part 3 - ‘Propaganda to Dehumanize’

For years, by that point, Israeli officials had been attempting to popularize the term “terrorism” to explain the motivations and actions of Palestinian freedom fighters. That way, their righteous fury at repression could be reframed as a destructive ideology of violence for violence’s sake without rationale and Zionist colonial tyranny as warranted self-defense. This effort became turbocharged in September 1972, when the kidnapping of 11 Israeli athletes at that year’s Olympics in Munich by Palestinian militants ended with all hostages murdered.

This particularly public bloodshed centered world attention on Israel and left Western citizens wondering what could’ve possibly inspired such actions. Zionists had hitherto managed to largely conceal their systematic, state-enforced repression and displacement of Palestinians from the outside world. Journalists were kept well away from the scenes of major crimes. At the same time, Amnesty International’s Israeli branch was secretly financed and directed by Tel Aviv’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to whitewash facts on the ground.

For the Netanyahu family, the Entebbe raid was a tragedy – but also an ideal opportunity to validate and internationalize the concept of “terrorism,” as espoused by Zionists. In 1979, Benjamin Netanyahu founded the Jonathan Institute in honor of his slain brother. Its purpose, he said, was:

                    To focus public attention on the grave threat that international terrorism poses to all democratic societies, to study the real nature of today’s terrorism, and to propose measures for combating and defeating the international terror movements.

In July that year, the Institute convened the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism (JCIT) in Jerusalem’s Hilton Hotel. It gathered together a 700-strong mob of Israeli government officials, U.S. lawmakers, intelligence operatives from across the ‘Five Eyes’ global spying network, and Western foreign policy apparatchiks. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many representatives of Team B were in attendance. For four days and seven separate sessions, speaker after speaker painted a disturbing picture of the worldwide phenomenon of “terrorism.”

They unanimously declared that all “terrorists” constituted a single, organized political movement that was being secretly financed, armed, trained, and directed by the Soviet Union
. This devilish nexus, it was claimed, posed a mortal threat to Western democracy, freedom, and security, requiring a coordinated response. Eerily, as academic Diana Ralph later observed, the JCIT’s collective prescription for tackling this purported menace was precisely what transpired just over two decades later during the “War on Terror”:

                   [This included] pre-emptive attacks on states that are alleged to support ‘terrorists’; an elaborate intelligence system apparatus; slashed civil liberties, particularly for Palestinians targeted as potential terrorists, including detention without charge, and torture; and propaganda to dehumanize ‘terrorists’ in the eyes of the public.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin addressed the JCIT’s opening session. He set the tone by claiming Western state violence was ultimately “a fight for freedom or liberation” and, therefore, fundamentally opposed to “terrorism.” He concluded his remarks by imploring the assembled throng to go forth and promote the conference’s message once it was over. And they did.

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