Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was KGB agent, researchers claim

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

Two Israeli researchers claim that a document from the archives of the Cold-War-era KGB identifies the current president of the Palestine Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, as a Soviet agent. The document was found in the United Kingdom, and was smuggled out of Russia by a former senior archivist of the Soviet KGB. Abbas is the leader of the largely secular Palestinian group Fatah, which controls the West Bank. Unlike Hamas, which is designated a terrorist group by Israel and its allies, Fatah is seen by Tel Aviv as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. That is disputed by Hamas, a religiously inspired group, which controls the Gaza Strip and maintains a tense relationship with Fatah and Abbas himself.

The allegation about Abbas’ past emerged on Wednesday in the Israeli media, after two local academic researchers disclosed the contents of a KGB document discovered at Cambridge University’s Churchill Archives Centre in Britain. The researchers, Gideon Remez and Isabella Ginor, of the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the document dates from 1983. It was found among thousands of similar documents that were secretly smuggled out of Russia in the early 1990s by British intelligence, following the defection of Vasili Mitrokhin, an archivist in the First Chief Directorate of the KGB during the Cold War. Some of the documents later formed the basis of a two-volume edition on the activities of Soviet intelligence, which was edited by Cambridge University Professor Christopher Andrew.

According to Remez and Ginor, the document identifies Mahmoud Abbas as a “KGB agent” based in Damascus, Syria, codenamed krotov, which in Russian means ‘mole’. Abbas was born in Palestine in 1935, but his family fled to Syria in 1948, following the establishment of the state of Israel and the outbreak of the first Arab-Israeli war. The young Abbas grew up in Damascus, where he went to university and joined the local branch of the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, of which Fatah is a member. If true, the allegation that Abbas worked for the KGB will not come as a surprise to observers of Palestinian politics. For most of the Cold War, the PLO was known to be close to Moscow, while Abbas was intimately involved with the Palestinian-Soviet Friendship Association, a pro-Moscow group that was widely seen as an agent of communist influence in the Palestinian territories. But the document from the Mitrokhin archives may be the first concrete evidence that Abbas was handled by the KGB.

Palestinian officials quickly dismissed the document on Wednesday as a fabrication and a deliberate slander. Mohammed al-Madani, a member of the central committee of Fatah, and a close associate of Abbas, said the allegation was part of a “clear effort to damage [Abbas] by various actors, including the government of Israel”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 08 August 2016 | Permalink

Research sheds light on famed psychoanalyst’s espionage activities

An early student of Sigmund Freud, who introduced psychoanalysis in what is today Israel, was likely an agent of Soviet intelligence, according to historical evidence stemming from his life and the lives of his close relatives and friends. Max Eitingon, who was a member of Freud’s inner circle of students, funded and directed the Psychoanalytic Institute and polyclinic in Berlin, Germany, in the 1920s and early 1930s. In 1933, the rise of German national socialism prompted Eitingon, who was Jewish, to emigrate to Palestine, where he continued his psychoanalytic work. The view that Eitingon may have actively collaborated with Soviet intelligence in both Germany and Palestine was famously discussed in a lengthy letter exchange in The New York Review of Books in the summer of 1988. Although the debate continues among intelligence historians, two researchers, Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, both of the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute, believe that there is “a preponderance of circumstantial evidence” that Eitingon did collaborate with Soviet intelligence in Germany and Palestine. In a paper published in March of this year, the two researchers argue that Eitingon’s services to the Soviets included dispatching messages and providing safe houses for Moscow’s operatives. But in a fascinating research update, published yesterday in online journal Tablet, Ginor and Remez contend that historical evidence pertaining to the activities of Eitingon’s Russian-born wife, Mirra, and other relatives and friends, adds credence to the view that the famed psychoanalyst was working for Soviet intelligence. The two scholars point out that Mirra Eitingon, née Burovsky, had a son from a previous marriage, named Yuli Borisovich Khariton. Yuli, who remained close to his mother even after she left Russia, grew up to become the principal designer of the Soviet atomic bomb. Additionally, Ginor and Remez call attention to the role of two of Eitingon’s professional acquaintances: Adolf Yoffe, the Soviet Union’s first ambassador to Germany, and his successor, Viktor Kopp, both of whom shared Eitingon’s psychoanalytic interests. Specifically, Kopp was second-in-command at the Soviet Psychoanalytic Association, while Yoffe had been mentored by Alfred Adler, one of the psychoanalytic movement’s co-founders in Austria. In this sense, Ginor and Remez argue that psychoanalysis and intelligence work were “intertwined” in Eitingon’s life and career. Read more of this post

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