The Gatekeepers: Exposing Israel’s Dark Side

The Gatekeepers: Exposing Israel’s Dark Side


Interviews with six former Shin Bet heads were shown. The six men interviewed have decades of blood on their hands. Reflection perhaps seeks redemption. 


by Stephen Lendman

"The Gatekeepers" is an exploration of Israel's Shin Bet security agency, guided by all six living domestic intelligence chiefs.

Dror Moreh is one of Israel's leading cinematographers. Last October, his documentary featuring candid dialogues with former Shin Bet heads debuted in New York. 


They attended the Israeli premier. Joseph Cedar's drama Footnote was included. More on film content below.


In early 2013, other Western venues will show it. Over the weekend, it premiered at Tel Aviv's Cinematheque.


Segmented titles include Forget Morality, Collateral Damage, and One Man's Enemy is Another Man's Freedom Fighter.


On December 18, Haaretz headlined "Israeli film makes critics' best of 2012 list, moves closer to Oscar." 


It's won other international awards. It stops well short of telling all. It's still must viewing. It reveals what Israeli supporters need to know. Palestinians, of course, can explain best.


New York Times and Los Angeles Times film critics call it one of the best 2012 documentaries. It made the Academy Awards' short list.


On November 25, New York Times film critic AO Scott headlined "Six Israeli Spymasters on a Shadowy Past and a Dark Future," saying:


They're retired. They reflected "about past triumphs and frustrations." Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Ami Avalon, Avi Dichter, and Yuval Diskin were interviewed.


They approved the film. Their views reflected former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's warning that Israel faced national suicide if decades of occupation didn't end.


Extremist settlers reflect much about Israel's dark side. Messianic interlopers have no place in civil society. 


Perhaps fears of Israel's demise motivated them to speak. Doing so may help save the country, they likely feel. Gillon said "We are making the lives of millions miserable."


Outspoken Israeli intellectual Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903 – 1994) warned that governing occupied "foreigners" would transform Israel into "a Shin Bet state."


Zionists can't admit that indigenous Palestinians lived in today's Israel for centuries. Calling them "foreigners" demeans their longstanding ties to land rightfully theirs.


Israel stole it. Who in a current or past position of power dares say so?


Shin Bet heads are assassins. The six men interviewed have decades of blood on their hands. Reflection perhaps seeks redemption. 


It's much too late to matter. Atonement isn't in Israel's vocabulary. It's hard imagining they're comments will influence current policy. It's worse now than ever.


Moreh's film is "amazing (and) upsetting," said Scott. It covers ground rarely seen on film or discussed publicly. It challenges "conventional wisdom on all sides of the conflict."


Candid interviews revealed "devastating assessments of the failings of successive (Israeli) governments."


Yaakov Peri ran Shin Bet from 1988 – 1994. He was there during the first Intifada and Oslo. "I think after retiring from this job you become a bit of a leftist," he said.


He and others interviewed aren't doves. While critical of occupation harshness, they're largely mindless about Palestinian suffering. Only Israel's future matters. It prompted them to speak out.


Avraham Shalom headed Shin Bet from 1981 – 1986. He resigned after being accused of ordering two Palestinian prisoners killed and orchestrating a subsequent cover-up.


On the one hand, he defended Shin Bet tactics. On the other, he called Israel's future "very dark." He lamented about occupation harshness. It's a legacy perhaps he'd like to forget.


He's not alone. Others interviewed expressed similar views.

Scott called them "rare, (and) welcome (with) almost unbearable clarity." He exaggerated to make a point.


Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan called Moreh's documentary "more than simply eye-opening." It's "potent enough to alter how you see the world," he said.


Perhaps a little, but not enough.


Moreh did what seemed impossible. He convinced six former spymasters to discuss what's kept secret. They ran Shin Bet from 1981 – 2011. They spoke publicly for the first time.


They revealed snippets of Israel's dark history. They stopped well short of telling all. What's most important was omitted. Why they said anything they'll have to explain. 


They "demonstrate(d) how soul-destroying it can be (to) mandate behavior that may seem amoral or even immoral."


They stopped well short of agonizing over what they did. Late in life conscience pangs ring hollow. Other priorities got them to say anything.


At the same time, they support Palestinian self-determination. They expressed disdain for Israeli opposition.


They said Palestinian resistance is justified. Israeli leaders don't address it. Confronting it violently reflects state terrorism. Israel should talk to Hamas.


Shalom shocked viewers. He called Israeli occupation no different from Nazi occupied Europe. If current Israeli, American, or other Western politicians suggested this, they'd be run out of town next election.


On December 30 Haaretz contributor Gideon Levy discussed the film. Shin Bet leaders do dirty work, he said. It affords them "an aura of prestige and esteem."


"Oh, how we applaud our spooks." Two former Shin Bet heads became cabinet ministers. Another was successful in business. Murder, Inc. rewards its bosses. Doves have no place in Israeli society.


"This jolting film is a must-see," said Levy. "A feeling of nausea and of deep disgust wells up at its end." Occupation truths are told. Some but way short of all. 


Responsible assassins explained. Mea culpas were omitted. They stopped well short of admitting responsibility for unspeakable crimes. 


They have lots more explaining to do. They admitted "being blinkered." They didn't examine the consequences of their actions.


Coming together on film "resembl(es) a mafia movie." They speak like dons. Each did it his own way. They fell far short of entirely frank.


They were "subcontractors" in Israel's "war on terror." They knew their job was lawless, immoral and inhumane. Shalom claimed "There is no morality." Might alone makes right.


When it's too late to matter, they spoke. They're hardly profiles in courage. Where were they when policies they mandated could have made a difference?


They prioritized assassinations, torture, and other forms of abuse. They helped institutionalize lawlessness. They made Israel a police state.


"Now they remember to say that the Palestinian problem cannot be solved with force." It's high time they stressed an Israeli problem.


"Rolling their eyes, they pass responsibility onto the political leadership." They were part of its disreputable past. They could have acted responsibly.


They could have refused to commit crimes. They could have supported right over wrong. They chose other priorities. Unspeakable cruelty reflects them. They'll carry them to their graves.


Palestinian rage followed "monstrous methods" they used. Then and now, they include beatings, torture, humiliation, other forms of abuse, and cold-blooded murder. 


They admit crimes this grave. They remain unaccountable. They fall well short of remorse. They expressed no regrets. Why should they? They're heroes. Israel "cheer(s) them on."


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at


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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America"


  1. The fact that as Stephen has stated, "Israel cheers them on" is indeed a sad indictment of the Jewish mentality promoting as they do, ad nauseum, the human and moral codes they purport to live by.  


    If ever there was a country /state  that abided by the doctrine of 'the end justifies the means' it is Israel, a Pariah state for 60 years and now well down the path to spreading their cancerous thinking in the US.


    In this case, the host body, the accepting body is amenable to the disease based on the system called capitalism, allowing key industries to be “taken over”, and then used against them,  a distinctly obsolete Constitution allowing graft and corruption, PAC’s and SuperPAC’s now being able to control voting by discarding one vote, one value and then falling prey to blackmail, threats and every devious trick to stack a weak-minded and manipulated Congress to do their bidding  


    A study of the Jewish mindset would be a worthy task. The results would be a foregone conclusion. Since day one, through the kibbutz vehicle of what could be seen as organised "brainwashing" they have made generations of Jews into something akin to 'anything but human', with values that are totally selfish in the extreme and all this has blinded them to what is acceptable in the world. They have lost touch with reality, see no need for any apologies to anyone and will go on until they are all finally either accepting of the feelings and opinions of the rest of the world, most unlikely,  or will succumb to the same fate as evil groups before them, like the Third Reich, the closest group ever to their current practices and methods.  


    What a proud history that is. Suffer from an evil regime, survive through the sacrifice and deaths of millions of other people fighting to save you and then, outdo the most evil methods of the oppressor by putting into  practice (and then some) all the things that have been done to them.   I am sure that Freud would have a name for that mentality. Perhaps psychotic?  


    So the movie has value if not only to reinforce in the minds of those who have seen the evil Zionist machine emerge as a corrupt world force, exploiting human weakness as in the US Congress, the UK, Europe and  Australia but also to make the uninitiated aware of the evil before them, the deeds done, the dark future and hope that in some small way, they can shield themselves from such influences as best they can. The movie is, after all, about state criminals engaged in criminal actions with state approval. The same state is still engaged in the same dirty deeds, such deeds now endemic in Israel.   Remember, these men have been AND STILL ARE heroes in Israel.  Now what does that say to you?

  2. re: "He called Israeli occupation no different from Nazi occupied Europe." In fact, it is VERY different:  Nazis occupied Europe, to the extent they did, in the context of a war, of brief duration relative to the Jewish occupation of Palestine. 


    Furthermore, Nazism started out in an effort to defend and protect its own lands and culture and even access to essential goods, from the predations of British and American imperialists, goaded to their actions by zionists. "Judea Declares War on Germany" appeared in banner headlines on Mar 24, 1933, less than 60 days after Hitler was appointed chancellor and 5 years before the Nuremberg laws — the Nazi government's effort to extricate Jews from positions in German government & culture from which German culture & institutions were being subverted. 


    The Nazi comparison is NOT appropriate. 

  3. Rexw — you wrote:  "will succumb to the same fate as evil groups before them, like the Third Reich, the closest group ever to their current practices and methods." I think you are wrong.


    1. The underlying assumption is that only since 1948 or some other point did Jews start acting in the way that they do. 


    a. "The Controversy of Zion" performs a textual analysis of books of Torah (see esp. ch 17), and discovers that the word "destroy" is repeated so often that it must be understood as central to the "covenant" of the Jewish god with his people. b. In his most recent book, "Fortress Israel," Patrick Tyler relates how Moshe Dayan, not a religious man, read and re-read Hebrew Scriptures and used them as a military manual:  the stories of Joshua destroying Jericho, of Sampson bringing down the temple, were favorites. 


    Re-read Exodus without the Christianized or Hollywood gloss; it's a tale of the slaughter of other people's children for no good cause or reason. 


    Read the Story of Esther, who slaughtered 75,000 innocent Persians AFTER those same Persians had contributed their treasure (i.e. tax dollars) to aid Jews in rebuilding Jerusalem. So — Did Jews just 'magically' become the destructive creatures Moreh describes, or are the habits passed along in the mythology in which some Jews — and Christians — are steeped, and which they call a divinely inspired religion?


    NOW, consider that in the 1930s and 1940s the German people attempted to separate the Jesus that Germans venerated from a Hebrew context.  Walter Grundman, a German scholar, led the movement.  He and the movement were deemed "antisemitic" and virulently castigated by such worthies as the ultra-zionist Susannah Heschel.


    There is a good reason why the holocaust narrative is so zealously guarded:  if the truth about how zionists provoked a war with Germany, beginning in 1933, and how Churchill refused German attempts to negotiate peace in 1940 and 1941, and how Allies deliberately incinerated 600,000 German civilians — but not ONE SINGLE JEW — in firebombing raids that destroyed 75% of Germany's civilian infrastructure and much of its ancient legacy — if those truths were as widely known as is the holocaust tale, the foundations of American and British 'civilization' would be seen to be built on sand.  — or worse:  on the charred and starved bones of innocent civilians.