By Way of Deception, by Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy
When the government of Israel asked a Canadian court to prevent the publication of By Way of Deception it guaranteed a succès de scandale. The book has sold some 500,000 copies, its authors have been interviewed around the world, and its message—Israel is evil and no friend of America—has spread. Yet the book is so badly written, its logic is so tortured, its evidentiary base is so lacking, that if not for the scandal, no serious reader would have paid to plow through it. The Israeli government obviously wanted to prevent the revelation of the names of some of its own intelligence operatives, and the identification of some of its agents in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. It should have known well enough to cut its losses.
Victor Ostrovsky was a trainee in the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence-collection and covert-action agency, between January 1983 and March 1986. His knowledge of intelligence in general and of the Mossad in particular is limited to what he picked up in training courses and in lunchroom talk. Nor does he integrate that little amount of special knowledge into a lucid picture of the world. Nor does Claire Hoy, a journalist, bother trying to make a coherent account of what Ostrovsky has told him. They simply dump observations on the reader pell-mell.
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