The Falsified Passports Affair: a classical dialogue

Note: this piece was written in response to the so-called “falsified passports affair” of 1997, when Israel was lambasted for falsifying Canadian passports as a means of assisting in its war on Muslim fundamentalist terror.

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HORATIO: I am much disturbed and aggrieved, Plutonius, at the extent of the trickery and deception practised by Israel that has come to light in recent days.

PLUTONIUS: Aye, Horatio, I myself am disgusted and infuriated. The shocking false-passport affair calls for immediate and outright condemnation. Israel is indeed a most ill-mannered rogue among nations.

HORATIO: And yet I say the matter compels some serious thought before any harsh judgement is rendered.

PLUTONIUS: But the facts are plain, Horatio.

HORATIO: Namely?

PLUTONIUS: Were not two Israeli agents apprehended as they attempted to commit some sort of bodily harm to a Hamas leader?

HORATIO: Certainly.

PLUTONIUS: And did they not attempt their bungled attack most brazenly on the streets of Amman?

HORATIO: That cannot be disputed.

PLUTONIUS: The Israeli agents used false Canadian passports to gain entry into the country, did they not?

HORATIO: Yes. It is well-known.

PLUTONIUS: And they were intent on accomplishing their dirty work in Jordan, their friendliest neighbor, in shameful violation of the letter and spirit of recent bilateral accords, is it not so?

HORATIO: Undeniably.

PLUTONIUS: So in a single swoop Israel is caught showing blatant disrespect for international law and acting duplicitously towards two friends, Canada and Jordan. Such reckless disregard for the niceties of friendship does not behoove Israel, a country that has never enjoyed a surplus of friends.

HORATIO: Too true, Plutonius. Yet I heard a rumor in the marketplace that Canada may have loaned Israel the fake passports to assist it in its operation against Hamas.

PLUTONIUS: That is utter nonsense and an insult to boot. Why should Canada assist Israel in an illegal act in another friendly country? I have never heard of such a thing!

HORATIO: I have.

PLUTONIUS: I beg your pardon?

HORATIO: Do you remember Ken Taylor and the so-called Canadian Caper, when Canadian consular officials in Iran supplied false documents to help six endangered Americans escape the bloodthirsty regime of the Ayotollah?

PLUTONIUS: Ken Taylor! A true Canadian hero. That was one of our proudest and most glorious hours.

HORATIO: And the annals of the last great war are filled with stories of heroic individuals, such as Raoul Wallenberg, who issued multitudes of false passports, visas and consular documents to help the Jews escape the murderous Nazi regime. Will you not acknowledge their virtues and sing their praises as well?

PLUTONIUS: Aye, they were brave souls willing to take considerable personal risks to help save thousands of lives. I salute them unconditionally. Horatio, I think I know where this is leading.

HORATIO: Where is that?

PLUTONIUS: You are about to profess that the two Mossad agents presently languishing in a Jordanian prison are equally brave.

HORATIO: I ask you plainly, Plutonius: do you sympathize with the suicide bombers of Hamas, who leave behind trails of dead along with their bloody entrails?

PLUTONIUS: God forbid. Those maniacs are the earth’s curse and the spoilers of paradise. But to be fair, there are many who say that the bulldozers of Zion supply the sparks that detonate the human bombs — in short, that Israel provokes these deadly attacks against itself.

HORATIO: As sure as Cain slew Abel, that is a mean and wrong-headed notion. Can you not see a Nazi-like quality in Hamas’s relentless and random killing of Jews? The human bombers of Hamas are an evil and putrid thing, Plutonius, grant me that.

PLUTONIUS: Who can deny it? Each of their pernicious attacks may wipe out scores of people in the blink of an eye. But does that unfortunate reality give Israel a license to transgress the norms of conduct between civilized nations?

HORATIO: But if it is for a higher purpose, such as saving lives?

PLUTONIUS: Larceny is larceny, I say. The Israelis have a lot of explaining to do. We shouldn’t let them off the hook so easily.

HORATIO: Saving lives, Plutonius! You might temper your annoyance with an ounce of forebearance.

PLUTONIUS: Feh! Quit making excuses. One can’t keep track of all the cat-and-mouse games that Israel plays with its enemies.

HORATIO: My friend, I beg you consider: is it not noble and heroic to combat the terrorists who commit murder and mayhem in the streets? Is it not understandable to desire to chase them to the ends of the earth, allowing them no safe haven?

PLUTONIUS: Of course. But what you are spouting is merely an apologia for vigilante action.

HORATIO: Clandestine warfare is ugly and unruly, that is true. Israel, like other nations, sometimes bends the rules in order to achieve the greater good. Desperate times, they say, often call for desperate measures.

PLUTONIUS: It is an arrogant nation that allows itself to walk where it will and dance as it likes.

HORATIO: Have you forgotten the Entebbe rescue?

PLUTONIUS: That was a singular triumph, achieved despite enormous risks. One can’t always succeed at playing Rambo on the international stage.

HORATIO: In the quest for justice, one’s reach should always exceed one’s grasp. That is honorable.

PLUTONIUS: No. That is nothing but empty rhetoric.

HORATIO: I see the falsified passports affair has deeply offended you.


HORATIO: Who has been hurt by it?

PLUTONIUS: I quiver to think that Hamas terrorists will be less kindly disposed towards Canadians in their next bombing or hijacking, all because of Israel.

HORATIO: You have convinced me, Plutonius. Let us heartily vilify Israel, which alone dares to combat terrorism, and go cower in a corner.

PLUTONIUS: Sir, you mock me.

HORATIO: No, I admire you. I wish I too could be an ostrich. ♦