Thanks to Imshin for pointing me to this piece in the WSJ, even though I'm sure everyone will be pointing to the same thing.
KGB chairman Yuri Andropov in February 1972 laughed to me about the Yankee gullibility for celebrities. We'd outgrown Stalinist cults of personality, but those crazy Americans were still naïve enough to revere national leaders. We would make Arafat into just such a figurehead and gradually move the PLO closer to power and statehood. Andropov thought that Vietnam-weary Americans would snatch at the smallest sign of conciliation to promote Arafat from terrorist to statesman in their hopes for peace.
Right after that meeting, I was given the KGB's "personal file" on Arafat. He was an Egyptian bourgeois turned into a devoted Marxist by KGB foreign intelligence. The KGB had trained him at its Balashikha special-ops school east of Moscow and in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader. First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat's birth in Cairo, replacing them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.
… Next, the KGB gave Arafat an ideology and an image, just as it did for loyal Communists in our international front organizations. High-minded idealism held no mass-appeal in the Arab world, so the KGB remolded Arafat as a rabid anti-Zionist. They also selected a "personal hero" for him -- the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, the man who visited Auschwitz in the late 1930s and reproached the Germans for not having killed even more Jews. In 1985 Arafat paid homage to the mufti, saying he was "proud no end" to be walking in his footsteps.
Arafat was an important undercover operative for the KGB. Right after the 1967 Six Day Arab-Israeli war, Moscow got him appointed to chairman of the PLO. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Soviet puppet, proposed the appointment. In 1969 the KGB asked Arafat to declare war on American "imperial-Zionism" during the first summit of the Black Terrorist International, a neo-Fascist pro-Palestine organization financed by the KGB and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. It appealed to him so much, Arafat later claimed to have invented the imperial-Zionist battle cry. But in fact, "imperial-Zionism" was a Moscow invention, a modern adaptation of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and long a favorite tool of Russian intelligence to foment ethnic hatred. The KGB always regarded anti-Semitism plus anti-imperialism as a rich source of anti-Americanism.
It’s pretty fascinating stuff, if true, but does it matter?
Does it really matter where Arafat got his hate from? Does it really matter if it’s exposed that Arafat is a phony and as illegitimate as many have argued through the years? The fact remains, that millions of people believe in him, believe in his web of lies. Millions of people have bought the fantasy he stands for. Does it matter that it was invented by the KGB or by Arafat?
I suppose it matters a tiny bit if some of those who fell for it suddenly wake up and realize their error in falling for it, but the lie has become truth for them. No amount of light will let them see the reality. Few, if any, will ever admit it was a mistake. Those on the left and those in Europe will continue to blame Israel and continue to ignore the fact: Two years after signing the Oslo Accords, the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists had risen by 73%. Dead Jews matter little to them.
So what, Arafat is being exposed as a phony figurehead. Will it save any lives? Will it bring peace any sooner?