Iran uses fake CIA report to 'kill off' Israel

A claim that a secret CIA document exists that forecasts Israel would not survive for more than 20 years has been denounced as "a ludicrous hoax".

The report was broadcast by the Iranian-backed Press TV station last week and has subsequently been cited as fact on many websites and blogs. Press TV - a propaganda vehicle for the Iranian government - has been attacked for "disinformation".

The claim was made in an interview with "international lawyer" Franklin Lamb, who said that he had a copy of a study "made available only to a certain number of individuals", including US Senate Intelligence Committee members.

A senior Capitol Hill source called the claim "ludicrous - a typical example of the anti-Israel rhetoric peddled by a long-time Israel-basher." There is no record of any committee member seeing such a document.

Mr Lamb told Press TV that the CIA report predicted "an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a onestate solution... that sheds the looming spectre of colonial apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/48 and 1967 refugees... the precondition for sustainable peace in the region."

The alleged report also predicted that all Palestinian refugees would return to the occupied territories, which would be left vacant by "the exodus of two million Israelis, who would move to the US in the next 15 years".

Mr Lamb insisted that thousands of Israelis were in the throes of applying for American or Western passports and that "the handwriting, at least among the public in Israel, is on the wall".

Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the organisation’s Iran expert, said that the CIA employed an enormous number of people, "many of whom are unsavoury characters, some of whom could hold every kook view in the world".

But the likelihood of such a report being produced by the analytical section of the CIA was "remote."

Mr Clawson said the idea that such predictions about Israel were Iranian disinformation was "an optimistic view. The pessimistic viewpoint is that, unfortunately, the people at Press TV tend to believe this sort of stuff."

Ben Cohen of the American Jewish Committee, dismissed "this so-called report" as "wishful thinking, broadcast on an Iranian propaganda channel which masquerades as a legitimate news outlet. No reliable or mainstream sources have picked up this report.

"The fundamental point is that the relationship between the US and Israel remains close and strong, despite the mischief-making of assorted conspiracy theorists on the internet."

Mr Lamb directed the JC to two websites which he claimed would confirm the veracity of the report. Neither site even made mention of it.

Last updated: 5:20pm, March 26 2009