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Dead In The Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty

During the Six-Day War, Israel attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty belonging to its closest ally, the USA. Thirty-four American servicemen were killed in the two-hour assault by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats. Israel claimed that the whole affair had been a tragic accident based on mistaken identification of the ship. The American government accepted the explanation.

For more than 30 years many people have disbelieved the official explanation but have been unable to rebut it convincingly. Now, Dead in the Water uses startling new evidence to reveal the truth behind the seemingly inexplicable attack. The film combines dramatic reconstruction of the events, with new access to former officers in the US and Israeli armed forces and intelligence services who have decided to give their own version of events.

Interviews include President Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara, former head of the Israeli navy Admiral Shlomo Errell and members of the USS Liberty crew.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Berkeley’s Daily Californian denies activist’s right to respond to defamatory attack

By Allison Weir | June 4, 2012

In late May the Daily Californian, the UC Berkeley campus newspaper, published letters to the editor defaming If Americans Knew and me personally.

As soon as I became aware of these letters, online, I phoned the person responsible for the letters section, Jonathan Kuperberg, to ask if they had also been published in the print newspaper. I did not reach Kuperberg but left him a voicemail politely asking this question. Kuperberg did not return my call, but I have since learned that they were also in the print publication distributed all over the campus (and probably beyond).

I then wrote a letter to the editor (see below) and sent it to the Daily Cal early the next morning, May 30th. The following day, when I again had received no response, I re-sent the letter and copied other Daily Cal editors.

The managing editor sent a short reply email saying that the opinion editor (Kuperberg) would be considering my letter and told me that in the summer they only print letters once a week.

The Daily Cal has now printed the next week’s letters to the editor and did not include my letter. In fact, although I know personally of at least four additional letters sent to them on this topic, they printed none of them.

Meanwhile, oddly, the defamatory letter against me remains at the top of their letters section.

It doesn’t take an expert to know that such behavior is unconscionable. Newspaper ethics codes – and normal concepts of fairness – affirm the right of a person accused of wrongdoing to respond. The American Society of Newspaper Editors Statement of Principles, for example, decrees: “Persons publicly accused should be given the earliest opportunity to respond.”

In addition, letters containing factual errors should also be corrected.

My letter, and at least one other, should have been published. Last night I emailed the editors asking when they are going to print my letter. None has yet replied. I have now phoned the office and finally reached an editor in person. She said that staff members were talking about this and that Kuperberg would get back me today. I thanked her and said I look forward to hearing from him.

I truly hope that this doesn’t turn into another Michigan Radio situation, in which the Ann Arbor NPR affiliate under director Steve Schram refused to run our announcement, refused to return email and phone calls, lied about their behavior to the public, and only finally aired our announcement over a year later following public pressure.

It would be nice if Kuperberg and the Daily Cal would simply do the right thing.

Below is my letter:

Commissioner pushes pro-Israel pro-war falsehoods 

To the Editor:

I was saddened that an ad about Israel-Palestine in the Daily Californian (now posted on our website) elicited vitriolic, nonfactual letters attacking me personally and our organization, If Americans Knew.

It is particularly troubling to see such a letter by a City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission member, Thyme Siegel (“Anti-Israel ad breaks trust, propagates lies,” May 21-27).

In her letter, Ms. Siegel claims that in 1967 Israel was “attacked by all its neighbors.” However, even Israel discarded this initial falsehood many years ago. In reality, Israel perpetrated a sneak attack on Egypt that wiped out most of the Egyptian Air Force on the ground, launching what is called the Six Day war.

During that very rapid war of conquest, Israel also attacked a US Navy ship, killing or injuring 200+ Americans and destroying a $40 million ship (they eventually gave us $6 million compensation for the ship).

Even more disturbing than Ms. Siegel’s misrepresentation of history are her claims about Iran, in which she uses the same kind of inflammatory, inaccurate rhetoric that was used against Iraq, another perceived Israeli adversary.

Such mendacious rhetoric led to a tragic, unnecessary American war; the deaths of millions of Iraqi men, women, and children and thousands of Americans (many more left permanently maimed); and triggered a financial meltdown that cost multitudes of Americans their jobs, businesses, homes, and happiness.

It is time to expose and oppose the manipulation that has created war and misery for over 60 years. Americans give Israel over $8 million per day; we have the power to end the carnage. May this generation of college students be the ones to do it.

Sincerely,

Alison Weir

Executive Director, If Americans Knew, and President, Council for the National Interest

June 5, 2012 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

The lies about the 1967 war are still more powerful than the truth

By Alan Hart | June 4, 2012

In retrospect it can be seen that the 1967 war, the Six Days War, was the turning point in the relationship between the Zionist state of Israel and the Jews of the world (the majority of Jews who prefer to live not in Israel but as citizens of many other nations). Until the 1967 war, and with the exception of a minority of who were politically active, most non-Israeli Jews did not have – how can I put it? – a great empathy with Zionism’s child. Israel was there and, in the sub-consciousness, a refuge of last resort; but the Jewish nationalism it represented had not generated the overtly enthusiastic support of the Jews of the world. The Jews of Israel were in their chosen place and the Jews of the world were in their chosen places. There was not, so to speak, a great feeling of togetherness. At a point David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister, was so disillusioned by the indifference of world Jewry that he went public with his criticism – not enough Jews were coming to live in Israel.

So how and why did the 1967 war transform the relationship between the Jews of the world and Israel?

Part of the answer is in a single word – pride. From the Jewish perspective there was indeed much to be proud about. Little Israel with its small but highly professional defence force and its mainly citizen army had smashed the war machines of the frontline Arab states in six days. The Jewish David had slain the Arab Goliath. Israeli forces were in occupation of the whole of the Sinai and the Gaza Strip (Egyptian territory), the West Bank including Arab East Jerusalem (Jordanian territory) and the Golan Heights (Syrian territory). And it was not much of a secret that the Israelis could have gone on to capture Cairo, Amman and Damascus. There was nothing to stop them except the impossibility of maintaining the occupation of three Arab capitals.

But the intensity of the pride most Jews of the world experienced with Israel’s military victory was in large part a product of the intensity of the fear that came before it. In the three weeks before the war, the Jews of the world truly believed, because (like Israeli Jews) they were conditioned by Zionism to believe, that the Arabs were poised to attack and that Israel’s very existence was at stake and much in doubt. The Jews of the world (and Israeli Jews) could not be blamed for believing that, but it was a big, fat propaganda lie. Though Egypt’s President Nasser had asked UNEF forces to withdraw, had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and had reinforced his army in the Sinai, neither his Egypt nor any of the frontline Arab states had any intention of attacking Israel. And Israel’s leaders, and the Johnson administration, knew that. In short, and as I detail and document in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the offensive Israel launched at 0750 hours (local time) on Monday 5 June was not a preemptive strike or an act of self-defence. It was a war of aggression.

The summary truth about that war is this.

Assisted by the regeneration Palestinian nationalism, which became the tail that wagged the Arab dog despite the brutal efforts of the intelligence services of the frontline Arab states to prevent it happening, Israel’s military and political hawks set a trap for Nasser; and he walked into it, with eyes half-open, in the hope that the international community, led by the Johnson administration, would restrain Israel and require it and Egypt to settle the problem of the moment by diplomacy. From Nasser’s perspective that was not an unreasonable expectation because of the commitment, given by President Eisenhower, that in the event of the closure of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt to Israeli shipping, the U.S. would work with the “society of nations” to cause Egypt to restore Israel’s right of passage, and by so doing, prevent war.

A large part of the reason why today rational debate about making peace is impossible with the vast majority of Jews everywhere is that they still believe Egypt and the frontline Arab states were intending to annihilate Israel in 1967, and were only prevented from doing so by Israel’s pre-emptive strike.

If the statement that the Arabs were not intending to attack Israel and that the existence of the Zionist state was not in danger was only that of a goy (a non-Jew, me), it could be dismissed by supporters of Israel right or wrong as anti-Semitic conjecture. In fact the truth the statement represents was admitted by some of the key Israeli players – after the war, of course.

On this 45th anniversary of the start of the Six Days War, here is a reminder of what they said.

In an interview published in Le Monde on 28 February 1968, Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin said this: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

On 14 April 1971, a report in the Israeli newspaper Al-Hamishmar contained the following statement by Mordecai Bentov, a member of the wartime national government. “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”

On 4 April 1972, General Haim Bar-Lev, Rabin’s predecessor as chief of staff, was quoted in Ma’ariv as follows: “We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six Days War, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

In the same Israeli newspaper on the same day, General Ezer Weizmann, Chief of Operations during the war and a nephew of Chaim Weizmann, was quoted as saying: “There was never any danger of annihilation. This hypothesis has never been considered in any serious meeting.”

In the spring of 1972, General Matetiyahu Peled, Chief of Logistical Command during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s General Staff, addressed a political literary club in Tel Aviv. He said: “The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war.”

In a radio debate Peled also said: “Israel was never in real danger and there was no evidence that Egypt had any intention of attacking Israel.” He added that “Israeli intelligence knew that Egypt was not prepared for war.”

In the same programme General Chaim Herzog (former Director of Military Intelligence, future Israeli Ambassador to the UN and President of his state) said: “There was no danger of annihilation. Neither Israeli headquarters nor the Pentagon – as the memoirs of President Johnson proved – believed in this danger.”

On 3 June 1972 Peled was even more explicit in an article of his own for Le Monde. He wrote: “All those stories about the huge danger we were facing because of our small territorial size, an argument expounded once the war was over, have never been considered in our calculations. While we proceeded towards the full mobilisation of our forces, no person in his right mind could believe that all this force was necessary to our ‘defence’ against the Egyptian threat. This force was to crush once and for all the Egyptians at the military level and their Soviet masters at the political level. To pretend that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel’s existence does not only insult the intelligence of any person capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is primarily an insult to the Israeli army.”

The preference of some generals for truth-telling after the event provoked something of a debate in Israel, but it was short-lived. If some Israeli journalists had had their way, the generals would have kept their mouths shut. Weizmann was one of those approached with the suggestion that he and others who wanted to speak out should “not exercise their inalienable right to free speech lest they prejudice world opinion and the Jewish diaspora against Israel.”

It is not surprising that debate in Israel was shut down before it led to some serious soul searching about the nature of the state and whether it should continue to live by the lie as well as the sword; but it is more than remarkable, I think, that the mainstream Western media continues to prefer the convenience of the Zionist myth to the reality of what happened in 1967 and why. When reporters and commentators have need today to make reference to the Six Days War, almost all of them still tell it like the Zionists said it was in 1967 rather than how it really was. Obviously there are still limits to how far the mainstream media is prepared to go in challenging the Zionist account of history, but it could also be that lazy journalism is a factor in the equation.

For those journalists, lazy or not, who might still have doubts about who started the Six Days War, here’s a quote from what Prime Minister Begin said in an unguarded, public moment in 1982. “In June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us, We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 6 Comments

Israeli Rejectionism

Book Review by Ludwig Watzal | Palestine Chronicle | September 24, 2011

(Zalman Amit/Daphna Levit, Israeli Rejectionism. A Hidden Agenda in the Middle East Peace Process, Pluto, London-New York, pp 208.)

After having negotiated for 20 years with different Israeli governments about a solution to the conflict in the Middle East, the Palestinian leadership is sick and tired of the charade that the U.S., the rest of the West and even the occupied Palestinians under the rule of Mahmud Abbas call “peace process”. Abbas asks the United Nations to grant the “State of Palestine” full membership status. The Israeli government fiercely opposes this move and so does the U.S. Since 1967, when Israel´s violations of international norms were brought before the UN Security Council time and again, the U.S. government has backed it off-hand. For the large majority of U.S. governments, Israel was always the “good guy” even after it attacked the USS liberty in the June war of 1967 in international waters off the shore of Israel and killed 34 US marines. At the question, who is responsible for the stalemate in the progress towards peace in the Middle East for the last 80 years, the book “Israeli Rejectionism” comes into play.

Already in the introduction of this book, the authors blame Israeli leadership for its rejectionist attitude towards peace. “Our position is that Israel was never primarily interested in establishing peace with its neighbors unless such a peace was totally on its own terms.” (11) According to the authors, Israel has repeatedly proclaimed its commitment to peace, but it´s real political strategy has been to thwart any real possibility of peace. It´s leadership has always been convinced “that peace is not in Israel`s interest”. As history shows, this holds true up till now. This peace-rejecting attitude neither evolved with the occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967 nor with the establishment of the state in 1948 but can be traced back to the first Zionist leaders such as Theodor Herzl and especially David Ben-Gurion as the authors write. As [the] authors state: [it is] not Israel which lacks a viable “partner for peace”, as the Israeli propaganda tells the public, but it is the other way around: the Palestinians have no reliable “partner for peace”. To prove this fallacy, they run through a gamut of statements, starting from the slogan “Palestine – homeland for the Jews?” via “Barak leaves no stone unturned” to “Peace on a downhill slope”. On this journey, they find the peace-resistant party: the different governments of Israel.

This assertion by the authors runs counter to the propaganda promoted by Israeli hasbara and their friends in the U.S. and elsewhere. Both authors were initially true believers of the socialist Zionist cause serving the neophyte state within the kibbutz movement. Over many years, they were loyal followers of Zionist ideology. Zalman Amit particularly was a determined Zionist, who was even an emissary of the United Kibbutz Movement in Canada. There, he delivered sermons about the virtues of Zionism. At one of the Jewish jamborees, which he organized, he gave a speech in which he elaborated on the standard left-wing Zionist beliefs. After he finished, an Israeli friend who attend the gatherings for several days, asked him: “Do you really believe this?” So he explained to him that Ben-Gurion “never wanted peace”. The Zionist façade slowly cracked. Both authors engaged in the June war of 1967. After the Six Day War, they finally experienced their aha-experience regarding the reality of Zionism. At that time, they were already adults. At that junction, they realized how difficult it was to admit to themselves that they had entertained a pipe dream. Finally, they realized that Israel always was the side that sabotaged opportunities for peace with the Arabs. Moshe Dayan’s famous “telephone strategy” was an excuse for him to “do nothing”. Israel waited for a telephone call from the Arabs but the call never came!

Among many historians and politicians, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, is highly regarded. But by the picture the authors draw of his policy, he seems as a mere rejectionist; he did everything to sabotage any compromise towards the Arab side. His policy, according to the authors, was to gain as much territory with a minimum of Arab inhabitants. As his writings show, transfer and expulsion were political options. When Israel together with France and Britain conquered the Sinai in 1956, he talked about the “Kingdom of Israel” encompassed biblical boundaries, but he also avoided any concrete commitment where Israel´s normal boarders should run. One day, before the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was made, the question of borders arose in a meeting of Zionist politicians. Ben-Gurion, according to the protocol, said this should be left to “developments”, a euphemism for further conquest. Up to this day, the Israeli leadership won’t tell where Israel’s exact borders should run. The authors show that former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser started several peace initiatives but to no avail. The Zionist leadership was not interested in them and depicted him “as an enemy of the State of Israel”. Ben-Gurion also plotted against his successor Moshe Sharett. He was also a driving force in the 1956 conspiracy against Egypt with the colonial powers of France and Britain to overthrow Nasser in the war of 1956. Although this assault was militarily successful, it turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory, especially for Ben-Gurion. In the UN Security Council, the US tried to condemn Israel as the aggressor. For the first time, Britain and France cast their veto against the US. Massive pressure from the Eisenhower administration led to the withdrawal of all occupying forces from Egyptian territory. Ben-Gurion’s “Third Kingdom of Israel” was short-lived, it just lasted for four days.

Between the Israeli attacks in 1956 and 1967 there have been a number of military encroachments and Israeli provocations against its Arab neighbors, such as on the Golan and against Gaza. After the June war of 1967 Ben-Gurion’s dream came true. Israel had captured land for which it claimed “biblical entitlement“. According to the authors, all of Israel’s leadership were “intoxicated“ by this achievement of “messianic dimensions“. In this mode of “drunken euphoria“ even self-proclaimed doves like Abba Eban referred to the armistice boundaries as the “Auschwitz lines“, and the nationalist Menachem Begin called for outright annexation of the  West Bank and Gaza. The authors show that the Israeli government started right away with its colonial project by evacuating and destroying the Mugraby neighborhood adjacent to the Wailing Wall. Yigal Alon drafted at that time his famous “Allon Plan“, which still serves as a blueprint for Israel’s expansionist policies.

According to the authors – Zalman Amit and Daphna Levit – there are no major differences between Labor-, Kadima-, or Likud-led governments regarding colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). It is only a matter of rhetoric that divides the three political camps. Between the June war of 1967 and the Yom Kippur war in 1973 there have been several peace initiatives by President Nasser or his successor Anwar al-Sadat but Israel was only willing to make “peace“ according to its own terms. The “expansionist positions“ among Israel´s ruling political class continued as revealed by the “Galilee document” drafted by Prime Minister Golda Meir confident, Israel Galilee. “It was no conciliatory step towards peace, and reinforced the Egyptian and Syrian inclination to go to war.” (84)

Although the State of Israel had the upper hand, the sudden Yom Kippur war that dented the feeling of invincibility left Israel with a collective post-war trauma. Some Israeli politicians realized that the Middle East conflict cannot be solved by military means but only through a peace agreement. The reason why the peace process went nowhere lies, according to the authors, in the country’s unwillingness to give up the occupied territories and to recognize the national aspiration of the Palestinian people. The Israeli intransigence continued under the government of Menachem Begin, although he made peace with Egypt. After the fiasco in Lebanon, he was replaced by Yitzhak Shamir in 1983. Shamir “considered the only acceptable position for Israel was no retreat at all, and peace was not particularly high on his agenda“. (104) When Shamir was defeated by Yitzhak Rabin in the 1992 election, he made clear that “his intention was to drag out the negotiations for at least ten years“. (110) The peace conference in Madrid in 1991 agreed that all parties to the conflict should negotiate under Washington´s umbrella.

Space prevents from commenting on each particular historic incident the authors describe. One period is, however, worth mentioning. It’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s short term in office. He is one of the most rejeconist Israeli politicians, although he disguised himself, until 2011, in Labor clothes that are still considered “left-wing” by a few political pundits. He comes from a Zionist Kibbutz Movement, as Rabin´s Minister for the Interior he voted against the Oslo accords, and as Israel’s Prime Minister he destroyed not only the remnants of the so-called peace process but also the so-called Israeli Zionist left. His role at Camp David in the year 2000 was solely destructive. He played games not only with the Americans but also with Arafat and the Israeli public. He and Clinton blamed Yassir Arafat for the failure at Camp David. Actually, he was the one who deceived everybody in order to disguise his rejectionist attitude. The authors demonstrate this by quoting people who attended this meeting that could have led to peace if the U. S. would have played its role as an “honest broker” seriously.

After Ariel Sharon defeated Barak, in 2001, peace did not have a chance at all. The events of 9/11 gave Sharon a welcome pretext for dismantling Arafat’s administration in the autonomous areas and commit atrocities in the OPT. The authors’ description of the Olmert government gives no hope for the future, not to speak of the right-wing Netanyahu/Lieberman government. They come to the conclusion that a peace agreement was never concluded because it “was never Israel´s top priority”. (163). Israel´s military strength is one of its main trumps, “but Israel has practically evolved into an army that has a country”. (163)  For the authors, Israel’s ruling class is so successful because the Israeli people want to see themselves as “protected and mighty”, and the settlement movement has been so successful because it presents itself as purely Jewish, authentic, and as a grass-roots force. Amit/Levit name many distortions: Israel is a substantial nuclear power with a powerful military; the Israeli Jewish people live in a “self-imposed ghetto” and nourish their own sense of victimhood, and claim they are constantly threatened from without. The authors see no prospect for peace in their lifetime.

The book’s special value is in demonstrating that the Arabs are not the ones who ‘never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’, as Abba Eban used to say. The real rejectionists are Israel’s elites who seek further territory for their “Eretz Israel” at the cost of another people. That “Israel is no partner for peace” is a daring, but well argued, conclusion that should be thoroughly examined by all those who are involved in Middle Eastern affairs.

– Dr. Ludwig Watzal lives as a journalist in Bonn, Germany.

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments