Category Archives: US-Israel Relations

My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their Dream Come True

My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their
Dream Come True

Yair Svorai Mar 12, 2017 4:37 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump’s “two-state and one-state” pronouncement
last month effectively signaled the demise of the Oslo Agreements – a
significant reversal of the long-established U.S. position, now in
contrast with a near-universal international consensus. It also supports
the continuation of Israel’s colonization of the territories it has
occupied since 1967.

Indeed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the spirit of
occupation-as-usual by demanding “security control” over the entire area
west of the Jordan River, proclaiming, in the words of The Nation’s
Rashid Khalidi, “A permanent regime of occupation and colonization,
ruling out a sovereign independent Palestinian state, whatever fictions
of ‘statehood’ or ‘autonomy’ are dreamed up to conceal this brutal
reality. Trump’s subsequent silence amounts to the blessing of the U.S.
government for this grotesque vision of enduring subjugation and
dispossession for the Palestinians.”

The expansion of Jewish settlement in, and control of, Palestine has
followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years: people replacement –
the replacement of Palestinians by Jews. It is crucial to understand the
timing of such expansion: whenever the opportunity arises. And, for
Israel, Donald J. Trump is a historical opportunity on a grand scale.

In 1907, the leadership of the World Zionist Organization sent Dr.
Arthur Ruppin on a fact-finding mission to Ottoman Palestine. Ruppin, a
German-Jewish economist and lawyer, subsequently developed a plan with
the ultimate goal of establishing Jewish self-rule in Ottoman Palestine,
where Jews were a small minority (between 6 and 9 percent).

The plan included establishing new settlements in such a way that over
time they would form a mass of settlements – Israel’s first settlement
bloc – to be used, much like today, as a geopolitical leveraging tool.

In the following three decades, prior to the Holocaust and before anyone
could imagine the horrific fate awaiting European Jews, the foundation
of the State of Israel was set in place via the creation of elaborate
pre-state institutions, buttressed by small waves of immigrants whose
political orientation ranged from Zionist socialists to right-wing

Among the latter were my parents, Moshe and Tova Svorai, arriving as
children from Eastern Europe in the early 1920s and belonging to the
most far-right elements of the Zionist movement – Betar and Brit
Habirionim, followed by the Irgun, and then the Lehi (Stern Gang); both
of these were pre-state Jewish terrorist organizations.

In the big-picture sense, left-wing and right-wing Zionists wanted the
same thing – a Jewish state in Palestine. The differences among them
were largely semantic: a matter of political style, timing and competing
approaches on how to reach that goal.

The elephant-in-the-room facing Zionism was – then, as now – ignored:
the land was already populated by Palestinian Arabs, who had been there
for centuries. Ignoring the physical reality, from early on Zionist
terminology was designed to perpetuate the myth of an empty land
awaiting its lost people: “A land without a people for a people without
a land.”

A dunam here and a dunam there

Following the original Ruppin Plan, the expansion of Jewish settlement
started with land acquisitions from absentee Arab landlords, culminating
in a military campaign to drive the native population off its land. As
the old Zionist saying goes, “A dunam here and a dunam there” (a dunam
is approximately equal to a quarter of an acre), whenever the
opportunity arises.

The same opportunistic vigor was used to remove the Palestinian people
from what was soon to become Israel.

The best known milestone in the removal of the Arab population was the
Deir Yassin massacre of April 9, 1948, conducted by Irgun and Lehi
forces, designed to scare Palestinians and cause them to flee their
homes, towns and villages.

Israel’s War of Independence consisted of other massacres, too. The war
itself followed Plan Dalet (Plan D), carefully developed by the
“moderate,” mainstream Haganah leadership to expand the territory of the
future state beyond the UN Partition Plan and to remove as much of
Palestine’s Arab population as possible. Then, as now, the goal of the
Jewish state has been to maximize its land area and to minimize the
Palestinian-Arab population residing in it.

This was the Nakba, the catastrophe – a term used by the Palestinian
people to describe the loss of their homeland: the disappearance of
entire communities totaling some 750,000 people, who were forced out of
their country. Post-1948 Palestine was a drastically changed land: about
500 Palestinian towns and villages had been emptied of their
inhabitants, their homes mostly razed and their lands divided among the
Jewish kibbutzim (communal farms) and villages.

The term Nakba, which is central to Palestinian nationhood as much as
the Holocaust is for Jews and slavery is for African-Americans, is
shunned by most Israeli Jews for obvious reasons: Even the mere
implication of responsibility for the Nakba war crimes is unacceptable.

Those Palestinians who managed to remain, now known as “1948
Palestinians,” were placed under military rule, with their basic civil
rights – such as the freedom to assemble, travel and claim their
properties – removed. In addition, most of their lands were confiscated
by the newly created Jewish state and transferred to kibbutzim and villages.

Military rule lasted until 1966 and assured that the dispossession of
the Palestinians could be carried out in a well-organized and highly
controlled manner – “a dunam here and a dunam there” – with the remnants
of the subject population confined to specific territories, in many
cases restricted to their villages, homes or jail cells.

‘This will belong to us’

The Green Line – the 1949 armistice line separating Israel from the West
Bank of Jordan – followed the line of Jewish settlements put in place
during the 1920s-’40s, in close adherence to the Ruppin Plan. It is
probably the first example of how “facts on the ground” proved to be
crucial for the success of the Zionist project, something that Ruppin
appreciated possibly before anyone else.

But the old Green Line was irregular and left a great deal of fertile,
hilly land on the other side. And then there was Jerusalem, whose
eastern parts, including Temple Mount, were also on the other side of
that border. Standing with my parents near the Montefiore Windmill in
the early ’60s, looking at the Old City on the other side of the
then-border, I vividly remember my astonished reaction to hearing my
mother say, “One day, this too will belong to us.” She was soon to be
proved right.

The swift military victory of the 1967 war offered an unprecedented
opportunity for Israel to expand in all directions. Jerusalem was the
nationalist-religious pinnacle; even more importantly, the last
remaining parts of old Palestine were now there for the taking – the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip, totaling 22 percent of historic Palestine.
Ditto the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, and Sinai (which was
subsequently returned to Egypt under a separate “peace agreement”
following the 1973 war).

Since 1967, under the so-called “moderate” and “extreme” Israeli
governments led by the Labor and Likud parties, some 130 settlements and
100 outposts have been established in the West Bank, with a population
of some 400,000 Jewish settlers. Additionally, some 200,000 Israelis
live in East Jerusalem.

Any relocation of the occupier’s population into occupied territories,
whether into government-established settlements or so-called “rogue”
outposts, is considered illegal according to international law and

When they were in their 60s, my own parents were among the founders of a
settlement in the northern West Bank, where they spent the rest of their
days. They were firm believers in the absolute and exclusive right of
the Jewish people to its biblical homeland, and remained committed to
making their personal contribution to their cause to the very end.

They were guided by Lehi’s “18 Principles of Rebirth” essay, which
defined biblical Israel as starting at the Nile and reaching to the
Euphrates River – a vast territory that includes parts of Egypt and
Saudi Arabia, most of Jordan and Syria, and all of Lebanon.
Incidentally, a large number of Israeli right-wingers, among them
Netanyahu and members of his government, admire Lehi and its principles
– including, at least in spirit, its territorial desires.

Immediately after the 1967 war, the Syrian population of the Golan
Heights (some 130,000 people) was forced out by Israel, 1948-style,
leaving the territory largely empty for Israeli colonization to take
root. Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights followed in 1981.
(Netanyahu is now seeking U.S. recognition from Trump of Israeli
sovereignty over the Golan Heights.)

Erasing the past

And the Nakba continued. The initial period after the 1967 war included
a number of known cases where West Bank villagers were expelled from
their homes by an Israeli military command attributed to Gen. Yitzhak
Rabin. Among them were the villages of Imwas, Yalo and Bayt Nuba in the
Latrun area, which were subsequently razed. (I visited the three
destroyed villages in August 1967. There was very little left other than
broken stones and fruit trees bursting with fruit left unpicked by
villagers, now turned refugees.) In an attempt to eradicate the villages
from history and erase them from public memory, the victors attempted to
conceal their crimes by planting a recreational forest, named Canada
Park, on the land formerly owned and cultivated by these villagers – a
concealment method that had been used before.

As for the rest of the West Bank, in a slow process that has lasted
nearly 50 years – and which continues to this day – the Palestinian
population has been stripped of much of its land and pushed into
Bantustan-like areas surrounded by Jewish settlements. The territory is
now dissected into enclaves designed by Israel to assure a discontinuity
of Palestinian land, thereby guaranteeing that a viable Palestinian
state cannot be established.

“Facts on the ground” work in both directions: the presence of one
population (Jewish) and the absence of another (Palestinian). Now, most
of the Jordan Valley has been cleared of the Palestinian population; in
hamlets of the poorest population – the Hebron Hills Bedouin – families
are routinely uprooted and forced out of their shacks.

And throughout the West Bank, bit by bit, “a dunam here and a dunam
there,” Palestinians are forced out by Jews. Houses are demolished, land
is taken or its cultivation is prevented; olive groves are uprooted by
settler thugs with full impunity, under the watchful gaze of Israel’s
occupation army – euphemistically called the Israel Defense Forces. And
Israeli government policy greatly restricts Palestinians in the West
Bank from using their land and natural resources, especially water
required to cultivate crops.

Thus, while Israeli settlements enjoy unrestricted water usage with lawn
sprinklers galore, Palestinian farmers who dig out a 10-foot-long
(3-meter) trench to collect and divert rainwater into a field or
vegetable garden risk punishment and the destruction of their fields and

And the Nakba continues. A similar crackdown on Israel’s Palestinian
citizens takes place with predictable regularity along similar patterns
– as witnessed most recently by the destruction of the Bedouin village
of Umm al-Hiran, whose population is to be corralled elsewhere in the
Negev and its lands designated for a new Jewish settlement. The more
things change, the more they stay the same.

This is a very short list of the evils of Israel’s occupation – all of
this, and much more, has been widely reported over the past five
decades, and documented in great detail by UN agencies, multiple
international aid organizations, foreign consulate staff and local civic
organizations, both Palestinian and Israeli. (The death and destruction
in Gaza, its collapsed infrastructure, economy, essential public health
facilities, child nutrition and basic resources of livelihood require
separate coverage.)

The Oslo II (“Taba”) Agreement divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and
C – a division that is used by Israel to divide and rule, confine and
control the local Palestinian population.

The experience of 1948 and the early years of statehood have proven most
beneficial to Zionist colonialism. A slow and methodical acquisition of
land, this time by means that are entirely illegal, coupled with
strategic removal and confinement of the Palestinian population,
resulted in settlement blocs – vast land areas that are largely
Arab-free and a network of highways, other infrastructure projects and
state institutions serving the Jewish-only settlements.

This is nothing short of new-age apartheid, where the indigenous
population is not only of no value to its colonial masters – not even as
a source of cheap labor – but it is essential for the success of the
colonial project that it be removed: the more of “them” that are gone,
the better off “we” are. That people-removal process is called ethnic
cleansing, which is a crime against humanity under the statute of the
International Criminal Court.

All of this has been carried out mostly in plain view, under the world’s
watchful eye. It has also been made possible and indirectly funded by
the United States, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike
– notwithstanding outgoing President Barack Obama’s lame-duck UN
Security Council non-veto move, and various U.S. declarations about
Israeli settlements being “a threat to peace,” or making it “almost
impossible … to create a contiguous, functioning Palestinian state.”
Both true, but meaningless.

Despite the rhetoric, the United States has been the primary enabler of
Israel’s occupation: military aid (currently $38 billion over the next
10 years), including the very latest technologies, and close military
coordination; tax exemptions for donations to Israel, including to
organizations that fund settlements; global diplomatic protection; and
the lending of legitimacy to a state whose actions would have otherwise
made it a global pariah long ago.

Thus, under the guise of a never-ending “peace process,” the United
States has acted as a dishonest broker and purveyor of broken promises,
e.g., a “two-state solution” where the territory of the imagined state
is eaten up by the other, already existing regional-superpower state
while “peace talks” continue. It’s like the pizza analogy where two
parties engage in lengthy negotiations over the splitting of a pie,
while one of them keeps eating the slices. Over these past 50 years, the
United States has facilitated the replacement of the Palestinian people,
bit by bit, one dunam and one person at a time, as Israel grabs every
opportunity that arises, paid for by Uncle Sam.

For Israel, the election of Trump to the highest office in the land
presents a historical opportunity on a grand scale to accelerate both
settlement expansion and the process of people replacement.

Never before has a U.S. president expressed such unbridled support for
an Israeli government – especially one that is widely seen as the most
right-wing, aggressive Israeli government ever.

In light of the new opportunity, the Israeli government has unleashed a
wave of settlement construction permits in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem – so far totaling about 6,000 homes for Jewish settlers – and
announced the creation of a new settlement.

In addition, a new law allowing the confiscation of privately held
Palestinian land for the benefit of Jewish settlements was recently
passed. As journalist Jonathan Cook explained in The National, “In
practice, there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian
land. But now Israeli government support for the plunder will be
explicit in law.” The Nakba continues, vigorously.

Reality could not be much uglier and the future could not look much
bleaker – most especially for Palestinians, but also for Israeli Jews.
As Haaretz writer and occupation expert Amira Hass noted, “It’s hard to
admit that the Zionist ideology and its product – Israel – have created
a thieving, racist, arrogant monster that robs water and land and
history, that has blood on its hands under the excuse of security, that
for decades has been deliberately planning today’s dangerous Bantustan
reality, on both sides of the Green Line.”

Perhaps hard to admit, but crucially important to recognize.

The writer, a former Israeli, has lived in the United States for 45 years.

Antony J. Blinken: Remarks at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum 2015

Remarks at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum 2015

Antony J. Blinken
Deputy Secretary of State
Washington Hilton
Washington, DC
June 8, 2015

Well, thank you all very, very much. It is wonderful to be with you today. Stan, thank you for those incredibly kind and generous words, and thank you also for your reference to Vice President Biden and his family in this incredibly difficult time. Beau Biden was one of the finest people I’ve had the privilege to know, and his loss, first and foremost for his family, but also for the country is a great one. So I deeply appreciate your recognition.

I’d also like to recognize David Harris, an exemplary leader, a global citizen, a good friend who is celebrating 25 years at the helm of the AJC. (Applause.) David, congratulations, Mazel Tov – (laughter) – we look forward to 25 more years.

And shalom as well to our Israeli audience at the Herzliya Conference and our distinguished guests here in Washington, including Daniel Mitov, the foreign minister of Bulgaria. It’s great to be with you today as well. (Applause.) It’s a real pleasure to join all of you and to see so many familiar faces, even if mine isn’t the one you were hoping for. (Laughter.)

Secretary Kerry very much wanted to be here today. As I think many of you know, he has great admiration for the work that you do to advocate for the security of Israel, the wellbeing of the Jewish people, and the human dignity of all.

He may be off his feet for a short while, but he is very much in the lead of all our efforts across the board. In fact, I have to tell you probably the smartest thing we did at the State Department was to sign up for the AT&T family plan – (laughter) – because the Secretary has been burning up the phone lines night and day. No time zone is safe. (Laughter.) But we’re all looking forward to having him back in the office very, very soon.

We are also very fortunate to have an extraordinary team at the State Department directing our efforts every day to combat anti-Semitism, promote international religious freedom, and advance peace and security in the Middle East. Ira Forman and David Saperstein, who are both here this morning, as well as Frank Lowenstein, Larry Silverman, and Wendy Sherman – (applause) – they are exemplars of public servants of the highest caliber.

But their work, our work, would not be possible without yours, scholars and students, community members, global leaders who are building relationships across religious, ethnic, and national lines from Sofia to Tokyo, Sao Paulo to New Delhi.

You’ve been called the State Department of the Jewish people, a title so apt I may start giving out some assignments today. (Laughter.) Yours is a community whose beliefs, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described it, have, quote, “boldly been expressed and resolutely supported by deeds and action.” For over a century, AJC has raised its voice in defense of those who cannot, fighting oppression with unflinching advocacy and intolerance with unwavering commitment.

You were present in San Francisco at the birth of the United Nations, where you advocated for the inclusion of strong human rights safeguards in the UN Charter and championed the creation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. You dedicated years of diplomacy, research, and dialogue to help shape Nostra Aetate, a historic declaration passed by the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago that heralded a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations and stood up against hatred and persecution “at any time by anyone.”

And you have been an indispensable partner to President Obama and to his predecessors in America’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s future as secure, democratic, prosperous, Jewish state. I quote, “It would be a moral failing on the part of the U.S Government and the American people, it would be a moral failing on my part if we did not stand up firmly, steadfastly, not just on behalf of Israel’s right to exist, but its right to thrive and to prosper.” That was President Obama last month at Adas Israel Congregation here in Washington.

For more than 65 years – (applause) – since Israel’s founding during periods of war and peace, calm and crisis, U.S. administrations of all stripes have backed this staunch, unshakable commitment with concrete support. But no administration and no President has done as much for Israel’s security as President Obama. (Applause.) Don’t just take my word for it. Listen to another voice who called this Administration’s support for Israel’s security, and I quote, “unprecedented.” And that is the voice of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is true in terms of our strategic and operational coordination. Simply put, it has never been stronger. Our nation’s armed forces have conducted more joint military exercises with Israel than ever before, including the largest exercises in our history. This work has strengthened our military capabilities and the security of both our countries. At every level of our relationship, we are engaging in more comprehensive and meaningful consultations than ever before – from our political leaders to our intelligence officers to our defense officials.

That unprecedence it is true in terms of our vigilance to protect Israel’s legitimacy on the world stage and fight for its full and equal participation in UN institutions.

We helped secure Israel’s permanent membership in the Western European and Others Group, as well as its membership in the like-minded human rights caucus from which it had long been excluded in New York.

Last year, the U.S. opposed 18 resolutions in the UN General Assembly that were biased against Israel. On five occasions last year, the U.S. cast the only “no” vote against unfair anti-Israel measures in the UN’s Human Rights Council. (Applause.) We will continue to stand with Israel and against one-sided, biased resolutions – even if we are the only country on earth to do so. (Applause.)

And finally, our unprecedented support for Israel’s security can be seen in our direct assistance to Israel’s defense. Last year, as you know, despite difficult budgetary times, the United States provided Israel with more security assistance than ever before – $3.1 billion. Since 2011, the United States has provided over $1.3 billion for Iron Dome, a missile defense system that has saved lives, protected homes, schools, hospitals from a rainfall of rockets, like those that fell again just this past weekend from Gaza. (Applause.)

To guard against more distant but equally dangerous threats, we have worked with Israel on the Arrow weapons system to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles – and David’s Sling, for shorter-range missiles. We collaborated on a powerful radar system linked to U.S. early warning satellites that could buy Israel valuable time in the event of a missile attack. And we will soon start deliveries to Israel of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, making Israel the only country in the Middle East with the most advanced fighter in the world. (Applause.)

This Administration has also stood firmly with Israel in its quest for peace with its neighbors, a prerequisite for long-term regional stability and the preservation of true and secure democracy in the Jewish homeland. As President Obama has repeatedly emphasized, the United States will never stop working to realize the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security because this is the best way to guarantee Israel’s future as a democratic, Jewish state. (Applause.)

Taken together, these examples are reflective of a President and an Administration with deep, personal, and abiding concern for Israel’s security and its future. And I can attest to this to you from direct personal experience. Last summer, late on a Thursday during the Gaza crisis, when I was still in my position at the White House, I got a call from Israeli’s ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer. And Ron said to me, “I’d like to come over to see you urgently, anytime you can see me.” And I said, “Come on over now.” And he arrived at the White House a little later that evening, around 8:30 at night. And he told me that Israel needed an emergency resupply of more interceptors for the Iron Dome system. And the ambassador and Israel’s defense attache ran through the substance of what they needed and why they needed it immediately.

The very next day, Friday morning, I went to the Oval Office and briefed President Obama. He responded with three words: “Get it done.” And by Tuesday – (applause) – just a few short days later, we had an additional 225 million in short-fuse funding from the U.S. Congress to do just that. (Applause.)

The United States and Israel may not always see eye to eye. We may have our differences. But our bedrock security relationship is sacrosanct, and I’m here to tell you it is stronger than ever. (Applause.)

And I can tell you another thing this morning: It’s at the very top of our minds as we sit at the negotiating table with Iran. The United States and Israel share an absolute conviction that Iran must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) When it comes to that core strategic goal, there is not an inch of daylight between the United States and Israel.

Now, we continue to believe that the very best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is through a verified, negotiated agreement that resolves the international community’s legitimate concerns and, as a practical matter, makes it impossible for Iran to develop the fissile material for a weapon without giving us the means and the time to see it and to stop it.

The June 30th deadline is fast approaching. And we do not yet have a comprehensive agreement, and there remains a chance that we won’t get one. If we don’t get where – what we need on a few key issues, we won’t get there.

But, as Secretary Kerry announced in Lausanne in April, the deal we are working toward will close each of Iran’s four pathways to obtaining enough fissile material for a weapon – the uranium pathways at Natanz and Fordow, the plutonium pathway through Iran’s heavy water reactor at Arak, and a potential covert pathway.

To cut off these pathways, any comprehensive arrangement must include exceptional constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and extraordinary monitoring and intrusive transparency measures that maximize the international community’s ability to detect any attempt by Iran to break out, overtly or covertly.

Let me take this opportunity here today to address some of the concerns that are floating around about the deal that we’re working toward. And I have to tell you that many of these concerns are simply misplaced and are more myth than fact.

First, the deal that we are working to achieve will not expire. There will not be a so-called “sunset.” Different requirements of the deal would have different durations, but some – including Iran’s commitment to all of the obligations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the obligation not to build a nuclear weapon, as well as the tough access and monitoring provisions of the Additional Protocol – those would continue in perpetuity.

By contrast, in the absence of an agreement, Iran’s obligations under the interim arrangement that we reached – the so-called Joint Plan of Action – those would sunset immediately. Then, Iran likely would speed to an industrial-scale program with tens of thousands of centrifuges.

Second, this deal would provide such extensive levels of transparency that if Iran fails to comply with the international community’s obligations, we’ll know about it – and we will know it virtually right away, giving us plenty of time to respond diplomatically, or, if necessary, by other means. Most of the sanctions would be suspended – not ended – for a long period of time, with provisions to snap back automatically if Iran reneges on its commitments.

Third, we would not agree to a deal unless the IAEA is granted access to whatever Iranian sites are required to verify that Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful – period. (Applause.)

Fourth, there is simply no better option to prevent Iran from obtaining the material for a nuclear weapon than a comprehensive agreement that meets the parameters that we set and announced in Lausanne.

I have to tell you that, unfortunately, it is a fantasy to believe that Iran will simply capitulate to every demand if we ratchet up the pressure even more through sanctions. After all, Iran suffered even more through the great depravations of the war with Iraq. And despite intensifying pressure over the last decade, Iran went from just 150 centrifuges in 2002 to 19,000 before we reached the interim agreement.

Nor is it likely that our international partners – without whom our sanctions are not effective – would go along with such a plan. They signed on to sanctions in order to get Iran to the negotiating table and to conclude an agreement that meets our core security interests, not to force Iran to abandon a peaceful nuclear program.

Up until now, we’ve kept other countries on board – despite the economic loss that it presents for some of them – in large part because they’re convinced we are serious about diplomacy and about reaching a diplomatic solution. If they lose that belief, it’s the United States, not Iran, that risks being isolated, and the sanctions regime we’ve worked so hard to build will crumble away.

And to those who would prefer that we simply take military action now against Iran without going the last diplomatic mile, you need to consider that such a response would first destroy the international sanctions coalition, and second, only set Iran’s nuclear program back by a few years at best, at which point Iran likely would bury a new program deep underground and speed toward an actual nuclear weapon. With the comprehensive agreement that we’re working to conclude, we have a chance to achieve much, much more than that.

All of that said, the United States continues to believe – as we have from day one – that no deal is preferable to a bad deal. We’ve had plenty of opportunities throughout this negotiating process to take a bad deal; we did not, and we will not. (Applause.)

And we know that just like the interim agreement we reached, any comprehensive agreement will be subject to the legitimate scrutiny of our citizens, our Congress, and our closest partners. We welcome that scrutiny, and will not agree to any deal that cannot withstand it. At the same time, I would say to any opponents of the agreement, if we reach it: You’ll have an obligation, too. Here in the United States, you’ll have an obligation to tell the American people exactly what you would do differently, and exactly how you would get it done. (Applause.)

Many of you will recall how, after we signed the interim Joint Plan of Action that enabled us to begin these comprehensive negotiations, there were those who told us we’d made a tragic mistake. That Iran wouldn’t comply and the sanctions regime that we’d painstakingly built over so many years would crumble. That we had jeopardized the safety and security of our nation and our partners.

But President Obama and Secretary Kerry maintained that the United States, our partners – including Israel – and the entire world would become safer the day after the Joint Plan of Action was implemented. That is exactly what happened. A year and a half ago, Iran’s nuclear program was rushing full speed ahead toward larger stockpiles, greater uranium enrichment capacity, and the production of weapons-grade plutonium and even shorter breakout timelines.

Today, Iran has lived up to its commitments under that Joint Plan of Action. It’s halted progress on its nuclear program; it’s rolled it back in some key respects for the first time in a decade. How do we know that? Because today, as a result of the interim agreement, the international inspectors, the IAEA, have daily access to Iran’s enrichment facilities, and a far deeper understanding of Iran’s nuclear program. They’ve been able to learn new things about Iran’s centrifuge production, uranium mines, and other facilities. And they’ve been able to verify that Iran is indeed honoring its commitments.

If we do reach a comprehensive deal, it will not end nor will it alter our commitment to supporting those in Iran demanding greater respect for universal rights and the rule of law. And we continue to insist that Iran release Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, Jason Rezaian, and help us find Robert Levinson. (Applause.)

And reaching a comprehensive deal will not alter our commitment to fighting Iran’s efforts to spread instability and support terrorism. This will not change – with or without a deal. (Applause.)

But Iran with a nuclear weapon – without a nuclear weapon, excuse me – will be far less emboldened to take destabilizing actions in the region. It will reduce the pressure for a regional nuclear arms race and strengthen the international nonproliferation regime. In short, it is a critical step to greater global security – for the United States, for Israel, and for all of our partners in the region.

Finally, I’d like to address this morning another grave concern, and that is the deeply disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in parts of our world that have already seen how this tragic story ends. In the last few years, as all of you know so well, there have been horrific attacks on Jews from Brussels to Paris, Toulouse to Copenhagen. In some countries, we’re seeing a rise in government officials and media personalities spinning abhorrent, dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish individuals, about Israel, about the United States. And in a few places, we see the rise of extreme right-wing parties – from Jobbik in Hungary to Golden Dawn in Greece – openly embracing Nazi-like hatred of Jews. This is happening today – just 70 years after the Holocaust. Just 70 years after we pledged Never Again. While survivors of the Shoah are still with us to bear witness.

With organizations like AJC at the forefront, communities are mobilizing in response. In France, Germany, the United Kingdom, leaders have strongly condemned these acts of vile hatred, reinforced security in Jewish communities and around key sites, and expressed their unshakable solidarity with their Jewish citizens. Citizens of many faiths have formed human rings of protection around synagogues in Denmark, in Sweden, in Norway. But more – much more – must be done to make this fight a global priority.

Last month, the AJC released a very thought-provoking “Call to Action” on anti-Semitism that raises important recommendations that all of us can benefit from. These include developing new curricula for civic education, undertaking thorough studies of the security of Jewish communities, and blocking social media sites that incite hatred and violence.

But all of you know so very well that anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish issue. It’s not a Jewish issue, period. It cannot be addressed by Jewish organizations alone. Anti-Semitism – like all forms of prejudice – is a fundamental threat to democracies and open societies in every corner of the globe. (Applause.)

It’s simple: We cannot and we will not tolerate it. That’s why the United States is devoting more and more resources to this fight. Our embassies, our consulates are increasingly involved in supporting Jewish communities under pressure and under threat. At the UN and other international institutions, our diplomats are undertaking efforts to push back against anti-Semitism – unfortunately, on virtually a daily basis. Earlier this year, the U.S. worked with Israel and the European Union to organize the first UN General Assembly session on anti-Semitism in UN history, where people of all faiths took to the podium to denounce anti-Semitism and pledge to halt its alarming rise.

And over the last two years, our Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, who’s with us today, has traveled to 25 countries and 37 communities to discuss the deteriorating situation and find new ways to combat anti-Semitism wherever it exists. (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, for over 100 years, AJC has led the campaign against intolerance, against injustice, against a false choice between security and peace for the state of Israel. For what AJC has always known and what the world must now understand is that these issues don’t just affect someone else – someone else’s freedom, someone else’s dignity, someone else’s safety – they affect all of us, each of us. They undermine our security. They defy our humanity. And they call into question our most basic values. And they’re personal, and I have to tell you they’re personal to me as well.

Last summer, at the height of the conflict in Gaza, I exchanged emails with a cousin who’s been living in Tel Aviv for nearly 30 years. She wrote to me and the rest of our family about living with the constant worry for her children, especially her eldest son, who is training for the engineering unit that would be deployed to uncover tunnels and dismantle bombs. She wrote about living with the fear that terrorists were tunneling underground and could kidnap or kill her fellow citizens. She wrote about transforming their storage room back into a bomb shelter; about cycling to work with one earbud out of her ear so that she could hear the air raid sirens; about living on a 90-second timer, because that’s how much time you have to get to a bomb shelter when the sirens go off. As I read her emails, I thought of the mothers and fathers in Israel who send their children off to school or military service and endure each day in the desperate hope that their sons and daughters will be okay. I thought of the mothers and fathers in Gaza who faced their worst nightmare when their children were caught in the crossfire. And I thought of how these parents share more experiences in pain than they do in joy, and how it must be – how it can be – the reverse.

This is not naive optimism or false hope, but rather the conviction that the steps we take today together can make all of us more free and more secure; the conviction that a two-state solution is the best and only way to preserve Israel’s future as a secure, democratic Jewish state, as well as fulfill the rightful aspirations of Palestinians to a state; that a verified, negotiated, comprehensive agreement is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; and that our united stand against anti-Semitism is the only way to uphold the democratic values on which our societies are built.

As they have for over a century, the voices of AJC remain essential in shaping this future, in setting us on a better course. It is daunting. It is uncertain. But we pursue this better future with courage and commitment and the confidence that comes from being with you in the very best of company. May your voices, your bold expressions and resolute actions – may they always carry far and wide, so that together we may usher in a world that is just a little bit more just, more free, and more secure for everyone. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)

How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis

How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis

Rep. John Conyers wanted to block U.S. funding to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. But the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center refused to help.

AlterNet has learned that an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have forbidden US assistance, training and weapons to neo-Nazis and other extremists in Ukraine was kept out of the final bill by the Republican-led House Rules Committee. Introduced by Democratic Representative John Conyers, the amendment was intended to help tamp down on violent confrontations between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists. (Full text of the amendment embedded at the end of this article).

A USA Today/Pew poll conducted in April while the NDAA was being debated found that Americans opposed by more than 2 to 1 providing the Ukrainian government with arms or other forms of military assistance.

If passed, Conyers’ amendment would have explicitly barred those found to have offered “praise or glorification of Nazism or its collaborators, including through the use of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, or other similar symbols” from receiving any form of support from the US Department of Defense.

The amendment was presented by congressional staffers to lobbyists from Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, two of the country’s largest established Jewish pressure groups. Despite their stated mission to combat anti-Semitism and violent extremism, the ADL and Wiesenthal Center refused to support Jeffries and Conyers’ proposal.

According to Democratic sources in Congress, staffers from the ADL’s Washington office and the Simon Wiesenthal Center rejected the amendment on the grounds that right-wing Ukrainian parties like Svoboda with documented records of racist extremism had “moderated their rhetoric.” An ADL lobbyist insisted that “the focus should be on Russia,” while the Wiesenthal Center pointed to meetings between far-right political leaders in Ukraine and the Israeli embassy as evidence that groups like Svoboda and Right Sector had shed their extremism.

The ADL’s Washington office and the Simon Wiesenthal Center did not respond to numerous requests by email and telephone for comment.

Earlier this year, the ADL’s outgoing National Director Abraham Foxman noted Svoboda’s “history of anti-Semitism and platform of ethnic nationalism” in a press release demanding the party renounce its past glorification of Stepan Bandera, a World War Two-era Nazi collaborator who has become a symbol of Ukrainian nationalism.

When the Ukrainian parliament failed to pass a bill this October honoring Bandera’s Ukrainian Rebel Army, about 8000 supporters of Svoboda and the extremist Right Sector marched on the building, attacking riot police with homemade weapons while waving Banderist flags and Svoboda banners. The violent backlash was a reminder that the legend of Bandera would not die any time soon, and that Foxman’s admonitions had fallen on deaf ears.

Svobodoa’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, once called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” In 2010, following the conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok flew to Germany to praise him as a hero who was “fighting for truth.”

Since the Euromaidan revolution, however, Svoboda has fought to rehabilitate its image. This has meant meeting with Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Reuven Din El and appealing to shared national values. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

Right Sector, the radical right-wing movement that battled riot police during the latter stages of the Euromaidan uprising, earned plaudits from the ADL’s Foxman when its leader arranged his own meeting with Din El. “[Right Sector leader] Dmitry Yarosh stressed that Right Sector will oppose all [racist] phenomena, especially anti-Semitism, with all legitimate means,” the Israeli embassy declared.

The results of this month’s Ukrainian parliamentary elections were widely portrayed as a setback for the ultra-nationalist right-wing, with Svoboda taking around 6 percent of the vote while Yarosh’s Right Sector failed to qualify for seats. The outcome cheered the American Jewish Committee, which declared that “Jews in most of Ukraine are heartened by the election results and even optimistic about the country’s future.”

But the dismal showing by the traditional ultra-nationalist parties was hardly evidence of a diminished right-wing. With President Petro Poroshenko leading the nationalists’ dream war in the East, Svoboda and Right Sector lost the protest vote they had commanded during the heady years of insurrection. As Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on Europe’s radical right, explained, “in 2012, Svoboda was also considered almost the only ‘patriotic’ party, but now all democratic parties are patriotic, so Svoboda has lost its ‘monopoly’ on patriotism.”

During the national election campaign, Ukraine’s leading party, the People’s Front of neoliberal Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was honeycombed with far-right militants. Andrei Parubiy, the co-founder of the neo-Nazi-inspired Social National Party and former chief of the Maidan defense committees, was among the extremists who won seats on the People’s Front ticket.

Besides Parubiy, the People’s Front included Andriy Biletsky, leader of the Azov militia, an overtly neo-Nazi fighting force that has been on the front lines of the battle against Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Azov deputy commander Vadym Troyan joined him on the party’s electoral list, rounding out a peculiar mix of khaki shirt clad fascists and buttoned-down neo-liberals.

Unlike Svoboda, these figures do not even feign moderation. “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival,” Biletsky recently wrote. “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

Azov fighters are united by their nostalgia for Nazi Germany and embrace of open fascism. Sporting swastika tattoos, the battalion “flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag,” the New York Times’ Andrew Kramer recently reported.

With the government in a state of flux, Azov is filling the void in the East. As Ukrainian parliamentarian Gregory Nemira complained to reporter Anna Nemtsova in September, “The president still has not appointed a chief of staff for the armed forces. He has not admitted we are in a state of war, preferring to throw the battalions like Azov into the most dangerous combat zones, where authorities would not have the courage to send regular troops.”

Azov is precisely the sort of neo-Nazi organization that Conyers’ NDAA amendment would have deprived of US assistance. But when the congressman sought help from the ADL and the Wiesenthal Center in moving the proposal forward, he was rebuked. The amendment died a quiet death and Azov’s American supply line remains intact.

November 18, 2014  


Jewish volunteers for racial supremacy in Palestine

Jewish volunteers for racial supremacy in Palestine

by Joseph Massad
The Electronic Intifada
4 August 2014

The European Christian fight for anti-Semitism was always a fight to grant Christians superior rights to Jews and to institutionalize that superiority as racial and religious supremacy.

In response, the European Jewish fight against anti-Semitism was and remains a fight against the reduction of the rights of Jews (if not their elimination altogether in the case of the Nazis), against the project to render European Jews an inferior species of citizens, and against white European Christian supremacy.

This has been a historical fight that multitudes of non-Jews have joined on both sides. However, ultimately it was European Jewish fighters against anti-Semitism and their gentile allies who won this key battle against inequality, oppression, racial and religious discrimination and genocide.

The European Jewish and Protestant fight (the latter preceded the former by three centuries) for Zionism, in contrast, has been and remains a fight to grant European Jews more rights than non-Jews (and non-European Jews) on a religious, ethnic and racial basis.

This superiority would be granted especially vis-à-vis Palestinian citizens of the Jewish settler-colony (if not eliminating their rights altogether as many Zionist Jews call for), as well as eliminating the rights of the Palestinians in the territories Israel occupied and colonized since 1967 and those it expelled and exiled since 1948 outside the borders of their homeland.

Multitudes of Jews and non-Jews have also joined this historical fight for racism, discrimination and colonialism. The Palestinians and their Jewish and non-Jewish allies refuse to give up and continue to resist Zionism’s insistence that European (and other) Jews must have superior and supremacist colonial, racial and religious rights in Palestine.

The Jewish fight for Zionism (which has never included and still does not include all Jews) is the exact opposite of the Jewish fight against anti-Semitism (which also never included all Jews); the former is a fight for European Jewish supremacy while the latter is against European Aryan and Christian supremacy.

This in a nutshell exposes the outright Zionist lie that claims that the struggle against anti-Semitism and the struggle for Zionism are one and the same.

Recruiting Jews to kill Palestinians

This is important to consider when we examine the international Zionist Jewish brigades that have volunteered to join the Israeli colonial army with much eagerness to kill Arabs and Palestinians. This has been a successful project in light of the mobilizational Zionist and Israeli Jewish propaganda in the last seven decades among the Jewish communities of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Argentina, to name the most prominent Jewish communities outside Israel.

This propaganda campaign aimed at transforming members of these communities from fighters against white Christian supremacy into fighters for European Jewish racial and colonial supremacy.

The dissemination of racist Israeli Jewish culture internationally goes hand-in-hand with Zionism’s pan-Jewishism, whereby, just as anti-Semitism speaks against all Jews, Zionism claims to speak for all of them — and reassures Jews that Israel is their country and that they should move to colonize it, failing which it would function as a spare country awaiting their arrival on a need to colonize basis.

That the major North American and European organizations that claim to speak for Jews have endorsed Israel’s right to speak for them and have been the major conduits for the hateful racist Israeli Jewish propaganda against the Palestinian people makes them fully complicit in the ongoing slaughter and oppression of the Palestinians. This is especially so given that they openly support anti-Palestinian Israeli colonial policies and urge their respective governments and media to do the same. (We must keep in mind these organizations and their wealthy leaders are not elected by members of the Jewish communities but appoint themselves as their representatives and speak for them in these organizations’ newspapers, which constitute what is referred to as the “Jewish” press.)

This is not to say that members of the Jewish communities are not pro-Israel and fervently anti-Palestinian, which they are in their majority, but it is to say that polls have shown them to be less murderous and hateful than the organizations claiming to represent them.

Thus, Israel has created a hegemonic racist Jewish culture that does not only dominate Israeli Jewish communities but also Jewish communities in Europe and its settler colonial extensions (in the Americas, in Australia and in South Africa). This, however, was never sufficiently successful to produce millions of Jewish volunteers for Israel’s colonial cause (no matter how much European and American Jews support Zionism and Israel, few would want to fight or die for it). But it did create the conditions for thousands of young Jewish (mostly male) fighters for European racial supremacy to join the Israeli colonial army seeking to prove the superiority of European Jewishness (and a concomitant European Jewish manliness) by slaughtering Palestinians.

The Israeli colonial army advertises several programs to accommodate international Jewish volunteers for the oppression of the Palestinians. It provides them with the option to serve in the Israeli army in “full combat and support roles,” namely in its “Mahal” program, to fulfill their commitment to the Zionist cause of European Jewish supremacy without necessarily having to become Israeli citizens.
There is also the smaller “Marva” program in which young teenage Jewish recruits for Zionist Jewish supremacy can participate “in this immersive army program, serving alongside fellows from countries around the world.”

Israel’s killing machine proudly declares that “over 300 Jewish teens from all around the world volunteer to serve” in the Israeli colonial army annually as part of the four thousand “Jewish and non-Jewish” volunteers who “fly to Israel and volunteer in the IDF [Israeli military] for several weeks.” These may not be impressive numbers, but there are more.

One of the programs engineered to recruit Jewish youth for racial and religious supremacy is the “Garin Tzabar” project. Garin Tzabar means “cactus seed,” or “Sabra seed,” in reference to Palestine-born Israeli Jews, hence the importance of this program as a reproductive and masculinist project aimed at populating the Jewish settler-colony with more Zionist Jews committed to the superiority of European (and other) Jews over Palestinians.

Garin Tzabar, according to the Israeli colonial army, has “already helped over 1,500 teens from all around the world join the IDF and approximately 70 percent of the immigrants have stayed in Israel after their service.”

Garin Tzabar is not the only volunteer program. There are others like the “Sar-El” program, which claims that it has brought between 1983 and 2011 “more than a hundred thousand volunteers to Israel … 
Staying in Israel for several weeks, the participants share a true IDF experience on IDF bases” (Israel refers to these European and American volunteers for Jewish racial supremacy as “lone soldiers”).
The Israeli military claimed that in 2012, “5,500 lone soldiers” were serving in its colonial forces whereas today it claims to have 4,600 volunteers, one-third of whom are Americans.

In the ongoing barbaric slaughter of Gaza Palestinians, two of the Palestinian baby-killing Jewish soldiers (as I’ve written previously, targeting and killing Palestinian children is an old Zionist tradition) who were killed by the Palestinian resistance were American Jewish volunteers for Jewish racial and colonial supremacy.
They quickly became heroes for the American press, “Jewish” and “gentile” alike. Indeed an article appeared in The Washington Post to show how these baby-killers are different from Muslim foreign fighters who volunteered to overthrow the Afghani communist government and more recently several Arab governments (“‘Foreign Fighters’ for Israel,” David Malet, 22 July 2014). Few, however, mention the White European and American Christian mercenary foreign fighters who have served tyrannies around the word since the Second World War.

Colonial recruitment

These Israeli volunteer programs build on the legacy of the four thousand Jewish volunteers who came to fight the Zionist colonial war of 1948 that captured Palestine and expelled its population and established the European Jewish-supremacist settler-colony. Known as Mahal, the main volunteer program included American Jews as prominent and important members assisting in Israel’s colonial conquest.

They included Mickey Marcus, an American Jewish US Army colonel who became Israel’s first brigadier general. Marcus’ Second World War experience was instrumental in breaking the 1948 “siege of Jerusalem.”

Other important Jewish volunteers included the Canadian officer Ben Dunkelman and US pilot Milton Rubenfeld, as well as British Jewish Major Wellesley Aron who helped in the recruitment of American Jews for Zionism’s colonial war. European and American Christian Zionist mercenaries also helped, especially in the Zionist air force. These colonial volunteers fighting for racism, especially from the UK, constituted almost two-thirds of the settler-colony’s air force during the 1948 war.

David Ben-Gurion, the Jewish settler-colony’s first prime minister, was so thankful to them that he stated that “the Mahal [volunteer] Forces were the Diaspora’s most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel.” Indeed they were: 123 of them died in that colonial war.

Jews in the struggle against Israeli racism

But unlike Jews inside Israel, Jewish communities in Europe, North and South America, and even in Australia, live in cultures that are not fully controlled by Zionist propaganda and therefore are not fully under the sway of the racist culture that Israel seeks to impose on them. It is this that explains how an increasing number of prominent members in the Jewish communities of the US and the UK, among intellectuals and academics, are in the forefront of the struggle against Israeli Jewish racism and colonialism (in contrast with apartheid South Africa which had a substantial number of white anti-racist activists and intellectuals, only a few Israeli Jewish intellectuals have been able over the decades to escape Israeli racist brainwashing — a feat unto itself).

Today many American Jewish luminaries in academe oppose Israeli policies unreservedly. Whereas once Noam Chomsky was a lone Jewish academic voice critical of Israel, he is today joined by scores of Jewish academics and intellectuals in opposing Israeli policies (of course these Jewish academics along with anti-Zionist gentile academics remain a minority and are outflanked by the much larger Jewish and gentile academics who are militant enemies of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims).

Some, like the prominent American Jewish philosopher Judith Butler, have surpassed Chomsky in their opposition to Zionist and Israeli racism and colonialism, and are vocal supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and call for a one-state solution, both of which Chomsky does not support. In fact, a few Palestinian-American academics have also opposed both of these important positions or remained “neutral” on them (some used the rhetorical strategy, of “on the one hand this and on the other hand that”). Though in the last year some, fearing being left outside the leftist mainstream which has adopted these positions, have decided to show a belated “courage” in adopting these positions more than a decade after everyone else has.

And this is not limited to Jewish intellectuals but extends also to Jewish activists, especially groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (which, among many of its anti-racist activities, played an important role in helping Palestinians and others persuade the Presbyterian Church USA to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation), and the countless Jewish students joining, and in a good number of cases, leading groups like Students for Justice in Palestine based on their commitment to fight racism and colonialism, values that are the diametrical opposite of Zionist colonial racism and fascist tribalism.

It is these Jewish fighters against Zionism and Israeli colonialism and racism that are continuing the Jewish fight against anti-Semitism but who remain unsung heroes in the American “Jewish” and “gentile” press that prefers to celebrate baby-killing Zionist Jewish volunteers for Israeli Jewish supremacy instead.

These Jewish fighters against racism have joined the Palestinian people and their international allies (Jewish and gentile alike) in fighting this ongoing historical battle against the forces of racial supremacy and colonial conquest. They understand well, as the Palestinian national movement has always understood, that the fight for Palestinian rights and liberation from the Jewish settler-colony is the latest phase of the historic fight against anti-Semitism and that the fight for Zionism is part of the war for European racial supremacy and colonialism.

The carnage that Israeli Jewish soldiers and international Zionist Jewish brigades of baby-killers are committing in Gaza (and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, let alone against Palestinian citizens of Israel) is but the starkest reminder of this unshakeable conviction.

Joseph Massad is professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is author of the forthcoming Islam in Liberalism.

US bill ‘dramatically strengthens’ Israel alliance

US bill ‘dramatically strengthens’ Israel alliance


Bill to expand delivery of forward-deployed US weapons to Israel and help commit Congress to further funding of the Iron Dome.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that declares Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States, reinforcing the broad relationship between the two nations and laying the groundwork for more expansive strategic cooperation.

The bill would expand the delivery of forward-deployed US weapons to Israel, as well as other military technologies, and would commit Congress to further funding of the Iron Dome short-range missile defense system.

Controversially, the bill would also invite Israel into a visa waiver agreement with the US, which has been opposed by members of the intelligence community and the Democratic caucus for multiple years.

The bill passed 410-1 in the House. The Senate has taken up a similar measure, which is still in the committee process.

Just a day after its annual policy conference in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee declared the bill’s passage a victory, and characterized the measure as “dramatically strengthening the US-Israel relationship.”

“This designation lays the foundation for expanded US-Israel cooperation in a wide variety of spheres, including defense, intelligence, homeland security, energy, agriculture and trade,” AIPAC said in a statement, applauding the bill as “critical” and calling on the Senate to act with similar haste.

The second half of the bill, which focuses on US-Israel energy relationships, was authored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and aims to strengthen collaboration between the two countries on energy projects.

The United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Enhancement Bill first passed through the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on December 11, and a Senate companion bill passed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on December 20. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was responsible for the Senate companion bill, alongside Se.s Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

This portion of the bill officially determines that “United States-Israel energy cooperation, and the development of natural resources by Israel, are strategic interests of the United States,” recognizing Israel specifically as a partner in water technology, safety and security arenas. Encouraging the US National Science Foundation to collaborate with the Israel Science Foundation, the text also encourages more robust academic cooperation in a variety of energy-related fields.

Advocating “open dialogue and continued mechanisms for regular engagement,” the bill calls for continued energy partnerships among government and academic institutions as well as the private sector from both sides. Some particular topics of interest include identifying priorities for developing Israeli natural resources, discussing best practices to secure cyber energy infrastructure, leveraging natural gas to positively impact regional stability and improving energy efficiency, the bill says.

The bill also acknowledges the important role of the US-Israel Binational research and Development Foundation (BIRD) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and commits continued multiyear funding “to ensure the continuity of the programs of the foundations.”

“I am pleased this important measure was included in the legislative package and encouraged to see it received such overwhelming support,” Upton said, following the bill’s passage. “With a simple amendment to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, this legislation will help bolster the partnership between Israel and the US on energy production and help enhance energy security.”

With American assistance, Israel will be able to continue making advancements in developing its natural resources, Upton stressed. He also committed to working on future “commonsense energy solutions” with colleagues from both sides of the aisle, as occurred while drafting this legislation.

“Today the House passed an important bill that will expand the partnership between the U.S. and Israel,” Waxman agreed. “Israel is a close ally, and it is in our national interest to help the Israelis development their natural resources in a responsible way that protects the environment.”

Questions to readers

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator
10 challenging questions for readers
1. On what base did the Security Council determine in the morning of September 12, 2001, that the mass murder of the previous day was an act of “international” terrorism?2. On what evidence did the Security Council determine in its resolution 1456(2003) that terrorism was “one of the most serious threats to [international] peace and security”?

3. On what evidence did the United States conclude before October 2, 2001, that the mass murder of 9/11 was masterminded in Afghanistan or directed from there?

4. Who placed explosives in the Twin Towers and in World Trade Center no. 7 before 9/11?

5. Why have governments of Islamic nations failed to highlight the fact that no Muslims boarded the aircraft used as tools of mass murder on 9/11?

6. Why do US administrations act as agents for Zionist interests, such as urging other states to recognize Israel and its founding ideology, Zionism?

7. Why has Saddam Hussein not been charged for causing the deaths of half a million children in the sanctions period?

8. Why did the Palestinian people fail to secure even minimal rights in over half a century?

9. Why do UN member states refuse legal remedies to innocent victims of UN sanctions?

10. Why are political leaders suspected of torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity, so seldom prosecuted?

The webmaster will publish the most compellng answers. If you have a good answer, please contact him

Israel to Get $30 Billion in Military Aid From U.S.

Israel to Get $30 Billion in Military Aid From U.S.

Published: August 17, 2007

JERUSALEM, Aug. 16 — Israel and the United States signed a deal on Thursday to give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next decade in what officials called a long-term investment in peace.

The officials insisted that the deal was not dependent on a simultaneous American plan for $20 billion in sales of sophisticated arms to its Arab allies, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. But Israeli officials acknowledged that the aid to Israel would make it easier for the Bush administration to win Congressional approval of the arms sales to Arab countries.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel has not objected to those arms sales, saying that he understands the United States’ need to support moderate Sunni Arab states that, like Israel, are opposed to Shiite Iran’s reach for regional supremacy and nuclear weapons.

The American under secretary of state for political affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, speaking at the signing ceremony here, said, “There is no question that, from an American point of view, the Middle East is a more dangerous region now even than it was 10 or 20 years ago and that Israel is facing a growing threat” from Iran and its ally, Syria.

The threat, he said, is “immediate and it’s also long term,” and he cited Iran’s support for organizations that the United States classified as terrorist and that were opposed to peace and stability in the region, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

The new aid to Israel will average $3 billion a year on a sliding scale, an increase of about 25 percent from current figures, to begin in October 2008. That year, American economic aid to Israel, which has a vibrant, growing economy, is scheduled to end. Uniquely, officials said, the new deal allows Israel to spend 26.3 percent of the aid on arms from Israel’s domestic military industry; the rest of the money must be spent on American equipment.

The Israelis have some specific reservations about what equipment might be sold to Saudi Arabia, however, despite American promises that Israel will keep its “qualitative edge” regionally in military technology.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the House majority leader, said in an interview on Thursday that “Congress will be supportive of the aid to Israel, but with respect to Saudi Arabia I think we will look at that more closely.” He said there were “specific concerns on guided missile technology that could be used defensively against Israel and that would be problematic.”

Some Israeli politicians have also discussed trying to limit Saudi deployment of new weapons systems to the east of the country, closer to Iran, keeping them away from Israel.

Mr. Burns and the Israeli team, led by the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, who holds both American and Israeli citizenship, would not comment on the specifics of the arms deal.

Mr. Fischer said that Israel was grateful for the help, since it had one of the highest defense burdens “in what used to be called the free world,” amounting to 10 percent of gross domestic product.

Mr. Burns said, “This $30 billion in assistance to Israel is to be an investment in peace, in long-term peace — peace cannot be made without strength.”

In Gaza, Hamas, the Islamic group that has taken control there, briefly detained the Palestinian attorney general, Ahmed Mughami, who is allied with Fatah, after he returned to the Gaza Strip to try to prevent Hamas from altering the area’s judicial system. Fatah has ordered the police and other civil servants, including judges, not to work for Hamas in Gaza, and Hamas then said it would set up Islamic courts. Hamas forced Mr. Mughami out of his office at gunpoint in Gaza City. He refused to resign and was released.

The State of Israel is in Bed with the Military Industrial Complex

The State of Israel is in Bed with the Military Industrial Complex

David Crier January 26, 2012

PCDN (Peace & Collaborative Development Network)

If you want to know why we are not heading down the road to peace. Just read this Congressional Research Service report U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel of September 16, 2010

The United States government has pledged over three billion dollars a year in military aid to the State of Israel until the year 2018. This is on top of, well over a hundred billion dollars of United States aid to the State of Israel over the years. With two-thirds of it being military aid. It works out to over five-hundred dollars per every Israeli annually.

The military industrial complex in the United States and the State of Israel profit greatly from this military aid package. The State of Israel could not afford to maintain the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the imprisonment of the 1.4 Palestinian people in Gaza without the United States military aid package over the many years. While the United States gives the Palestinian  a hundred or two hundred million dollars a year if they behave and do not try something stupid like trying to become a recognized nation in the United Nations. Yet the Israelis bomb the hell out of Gaza and more bombs and military aid is on the way from the U.S.A..

With a few people and corporations  in the United States and Israel making so much money off of this military aid package. They are heavily vested in seeing that the military aid continues. Making it harder, to nearly impossible to get on the road towards peace with so much money pledge towards conflict. There is not one federal elected official in Washington D.C. that would stand up in front of their peers and or the American people and say: “Let us invest thirty billion dollars into the Arc plan A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State over the next ten years. It is a giant leap in the right direction into finding a peaceful solution in the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.. It addresses many of the problems the people of Palestine face in forming a viable state. Only with a prospers Palestinian society that resembles the society of the State of Israel will the people of both societies have any real security. Yet almost in a single voice on both sides of the isle in Washington D.C. the United States government pledges over thirty billion dollars of military aid to the State of Israel over a ten year period. Global Crier

This is the link to an 8 minute and 35 minute video outlining the Arc.The Arc: A Formal Structure For a Palestinian State | RAND

Elbit Systems: Israeli-made drones in action in Iraq, Afghanistan

Elbit Systems: Israeli-made drones in action in Iraq, Afghanistan

Manufacturer says Skylark drone being used by U.S. forces; U.S. commander won’t confirm report

by Associated Press, 19 March 2007

Small Israeli-made pilotless planes are gathering intelligence for U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the manufacturer said in a statement Monday.

Elbit Systems, one of Israel’s leading defense electronics companies, said the little Skylark can be carried and operated by a single soldier, covering an area within a range of 6 miles day or night, the company said. It did not give details of its exact size or weight.

Skylark is operational and currently deployed in the global war on terror in Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan, the statement said. It described the Skylark as suited for close range, beyond-the-next hill, counter-terror missions.

Lt. Col. Matthew McLaughlin of CENTCOM, the American command that handles Iraq and Afghanistan, said the military would not confirm the use of the drone, but is always looking for aircraft with such capabilities.

Elbit said the Skylark would be unveiled to the public at the March 20-25 Australian International Airshow.

The Skylark is just one of several items of Israeli defense hardware deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, state-owned arms-maker Rafael said it had won a contract to supply the U.S. Marine Corps with state-of the-art armored vehicles for use there, and military analysts said Israeli firms had long been supplying and maintaining equipment for American ground and naval forces in Iraq, although both buyers and sellers generally preferred to keep a low profile.

Israeli drones said operating over Iraq and Afghanistan

Israeli drones said operating over Iraq and Afghanistan

Foreign reports indicate that U.S.-led coalition has been deploying IAI-produced UAVs in war on terror.

By Yossi Melman

Ha’aretz, 19 March 2009

Israeli-manufactured unmanned aerial vehicles have been operating in the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan in the service of the United States-led coalition for the last three years.

According to reports in foreign media, the unpiloted aircrafts are products of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Over Iraq, the U.S. Army has been operating Hunter model UAVs that were manufactured in IAI’s Mississippi-based subsidiary Stark Aerospace. The top contractor for the project is the American defense company Northrop Grumman.

Reports say the aircraft have been deployed in various missions with considerable success.

Within the last year, the Canadian air force has also operated Israeli-made Heron UAVs over Afghanistan to assist Canada’s ground forces in combat against the Taliban.

It is not known whether any Israeli UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan were shot down, yet no reports of such incidents have been received.

Though the UAVs were manufactured in Israel, there are no identifying marks on the aircraft to indicate the country of origin.


Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US

Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US

by David R. Francis,
Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 9, 2002 

Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today’s population, that is more than $5,700 per person.

This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. For decades, his analyses of the Middle East scene have made him a frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby.

For the first time in many years, Mr. Stauffer has tallied the total cost to the US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with the Palestinians. So far, he figures, the bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War.

And now Israel wants more. In a meeting at the White House late last month, Israeli officials made a pitch for $4 billion in additional military aid to defray the rising costs of dealing with the intifada and suicide bombings. They also asked for more than $8 billion in loan guarantees to help the country’s recession-bound economy.

Considering Israel’s deep economic troubles, Stauffer doubts the Israel bonds covered by the loan guarantees will ever be repaid. The bonds are likely to be structured so they don’t pay interest until they reach maturity. If Stauffer is right, the US would end up paying both principal and interest, perhaps 10 years out.

Israel’s request could be part of a supplemental spending bill that’s likely to be passed early next year, perhaps wrapped in with the cost of a war with Iraq.

Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. It is already due to get $2.04 billion in military assistance and $720 million in economic aid in fiscal 2003. It has been getting $3 billion a year for years.

Adjusting the official aid to 2001 dollars in purchasing power, Israel has been given $240 billion since 1973, Stauffer reckons. In addition, the US has given Egypt $117 billion and Jordan $22 billion in foreign aid in return for signing peace treaties with Israel.

“Consequently, politically, if not administratively, those outlays are part of the total package of support for Israel,” argues Stauffer in a lecture on the total costs of US Middle East policy, commissioned by the US Army War College, for a recent conference at the University of Maine.

These foreign-aid costs are well known. Many Americans would probably say it is money well spent to support a beleagured democracy of some strategic interest. But Stauffer wonders if Americans are aware of the full bill for supporting Israel since some costs, if not hidden, are little known.

One huge cost is not secret. It is the higher cost of oil and other economic damage to the US after Israel-Arab wars.

In 1973, for instance, Arab nations attacked Israel in an attempt to win back territories Israel had conquered in the 1967 war. President Nixon resupplied Israel with US arms, triggering the Arab oil embargo against the US.

That shortfall in oil deliveries kicked off a deep recession. The US lost $420 billion (in 2001 dollars) of output as a result, Stauffer calculates. And a boost in oil prices cost another $450 billion.

Afraid that Arab nations might use their oil clout again, the US set up a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That has since cost, conservatively, $134 billion, Stauffer reckons.

Other US help includes:

• US Jewish charities and organizations have remitted grants or bought Israel bonds worth $50 billion to $60 billion. Though private in origin, the money is “a net drain” on the United States economy, says Stauffer.

• The US has already guaranteed $10 billion in commercial loans to Israel, and $600 million in “housing loans.” (See editor’s note below.) Stauffer expects the US Treasury to cover these.

• The US has given $2.5 billion to support Israel’s Lavi fighter and Arrow missile projects.

• Israel buys discounted, serviceable “excess” US military equipment. Stauffer says these discounts amount to “several billion dollars” over recent years.

• Israel uses roughly 40 percent of its $1.8 billion per year in military aid, ostensibly earmarked for purchase of US weapons, to buy Israeli-made hardware. It also has won the right to require the Defense Department or US defense contractors to buy Israeli-made equipment or subsystems, paying 50 to 60 cents on every defense dollar the US gives to Israel.

US help, financial and technical, has enabled Israel to become a major weapons supplier. Weapons make up almost half of Israel’s manufactured exports. US defense contractors often resent the buy-Israel requirements and the extra competition subsidized by US taxpayers.

• US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs, Stauffer estimates. Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual in foreign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs.

• Israel has blocked some major US arms sales, such as F-15 fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. That cost $40 billion over 10 years, says Stauffer.

Stauffer’s list will be controversial. He’s been assisted in this research by a number of mostly retired military or diplomatic officials who do not go public for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic if they criticize America’s policies toward Israel.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the amount of housing loans guaranteed by the US.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US comments on US-Israel relations (1991)

Remarks by Ambassador Shoval at Georgetown University Washington, D.C.
March 4, 1991

AMBASSADOR SHOVAL: Thank you very much. And thank you all for coming here. And I want to thank especially my good old friend, real old friend, Dr. Sprinzak whose timing was wonderful. You know he timed this exactly to be a few days after the end of the war, two days before the visit of Secretary Baker to the Middle East — perfect, perfect! (Laughter.)

Now, I understand the subject, the topic of my talk tonight is Israel- American relations after the Gulf crisis. And I guess this is a heading as good as any. And I will talk about Israel-American relations and I will also digress a little bit and speak about other questions which have, of course, a relation, a connection with that but pertain to the Middle East perhaps as a whole.

But before the Gulf crisis, if we can think back four or five or six months ago, there was a perception, if you’ll remember, of an eroding or deteriorating relationship between America and Israel. And I say "perception" because the facts, the reality were probably much more favorable, but in politics and in diplomacy perceptions sometimes create reality.

Now, I believe a change has occurred, a very positive change has occurred over the last few months, which does not necessarily mean that exactly the same sort of relationship which we have enjoyed over the last few months will necessarily continue the same way on the same level, let’s say, as they were this month, last month, three months ago. However, I do believe that relations between the two countries and the two governments will certainly continue on a higher level that they were before the crisis.

I’ve often been asked whether the honeymoon between Israel and America, the honeymoon which evolved during the Gulf crisis was ending, or was approaching an end. And I didn’t even accept the question, let alone the answer, because I never thought that the relationship between two so-close countries and peoples like America and Israel was in the nature of a honeymoon, which after all is relatively short. And I think the relationships — pre-honeymoon, honeymoon, post-honeymoon — are going to continue to be strong, loyal, and long-lasting. Now, the end of the Cold War — let’s all hope that there really has been a permanent end to the Cold War — was thought to have brought about an era free of war all over the world. It has not, but it has changed the character of the enemies. As far as the Middle East is concerned, or parts of the Middle East at least, replacing the Soviet enemy there is Islamic fundamentalism, there is sometimes — as we have just witnessed — military nationalism, extreme nationalism in parts of the Arab world, both very, very much anti-West and both not necessarily — strange as it may sound — mutually exclusive. Again, as we have seen at least in parts of the recent conflict.

Now all this in a very crucial area. There are probably similar conflicts in other parts of the world from different — for different reasons. But if we talk about the Middle East, we speak about an area in which most of the world’s oil reserves are located. And I know there was a slogan in this country, "No Blood For Oil," and I’m not going to express an opinion about that, but oil is a very important thing. Oil means energy, growth, industry, livelihood for most of the world, and most of the world, especially Africa, the Third World, Europe, the Far East, parts of America, are dependent on Middle East oil, so it was not some sort of insignificant side issue.

Now, in the context of the war which has just ended — and I know not everybody will agree with me, but let me say or let me just make a side remark — if Israel had handed over the territories, the West Bank, either to some sort of PLO-led Palestinian entity, or even to Jordan led by King Hussein, we would have had an Iraq by proxy, by extension, not hundreds of kilometers or hundreds of miles away, but ten minutes form the center of Tel Aviv, one and a half minutes from Ben Gurion Airport, one and a half seconds from the center of Jerusalem, and so on, and so forth. Not to mention that the United States would have had to concentrate its military forces not just in the Persian Gulf, in the east and southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula, but also in the western part in the eastern Mediterranean. It wouldn’t have been a one- front war, it probably would have been a two-front war.

After having said that however, and not contradicting it, I also want to say that for this very reason, namely the central pivotal aspect of security involved in our need to maintain a presence on the West Bank, I could imagine that Israel might feel a lot easier about accommodating some of the aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs in the territories once the Arab states surrounding Israel would follow Egypt’s example in establishing peace with Israel, and the time is now. No opportunity for peace in the area should be neglected even where a country like Syria is concerned.

But on the other hand, mistakes should not be repeated either, mistakes which not so long ago induced some people to believe that Iraq had all of a sudden become a moderate or pragmatic state. After all, when President Assad if Syria wrote Saddam Hussein on the 12th of January, four or five days before the war, that he and Saddam — I quote — "shared the same human values," he may only have spoken the truth.

Now turning back to the U.S.-Israel relationship if we look at it historically, the Six Day War — now I understand there’s a Four-Day War, so somebody has even caught up with us — (laughter) — but the Six-Day War — let me just say I am not a military expert, although most of us in Israel are of course military experts, — (laughter) — but I must say as an Israeli, we are full of admiration the way this war was run — was managed — full of admiration for the United States and her coalition partners.

Anyway, the Six-Day War historically was a great watershed in U.S. attitudes towards Israel — U.S. official attitudes towards Israel. America quickly grasped the importance of a very powerful ally in the Middle East. Over the years Israel has received considerable and very welcome military aid, in addition to civilian aid, of course, from the U.S.. Defense grants, military defense grants have amounted to about $18 billion over the years. Most of this aid comes in the form of FMS, which means foreign military sales credit program, which entails setting up credit lines to purchase weapons, almost all in the U.S.. These amounts, although very large, are small in comparison to the funds — to the sums channeled, for instance, to NATO or to the defense of the Far East, with one big difference, however; Israel did not and does not require the participation of American soldiers in her defense. We never want American or any other foreign soldier to shed his blood or to risk his life for the defense of Israel.

On the other hand, just to give a full picture, the total amount of intelligence data, for instance, mainly on various Soviet weapon systems, which Israel provided until 1985 alone to the United States, was estimated by the former chief of U.S. Air Force intelligence to have been worth something between 50 [billion dollars] to $80 billion. Now it’s very difficult to quantify, nor should it be necessary to quantify. But this mutuality in the strategic relationship between the two countries I believe is exactly as it should be and I believe will continue to be. I think, therefore, that the strategic aspect of the alliance between the United States and Israel will be enhanced after this war and not reduced. Whatever the importance of temporary coalitions one thing must be absolutely clear: real, long lasting relationships can only exist between democratic countries only where public will, where public opinion supports them and where democracy assures stability and continuity.

By the way, it is an interesting historical aspect, an interesting historical reflection — the Camp David agreements were mentioned before — that it may be the Camp David agreements of 12 years ago, including the fact of Israel giving up all of Sinai and the oil and so on and so forth, which created the political reality without which America’s present activity in the Middle East and its relationship with Egypt, for instance, and perhaps with other parts of the Arab world would not have been imaginable.

There are, of course, other lessons to be learned from the war. I won’t go into all of them, but one I think is quite interesting. Some U.S. senior officers have said that Desert Storm has demonstrated that the U.S. was dangerously short of cargo ships and planes to get troops and their weaponry from the U.S. to distant trouble spots in a hurry. Now, no more trouble spot would be more troubling than the Gulf area. Thus, one conclusion perhaps to be learned from this present situation, that it would be worthwhile for America to maintain, to preposition in Israel in a user-friendly atmosphere, as we sometimes hear on television, American war materials of much greater volume than before.

As I have already said, conventional wisdom, at least until very recently when events in the Soviet Union began to dampen somewhat our original optimism, but still, the general view was that the Soviet Union no longer an active or at least not an anti-western player in the Middle East, the American-Israeli strategic alliance supposedly aimed specifically at the potential Soviet threat had lost its relevance. I maintain, however, that any realistic analysis of what the future may hold in the Middle East must lead us to the conclusion that though some aspects of the strategic relationship will change the relationship itself will not become redundant.

Ladies and gentlemen, would I ever be far from true to speak of the relations between America, Americans, Israel, Israelis only or even principally in strategic terms? There’s a great deal more involved. Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East and America is committed to the existence of democracy. And we all hope that just as America has been very successful, relatively successful certainly, in promoting democracy in other parts of the world — Latin America, for instance; Eastern Europe to a certain extent — America will also make a major effort to promote democracy in our part of the world. I may be wrong, but I think I’m not. Wars have never broken out between two democracies. Just think a little bit whether in history — there are not so many democratic states around, unfortunately, but have there ever been wars between two genuine democratic regimes? I think not. So we in Israel, but certainly you in America, have a very strong interest in promoting democracy in our part of the world.

There’s the moral aspect. The Jewish state arose from the ashes of the holocaust as the natural answer to age-old anti-Semitism which had always been opposed by all American administrations of whichever party. And I suppose this is also coupled, at least in the minds of some, with a feeling of guilt aroused by the fact that had the West acted differently before and during World War II, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Jewish lives might have been saved.

And I believe there was and still is American admiration, based on America’s own history and heritage, for Israel’s pioneering endeavor of making a largely desolate country bloom and flourish. And surprising to an Israeli coming to this country, the Bible is the common heritage of both peoples, and this seems to be a fact very dear to many Christian- Americans much more than we in Israel or many Europeans appreciate. And there is, of course, a further factor; Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union to Israel in which many Israelis and Americans rightly see one of the great historical and spiritual victories of the human spirit over generations-long despotism and adversity also belongs to this category of moral bonds and moral commitment of Americans towards Israel. But let’s turn back to the political picture. Israel’s victories in 1967 and 1973 — military victories — created almost 20 years of relative stability in the Middle East. They also brought about peace between Israel and Egypt. But they have not yet resulted in a more encompassing, comprehensive peace; paradoxically, the present conflict, the conflict which has just ended perhaps could.

Had Iraq, had Saddam Hussein been perceived in the Arab and Moslem worlds to have prevailed, to have been the victor, I believe he would have been the Arab hero who has stood up to America, and then the Arab and Moslem worlds would have entered the period of increasing and ongoing confrontation with the West, and certainly the chance for moderation among Palestinians would have disappeared or evaporated for a long time. But now, after Saddam Hussein has been defeated in such a way that it is evident, perhaps not yet to him but it will be, that he no longer constitutes a military or political force to be reckoned with, and that Arab leaders like Mubarak have been right, there may be some chance, slim as it is, for a more stable Middle East in the future.

The Arabs, like people everywhere, need leaders more than they need martyrs. Even the Nasser myth, although I would not compare Nasser to Saddam Hussein, but even the Nasser myth died after Egypt’s defeat in 1967 before Nasser himself died. And Saddam Hussein, even if he temporarily survives the catastrophe unleashed by him, neither he, the loser, nor Iraq will be able to reassume soon the mantle of Arab leadership. But who if any will? Syria may intend to, but Syria is distrusted by most Arabs, including most Palestinians, and she will not be elected by acclamation. Egypt, perhaps, but Egypt, whose wise and moderate policies will certainly be perceived by many in the Arab world to have been correct, will still be hindered from fulfilling a really effective leadership role by the fact of a very serious economic internal problems and a growing dependence on outside financial support. The North African Arab states — Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia — face major internal troubles not just from growing Moslem fundamentalism, but linked to that, also from horrific economic and social problems, and they will not be able to play any role or any significant role in shaping the post-war Arab world. Jordan, though never a candidate for Arab leadership, is going to come out of this a big loser. And although Israel and America probably prefer King Hussein to any other alternative, I do not see that Jordan will get a great deal of sympathy or support from the anti-Iraq Arab coalition members.

I’m mentioning all this not with a sense of happiness or glee, but in order to delineate, to describe on the one hand both the opportunities and the pitfalls of the new world order in the Middle East, and on the other hand, Israel’s continued, perhaps even enhanced position both in respect of the quest for stability in the region and with regard to the interests of the U.S. and the West there.

But as just about everybody has said, and this was really common wisdom, one thing is absolutely clear, it will not be the same Middle East that we knew before August the 2nd. But what sort of Middle East will it be? Will it just be a return to the status quo ante, the only difference being that the radical part of the Arab world threatening Israel’s safety will now be led by Syria, which was clever enough to get on the right side of this war, replacing Iraq, the loser? Will this situation be aggravated by the fact that after the war the quantity and quality of the arms in the Middle East will exceed anything we could have imagined in our worst dreams? Or will there be more effective controls of arms supplies, and particularly of non-conventional weapons or implements to manufacture such weapons to the region? Will Jordan, whatever its regime, be a confrontation state, or will it choose to play a constructive role in the peace process? Indeed, in my view it must, it must reassociate itself with the future of the Palestinians, a reality from which it cannot divorce itself anyway. We have just seen that, by virtue of the fact that almost 70 percent of all people living in Jordan are Palestinians. And indeed the single biggest concentration of Palestinians anywhere in the world live in Jordan. But the number one question, of course, is will the Palestinians finally understand that only with Israel and not against Israel can they achieve everything? All this means for sure that many of the ideas which have been floated in the past such as holding an international conference in order to achieve peace between Israel and its neighbors or that the PLO led by Yasser Arafat must play a role in the peace process will no longer be relevant.

Having mentioned the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, I believe it should be clear to anyone that it cannot — it cannot resume exactly at the point where it got bogged down last year. Furthermore, after Iraq’s aggression on Kuwait, there are few if any who still believe that the Palestinian problem is the only or even the main factor of instability in the Middle East.

By the way, most wars in the Middle East have broken out between Arabs and Arabs, between Moslems and Moslems, not between Arabs and Jews — something to reflect on. And consequently, there seems to be greater acceptance, including in this country and in the administration of this country, of Israel’s long-held view that in order to achieve some progress on the Palestinian question, progress which no one desires more than we do, Israel’s overall security concerns must first be alleviated by establishing peace between Israel and the Arab states, all of which except for Egypt are still in a state of war with Israel.

We believe the U.S. could and should and will play an active and constructive role in this, mainly by bringing the present Arab coalition partners to the table, to make them understand that now that the war has been won and their countries and regimes have come out of it all right, thanks to the United States, they will begin to realize that their real existential interests do not lie in ongoing warfare with Israel, as Sadat understood in 1977.

All this could perhaps be done in stages. And when there will be some concrete evidence that the Arab states really mean to end the state of war with Israel, Israel will outline in detail her ideas about settling the Palestinian question, starting, I would assume, from the Israeli government’s peace initiative of May 1989 in all its aspects. There are ideas floating around in this country and other countries, also in Israel, about confidence-building measures.

In the meantime, perhaps the Arab states, those in the coalition, do not want or think they cannot do a Sadat and immediately come and talk to Israel about peace agreements. We would preferred that; we would have liked that. But as a first step, in order to show where they are going, where the Middle East is going to go, the Arab states, allied with the United States of America, should immediately end the state of belligerency towards Israel. They could end the Arab boycott, which is still in force after all these years. And if I were an American, I would say if we are going to provide arms in the future to any Arab country in the area, we will not do that unless that country first comes to terms with the existence of Israel. Otherwise we may just create a situation which could in the future not serve peace but bring about new wars. One thing, however, I think must be clear, if we address the Palestinian problem. Whatever solution there will be, it will have to be based on compromise and not on the demand for total renunciation by the parties, by the respective parties involved, of all their interests and all their aspirations. Israel and the Zionist movement before that have proposed different formulas of compromise on at least six occasions since 1920. We were always repulsed. We were always rejected. Because the Palestinians, the Arabs in Palestine were led to believe by an extremist, unrealistic, often corrupted leadership that they must reject compromise, because if they did so, they will get everything at the end. Well, they got nothing. Perhaps there is a chance, a slight chance, that this may change now that they will discover that they have once again been deceived by their leaders or by their leaders allies.

Saddam Hussein, as Soviet diplomat Primakov reported, was so cynical even weeks ago, telling him that he didn’t care about the Palestinians at all, that this was just a ploy, as we all understood. But the Palestinians themselves were misled, and were deceived.

As you know, there are some Cassandras — or perhaps I shouldn’t use the term Cassandra because she was right, after all — but there are some who predict that now with the war over, the U.S. may be tempted to pacify so-called Arab resentment by sacrificing Israel’s vital interests, by leaning on Israel, I think the term is. I, for one, do not, did not and do not believe that, not only because this would be morally unacceptable to most of the people in this country, but no less important, this would also be totally self defeating from the point of view of America’s strategic and political interests in the region. And it would unavoidably, inevitably pave the way for other — for future Arab-Israeli wars because there are still some segments in the Arab world who would believe that an Israel which has lost the support of the United States is more vulnerable and could again be attacked. It would be a mistake, but we have seen things like that in the past, and we could see things like that in the future again.

I would like to say that I was encouraged by many of the statements of Secretary Baker over the last few weeks on the Hill, and again yesterday on television. Indeed, some of his ideas conform with our own way of thinking. We, too, believe that some of the most pressing problems in the Middle East, such as water or economic problems, or the environment, can only be addressed within a regional framework. All the water sources, Syria, Iraq to a certain extent, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, they are all interconnected, all interrelated. One country cannot really do its own game in harboring or in husbanding water resources or developing water resources without taking into account the needs and the requirements of its neighbors. So all these things really should be addressed within a regional framework. We, too, believe in arms control and arms reduction.

Now, this coalescence of views is heartening, and it will and it must help our two countries, Israel and America, to overcome some differences which may arise, which probably will arise on some subjects or views on which we do not coalesce. However, whatever these differences of opinion they will be overcome. Because after all has been said and done, I believe that neither country has a fully credible and reliable alternative to each other. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Q: Keeping in mind that honesty is a necessary ingredient in any dialogue, how do you rationalize your quote, "Iraq by proxy", unquote, comment in reference to a Palestinian state in the context of the fact that much of the popular support for Saddam Hussein was a product of the fact that Israel and the U.S. have refused to accept that there can be no lasting peace in the region until Palestinian self-determination is established with the leadership chosen by the Palestinian people?

AMB. SHOVAL: Well, you could accept that — you, I suppose — that the Palestinians acted the way they acted because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Could be. But we were told all these years that there was a moderate majority among Palestinians even in the PLO who wanted to coexist with Israel and these same so-called moderates applauded the sending of Scud missiles on Israel’s civilian population including the threat of chemical warfare and all of a sudden all thoughts and ideas and dreams of moderation were as if they never existed before.

We do not share that view in all honesty, and look at Jordan. We really believe that the Palestinians thought that Saddam Hussein was going to destroy Israel. Saddam Hussein said he was going to turn all of Israel into a crematorium and the Palestinians believed him, and applauded him, and cheered him on. I do not think that Israel could take the risk of having a Palestinian state in its very midst on which its security would depend — on the good will of which its security would depend.

After having said that, however, I would like to refer you to one passage in my speech which said that all parties to the conflict will have to make compromises. And all it takes to test us is for the Palestinians to come and sit down and discuss with us peace. That’s all. (Applause)

Q: I’m from the Jewish Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, an eight-year-old group here in Washington that supports security for Israel and self-determination for the Palestinians. Before I ask my question, let me say that while our group has been extremely critical of Israeli policy in the past, most of us felt at one with Israel and her people when Scud missile attacks were falling on Israel. And I felt particularly concerned, because I used to live in Ramat Dan, the Tel Aviv suburb where Scud missiles attacked.

AMB. SHOVAL: They were looking for you there. (Laughter)

Q: (Laughing) — I’m over here. Now let me ask the question. You spoke tonight about a positive change in U.S.-Israeli relations that has evolved since the Gulf war started, and as you know, the United States is committed to the principle of exchanging land for peace as a basis the a settlement of the Arab-Israeli, Palestinian conflict. And this means, according to the United States, a willingness on Israel’s part to withdraw from all or most of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive peace settlement. My question is, is Israel willing to tell Secretary Baker when he arrives this week, that as a good faith gesture it’s willing to stop subsidizing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip instead of agreeing only not to settle Soviet Jews in the territory?

AMB. SHOVAL: What’s the question?

Q: The question is, is Israel —

AMB. SHOVAL: Oh, Okay.

Q: Two things; first of all is your government committed to the principle of exchanging land for peace —

AMB. SHOVAL: Right. I will —

Q: — and is it willing —

AMB. SHOVAL: I will answer all of your questions to the best of my ability. I will start from the end.

Israel is not subsidizing in any way settlements on the West Bank or in Gaza. It’s not subsidizing them. It’s not preventing the Jewish people from settling there, just as we have about 750,000 Arabs living in Israel. And we’re it very much in favor of apartheid one way or another. But, that’s one point.

Israel has accepted [United Nations Resolution] 242, many Arab states have not — some have, some have not. UN Security Council Resolution #242 is based on several principles. One is withdrawal from the territories, not all the territories, but from territories. Another principle, not less important in any way, is the need of Israel for secure boundaries, security.

So, just for the sake of argument, Israel could decide in 1978 that it was a calculated risk, but a good risk to take, to withdraw from all of Sinai in order to have peace with Egypt. And even if Egypt would one day, which I’m sure it will not, decide to go to war with Israel, there would be hundreds of kilometers of desert and the Suez Canal between us and Egypt, which would give us the opportunity or the possibility to mobilize our reserves.

Because as you probably know, Israel has an almost negligible standing army. We are a citizens army, like in Switzerland. And it takes time – – yeah, like in Switzerland — it takes time — yeah, these two — these two systems are really patterned on each other. Only the Swiss have other neighbors — but that’s something else.

It takes time to mobilize our reserves. Now, if we — if anybody would have suggested seriously that Israel withdrew to the old green line, this would have meant, which I said before, what I said before. We would have had a potentially enemy country in the midst of our country, minutes away, seconds away from all of our population centers. Anyone who has been in Israel — and you have — you know exactly what the lay of the land is.

And if in 1967, God forbid, the Arab armies attacking Israel would have had the military acumen, cleverness, to attack us in the center of the country, they would have cut Israel in two; there wouldn’t have been the state of Israel. We would not have been Kuwait, because Kuwait lived another day to come back. We wouldn’t have lived another day.

And we don’t think, just like in the case of Iraq and Kuwait, we do not think that aggression should be rewarded. And we are in the territories because we — there was aggression committed against Israel, which had absolutely no claims at that time on the West Bank or on Gaza. We were attacked, we repulsed the attack, and we occupied those lands from out of which we were attacked. Now, once there will be peace negotiations, including all the factors involved, we will discuss all the different aspects. It is not Israel’s intention to be the overlords of the Palestinian Arab population in the territories, but on the other hand we will not let the Palestinians in the territories determine our future. And on that we’ll have to have peace negotiations. (Applause.)

Q: (Off mike) — as to whether or not — I’ll just have to follow this up, and then I’ll sit down. My question is —

AMB. SHOVAL: I can’t hear —

Q: Israel’s interpretation of —

AMB. SHOVAL: I can’t hear you.

Q: Oh. Israel’s interpretation — the United States interpretation of 242 is that 242 applies to the West Bank and Gaza, not only to the Sinai. So my question is whether you agree with the U.S. interpretation of 242, which is that it does apply to the West Bank and Gaza. Now I’ll sit down.

AMB. SHOVAL: The U.S. interpretation of 242 is identical with Israel’s interpretation of 242. And in the Camp David agreements, which were sponsored by the United States, it says: "The exact location of the borders will be set in negotiations." That’s the exact — the exact wording of the Camp David agreements. Let the Arab states and the Palestinians come forward and sit down with us. We’ll discuss all aspects of the question.

MODERATOR: Due to time constraints, this will be the last question —

AMB. SHOVAL: Well, no, there is a question, so I don’t want to evade it. But please, go ahead.

Q: (Off mike) — Jordan to Iraq. But my question is, you mentioned that maybe U.S. aid to Arab countries should be conditioned —

AMB. SHOVAL: Not aid — arms sales.

Q: Arms sales, what not, should be conditioned to peace negotiations with Israel and recognition of the state of Israel. By the same token, shouldn’t the U.S. aid — military aid to Israel be conditional to Israeli withdrawal from the annexed Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, its withdrawal from South Lebanon, Gaza Strip and the West Bank?

AMB. SHOVAL: I think not. (Applause.)

Q: You stated in your talk that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. According to the U.S. State Department Human Rights reports, 92 percent of the land in pre-1967 Israel is restricted to Jews; the colors in the Palestinian flag are banned, you cannot have them together; the 1.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have no political or national rights.

Now, when I took political science classes, I learned that democracy has some relation to the idea that people decide their own fate, that they choose their own leaders, that it’s something like self determination. Could you please explain to me what democracy means in the context of Israel’s apartheid policies?

AMB. SHOVAL: Well, I’m surprised — (applause) — I think that anyone growing up in American should know what democracy is. In Israel — Israel does have one of the highest ratings, I would say, worldwide of democracy. I’m speaking about Israel. There is no such thing in Israel of any restriction of land ownership according to ethnic, religious or whatever origin. This is just a lie. It is not true.

Q: But the U.S. State Department —

AMB. SHOVAL: No, the U.S. State Department does not state — say that, not in the state of Israel.

Q: It’s in the Human Rights Report issued by the U.S. State Department – – AMB. SHOVAL: No, this does — no, this does not exist anywhere in Israel. And I can assure you, all you have to do is go to the streets of Haifa or Tel Aviv or Upper Nazareth, and see how Jews and Arabs live together. There is no — this does not exist. The occupied territories are occupied territories. They are under military Israeli government until — under international law. They are not Israeli citizens. They do not have the right to vote for the Israeli institutions. You don’t want us to annex the West Bank, do you? They have the right to vote — (applause) — they have the right to vote if they want to for municipalities. After Israel’s occupation was the first time that there were free elections for municipalities in the occupied territories —

Q: You killed all the mayors.

AMB. SHOVAL: Yeah, yeah. Okay. Well, look. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You know, I don’t want to come to your level.

Okay, now — (applause) — the first time, we had a lot of trouble with the Jordanians because Israel gave the right to vote also to women, which was not acceptable at that time — I think that’s changed now — to the Jordanians. Another thing which you may be interested to know, you very often hear on campuses about Bir Zeit University and this university and that university. None of them existed before Israel, before Israel’s occupation of the territories. All of these universities were allowed to be formed because of Israel’s authority. None of them existed when the Jordanians were there. Neither Bir Zeit, nor the one in Hebron. None of these universities existed before. And that’s okay, because we do want the Palestinians to coexist with us one day. We do not believe that one people must expel the other people. We don’t believe that Jews should be thrown into the sea, nor do we believe that Palestinians should be thrown somewhere.

We want to coexist with the Palestinians in that big country in which both peoples have rights and aspirations, but we can only do it once they come and sit down with us, and shed their leadership, which still has not recognized, not only our existence, but our right to exist in the Middle East.

Thank you. (Applause.)

VP Richard Cheney Cpeech to AIPAC 2006 Policy Conference

Vice President Dick Chenex’s remarkable address before AIPAC yesterday, before 5,000 people, interrupted by frequent applause and multiple standing ovations, is worth reading in its entirety, not only for the clarity of the commitment to Israel, the message to the Palestinians and the warnings to Iran, but as a summary of the progress since 9/11 and a compelling statement of strategy. This is an historic document. (Jewish Current Issues, March 8, 2006) 


Vice President’s Remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2006 Policy Conference
The Washington D.C. Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

March 7, 2006 10:10 A.M. EST

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Well, you made my day. (Laughter.) Well, thank you very much. And, Ed, thank you for the kind introduction. And let me thank all of you for that very warm welcome. It’s a delight to be here this morning.

Vice President Dick Cheney addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2006 Annual Policy Conference in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2006. During his remarks the vice president commented on the unwavering allied relationship between the US and Israel in the global war on terror and discussed the development of democracy and need for security throughout the Middle East.  White House photo by David Bohrer I want to thank the distinguished guests who’ve joined us, especially Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon. (Applause.) I also want to recognize the substantial delegation of student attendees from all over the U.S.: Welcome to Washington, it’s good to see you here. (Applause.)

I’m grateful to the board of AIPAC for inviting me to be part of your 2006 Policy Conference. It’s obviously a very well attended and successful event. And to everyone attending the conference, I bring personal greetings from our President, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

As always, AIPAC has brought together a large and public-minded group, representing different parts of America, many callings in life, and varied points of view on the issues of the day. Gathered here this morning, some of us are Republicans; some of us are Democrats. Yet all of us share a fundamental belief — that the freedom and security of Israel are vital interests to the United States of America. (Applause.)

Nearly 58 years ago, in May of 1948, the new Jewish state was declared. On the day Israel came into being it was 12 midnight in Jerusalem — six o’clock in the evening here in Washington. Eleven minutes later, Harry S. Truman made America the first nation to recognize Israel. (Applause.) From that moment to this very day, the United States has counted Israel as a special and valued friend that shares our basic principles.

As fellow democracies, both founded in struggle, we have shown our devotion to the ideals of liberty, equality, and the dignity of every person. We have shown, as well, great resolve and deep faith in times of testing and a true willingness to work and sacrifice for the cause of peace. We are, as President Bush has said, natural allies. There is no doubt that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is solid, enduring and unshakeable. (Applause.)

Over the years, our two peoples have also known the good fortune of having some very capable, resolute leaders come along when they were most needed. In my career I’ve had the privilege of meeting a long line of Israeli statesmen and women, including many prime ministers, starting with Yitzhak Rabin in the mid ’70’s. And in recent days I’ve been feeling especially grateful to have had many years of a relationship and friendship with Ariel Sharon. (Applause.)

Vice President Dick Cheney is applauded during remarks made to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2006 Annual Policy Conference in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2006. The annual conference is AIPAC's premier event and is attended by senior US and Israeli government officials as well as numerous members of Congress and over 4,000 pro-Israel activists from all 50 states.  White House photo by David Bohrer The Prime Minister’s life has been in many respects a reflection of Israel’s modern history. He gave decades of service to Israel — fighting in all of its wars, rising to high office, and leading the nation with purpose. When their country came under attack, Israelis knew that Ariel Sharon would stand in the line of fire. And in the effort to achieve peace, which requires so much wisdom, and boldness, and vision — Israelis again placed their trust in this fearless member of the pioneering generation. Last year at AIPAC’s policy conference, Prime Minister Sharon said, "I am willing to make painful compromises for peace …There is one thing on which we will not make any compromises — not now and not in the future — and that is our security." (Applause.)

Today Ariel Sharon’s voice is silent, and our thoughts are with him as he battles for his life. It’s a comfort to know that his deeds will live on, and in our memory the man himself will stand like a rock. We honor him as one of the great statesmen of our time, and a man of peace. (Applause.)

As a small country in a tough part of the world, Israel has always had to be on guard against enemies to have a clear-eyed view of potential threats, and to confront dangers squarely. Throughout its history, the country has faced sudden, random acts of terrorism — attacks intended to shake Israel’s confidence and break the will of its people. Yet Israel has held firm, and has defended itself with patience, with moral courage, and decisive action. Those are the very qualities by which freedom is preserved, innocent lives are protected, and wars are won. And by those qualities, Israel, and the United States, and all civilized nations will win the war on terror. (Applause.)

To prevail in this fight, we must understand the nature of the enemy. As Israelis have seen so many times, and as America experienced on September 11th, 2001, the terrorist enemy is brutal and heartless. This enemy wears no uniform, has no regard for the rules of warfare, and is unconstrained by any standard of decency or morality. We are dealing with enemies who plot and plan in secret, then attempt to slip into a country, blend in among the innocent, and kill without mercy.

This enemy has a set of beliefs — and we saw the expression of those beliefs in the rule of the Taliban. They seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child lives in total obedience to a narrow, hateful ideology. This ideology rejects tolerance, denies freedom of conscience, and demands that women be pushed to the margins of society. Such beliefs can be imposed only through force and intimidation, so those who refuse to bow to the tyrants will be brutalized or killed — and no person or group is exempt.

The terrorists have targeted people of every nationality and every religious faith, including Muslims who disagree with them. The war on terror is a fight against evil; victory in this war will be a victory for peaceful men and women of every religious faith. (Applause.)

This enemy also has a set of clear objectives. The terrorists want to end all American and Western influence in the Middle East. Their goal in that region is to seize control of a country, so they have a base from which to launch attacks and wage war against governments that do not meet their demands. The terrorists believe that by controlling one country, they will be able to target and overthrow other governments in the region, and ultimately to establish a totalitarian empire that encompasses a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way around to Indonesia.

They have made clear, as well, their ultimate ambitions: to arm themselves with chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons; to destroy Israel; to intimidate all Western countries; and to cause mass death here in the United States.

Some might look at these ambitions and wave them off as extreme and mad. Well, these ambitions are, indeed, extreme and they are mad. They are also real, and we must not wave them off. We must take them seriously. We must oppose them. And we must defeat them. (Applause.)

Over the last several decades, Americans have seen how the terrorists pursue their objectives. Simply stated, they would hit us, but we would not hit back hard enough. In Beirut in 1983, terrorists killed 241 Americans, and afterward U.S. forces withdrew from Beirut. In 1993 we had the killing of American soldiers in Mogadishu, and the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. Then came the attack on the Saudi National Guard Training Center in Riyadh in 1995; the killings at Khobar Towers in 1996; the attack on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; and, of course, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. With each attack, the terrorists grew more confident in believing they could strike America without paying a price — and indeed, believing that if they killed enough Americans, they could change American policy.

So they continued to wage those attacks — making the world less safe and eventually striking the United States in our homeland on September 11th. And we’ve seen the work of terrorists in many attacks since 9/11 — in Jerusalem, Riyadh, Casablanca, Istanbul, Karachi, Mombassa, Bali, Jakarta, Najaf, Baghdad, London and Madrid. The terrorists have declared war on the civilized world. And America will lead the civilized world to victory. (Applause.)

We have a strategy of our own in this fight. First, we are absolutely determined to prevent attacks before they occur, and so we are on the offensive against the terror networks. (Applause.) At home and with coalition partners abroad, we’ve broken up terror cells, tracked down terrorist operatives, and put heavy pressure on their ability to organize and plan attacks. The work is difficult and very often perilous, and there is much yet to do. But we’ve made tremendous progress against an enemy that dwells in the shadows. We’ve counted on the skill and the dedication of our professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security — and, of course, on the United States military. They have been superb, and they make us proud each and every day. (Applause.)

Second, we are determined to deny safe haven to the terrorists. Since the day our country was attacked, we have applied the Bush Doctrine: Any person or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and will be held to account. (Applause.)

Third, we are working to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and to keep those weapons out of the hands of killers. In the post-9/11 world, the United States and our allies are determined: we will not live at the mercy of terrorists or regimes that could arm them with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. This requires that we deal with threats before they fully materialize. (Applause.)

The President has put it very well: "Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations — and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it’s suicide." (Applause.) By whatever means are necessary — whether diplomatic or military — we will act to protect the liberty and lives of our people. (Applause.)

Fourth, we are determined to deny the terrorists the control of any nation, which they would use as a home base and a staging ground for terrorist attacks against others. That is why we continue to fight Taliban remnants and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. That’s why we are working with President Musharraf to oppose and isolate the terrorist element in Pakistan. And that is why we are fighting the Saddam remnants and terrorists in Iraq. (Applause.)

Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics will remain flexible, and we’ll keep at the work until we finish the job. (Applause.) On the security side, our forces are hunting down high-value targets like Zarqawi and his lieutenants. Our soldiers and Marines are conducting smart, focused, aggressive, counterterrorism operations in the areas where the terrorists are known to be concentrated. And our coalition continues to train more Iraqi forces that are effective, well trained and well equipped, and prepared to assume increased responsibility for their country’s security.

As the security force grows in strength and the political process advances, we’ll be able to decrease troop levels without losing our capacity to defeat the terrorists. And going forward, any decisions about troop levels will be driven by conditions on the ground and the judgment of our commanders — not by artificial timelines set by politicians in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

Progress in Iraq has not come easily, but it has been steady. A short time ago, the Iraqi people had an appointed government, no popularly elected legislature, no permanent constitution and no recent experience with free national elections. In less than two years’ time they’ve voted for a transitional government, drafted a progressive, democratic constitution in the heart of the Arab world, then approved the document in a national referendum, and elected a new government under its provisions. And in each successive election in Iraq there has been less violence, broader participation, and bigger voter turnout — over 70 percent turn-out in the most recent election. (Applause.) Iraqis have shown that they value their own liberty and are determined to chart the future of their own country.

It is not hard to see why the terrorists oppose and rage against the rise of democracy in Iraq. They know that as liberty advances, as men and women are given a say in the affairs of their country, they turn their creative gifts to the pursuits of peace. People who live in freedom are able to choose their own destiny, and this gives them real hope for material progress in their own lives, and a better future for their children. As democracy advances, ideologies that stir anger and hostility lose their appeal, and terrorists lose recruits, safe havens, and sources of funding.

For that reason, our strategy for victory in the war on terror has a fifth and crucial element: Across the broader Middle East, we will work to replace hatred and resentment with democracy and hope. (Applause.)

Supporting political freedom and peaceful change in a troubled part of the world is a long-term commitment. And we already know that the work will be difficult. Yet there is no alternative. On 9/11, the United States learned that problems boiling in a far-off region of the world could lead directly to a sudden and murderous attack right here on our own soil. For decades in the Middle East, millions of people have known nothing but dictatorship and heavy-handed rule — resulting in misery, bitterness, and the ideologies of violence. If we simply accept the status quo, that region will be a source of conflict and mounting violence for this generation and beyond.

If the peoples of that region are given the rights of free men and women, and live under elected, accountable governments, and have a chance to work and succeed in hopeful societies, then the flow of radicalism and hate will one day come to an end.

In this way, as the President has said, America’s ideals and interests are one and the same: The survival of liberty in our own land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands; the best hope for peace in the world is the expansion of freedom throughout the world. (Applause.)

As Americans, we have faith in democracy, but no illusions. We know that it takes time and effort and patience for democratic values and free institutions to take hold, and the greater Middle East has a long way to go. The promise of democracy rests ultimately on free elections and the ability of free peoples to hold accountable those who govern them — but that is only the beginning.

A functioning democracy requires institutions that endure beyond a single vote. Democracy requires the protection of minority rights, religious liberty, equality before the law, freedom of expression, and an inclusive society in which every person belongs. And those who win elections have a duty to nurture institutions and laws that serve the peaceful aspirations of their people.

Such duties now belong to the newly elected government in the Palestinian territories. I recognize that the outcome of last month’s election has caused some to question whether democracy is truly the way toward peace in the Middle East. They argue that, by promoting democratic change, we are actually destabilizing the region and undermining hopes for peace. I believe that’s a faulty argument.

For one thing, it’s hard to claim that you get lasting stability and peace by denying people a voice in their own government. In fact, the denial of legitimate means of expressing dissent is one of the causes of extremism in the Middle East. For decades, many thought it was worth tolerating oppression for the sake of stability in that region. But we were only buying time as problems multiplied, and demagogues stirred resentment, and the ideologies of violence took hold.

We must make a clean break with that history of failed policy. By helping the peoples of that region gain the freedom to express their views, to have open debate, and to choose their own leaders, we have a better chance of defeating the radicalism that threatens us all. (Applause.)

An alternative to democratic rule is command and control by a tiny elite. That’s unfortunately what we have seen for much of the past decade in the Palestinian territories — and we’re still living with the legacy of corruption, broken promises, abject poverty, the collapse of the rule of law and, ultimately, the outbreak of a terrorist campaign on Israel’s doorstep. The Hamas candidates pledged to fight corruption and to improve social services, and they’ll be held to that standard by the Palestinian people. If the leaders of Hamas desire the help of America and the international community to build an independent, prosperous Palestinian state, then the way forward is very clear. The Palestinian government must recognize Israel’s right to exist. (Applause.) And Hamas must renounce terror and dismantle the infrastructure of terror. (Applause.) One thing is certain: The United States will not be a party to the establishment of a Palestinian state that sponsors terror and violence. (Applause.)

Nearly four years ago President Bush committed himself to the vision of two states, living side by side in peace and security. At the same time, he made it clear: There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror.

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the basic truths of the world we live in today is that George W. Bush is a man of his word. (Applause.) The policies of the United States reflect our ideals and the commitments we’ve made as a nation. And we will be consistent. We will not abandon our belief in democracy. We will not abandon our opposition to terrorism. And we will not abandon our commitment to the security of our friends and allies. Israel can count on the United States of America. (Applause.)

Over the past four years, other free nations have risen in the broader Middle East. America will remain on the side of democratic reformers, and the reformers are on the side of history. Across that region, the political dialogue has been transformed — and politicians, scholars, students, and men and women from every walk of life are talking about freedom, equal rights, and accountable institutions of government. One leader in Lebanon said: "When I saw the Iraqi people voting, it was the start of a new Arab world…The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Indeed, the whole world can see the change, and the rising hope in places like Lebanon. Now that Syrian troops have left that country, the Syrian government must stop trying to interfere with the future of free Lebanon. (Applause.) America is committed to a sovereign, independent, Lebanon, dismantling all armed militias, and control by Lebanon’s government over all of Lebanon’s territory. (Applause.)

The inquiry into the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri should be carried out in full, so the killers can be brought to justice and all those involved — no matter what their official positions may be — can be held accountable. (Applause.) America supports the Lebanese people in their aspirations for freedom and democracy. They deserve the right to decide their country’s future, and they deserve a President who truly represents them and who looks to the future, not to the past. (Applause.)

America supports, as well, the democratic aspirations of the people of Iran. (Applause.) Iranians have endured a generation of repression at the hands of a fanatical regime. That regime is one of the world’s primary state sponsors of terror. The current President has spoken openly of wiping Israel off the map, and of a world without America. He’s made despicable statements doubting the crimes of the Nazis, aligning himself with the rest of the fantasy-world Holocaust deniers.

The regime in Tehran also continues to defy the world with its nuclear ambitions. Of course, this matter may soon go before the U.N. Security Council. The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences. (Applause.) For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime. (Applause.) And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. (Applause.)

The people of Iran can be absolutely certain that we respect them, their country, and their long history as a great civilization — and we stand with them. Iranians desire and deserve to be free from tyranny and oppression in their own homeland. Freedom in the Middle East requires freedom for the Iranian people — and America looks forward to the day when our Nation can be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran. (Applause.)

In the months and years ahead, America will continue to support democracy as the expression of our ideals for the sake of our own security, as well as for that of our friends and allies. And we will continue to act with the kind of resolve that has made these past five years a time of progress in the broader Middle East.

Consider for a moment where we were five years ago, when President Bush and I took office. The secret planning for the attacks of 9/11 was already well underway. Hijackers had been recruited; funds raised; training had taken place. Some of the hijackers were already in the United States. In Afghanistan, the Taliban were in power. Al Qaeda was operating training camps that in the late ’90s turned out thousands of terrorists. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was in power, overseeing, along with his two malevolent sons, one of the bloodiest regimes of the 20th century.

Five years ago, there was a serious problem with proliferation, especially in the nuclear area. A. Q. Khan, the man who helped put Pakistan’s nuclear program in place, had established a network that was providing nuclear weapons technology to rogue states including North Korea and Iran. And Moammar Ghadafi of Libya, one of the A.Q. Khan network’s biggest customers, was spending millions to acquire nuclear weapons.

Today the picture is very different. The Taliban regime is now history, and 25 million Afghans are free. (Applause.) We have captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda; put its leaders on the run; and closed the camps that had trained the killers. (Applause.) Saddam Hussein wakes up every day in a jail cell, his sons are dead — (applause) — and Iraqis by the millions have embraced democracy. (Applause.) Iraq’s leaders reflect the decency of the Iraqi people, and no dictator is taking their money and giving it to the families of suicide bombers. (Applause.)

Only days after Saddam was captured, the leader of Libya announced he would turn over all of his weapons of mass destruction materials. (Applause.) A short time later, Libya’s uranium and centrifuges were sent to a U.S. facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (Applause.) And the A.Q. Khan proliferation network has been shut down. (Applause.)

Our great country, which over the decades has aided the rise of new democracies in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, now serves that cause in the Middle East — with courage, and firm purpose, and a level of generosity by the American people not seen since the Marshall Plan.

Five years ago, many would have found it hard to imagine that all these changes were on the way. And, obviously, they did not just happen. Because we’ve been willing to act on our convictions, we live in a better world today. We cannot know every turn that lies ahead in the fight against terror, and tyranny, and proliferation. Yet at every point, we will be patient and resolute — because the supporters of democracy will need our help, and the enemies of democracy will test our will. And we will be confident, because events are moving in the direction of human liberty. Freedom’s cause is the right cause, and every action we take in support of it makes this world better and safer for our children. (Applause.)

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate your hospitality this morning. The President and I are grateful for your counsel, for your commitment to the security of our country, and for all you do on behalf of America’s friendship with Israel.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 10:43 A.M. EST

History of CIA-Israel collaboration
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update – 18:17 09/03/2006
Trade secrets
By Yossi Melman

On the afternoon of Friday, April 13, 1956, Zelig Katz entered the office of Amos Manor, which was located in an Arab building opposite the flea market in Jaffa. Manor was the head of the Shin Bet security service. Zelig Katz, who had Hebraized his name (as was usual at that time) to Ziv Carmi, was his assistant and bureau chief. In an exclusive interview with Haaretz, Manor recollects the exchange of words that took place some 50 years ago.

Manor: Has the material arrived from  Eastern Europe?

Carmi: Yes. Material has arrived from Warsaw.

Manor: Is there anything interesting?

Carmi: There’s some speech by Khrushchev from the congress.

Manor (shouting): What? Where’s the material?

Carmi: In my room.

Manor: Bring it immediately.

Carmi rushed to his room and returned with 70 photographed pages in Polish. "I said to him, you’re an idiot," says Manor. "You are now holding in your hand one of the most important secrets in the world." Manor’s astonishment and anger further increased when he discovered that the speech had been sent from the Shin Bet representative in  Warsaw with a Foreign Ministry courier, three days earlier. "I said to Zelig, call Duvid and tell him to come here at once."

Duvid was David Schweitzer, a soccer player for Hapoel Tel Aviv who years later became the coach of the  Israel national team; he was then in charge of the Shin Bet photo lab. Manor asked Carmi to translate the text for him. "The further he progressed in the translation, the more I cursed," he says. "Good grief, I said to myself."

Within a short time Schweitzer arrived. "I told him to photograph one copy and develop it as fast as possible – I have to bring it to Ben-Gurion." The photo and development took about two hours. While he was waiting for it, his wife Tzipora called. She was used to unconventional work hours and to her husband’s absence, and she asked when he was coming home.

At 6 P.M., twilight, Manor got into his Vauxhall and immediately drove to the home of the prime minister on Keren Kayemet (today Ben-Gurion) Boulevard in Tel Aviv. "I came to Ben-Gurion and told him, we have Krushchev’s speech from the 20th Party Conference. I don’t know whether it’s authentic. We got the speech from one of our sources in  Warsaw, who got it from a woman who worked for [Polish Communist leader Wladyslaw] Gomulka."

But as we know, the secretary, the friend of journalist Viktor Grayevsky, who obtained the speech, was the secretary of [Polish prime minister] Edward Ochab, rather than Gomulka.

Manor smiles. "I thought at the time that it was Gomulka. I also told Ben-Gurion that I didn’t know whether the source was a double agent who had leaked the speech as disinformation, or whether the speech was original, but had been deliberately leaked to us, so that it would reach the West. ‘Judging by what was translated for me, I have the impression that it’s authentic, but I suggest that you read it yourself.’ Ben-Gurion knew Polish. I remember that he asked me three times what disinformation meant, and three times I explained to him. I left him a copy and departed."

Manor returned from there to his house in north Tel Aviv. The next morning the phone rang and he was asked to return to the house on Keren Kayemet. "Ben-Gurion said: ‘If it’s authentic, it’s an historic document, and 30 years from now there will be a liberal regime in  Moscow.’ He returned the material to me without telling me what to do with it."

On Sunday, April 15, when he returned to his office, Amos Manor told the head of the Mossad, Isser Harel, about the document. "I told him, if it’s authentic, it’s an atomic bomb. I told him about the conversation with Ben-Gurion, and that I had decided to send the copy immediately to the CIA, but to maintain the utmost secrecy, I preferred that it be flown to Izzy Dorot, our representative in  Washington, rather than being handed over to the CIA representative in the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. I enclosed a letter with the document, in which I asked Izzy to give the material personally to Jim Angleton, and to emphasize repeatedly that I was not certain about the authenticity of the material, and that they should examine it carefully."

That same day, the document was sent to  Washington via Foreign Ministry courier. Two days later, on April 17, the document landed on the desk of CIA chief Allen Dulles, who quickly informed President Dwight Eisenhower. That same day, Angleton called Amos Manor. James Jesus Angleton was the CIA’s head of counterintelligence, and in charge of the clandestine liaison with Israeli intelligence. "He told me it was of utmost importance, and asked me to identify the source who had provided the speech. I replied: ‘Jim, we have an agreement between us that we do not reveal sources of information, and the agreement applies to this case as well,’" Manor says.

Years later, Angleton told Manor that the CIA had enlisted its top experts, as well as leading Sovietologists from the academic world, to examine the speech and determine whether it was an original document or a fake. For that purpose, they even sent a copy of the speech to be perused by the  U.S. ambassador in Moscow.

Shock and disbelief

The secret speech was delivered on February 25, 1956, in the evening. The 1,400 delegates at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were suddenly invited to a final, closed session, in the Central Committee building in Moscow. The representatives of the foreign delegations were not allowed to enter the hall. When Nikita Khrushchev, the party’s first secretary, began to speak, the delegates could hardly believe their ears. Some of them fainted from shock. Without any prior preparation, Khrushchev began a sharp and unprecedented attack on his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier.

During the four hours of his speech – 26,000 words – Khrushchev described Stalin as a "despot," condemned the "cult of personality," and accused him of "crimes that caused cruel violence." He criticized Stalin for "most cruel repression," for inventing the concept of "an enemy of the people," and determined that he "had severely distorted the principles of the party."

Immediately after the speech, the delegates scattered, without any discussion taking place. But word of the secret speech spread quickly. Officials cited from it at party meetings, and it began to engineer a process of reforms. First hints of a secret, historic speech delivered at the Soviet Communist Party congress reached the West a few days later. The U.S. administration, as well as the governments of  Britain,  West Germany,  France and others, were eager to learn the contents of the speech. The assignment, naturally, was given to the intelligence organizations. But the Israeli Shin Bet beat out all the others.

Two weeks after the Americans received the speech from  Israel, Angleton once again contacted Manor and informed him that the experts had come to the conclusion that it was an original and authentic document. "Jim was in seventh heaven," says Manor. "He asked my permission to publish the material. I went again to Ben-Gurion and asked for his opinion. Ben-Gurion told me that he understood the Americans, because this was a document of historic importance, and gave his consent. I informed Jim of the decision, but asked him not to mention us as the source. We didn’t want to be involved."

The relations between  Israel and the Soviet Union were already very poor, because of Soviet support for  Egypt, and the Israeli leadership was afraid of a Soviet reaction that was liable to harm not only Israel, but the Jews of the Soviet Union as well. After a few weeks’ hesitation, the CIA leaked the speech to The New York Times in early June; the newspaper published it in full. The publication caused a worldwide sensation, and the speech became a central propaganda tool in American foreign policy. It was broadcast in many languages on Radio Free Europe, whose broadcasts from  Germany were beamed to the Soviet Union and its satellites. Tens of thousands of copies of the speech, in many languages, including Georgian, were distributed from hot-air balloons that were sent eastward from  Germany and  Austria. In the opinion of CIA experts, the uprising in  Hungary in October 1956 was a direct result of the dissemination of the speech.

Allen Dulles, in his 1963 book "The Craft of Intelligence," wrote that he considered obtaining the speech one of the most important intelligence coups during his term in office. Manor has a copy of the book, with a personal dedication from the author, who describes him as a "true professional."

For years, many people – journalists, secret agents, diplomats, officials – tried to take the credit. Even Isser Harel, the first chief of the Shin Bet and the head of the Mossad during the period in question, tried by implication to take credit for the achievement. "During that period we provided our American colleagues with an important document, which is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of intelligence," he wrote in his book, "Security and Democracy" (Hebrew, 1989).

The Shin Bet and the Mossad secretly made sure that  Israel would get the credit for the success. In October 1956, about nine months after the 20th Congress, British intelligence had not yet succeeded in getting their hands on an original copy of the speech. On the eve of the Sinai Campaign, Manor met with Nicholas Elliot, the MI6 representative in  Israel. Manor: "He asked me, ‘Can you get a copy of the speech for me, too?’ I asked him, ‘How do you know we have it?’ He said, ‘At first we thought that the Yugoslavs had leaked the speech, but later on we came to the conclusion that it was you.’ I said to him, ‘Don’t ask me about my relations with the other services,’ and I refused."

But while many people knew or guessed that the speech had been obtained by the Israeli intelligence community, the identity of Viktor Grayevsky, the agent who had obtained the speech while putting himself in danger, remained a secret (see box). Only in the early 1990s was this fact published separately by the present writer and by journalist Shlomo Nakdimon in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Obtaining the speech and transmitting it to the Americans was one of the high points of Operation Balsam – the secret cooperation with the CIA, which had begun several years earlier. "To this day," Manor believes, "it remains the greatest intelligence-gathering achievement for the Israeli intelligence community. In terms of politics, it was an historic document. It put us on the map of the world intelligence community."

From the hell of Auschwitz

The career of Amos Manor is no less amazing than this achievement. At the age of 35, eight years after being rescued from the hell of Auschwitz and Mauthausen, weighing 40 kilograms, the new immigrant was appointed to head the Shin Bet. But Manor hates superlatives. His condition for giving this interview was that his picture would not appear on the cover of the magazine, and he asked that the interview not be "schmaltz and kitsch." According to his own testimony, this is his first full interview in the media, after he was interviewed 12 years ago for Yarin Kimor’s film on Israel Television’s Channel One. Today, at the age of 88, he continues to be active in business (among other things, he is a partner in a hotel management firm) and in meetings of Shin Bet veterans, and he has a phenomenal memory for all the details.

He was born Artur Mandelvici in the town of  Sighet,  Transylvania in October 1918, about a month before the end of the First World War. His well-to-do family provided him with a fine education. At the age of 16, he was among the founders of the Zionist Habonim movement in  Transylvania. Afterward he studied engineering in the city of  Limoges,  France.

In 1940, the region where he lived was transferred from  Romania to  Hungary, and he was drafted into the Hungarian army, where Jews served without uniform, and were in effect employed in forced labor to build ditches and fortifications. In May 1944, Manor was sent together with his entire family on the first transport of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. His parents, his two brothers and his sister were murdered. He survived 360 days, during which he was transferred from Auschwitz to the Mauthausen camp in Austria.

Upon his return to  Romania, he joined the Mossad l’Aliyah Bet (the Institute for Illegal Immigration), which organized illegal immigration to Palestine. In 1949, after the founding of the state, he immigrated to  Israel and considered joining a kibbutz, but his commander in Aliyah Bet, Moshe Carmel and the head of the organization, Shaul Avigur, introduced him to Isser Harel, the head of the Shin Bet. "Isser made a strange impression on me," says Manor. "He was very secretive. He gave me a phone number, but he didn’t tell me where his office was." When they met, Harel told him, "I was impressed by you," and suggested that he head the department for Soviet bloc activity.

What about you impressed him, in your opinion?

"I was young, I had a university education, I spoke seven languages (Romanian, Hungarian, Yiddish, Hebrew, English, French and German), I looked athletic and European."

Two days after the first meeting with Harel, he was taken to Shin Bet headquarters in the  Jaffa flea market. There, on the second floor, he met with the members of his department.

We were dilettantes

Department was an exaggeration. Manor found one worker, a secretary and two female soldiers. "We began to work, but everything was compartmentalized, and I wasn’t familiar with other parts of the service. One day, Isser introduced me to Ezra Lavi of Hadera, who was the director of the Communist section. He wanted me to learn from him."

Lavi was in charge of the surveillance and monitoring of the Israel Communist Party (Maki). The Shin Bet was divided into departments at the time. Lavi worked in one department, which was responsible for internal matters, mainly political spying against parties, organizations and people whom Harel considered hostile or dangerous elements to the young Israeli democracy – and Harel was suspicious of many people. Manor worked in Department 2, which eventually turned into the department for preventing espionage and subversion, which today is better known as the "Jewish Department." Ten months later, Harel promoted Manor to head of the department – in charge of preventing espionage.

What did you actually do?

"They didn’t teach me what to do. Gradually I taught myself. We observed and surveilled diplomats from the Communist bloc. We tried to understand who was really a diplomat and who was an intelligence agent. Of course we lacked experience, whereas opposite us were people who had taken courses and had tremendous operational experience."

How was that reflected?

"They knew how to identify the surveillance and to evade it. It was a kind of game of amateurs vs. professionals. We were also very poor. We had no money. Only a few cars were available to the small operations unit, so how could we even work? In all, they made us a laughingstock. But what worked in our favor was the fact that we were dilettantes, and we were eager to succeed and to improve. Slowly but surely, we learned how to identify intelligence people. We followed them, we also carried out covert infiltration, and we began to achieve results.

What was the most important achievement during those years?

"When I was department head, we assumed that the  Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc were helping Maki financially, and we decided to discover how it was done. By chance we discovered an attempt by  Eastern Europe to purchase in Israel merchandise whose sale had been embargoed by the  United States – copper, various metals, electrolytes et al. We discovered that Israeli merchants of Polish, Romanian or Czech origin tried to buy forbidden merchandise in the West, and to bring it to the Soviet Union and to Eastern Europe via  Israel."

How did you discover that?

"By undercover penetration of those companies and businessmen. And with the help of censorship of letters that entered and left the country. We opened the letters, we read and photographed them. That’s how information accumulated. And then we called on the merchants, I personally met with several of them, and convinced them that for the sake of  Israel, they had to stop. They obeyed and cooperated."

Clandestine meeting

In May 1951, Prime Minister Ben Gurion went on an unofficial trip to the  U.S., at the invitation of Jewish organizations. He used the visit for a clandestine meeting with General Walter Bedell-Smith, the head of the CIA. Until then, the Americans had rejected every Israeli request to establish a clandestine liaison between the two countries, for fear that its discovery would harm their ties with the Arab world. Another reason for the American reservations was the fear that  Israel – because of the kibbutzim, the immigration from Eastern Europe and the socialist parties – was a branch of the Soviet Union, and permeated with its agents.

"Ben-Gurion very much wanted a liaison with the CIA, but Bedell-Smith was hesitant," says Manor. "In the end he agreed, on condition that it would be super-secret. Ben-Gurion promised to maintain the secrecy." After Manor succeeded in exposing false reports by a Mossad agent in  Vienna, Mossad chief Reuven Shiloah suggested that Manor transfer to the Mossad and be responsible for the secret liaison that had just been established with the CIA.

"Isser Harel objected," says Manor. "And Isser was very stubborn." But Shiloah did not give in, and presented the problem to Ben-Gurion. The prime minister decided that Manor would remain in the Shin Bet, but would hold the intelligence community’s American portfolio.

How was the connection maintained?

"They told me that I had to gather information about the Soviet bloc and transmit it to them. I didn’t know exactly what to do, until I had the idea of giving them the material we had gathered about a year earlier, about the efforts of the Eastern bloc to use Israel to bypass the American embargo. We edited the material, made the necessary erasures, and informed them that they should never ask us to identify sources. We also made a rule, that we would never give them names of Israelis. The report was sent to Washington, and the reaction was unanticipated – great enthusiasm. They asked us to gather more and more material for them."

What did they ask for?

"Anything we could get about  Eastern Europe. Sometimes I didn’t understand why they needed us. They asked for Romanian money, telephone directories and maps of cities, and even the price of bread in the Eastern bloc countries."

And how did you manage to get the information?

"We conducted friendly interrogation of new immigrants who arrived in the country. And to our surprise, we discovered that they had interesting material. One had been a party activist, and another had worked in an industrial or military plant. Of course we mainly tried to get military information, from the construction of ships in the Romanian port of  Constanza, to Soviet weapons that reached the Romanian or Polish army. Everything was conducted in absolute secrecy, and even in the Shin Bet they didn’t know about it. There were perhaps four people who were in on the secret of the operation: I, my secretary Zelig Katz, Isser and Zvi Aharoni, who carried out the interrogations."

What was the code name of the liaison operation?

"Balsam. I think that either my secretary Zelig or Isser gave it that name."

Who worked with you on behalf of the CIA?

"At first I didn’t know. Until early in 1952, when Shiloah and Teddy (Kollek) told me that Jim Angleton was in charge of the liaison with Israel. But they didn’t know exactly what his job was at the CIA. And then one day in April 1952 he came to Israel. I greeted him at the airport in Lod, together with Reuven Shiloah. He stayed at the Sharon Hotel in Herzliya, which at the time was the only five-star hotel, but he spent most of the time in my little two-room apartment on Pinsker Street.

"Out of seven days, he spent four with me. He would arrive at 11 P.M. and stay until 4 A.M., and then I would drive him back to the hotel. My wife was in the next room, and from time to time she served coffee. He brought a bottle of whiskey with him, and drank all the time, but he never got drunk. I didn’t understand how a person could drink so much without getting drunk. I myself didn’t drink, and he came to terms with that."

What was your impression of him?

"That he was fanatic about everything. He had a tendency toward mystification. Eventually, after maybe 30 years, he told me why he had really come to Israel. He had understood from Teddy that I, a new immigrant from  Romania, was conducting Operation Balsam, and that terrified him."

He suspected that you were a Communist agent?

"Yes. He actually came to examine me. That was the reason why he, the chief of counterintelligence, was in charge of the liaison. They suspected us. But at the end of the visit I felt that he had a positive impression, and he told Teddy and Shiloah that he was pleased to have me in charge of the operation."

And what happened afterward?

"I asked Angleton, and he agreed to organize an in-service intelligence course for some of our guys. In October 1952, six of our people went to take the course, but they weren’t satisfied, because they were taught theory. To calm things down, Jim sent me two plane tickets, for myself and my wife, so I would come to  Washington. I came and reassured the guys.

"Jim tried to ensure that I had a pleasant stay, I met with him a few times in the hotel. He also showed me a new device called a lie detector. I asked him to let one of the students in the course, Zvi Aharoni (a few years later, a member of the group that captured Adolf Eichmann), travel to  Chicago to study with the inventor. Jim agreed. Zvi traveled to Chicago and returned with a polygraph machine, which he had received as a gift from Jim. That was the first such device in Israel."

Did you get other gifts from the CIA?

"I told Jim that we were weak on technology, so they gave us microphones, wiretapping equipment for telephones, cameras. But aside from that, we didn’t ask for anything in return. We didn’t ask them for information, because we were afraid that they would ask us for information about the Arab world.

"In 1954 Jim invited me for another visit, and asked me to expand the information-gathering activity, going beyond the interrogation of new immigrants in Israel, to  Eastern Europe itself. With considerable hesitation, we agreed. I personally recruited and briefed a number of people and sent them to be our representatives in Warsaw,  Prague,  Budapest,  Bucharest. But I didn’t agree to send people to Moscow, because I was afraid they would be caught. That’s how I recruited Yaakov Barmor, who was working at the time at the tax bureau of the Histadrut labor federation, and was sent to Warsaw. My instructions to the people were: ‘Don’t endanger yourselves, look for ties that you can maintain as diplomats, and try to get people to give you political information.’ I didn’t even dream of military information."

This expansion of Operation Balsam took place after Harel was appointed head of the Mossad and appointed his bureau chief and assistant, Isidore Roth, who had Hebraized his name to Izzy Dorot, to head the Shin Bet. Manor: "In September or October of 1953 Isser called me in and told me: ‘Listen, I think we have to let Izzy go, and I’m proposing you for the job.’ I asked him, ‘Do you think there’s a chance Ben-Gurion will agree?’"

Why did you have doubts?

"Because I was a new immigrant, unknown and not a party member. I was different from the Mossad of that time. I was invited to a meeting with Ben-Gurion, who interrogated me for three hours. Two days later I was informed that the ‘Old Man’ had appointed me to the job."

How did you get along with Isser Harel for 10 years, until your retirement in 1963?

"People didn’t stop asking how two such different people worked together. I was born in a wealthy home and did not experience anti-Semitism; Isser came from a small town and arrived in  Israel as a halutz (pioneer). I’m tall and he’s short. I was an active athlete, I played soccer, tennis, volleyball, I fenced, swam, ice-skated. I liked jazz, Isser didn’t even know what it was. He was a party member, I wasn’t. I read Haaretz, he read Davar [a now defunct left-wing daily]."

What kind of relationship did you have with him?

"He was the chief of the Mossad and of the committee of the heads of the security services, and I was the head of the Shin Bet. But I accepted him as first among equals. My relationship with Harel was very harmonious until 1960. Even if there were differences of opinion between us, that had no influence on operations. But in 1960 I began to notice a change in his behavior. He began to speak critically about Ben-Gurion. Slowly but surely I understood that he had been hurt by the fact that Ben-Gurion had promoted the young people – Shimon Peres, Moshe Dayan and Abba Eban – and appointed them ministers, but had skipped over him.

"Our relationship also soured because of the affair of the German scientists. He began to operate contrary to Ben-Gurion’s policy, because the Old Man did not accept his crazy theories. Isser claimed that Chancellor Adenauer was playing a double game with  Israel, and was presumably helping Nasser to develop atomic weapons. I thought that Adenauer was making every effort to restore  Germany to the community of normal nations, and therefore there was no possibility that he would help Nasser attain atomic weapons.

"I saw that Isser had lost all sense of proportion. I told him: ‘Ben-Gurion doesn’t understand you, and I don’t understand you, either.’ Although relations between us remained correct, some of the friendliness was lost."

Did you order people killed as part of your job?

"We didn’t kill and we didn’t torture and we didn’t do anything illegal, neither to Jews nor to Arabs, aside from the issue of clandestine infiltrations."

Are there additional secrets from your period that have not been told?

"There is only more particularly sensitive thing that we did, which I’m not willing to discuss even today."

A brief encounter with history

"I acted on impulse," says Viktor Grayevsky, the man who voluntarily handed the Shin Bet one of the greatest successes in its history. "Today in hindsight I know that I was young and foolish. Had they discovered me, we wouldn’t be speaking today. I don’t know whether they would have killed me, but I certainly would have sat in prison for many years."

Grayevsky, 81, is retired from the Israel Broadcasting Authority. He immigrated to  Israel from  Poland in 1957. At the recommendation of Amos Manor, he joined the Foreign Ministry, worked on the international broadcasts of the Voice of Zion to the Diaspora, established the Russian-language broadcasting department, and later became director of the station.

During his first 15 years in  Israel he continued to maintain a connection with the Shin Bet and was used for clandestine operations involving the Soviet Union. But he refuses to talk about it, offering only the following words: "I confronted the Soviet Union three times in my life – with the Khrushchev document, with the broadcasts, and with another affair that it’s still too early to talk about. Most of my life I fought the  Soviet Union."

Born in 1925 in  Krakow, his name was Viktor Spielman. Together with his family, he escaped to the  Soviet Union with the outbreak of World War II, and thus his life was saved. In 1946 he returned to Poland, joined the Communist Party, studied journalism at the  Academy of  Political Science and joined the Polish news agency. "When I joined the party they told me that with a name like Spielman I wouldn’t go far, so I changed it to a Polish name – Grayevsky," which has a similar meaning, "to play an instrument," or "to act."

He began work as a junior reporter, and advanced to the rank of senior editor, responsible for the department handling the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies in  Eastern Europe. "It was a position that opened the doors to the party and the government for me." In 1949, his parents and his sister immigrated to  Israel. Grayevsky decided to remain in Poland. In December 1955 his father contracted a serious illness, and Grayevsky came to visit him. To organize the visit, he met with Yaakov Barmor, ostensibly the first secretary in the Israeli embassy in Warsaw, in fact a Shin Bet representative. "No, I didn’t know he was from intelligence. I thought he was a diplomat," he says.

The visit to Israel shook up his world view. Grayevsky became a Zionist. He returned to  Poland, but he had made the decision to immigrate to  Israel. About four months after his return from  Israel he came, as usual, to the workplace of his girlfriend, Lucia Baranowski, to meet her for coffee. Baranowski, who was also Jewish, had fled during the war from the Lvov ghetto and joined the partisans, where she met her future husband. In the mid-1950s, she served for a short time as a junior secretary – actually a worker on loan – in the office of the first secretary of the Communist Party, Edward Ochab.

She was 35 years old, with one son. Her husband was the deputy prime minister of  Poland. The couple lived in the same apartment, but separately. "Her marriage was not a success, and she was my girlfriend in every sense," says Grayevsky, then a 30-year-old bachelor. That same day, at 11 A.M., Baranowski was very busy and was unable to go out to the cafe. "Ochab’s office was in the headquarters of the partx’s Central Committee," he says. "Everyone knew me, the guards, the office workers, I was almost a member of the family there. While I was talking to Lucia, I noticed a thick booklet with a red binding, with the words: ‘The 20th Party Congress, the speech of Comrade Khrushchev.’ In the corner it said: ‘Top Secret’."

That was one of the few copies sent by order of the Soviet Politburo to leaders of the Eastern Bloc countries. "Like others, I had also heard rumors about the speech," says Grayevsky. "We knew that the  United States had offered a prize of $1 million to anyone who could obtain the speech. We also knew that all the intelligence services, all the diplomats and all the journalists in the world wanted to get their hands on the speech. Thus, when I saw the red booklet, I immediately understood. It mainly aroused my curiosity as a journalist. I told Lucia: ‘I’ll take the booklet, go home for an hour or two, and read it.’ She said, ‘Fine, but I go home at 4 P.M., so return it by then, because we have to put it in the safe.’

"I put the booklet under my coat and left the building, without anyone being suspicious or examining me. After all, they all knew me. At home, when I read the speech I was shocked. Such crimes. Stalin a murderer. I felt that I was holding an atom bomb, and since I knew that the entire world was looking for the speech, I understood that if I threw the bomb it would explode. I decided to go back and return the booklet to Lucia, but on the way I thought about it a lot, and I decided to go to the embassy, to Yaakov Barmor. Poland hadn’t done anything bad to me, but my heart was with  Israel, and I wanted to help.

"I went to the embassy and rang the bell. The building was surrounded by Polish soldiers and policemen, and there were cameras all around, which checked everyone who entered. I went to Barmor’s office and told him: ‘Look what I have.’ He turned white and then red, and changed colors again. He asked to take the booklet for a minute, and he returned to me an hour and a half later."

Did you understand what he was doing?

"Of course. I knew he was photographing. After an hour and a half he returned, gave me the booklet and said ‘Thank you very much.’ I left the embassy and went to Lucia. I arrived between 2:30 and 3, and returned it to her."

Grayevsky immigrated to Israel in January 1957. When he submitted the request to immigrate, he was fired from his job. Lucia Baranowski died in Poland of a serious illness 15 years later. "We never spoke about what had happened," he emphasizes.

And what about compensation? He says that it didn’t enter his mind to ask for anything. "What are you talking about? I acted out of an impulse that stemmed from my connection to Israel. It was a bouquet from a new immigrant to the State of Israel. No professional spy could have managed to get what I got. I was lucky."

Do you consider yourself a hero?

"No. I’m not a hero. I didn’t make history. The person who made history was Khrushchev. I met up with history for a few hours, and our ways parted."

Book review of ‘Operation Cyanide”

                      BOOK REVIEW OF "OPERATION CYANIDE" 
By John Simpson
BBC World Affairs Editor

This is an extraordinary story, one of the most extraordinary, perhaps, of
the entire twentieth century. Suppose, in an attempt to shore up his
critically damaged presidency, Lyndon Johnson deliberately engineered an
event in which American lives were sacrificed and the United States was
brought disturbingly close to an all-out nuclear war with Russia? Suppose
this involved a secret agreement between Israel and American intelligence,
which resulted in an Israeli attack on an American naval vessel, in the
latter stages of the Six-Day War?

It sounds, I know, like one of those depressing conspiracy theories which
cluster round every big controversial event from the death of Princess
Diana to the attack on the World Trade Centre. People often have problems
in handling the banality of truth, and prefer to imagine deeper, darker
plots beneath the surface. Yet this book is based on careful, rigorous
investigation by a well-known and respected journalist who has metic-
ulously tracked down the people and the documents who have survived from
the event itself: the attack on the USS Liberty, in the eastern Mediter-
ranean in June 1967.

As with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, four years earlier,
the official version is even more unlikely than some of the conspiracy
theories. In order to believe the hasty, often contradictory account
which came out of Washington, you would have to accept all sorts of
virtual impossibilities: that Israeli planes and torpedo boats could have
mistaken a modern American warship of ten thousand tons for an elderly
Egyptian horse transport less than a quarter of its size, come to within
fifty feet of it without spotting that it was flying a particularly large
American flag, and blazed away at it from close range for forty minutes
before realizing what it was they were shooting at. A hasty American
enquiry immediately afterwards called it 'a bona fide mistake.' That
seems, to say the least, a little implausible.

Yet this is the official version, which stands to this day. Any other
version -- that of the Liberty's surviving crew members, for instance --
has been extremely hard to establish because of the intensity of the
security blanket which the Israelis and Americans wrapped around the
entire incident.

The blanket remains in place to this day, yet this book provides
sufficient evidence for any open-minded person to see that something
else lies underneath: something very disturbing.

I have found Peter Hounam's research compelling, and the story which
unfolds in these pages rivetting. It is time a little daylight was
shed on Operation Cyanide. This book does precisely that, and we
should be grateful for it.

John Simpson
October 2002

The Attack On Liberty

The Attack On Liberty

In 1967, Israeli Forces Bombarded a U.S. Spy Ship, Killing 34 Americans And Leaving a Legacy of Suspicion

By Ken Ringle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 1, 2003; Page C01

On June 8, 1967, in one of the periodic explosions of violence we’ve learned to expect in the Middle East, an American intelligence ship named the USS Liberty was attacked with rockets, cannon fire and torpedoes while in international waters off the town of El Arish in the Sinai desert.

Thirty-four Americans were killed and 171 injured in what would remain the largest post-World War II loss of U.S. lives in the Middle East until the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983.

But unlike that latter attack, or the 1983 truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the suicide bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Aden, Yemen, which killed 17 less than three years ago, the attack on the Liberty was not made by terrorist bombs but by the jet fighters and torpedo boats of the nation of Israel.

The attack on the Liberty has never been fully explained. Official reports by both the Israelis and the U.S. Navy declared it accidental: "a case of mistaken identity" during the Six-Day War.

But today, dozens of Web sites still argue one side or another, and they’re multiplying. Pro- and anti-Israeli authors, journalists and activists have sought to spin the Liberty story for their own purposes over the years. The controversy keeps growing, much as Middle East conflicts have grown to become the largest foreign policy and defense issue occupying the U.S. government.

For the Israelis, compared with the Americans, there has been less reason for resentment, blame and further investigation — their people weren’t killed, and after their government admitted its mistake, they did not have victims making charges of coverups. Not that they have ignored it: In 2000, for instance, Israeli historian Michael B. Oren wrote an article titled "The U.S.S. Liberty: Case Closed" — a position he also took in the New Republic in 2001.

The attack on the Liberty, and the Six-Day War that surrounded it, introduced us to a fog of war that gets ever thicker. The same sort of bewilderment, suspicions and anger aroused by the Liberty incident continue to bedevil governments as U.S. troops mass on the borders of Iraq, war protesters parade and intellectuals debate.

The Six-Day War was "a turning point in our relationship with Israel," says former ambassador Richard Parker, political counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in 1967. The war did more than double the size of Israel with captured lands still the focal point of Israeli-Arab turmoil: "Up to that point we had avoided being a major arms supplier to Israel. And afterward, the security of Israel became one of our strategic objectives, which it had never been . . ."

The attack on the Liberty was not simply a case of a single bomb going astray. According to those who survived, it continued for nearly two hours. It involved rocket and napalm attacks by multiple flights of Israeli jet fighters, a simultaneous torpedo attack by three vessels of the Israeli navy and the machine-gunning of lifeboats tossed overboard as the Liberty survivors prepared to abandon their wounded ship.

Last month, during a program on the Liberty at the Middle East Institute here, Parker said those on record as believing that the Israeli attack was deliberate include former secretary of state Dean Rusk, former CIA chief Richard Helms, Adm. Thomas Moorer (a former chief of naval operations) and a host of former directors of the National Security Agency, as well as then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Parker said he believes that the attack was accidental. But he also believes that a congressional investigation into the Liberty incident, even at this late date, "would be very useful."

In the past year alone, a Front Royal, Va., filmmaker has produced a video calling for a congressional investigation of the Liberty incident, and a Miami bankruptcy judge has published a book and set up an associated Web site endorsing the "mistaken identity" thesis and attempting to lay the incident to rest. Meanwhile a BBC documentary last June presented documents purporting to link the attack and its subsequent coverup to a mysterious covert operation the United States and Israel planned against Egypt, complete with nuclear weapons.

As the United States prepares for war in Iraq, the attack on the Liberty looms like a specter. Whether accidental or deliberate, the incident is full of examples of bungled orders, missed communications, operational stupidity and interservice rivalry on both sides — the sort of foul-ups that dog every country’s military in every conflict.

A Phantom Investigation?

"They tried to kill all the witnesses," Phil Tourney, president of the Liberty Veterans Association, said recently. "They didn’t want any one of us left alive."

The official reports have been repeatedly rejected as insufficient by Liberty survivors and a sizable group of historians and scholars, who contend that the Israeli attack was deliberate. It was intended, many say, to erase the Liberty before its electronic eavesdropping could discover events Israel was anxious the world not know.

They say as well that a coverup (if not a conspiracy) has kept the truth about the incident from the American public for more than 35 years. They point to crucial NSA intercepts of Israeli radio signals known to have been made during the attack — intercepts that remain classified by the U.S. government in the name of national security. That restriction has already lasted more than a decade longer than the one that cloaked "Ultra" — the most crucial and tightly held code-breaking operation of World War II.

"There has never been a real investigation," says James Bamford, author of "Body of Secrets," a critically praised 2001 investigative history of the NSA that includes perhaps the most concise documented account of the attack on the Liberty. Disinformation was a major strategy employed by the Israelis in the Six-Day War from the beginning, he says, and the U.S. government, preoccupied at the time with the Vietnam War and the Cold War, chose to avoid looking closely at what happened to the Liberty.

"An investigation is what we did after the Cole bombing when we sent agents to Aden, or after the bombings at the embassies in Africa, when we sent agents there to find who was responsible," Bamford says. "Nobody was ever sent to Israel to ask questions about the Liberty. We just took the Israelis’ word for what happened."

A Navy court of inquiry, Bamford says, "concerned itself with the ship’s response to the attack. They never even questioned most of the survivors about why all those Americans died. And neither has Congress to this day."

And unlike the two U.S. pilots who face possible court-martial for the "friendly fire" bombing of Canadian troops last year in Afghanistan, no Israeli has ever been tried or reprimanded for the 205 U.S. casualties on the Liberty. Wrote the colonel who headed Israel’s official investigation into the attack: "I have not discovered any deviation from the standard of reasonable conduct which would justify a court-martial."

In Harm’s Way

To seek out the truth of what happened to the Liberty is to immerse oneself in a maelstrom of conflicting testimony, disputed accounts and questioned motives, not excluding suspicions of anti-Semitism. It is possible, however, to arrive at a basic outline of events using mainly agreed-upon facts.

The Liberty (GTR-5) was what was then known as a General Technological Research Vessel — a converted 455-foot former World War II Liberty ship purportedly investigating science but actually an offshore electronic eavesdropper.

Its real mission was highly secret not only because spy ships might not be welcomed into every port but also because reading another nation’s mail by intercepting radio signals (SIGINT) was seriously forbidden at that time. Despite its thousands of employees, the SIGINT-handling NSA was so secret in 1967 that officially it didn’t exist. In the intelligence community, its initials were said to stand for No Such Agency.

Though it was technically a Navy ship and most of its 295 crewmen were Navy personnel, the Liberty generally reported directly to the NSA. In May 1967 it had been sailing slowly up and down the west coast of Africa, listening in on the messy wars in the Congo and other newly independent colonies.

On May 23, however, with war clouds gathering over Israel and Egypt, the ship was ordered to the eastern Mediterranean. Egypt was a major client state of the Soviet Union, and any Egyptian attack on America’s ally Israel held the danger of dragging the United States into a nuclear war. The NSA had a need to know.

While the Liberty was still steaming eastward, however, Israel on June 5 launched its air force against Egyptian airfields, destroying almost all of that nation’s air power in about 80 minutes.

Informed that war had broken out, the U.S. Navy ordered all its vessels to keep at least 100 miles from the war zone. The NSA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff followed that up with at least five similar orders directed specifically to the Liberty, according to Navy radio transcripts since made public. But the Liberty never received them. A series of bureaucratic bungles that defy logic or explanation delayed the messages for 16 hours and then routed them via Hawaii into some communications twilight zone.

The Liberty took station just outside Egypt’s 12-mile territorial limit off the Gaza Strip at dawn on June 8. Though they knew they were in a war zone and kept careful watch, crew members were relaxed enough to sunbathe when off duty. Israeli planes circled the ship several times at close range. Crewmen waved at the pilots.

Then, shortly before 2 p.m., a flight of delta-wing Mirage jets approached the ship in what Capt. William McGonagle recognized as an attack pattern. He shouted a warning, but before he could sound the ship’s general alarm the planes raked the ship from bow to stern with rockets and cannon fire, killing several sailors, along with the executive officer.

The attack shattered virtually all of the ship’s 45 communications antennae. It took technicians more than 10 minutes to jury-rig enough wire to send an SOS to the 6th Fleet, 500 miles to the north. A radio operator on the USS Saratoga heard the message that the Liberty was under attack but demanded an authentication code that had been blown away by the first shots.

"Listen to the goddamn rockets, you son of a bitch!" Liberty’s radio operator screamed into the microphone, according to one survivor’s account.

Drawing a Bead

Crew members on the Liberty had seen explosions on the beach earlier. The Israelis would later discover that the blasts were caused by Egyptian stragglers blowing up ammunition dumps. But at the time, the Israelis say, they received reports that an unidentified ship was shelling El Arish and sent three high-speed torpedo boats to investigate.

The Liberty was armed with only four 50-caliber machine guns with an effective range of less than two miles. It was cruising at about 5 knots. The Israelis say a plotting error aboard the torpedo boats convinced them that the Liberty was traveling at 30 knots — the rate of a serious warship and more than 10 knots beyond the Liberty’s highest attainable speed. The Israeli navy then summoned the air force to intercept the mysterious vessel.

The Israelis concede that they had investigated the Liberty earlier and had identified it as a U.S. ship. But they say that when a new shift of officers came on duty that information was somehow not passed along, even though the Liberty was the only such vessel within probably 50 miles and the Egyptian navy was effectively nonexistent.

Partial transcripts of Israeli air force communications from the fighters sent to investigate, recently declassified by Israel, reflect more than a little uncertainty about the identity of the Liberty and include at least one suggestion it might be American. But they reflect a greater concern that the jets sink the ship before the navy could share the glory: "Before the navy arrives, it will be a mitzvah [good deed]," says one of the pilots.

The torpedo boats did arrive, however. Uncertain about the identity of their target, they attempted to communicate with signal lights. By this time, however, the Liberty had eight men dead and 75 injured from rockets, cannon fire and napalm. Seeing three torpedo boats approaching in attack formation, the crew assumed the worst and one seaman opened fire before McGonagle could stop him.

The torpedo boats, assuming only an enemy would fire at them, launched their attack and loosed five torpedoes. McGonagle managed to avoid four of them. The fifth, however, blew a 40-foot hole in the Liberty’s starboard side, shattering the ship’s cryptographic compartment and killing most of the men in it. Only heroic damage-control measures by the survivors in the following hours kept the Liberty from sinking before it limped into Malta days later. Shipyard workers there counted more than 800 holes in its superstructure.

Digging for Information

Those are the basic facts of the incident, together with the Israeli explanation for why it happened. There is, of course, far more to the story, including much debate about whether the Liberty’s American flag was visible, whether the Israeli jets were unmarked, whether the Liberty’s lifeboats were targeted by the Israelis. There is debate over whether the Israelis could, as claimed, have mistaken the Liberty for the El Quseir, a decrepit, unarmed 38-year-old Egyptian coastal transport half the size of the Liberty and markedly different in profile.

Such debates are not helped by the narrow focus of the debaters, which tends to exclude the context of the Cold War, including Soviet vessels in the eastern Mediterranean, and an increasingly divisive Vietnam War.

The debates will probably never be resolved. But far more intriguing is the evidence that suggests a U.S. government coverup, past and present, of much surrounding the Liberty incident. The ship’s casualties were vastly underreported initially. Survivors were threatened with court-martial, prison or worse if they talked about the incident. The Pentagon clamped a lid on discussion even as the Liberty was sold for scrap and the shattered pieces of those who died were buried in a common grave in Arlington National Cemetery. Israel eventually paid $6 million in restitution to the survivors of those killed and, in 1980, another $6 million to the U.S. government to end litigation. That $12 million was less than half the cost of the ship’s SIGINT equipment alone.

James M. Ennes Jr., a Liberty survivor whose 1979 book, "Assault on the Liberty," was the first comprehensive effort to tell the crew’s story, has since found a document in the Liberty’s file at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin referring to a meeting of the White House "303 Committee" in April 1967, a few months before the outbreak of the Six-Day War. It concerns something called Operation Cyanide, which apparently involved a U.S.-Israeli covert operation that would have stationed a submarine in Egyptian waters.

Asked on camera by the BBC about Operation Cyanide, Rafi Eitan, who was with the Israeli secret service in 1967, smiled cryptically and said: "I know what I am able to tell you and where I have to stop. And here I stop."

When the same interviewers questioned former CIA chief Helms on camera, he confirmed the covert function of the 303 Committee but said, "You’ll have to ask McNamara" about Operation Cyanide. When Robert McNamara, secretary of defense in 1967, was asked on camera about Operation Cyanide, he replied, "I won’t say a word about the Liberty." Why?

When the U.S. Navy finally heard the Liberty was under attack, it was assumed the attackers were Egyptian. Strike aircraft were launched from the carrier Saratoga and elsewhere and Parker, the former ambassador, says he was warned in Cairo that they were en route to the Egyptian capital. But when Israel was identified as the attacker, they were recalled — on direct orders from McNamara, according to several Navy sources. Other third-hand reports cited by Ennes and other authors claim the president himself, despite his belief that the attack was deliberate, ordered the Navy to send no planes to the aid of the Liberty.

Those speculating on reasons for Israel’s attack on the Liberty have asserted it was to prevent Washington from learning of Israel’s coming seizure of the Golan Heights from Syria, or to prevent disclosure of war crimes against Egyptian prisoners of war.

Bamford uncovered a July 27, 1967, CIA report quoting an Israeli official to the effect that Israel knew who the Liberty was and what she was doing, but was unsure who besides the United States might have access to the ship’s intercepts, so it put the Liberty out of commission just to be sure.

There may indeed have been a conspiracy surrounding the Liberty. But Miami Judge A. Jay Cristol, in his 2002 book, "The Liberty Incident," discounts that possibility, quoting an old Marine proverb: "Never attribute to malice what can be blamed on stupidity."

Will we ever learn everything surrounding the attack on the Liberty? Probably not without intense pressure on the government from the public and the media, both of which have been fitful at best in their concern with the 205 U.S. casualties at the hands of a U.S. ally 35 years ago.

Bamford, who clearly won the cooperation of many at the NSA in writing "Body of Secrets," points out that a special public law exempts the NSA from the Freedom of Information Act so that only Congress or the White House has access to what’s classified there.

At the Johnson library, tape recordings of LBJ’s phone calls and office meetings are slowly being declassified, but it will be more than a year before archivists deal with those of June 1967. There is no certainty even then that anything dealing with the Liberty will come to light.

But as debate continues about the U.S. role in the Middle East, a growing chorus of voices is asking why an incident as central to our current involvement in the region as the attack on the Liberty continues to be shrouded for "national security" after so many years.

Israeli terrorism against America

Israeli terrorism against America

    In 1954, the Israeli government launched a secret operation of terror against the United States called Operation Suzannah. It plotted to murder Americans and blow up American installations in Egypt. Their plan was to leave false evidence that the Egyptians did it, so as to make America go to war against Egypt on the side of Israel. Jewish agents succeeded in blowing up some post offices and American libraries in Cairo and Alexandria. On the way to blow up an American movie house, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Theater, an Israeli’s agent’s bomb went off prematurely. Thankfully, for both Egypt and for America, the plot was then exposed and stopped in its early stages.

    Because of the capture of the Israeli agents, the world learned of this Israeli treachery and the Israeli Foreign Minister, Pinhas Lavon, was later forced to resign. The whole episode became known as the Lavon Affair. Today, the Jewish-dominated American media and publishing establishment deftly cover up this Israeli treachery against us. Most Americans know nothing about it. For instance, only a slight mention of the Lavon Affair is found in the popular Encarta Encyclopedia. It is in an article about Ben Gurion authored by the pro-Zionist, Bernard Reich. By the way, the article’s author illustrates a typical media pattern. When Americans suppose they are reading unbiased Encyclopedia or news magazine accounts, they more often than not are reading distorted accounts written by ardent Jewish Zionists.

        Ben-Gurion returned to politics in 1955 to replace Minister of Defense Pinhas Lavon – who resigned after a failed attempt to sabotage Egypt’s relations with the West.25

    Note how the article meekly says, "a failed attempt to sabotage Egypt’s relations with the West." What does this mean? "Sabotaging relations" sounds as though Israel might have just said a few nasty things about Egypt and America behind each other’s back. The intentional deception used in this article by its Jewish author is typical of the distortions that go on countless times in the mass media.

    The line in Encarta should read:

        " … who was forced to resign after Israel was caught committing terrorist bombings against the United States to treacherously incite America to war against Israel’s enemy."

    I am sure that ninety percent of those who read this have never heard of it. Some may think I am making this all up. Well, if you still might doubt that Israel has committed these terrorist acts against America in Egypt, here is a quote from a recent article appearing in the Jewish magazine Moment, written by Samuel Katz and meant for its small Jewish audience. It is more forward, yet still omits the provocative word terrorism, a word Israel uses when Palestinians blow up libraries and cinemas.

        And the failures were as common as the spectacular successes. In the mid ’50s, A’man (the Jewish Defense Agency) suffered a serious setback during the infamous "Operation Suzannah," when Israeli agents provoked Jews in Egypt to attack American and British targets and incite anti-Western sentiment. Many Jews were arrested, and some were executed. The bungled operation was a severe embarrassment for the government of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his defense minister, Pinhas Lavon26

    So, in the Lavon Affair we learned how our so-called "best friend in the Mideast," Israel, rewards the United States for its unconditional monetary and military support: by committing terrorism against us! Think about the fact that most Americans have never even heard about this Israeli terrorist attack against us.

    If the Egyptian government had been behind this terror against America, we would have rightly considered it an act of war and we would have attacked Egypt right back, just as we have done against Afghanistan. And the press; they would have clamored for such attacks just as they demanded attacks against Afghanistan. In fact, we attacked Afghanistan on far less grounds than we have for attacking Israel. No evidence exists that Afghanistan approved of or even knew anything about the attack on the World Trade Center; but in the Lavon Affair, the Israeli government committed a direct act of war against the United States. We, of course, did not bomb Tel Aviv in retaliation. We did not sever our diplomatic relations. In fact, we did not even cut off our billions of dollars in monetary and military aid!

    Any American government official who would have given aid to the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor would have been prosecuted as a traitor to the United States.

    Let me be perfectly blunt. Those Americans in government who continued our support of Israel after it had committed terrorist acts against the people of the United States — clearly committed treason against our country.

    If America’s leaders, after Israel’s terrorist attack against us in the Lavon Affair, would simply have stopped their treasonous aid to Israel, there would have been no subsequent acts of terror against us such as the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

    Israel’s terrorist attack on the USS Liberty

    In 1967, during the Six Day War, Israel again committed a grievous terrorist act against the United States of America. On June 8, Israel used unmarked fighters and torpedo boats to launch an hour and one-half attack on the American Navy ship the USS Liberty, costing 34 American lives and 171 wounded.27 The Israelis first attacked the Liberty’s radio towers in an attempt to stop the Sixth Fleet from learning that the Israelis were the attackers. After unmarked Israeli fighters horrendously bombed and strafed the Liberty, Israel sent in torpedo boats to finish the job. They even machine gunned the deployed life rafts in an effort to ensure that there would be no survivors (witnesses) who could expose them.

    Only by the heroism and ingenuity of the captain and crew of the USS Liberty kept the Israeli plan from succeeding. They were able to keep the ship afloat as well as contact the fleet and let it know that Israel, rather than Egypt, that had attacked the ship. Knowing that its plan had been exposed, Israel withdrew and meekly claimed that their attack was a case of mistaken identity. They said that they mistook the USS Liberty for an Egyptian ship.

    The United States Secretary of State at the time, Dean Rusk, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Thomas Moorer, both say the attack was no accident, that Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty. For instance, it was clear day with a stiff breeze and the Liberty sported both a huge American flag and large international identification numbers on her hull. Israeli jets buzzed the USS Liberty long before the attack, flying so close that the members of the Liberty crew could even see their hand waves as they passed. Just as in the Lavon Affair, Israel hoped to blame this act of war on their enemy, the Egyptians. This time, only the courage and resourcefulness of the Liberty’s crew prevented a further compounding of the travesty.

        The Jewish-dominated American media expressed no outrage for the attack and supinely accepted the specious Israeli excuse for it. Even though our own Secretary of State and our own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Israeli attack was deliberate, the Jewish Lobby was even able to prevent a formal Congressional inquiry into the attack. In contrast, the USS Liberty’s sister ship, the USS Pueblo, was captured by North Korea the following year (1968) with the loss of only one life, yet within a year the U.S. Congress launched a formal inquiry into that attack. There still has been no formal inquiry into the attack on the USS Liberty. The Liberty’s commanding officer, Captain William McGonagle, was awarded America’s highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, for his splendid courage during the Israeli attack. But, he was given the award in a quiet ceremony in the US Navy Yard, rather than the White House (as is customary), so as not to hurt the image of the very enemy who killed 34 of his comrades and wounded him and 174 more Americans on the Liberty!

        How did the political leaders of the United States respond to this Israeli act of war against it? Did America bomb Tel Aviv as it did Kabul, Afghanistan? No, the Israeli-controlled American government along with the Jewish-controlled media committed a clear case of treason against America by covering up this vicious terrorist attack, and continues to send billions of American tax dollars to Israel in military and monetary aid.

        Again, I invoke the example of Pearl Harbor. Any American government official who would have given aid or comfort to Japan after the attack in 1941 would have been prosecuted as a traitor to the United States. I charge that those American government officials who collaborate with the Jewish Lobby and media in continuing to support Israel after its attack on the USS Liberty ? are traitors against the United States of America!

        If, after Israel’s treacherous attack on the USS Liberty, we would have simply stopped treasonously supporting the Israeli terrorist state; we would surely not have suffered the terrorism of September 11, 2001.

BBC USS Liberty Documentary

BBC USS Liberty Documentary

By Ian Henshall

Yesterday evening June 5th the BBC 4 screened a long documentary made by Source Films about the USS Liberty incident, complete with witness testimony on camera from people like ex-CIA boss Richard Helms, ex-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the military personnel involved. It supported one of the most spectacular accusations against Israel in the last fifty years.

During the Six Day War, launched by Israel in 1967 with American connivance, Israeli jets with their markings painted over and an Israeli torpedo boat tried to destroy the unarmed US spyship USS Liberty and its crew which had been sent unescorted close to the Sinai coast.

Israeli claims that this was a mistake were undermined by the disguised jets and testimony from a US intercept officer that the Israeli pilots had reported the ship was flying the US flag, and twice questioned their orders which were nonetheless confirmed.

The Israeli torpedo boat even attacked a lifeboat with machine gun fire. The US sailors defied Israeli fire to rig an emergency ariel to make a mayday message. Meanwhile US bombers were heading to Cairo with a nuclear bomb to avenge the attack which was blamed on the Egyptians.

When the mayday message was picked up the nuclear attack on Cairo was stopped by the personal intervention of Defence Secretary McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson went along with the Israeli line in public, although presidential papers show that privately nobody believed it was an accident. The surviving crew of the Liberty were given medals in semi-secrecy, threatened with prison if they talked and systematically separated from each other by repostings.

The almost inescapable conclusion was that Israel set out to murder its allies to provoke the attack on Egypt. Other details suggested and hints from Helms suggested the strong possibility that McNamara, the architect of the genocidal war in Vietnam, was part of the plot but lost his nerve when the mayday message got out.

This story is relevant today. In 2002 Congresswoman Cynthia Mackinney (sp?) signed an advertisement by the Liberty survivors attacking Israel and triggered a near-collapse of the official 911 story when she demanded to know ‘what Bush knew and when’ about the attacks which are still blamed on Al Qaida acting alone.

There was a brief storm culminating in the New York Post headline BUSH KNEW. Shortly after when Bush met Sharon they agreed to tear up the Oslo accords and the criticism of Bush subsided. Mackinney suffered a shock defeat in the subsequent primary after Jewish groups, accusing her of anti-semitism, poured in funds and encouraged Republican voters to support her unknown Democratic rival.

Could there be a connection between this story and the fact that warmonger David Aaronovitch used his Guardian column to smear Crisis Newsletter editor Ian Henshall for drawing attention to the Israeli Art Student Spy ring active in the US in the months before the 911 attacks? The pro-Mossad web site Globe-Intel has quoted Mossad sources as saying that the Israeli spies were helping the Al Qaida hijackers with a view to foiling the attacks.

Hands up anyone who still takes the official story of the 911 attacks at face value.

Item Two

Israeli Pilot Speaks Up

[ Original page source: ]

Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.

Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot’s radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.

The pilot’s protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery.

Key members of the Lyndon Johnson administration have long agreed that this attack was no accident. Perhaps most outspoken is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer. "I can never accept the claim that this was a mistaken attack, " he insists.

Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk is equally outspoken, calling the attack deliberate in press and radio interviews. Similarly strong language comes from top leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency (some of whose personnel were among the victims), National Security Council, and from presidential advisers such as Clark Clifford, Joseph Califano and Lucius Battle.

A top-secret analysis of Israel’s excuse conducted by the Department of State found Israel’s story to be untrue. Yet Israel and its defenders continue to stand by their claim that the attack was a "tragic accident" in which Israel mistook the most modern electronic surveillance vessel in the world for a rusted-out 40-year-old Egyptian horse transport.

Despite the evidence, no U.S. administration has ever found the courage to ever found the courage to defy the Israeli lobby by publicly demanding a proper accounting from Israel.

Does the USS Liberty matter?

Does Liberty matter?

by Ahmed Amr

"Does the Liberty Matter? Today, more than ever. More than any other incident, the USS Liberty gave the Israeli Lobby cause to believe that they could get away with anything."

Should the long dormant file on the USS Liberty be opened again? Is there any new development that would warrant a congressional investigation? The survivors of the Israeli assault on the Liberty have been lobbying Capitol Hill to probe the matter for thirty-six years. Why should a single sworn affidavit by a retired Navy captain make a difference? Does the USS Liberty still matter?

The answer to all these questions is yes. Does that mean we will get a congressional hearing? May be. Maybe not. There are plenty of reasons for pessimism. A detailed and compelling narrative of the Liberty ‘incident’ has long been available in the form of a book by one of the officers who survived the assault, Lt. James Ennes. Anyone who has read his "Assault on the Liberty" or attended one of his lectures will likely arrive at the same conclusion as Eric Margolis who called it ‘America’s most shameful secret’.

Along with other survivors, Ennes has set up a web site ( that tracks developments relating to the assault. No single American has contributed more to keeping the issue alive than Ennes. For over three decades, Jim Ennes has led the futile effort to bring this matter to closure. He has adamantly maintained that the Israeli attack was deliberate and that there was a government cover-up. Many senior Navy officers have backed up his allegations, including Admiral Thomas Moorer.

For all their trouble, nothing has come of their efforts. Ennes himself has become ‘weary’ of his long crusade to shed light on the deliberate and pre-meditated slaughter of young American sailors off the Sinai coast in 1967.

Why is there a sudden interest in this old bit of Navy history? No reason except that one of the principal actors involved in the cover-up has broken his silence. The ‘John Dean’ of the USS Liberty has emerged from the shadows with a signed affidavit confirming that there was a cover-up and that he played a role in it. Captain Ward Boston has joined the fray. It is now left to others to get his story past the thick walls of the pro-Israeli spin machine.

On October 13, 2003 Captain Ward Boston appeared at a press conference on Capitol Hill. Most mass media outlets didn’t even bother to show up. But his account of the cover-up that followed the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was briefly mentioned in an AP article. For a couple of hours, the AP article was even featured on Yahoo. The next day, the story was ancient history.

If you read the AP story, you would hardly notice that this retired navy officer had just dropped a major bombshell on Capitol Hill. After thirty-six years of silence, Captain Ward Boston had decided to come forward with a signed affidavit that revealed the fact that Israeli attack on the Liberty was deliberate.

What made Ward Boston such an expert on the Liberty ‘incident’? Nothing except that he was the Navy attorney who led the military investigation into whether the attack was deliberate or accidental. What made the story of his affidavit worthy of further attention? Nothing except that his sworn affidavit stated that President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara had ordered him to conclude that the attack was accidental, regardless of the evidence to the contrary. Was anyone else going to back up his serious allegation? Nobody, except retired Admiral Thomas Moorer, who was chief of naval operations at the time of the attack. He later became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Admiral Moorer had arrived at his conclusions by investigating the Liberty ‘incident’ with an independent panel of former senior military officials and retired diplomats.

The AP story quoted Admiral Moorer as saying that the USS Liberty was "one of the classic all-American cover-ups." Admiral Moorer also asked a pertinent question: "Why would our government put Israel’s interest ahead of our own?"

Going over the text of the Associated Press article is very instructive. An Israeli Embassy spokesman, Mark Regev, gets the last word with a gorilla sized sound bite of 41 choice words. Count them yourself. "I can say unequivocally that the Liberty tragedy was a terrible accident, that the Israeli pilots involved believed they were attacking an enemy ship. This was in the middle of a war. This is something that we are not proud of."

So, we have Admiral Moorer, who went to the trouble of showing up in a wheelchair to demand a congressional investigation, coming in second at seventeen words. Less than half the space devoted to the Israeli Embassy spokesman who only had to pick up the phone.

What about Captain Ward Boston, who was supposedly the subject of this AP story. He was left to defend why he took so long to ‘share the truth’. Notice the carefully placed quotes around those three words. That is how an Associated Press ‘journalist’ makes you doubt the good Captain. Boston was left to defend his tardiness. What was his response to the incredulous unidentified staffer from the AP? "When orders come … I follow them." What are those three dots in the middle of the quote? Who knows? I suspect the Captain had used up his full allotment of five words.

Although the AP staffer managed to get a hold of the spin man at the Israeli embassy, his calls to the Navy were not "immediately returned". So, did he give the Navy five minutes or ten minutes? Your guess is as good as mine.

The unidentified ‘journalist’ who filed this AP story was at the press conference. He noticed that Admiral Moorer was in a wheelchair. And he had done a bit of research before showing up at the conference and noticed that that independent panel that had investigated the USS Liberty attack included James Akins, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia. So now you had cause to also doubt the Admiral’s story. The intention behind including that little detail was for the reader to suspect that the whole matter was just a sly attempt by the Saudi’s ‘lobby’ to smear the Israelis.

The bulk of the article was devoted to Israeli denials. The picture of the USS Liberty that accompanied the article was of a vessel that looked like it was on its maiden voyage. It is hard to believe that the Associated Press didn’t have a file copy of what the ship looked like after the Israeli assault. On final thing that got my attention was that the AP article was also credited to Haaretz, an Israeli paper.

Now, here is a little bombshell to drop on the AP story. After getting that long quote from the Israeli Embassy, the AP ‘journalist’ called Captain Boston in Coronado, California, a lovely little island off the coast of San Diego where many Navy officers like to spend their retirement years. It is over three thousand miles from Capitol Hill. So, guess what? Boston "did not return calls seeking comment". Once Again, Captain Boston was tardy making his way home from the news conference. He had missed his scheduled Concord jet from Capitol Hill to his front yard.

What is missing from this article? Well, The Associated Press ‘forgot’ to contact the one person who could really challenge the account of Captain Boston and Admiral Moorer. That would be Robert McNamara. If the phone doesn’t ring, it is probably the Associated Press not calling McNamara.

So much for the AP. Here is the rest of the story

Captain Ward Boston signed a sworn affidavit accusing the former Secretary of Defense of ordering him to cover up a deliberate attack by a foreign country on an American ship. The Israeli assault cost the lives of 34 sailors and wounded 174 others. Israeli jets strafed the surviving sailors in their life rafts, which happens to be a war crime.

This was not the Gulf of Tonkin assault that Johnson and McNamara used to escalate the war in Vietnam. Not a single American sailor was wounded in that fictitious ‘assault’. In the case of the USS Liberty, a very anxious McNamara called back the Sixth Fleet F-4 planes that had taken off to challenge the Israeli jets. The Israeli air attacks continued for two hours, in an apparent attempt to kill every single sailor on the Liberty.

While the Israeli’s continue to deny that the attack was deliberate, they have never denied that they attacked life rafts. They only claim that they thought the victims would be Egyptians on a horse transport ship called the El Quseir. So, even official Israeli denials leave them open to the charge that they were attempting to murder Egyptians in cold blood. On the same day, thirteen miles away in El-Arish, they were already murdering hundreds of Egyptian POWs.

Why would the Israelis deliberately try to sink an American ship? This is a list of plausible Israeli motives for the attack:

1. Some have suggested that the Israeli attack against the USS Liberty, an intelligence ship, was meant to cover up the mass murder of Egyptian POWs at El-Arish.

2. Another Israeli motive might have been to cover up their intention to attack Syria.

3. Yet a third possible reason was to sink the Liberty, blame it on Egypt and get the Americans to ‘retaliate’ by nuking Cairo.

4. To grasp the fourth motive, one should note that when the Liberty was assaulted the crew knew immediately that it couldn’t have been Egyptian planes. The entire Egyptian air force had already been destroyed on the ground in a ‘preemptive’ Israeli strike on the first day of the six-day war. Which means that the USS Liberty already had intelligence proving that Israel had started the war. To this day, the Israeli narrative insists on propagating the canard that Egypt had fired the first shot. A few days after seizing Gaza and the Sinai, the Israelis attacked Syria and Jordan and invaded the Golan Heights, Jerusalem and the West Bank. Since the six-day war, the whole region has been devastated by the consequences of that aggression. Two generations of Middle Easterners have paid a stiff price in blood and treasure as a result of the carnage that followed.

Israel’s motivations for attacking the liberty could have involved one or all four of the above. The Israelis know how to keep secrets. So, don’t count on them coming clean any time soon. Israeli Archives on the systematic expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 are still secret. Haim Ramon made an attempt to make them public in 1999, but Barak overruled him.

The Fourth Motive

Captain Boston’s confirmation of a Johnson/McNamara cover-up provided the vital link to answering Admiral Moorer’s question. "Why would our government put Israel’s interest ahead of our own?"

Which one of Israel’s four plausible reasons would have motivated Johnson to cover-up an Israeli war crime that took the lives of so many American sailors?

1. Why would Johnson care about Israel killing Egyptian POWs? He had his own headaches with American POWs and American war crimes in Vietnam. The Israelis launched their invasion with French weapons. In 1967, America was not the major supplier of arms to Israel. France was. LBJ could have just issued a one paragraph condemnation from the State Department and than actively moved to hold Israel accountable for the murder of American sailors on the high sea. He could have then sent The Sixth Fleet to teach the Israelis a lesson about decorum on the high seas.

2. Why would Johnson be any more upset about an Israeli invasion of Syria than an Israeli invasion of Egypt? Why would one additional Israeli land grab matter? It certainly wouldn’t warrant an American cover-up of an Israeli war crime against Americans. As far as the United States was concerned, it was just another case of one foreign country invading a couple of other foreign countries. An American president might object to that and decide to reverse it, as was the case in Kuwait. More likely, in the event of an Israeli invasion, he would make his reservations in the form of a reprimand from the State Department and close the file.

3. Yet a third possible reason was to sink the Liberty, blame it on Egypt and get the Americans to ‘retaliate’. This would hardly be a reason for Johnson and McNamara to cover-up for the Israelis. In fact, it would be all the more reason for Johnson to have confronted the Israelis. Not only for the assault on the USS Liberty. But also for trying to entrap America on a second front while McNamara was busy escalating the war in Vietnam. And for killing and wounding two hundred American sailors in the process. Those who remembered the Lavon affair in 1954, were quick to assume that this was Israel’s major motivation for the attack. In 1954, Israeli agents attacked American offices in Egypt in an effort to create friction between Cairo and Washington.

4. Only the fourth reason would match up the Israeli motivation with the Johnson/McNamara cover-up. Only the fourth reason would explain why eight American Presidents have avoided an investigation of the cover-up. If the USS Liberty crew had gathered information confirming that it was Israel that started the six-day war in 1967, they were not the first to get wind of that news. Johnson and McNamara already knew because they had given Israel a green light. There has always been strong evidence pointing to American complicity in the six-day war, but no solid proof. More on that later. That green light made Johnson and McNamara complicit not only for approving the invasion but also for one of the disastrous results of the invasion; the murder of so many American sailors. Johnson was in no position to point fingers at the Israelis. They would simply have gone public with the dirty little secret that Johnson and McNamara had given the nod to the invasion. Johnson’s secret complicity in giving a green light to Israeli aggression gave birth to a cover-up of why the IDF also so fit to attack the USS Liberty.

5. The fourth reason would also explain why the cover-up story has remained buried for thirty-six years. By late 1967, Israel had already started building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Not long after, settlements sprang up in Sinai and the Golan Heights. Even in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, the expultionist Israeli settler movement saw fit to confiscate thirty percent of the land to accommodate a few thousand of their zealots. The land grab of native Palestinian land continues unabated to this day. The settlement movement was accompanied by a regime of repression to ‘entice’ the native Palestinians to abandon what remained of their ancient land. It is a regime of brutality that continues to this day. That is not the scenario Johnson and McNamara counted on. They had more modest goals. The defeat of the Egyptian army would lead to the fall of Nasser’s regime. Once that was accomplished, the Israelis would be told to withdraw to the 1967 borders. Mission accomplished. Johnson’s miscalculation was vintage McNamara. The cost of their error in judgment keeps mounting every year. No American president would want to admit that the United States was a principal party in unleashing the many catastrophes that were born as a result of Johnson’s decision to bless the Israeli invasion.

The amount of effort to avoid a probe of the cover-up makes the assault on the Liberty unique in American history. Eventually, most American transgressions against foreigners becomes part of the public record. In the last few years, the U.S. government has admitted to backing the generals in Greece, Brazil and Argentina and has shed light on the war crimes perpetrated in My Lai and No Gun Ri. Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska was outed a few years back for his involvement in war crimes that he himself labeled as ‘atrocities’. Most recently, The Toledo Blade ran a compelling four part series on how the Tiger Force murdered hundreds of Vietnamese civilians and on the subsequent Pentagon cover-up. American involvement in Iran in 1953 is now official history. The list goes on. The coup in Guatemala in 1954. Nixon and Kissinger’s role in subverting Allende in Chile in 1973. The green light to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. The official lies that ended up costing 58,000 American dead in Vietnam, not to mention the uncounted multitudes of Vietnamese and Cambodians that paid the price of McNamara’s most notorious folly.

At some point, America’s history of intervention becomes part of the public domain and we move on to new interventions.

Many other illicit actions can be added to the above list. The public has been given a single rationale for this secret foreign policy. It was the Cold War and bad things happened. You were either with us or against us. File closed.

In the case of the USS Liberty, the US government is not covering up American transgressions against the little people of the world. What makes the Liberty so unique is that Johnson and McNamara staged a cover-up of a war crime by a foreign government against American sailors.

So why would the American government air our ‘Cold War’ dirty laundry and refuse to investigate a deliberate Israeli war crime against the crew of an American Navy vessel?

The short answer is that Johnson had a secret agreement with the Israelis. It was very similar to the secret agreement struck by Israel, France, Britain in a French Chateau in Severes on October 22, 1956. That Anglo-French agreement with Israel was titled "The Protocol of Sevres". It was a choreographed dance to invade Egypt after the Suez Canal was nationalized. The full text of the Protocols is provided below. Prime Minister Guy Mollet signed for France. Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan were there to represent Israel, accompanied by one Shimon Peres. Selwyn Lloyd, the Foreign Secretary, represented the English. The rest of this story is very well documented. (See chapter 17 of ‘Suez’ by Keith Kyle. Conference of Collusion.)

The Protocols of Severes was a rather short document. It was supposed to remain secret. In fact, Article (C-6) states that "The arrangements of the present protocol must remain strictly secret". Article (C-5) is also interesting. "Israel undertakes not to attack Jordan during the period of operations against Egypt".

President Johnson’s behavior immediately before and after the Israeli ‘preemptive’ strike have always suggested that he had signed an American version of the Protocols of Severes. The day before the Israeli invasion, he had personally assured Nasser that Israel would not attack Egypt. When the United Nations Security Council intervened and called for a cease-fire, the American Ambassador was in no hurry to finalize a draft resolution. US Ambassador Arthur Goldberg famously said, "Gentlemen, take your time", giving the Israelis more time to complete their land grab. After the cease-fire agreement, the Israelis attacked Syria and ceased the Golan Heights.

How secret was the American-Israeli version of "The Protocols of Sevres"? So secret that Dean Rusk didn’t know about it. He supported a full investigation of the Assault on the USS Liberty. So secret, that the only people alive today who know about it are probably McNamara and whoever signed it for the Israeli side, probably Abba Eban.

What would Johnson and McNamara hope to achieve from this sinister collusion with Israel? Again, the American Foreign ethos at the time was "If you are not with us, you are against us." The President and his Defense Secretary were probably only interested in humiliating Nasser for his pan-Arab politics, his socialism and his prominent involvement in the non-aligned movement. The non-aligned movement was considered a mere front for the Soviets. In America’s Cold War eyes, Nehru and Tito and Nasser were considered as ‘subversive’ as Fidel Castro. Ahmed Sukarno of Indonesia, another leader of the non-aligned movement, had already been taken care of. Nasser’s Pan-Arab socialist ideology was anathema and a threat to the American oil colonies in the Gulf.

Johnson and McNamara almost succeeded in toppling Nasser. He resigned on June 9th, 1967. But millions of Egyptians took to the street and demanded that he remain in office. By all accounts, it was a spontaneous outpouring of affection and support for Nasser, a man who for all his faults, was considered as much a victim as any other Egyptian.

The Israeli trump card

For the record, The Israelis broke article C-6 of the Sevres Protocol when it suited their purposes. The secret document was ‘leaked’ to embarrass Charles De Gaulle. His sin was that he punished Israel for the land grab in 1967 by imposing an arms embargo.

The still secret version of the American ‘Sevres Protocol’ would also explain why Johnson and McNamara wrote off the USS Liberty and its crew. Push comes to shove, the Israelis had a trump card.

Those waiting for the Israelis to give a confession on why they assaulted the USS Liberty had better have the patience of Job. Now that Captain Ward Boston has revealed his long held secret, the need for confessions should start with Robert McNamara. Perhaps he can be persuaded to lay down Israel’s trump card. Once that domino falls, they rest will follow.

The survivors of the USS liberty should not concentrate their efforts on making Israel accountable. Even if the Israelis confess, their mass media boys would make certain that this ‘old story’ ended up buried next to the obituaries. Just take a look at how FOX and CNN sanitized the war crimes of Sharon from Qibya to Sabra and Shatila to Gaza and Jenin. Or how they managed to completely bury the devastating implications of Captain Boston’s affidavit.

Given Captain Boston’s sworn affidavit, we are now certain of one thing. There was a cover-up. We know it was Johnson and McNamara who ordered the cover-up. Johnson is now dead. So, we are left with McNamara to reveal his role and his motives for covering up this dark chapter of American history. This is a lot easier done than trying to take on the Israeli Lobby, their congressional majority or their mass media wizards.

We must demand that McNamara come forward to cleanse his soul. He has done it before and he should be persuaded to do it again. We don’t need a congressional investigation that will never happen. We need one single American to come clean with the survivors of the USS Liberty and the families of the sailors who were butchered on the morning of June 8, 1967. That one person is McNamara.

This is not a story that should interest only the families of the murdered sailors and their mates who survived to tell the tale. Probing the atrocities against the USS Liberty is essential to understanding the horrible injustice inflicted on two generations of Middle Easterners by an American foreign policy that can only be described as cruel.

Does the Liberty Matter? Today, more than ever. More than any other incident, the USS Liberty gave the Israeli Lobby cause to believe that they could get away with anything. The Chicken Hawk neo-cons who are responsible for the campaign of deception that led to the war in Iraq are an integral part of a Likudnik cabal that has taken control of the American agenda for the sole purpose of serving Israeli interests. They know that they have blunt instruments like FOX TV and the Washington Post to emasculate any major politician that stands up to them. Over the years, as they move from one success to another, they have acquired an arrogance that used to be reserved for absolute monarchs. When you have a podium the size of CNN and the New York Times, it is not difficult to acquire a bad case of Napoleonic fever.

Any frontal assault against the Lobby and their media ‘assets’ is doomed to failure. The AP story on Captain Ward’s revelation should serve as an example. The mass media lads have honed the art of muzzling Israel’s critics to a fine science. Notice how they managed to bury the Plame affair, the mother of all Watergates. Why are none of their ‘journalists’ available to investigate the Likudnik Office of Special Plans (OSP) for cherry picking intelligence to make the case for war in Iraq? Consider the resources they let loose on Kobe, OJ Simpson, Chandra Levy, Lacy Peterson and that stain on Lewinsky’s dress. Yet, they refuse to pay a morsel of attention to the monumental significance of Captain Boston’s affidavit? And they have the audacity to casually dismiss a Former Joint Chief of Staffs who comes forward with a compelling story of a government ‘cover-up’?

Yes, the USS Liberty matters. And we need to make certain that it continues to matter. Captain Ward Boston took his story to the big boys and they killed it. What is needed here is a plan of action that gets public attention over the heads of the mass media and against the neutered will of congress.

To avoid the frustrations that James Ennes has encountered over the last thirty-six years, a new approach is needed. The focus needs to be on McNamara, not on Israel or their slaves in the U.S. Congress. Captain Ward’s affidavit completed half the job. McNamara’s confession would finish the job and force both Congress and Israel’s amen corner to take notice that the mystery surrounding the assault on the USS Liberty will be solved, one way or the other. And soon.

A modest Liberty plan

1. If the AP boys can’t afford to make a call to McNamara, others can spring a little change to ask him about his role in covering up the Israeli assault on the USS Liberty. Implore Robert McNamara to come clean. For that to happen, the survivors of the Liberty and the survivors who lost loved ones on the Liberty must make a pledge not to sue McNamara and to forgive him in exchange for the truth. With a McNamara confession, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed against the U.S. government and the Israeli government. All we need is another Mea Culpa from McNamara, not an inquisition.

2. Attempts need to be made to identify the pilots who took off from the Sixth Fleet to rescue their brethren on the USS Liberty. Ask them to follow the example of Captain Ward Boston and come forward with their stories. Why were they told to return instead of being allowed to challenge the Israeli jets?

3. While media tycoons like Rupert Murdoch and Sulzberger are certain to avoid this story like the plague, there are still a few mid-sized independent American publishers who might well want to press McNamara and the Israelis for answers. The Toledo Blade is one place to start. The Seattle Times is family owned. The Atlanta Journal is independent. The Christian Science Monitor should be lobbied to follow up on Captain Boston’s revelations. European journalists should also be encouraged to join the fray, especially the Guardian, the Independent and Le Monde. If your local paper is family owned and independent, it might have more resources to attach to this story than you might imagine. In covering the Tiger Force massacres, The Toledo Blade actually went to the expense of sending journalists to Vietnam and devoted two full time reporters to the story. They are now being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

4. Find out where McNamara plays golf. Show up with your signs and let him know that Americans want him to answer a simple question before he tees off. Why the cover-up?

5. Find out about McNamara’s business interests. He is probably on a few Boards of Directors. Show up at their annual meetings with shareholders. You might have to buy a few shares to do that.

6. Honor Captain Ward Boston, Lt. James Ennes and Admiral Thomas Moorer. The best way to do that is to support the web site WWW.USSLIBERTY.GOV. Not just by visiting, but by sending them a check so they can make their presence known and expand their work. Let other web sites and independent media know about this incredible resource.

7. Call up the Navy. And give them more than ten minutes to get back to you. A lot of Navy officers want the answers just as much as you do.

8. Ask the local chapter of the American Veterans of foreign Wars or the American Legion to invite Ward, Ennes and Moorer to give a speech.

9. Contact the Israeli Embassy and let them know you want answers. They won’t respond and they won’t call back. But you will feel better. Call up the Washington Post and The Associated Press and ask them to follow up on the Captain Boston’s lead. They won’t. But you will feel better still.

10. Make the USS Liberty matter. Don’t give up now. Let us help James Ennes run the final lap of his long struggle to honor the memory of those who perished on the USS Liberty. He said there was a cover-up and he was right. This one gutsy American used his liberty to wage battle on behalf of his mates and challenge his government and the mass media barons to tell America the truth. Because of his dedication, we now know for certain that there was a cover-up. We know McNamara was part of the cover-up. All we now need is for McNamara to tell us why.

The Protocol of Sevres, 24 October 1956

The results of the conversations which took place at Sevres from 22-24 October 1956 between representatives of the Governments of the United Kingdom, The State of Israel and of France are the following:

1. Israeli forces launch in the evening of 29 October 1956 a large-scale attack of the Egyptian forces with the aim of reaching the Canal zone the following day.

2. On being apprised of these events, The British and French Governments during the day of 30 October 1956 respectively and simultaneously make two appeals to the Egyptian Government and the Israeli Government on the following lines:


To the Egyptian Government

a) halt all acts of war

b) withdraw all its troops ten miles from the Canal

c) accept temporary occupation of key positions on the Canal by the Anglo-French forces to guarantee freedom of passage through the Canal by vessels of all nations until a final settlement.


To the Israeli Government

a) halt all acts of war

b) withdraw all its troops ten miles to the east of the Canal.

In addition, the Israeli Government will be notified that the French and British Governments have demanded of the Egyptian Government to accept temporary occupation of key positions along the Canal by Anglo-French forces. It is agreed that if one of the Governments refused, or did not give its consent, within twelve hours, the Anglo-French forces would intervene with the means necessary to ensure that their demands are accepted.


The representatives of the three Governments agree that the Israeli Government will not be required to meet the conditions in the appeal addressed to it, in the event that the Egyptian Government does not accept those in the appeal addressed to it for their part.

3. In the event that the Egyptian Government should fail to agree within the stipulated time to the conditions of the appeal addressed to it, the Anglo-French forces will launch military operations against the Egyptian forces in the early hours of the morning of 31 October.

4. The Israeli Government will send forces to occupy the western shore of the Gulf of Akaba and the group of islands Tirane and Sanafir to ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Akaba.

5. Israel undertakes not to attack Jordan during the period of operations against Egypt.

6.The arrangements of the present protocol must remain strictly secret.

7. They will enter into force after the agreement of the three Governments

In addition to this protocol, there is a separate French Israeli protocol, to provide French jets to Israel.

The USS Liberty File

1. Israel’s Attack on the Liberty by Jeffrey St. Clair

2. Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry
into the Israeli Attack on USS Liberty

3. Affidavit ofCaptain Ward Boston, USN, JAG (Ret.)

4. The USS Liberty Court of Inquiry

5. Best source of information about the USS Liberty

6. Best Book: Assault on the Liberty by Jim Ennes

7. The USS Liberty: America’s Most Shameful Secret by Eric S. Margolis

8. Israeli troops killed many Egyptian POWs by Karin Laub

9. Look who opened the USS Liberty File?
Why Captain Ward Boston broke his silence after 36 years.

10. Additional valuable references.

Body of Secrets by James Bamford

Truth – Justice – Peace