June 16, 2010
The following is my
keynote address to the annual re-union dinner of the Liberty Veterans’
Association – Long Island, 12 June 2010.
I want to begin by saying that
though I covered wars wherever they were taking place on Planet Earth in
my television reporting days – it was in Vietnam as a very young
correspondent that I first started to ask myself questions about why
things are as they are in the world – I am an Englishman and one who
didn’t serve in his country’s armed forces. (Not because I was a draft
dodger. Conscription had ended). So it is both an honour and a privilege
for me to be with you this evening. And please believe me, I really
mean it. I’m not a politician just saying it.
We do, of course, have something in common, OUTRAGE
that can’t be expressed adequately in polite words at the continued
suppression here in America of the truth about a war crime
– Israel’s attack on the U.S.S Liberty; an attack
which, if it had gone completely according to plan, would have seen the
sinking of the ship with the loss, the murder, of all hands on board.
(Which means that some of you here tonight would not be here).
In my latest book, Zionism:
The Real Enemy of the Jews, an epic journey in three volumes
through the lies and truth of history as it relates to the making and
sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, I
have a chapter titled The Liberty Affair, "Pure Murder" on a
"Great Day". (I’ll source those quoted comments later).
In that chapter I say the attack
ought to have been a sensational, headline-grabbing news story, but
beyond the fact that an "accident" had happened and that Israel had
apologized, it did not get reported by America’s news organisations. It
was too hot an issue for them to handle and pursue. If it had been an Arab
or other Muslim attack on an American vessel it would
have been an entirely different matter, of course. In that event there
would have been saturation coverage with demands for retaliation
including war, with columnists and commentators who are
pro-Israel right or wrong setting the pace and tone.
I know that one of the prices Liberty
survivors pay for telling the truth is vilification by
supporters of Israel right or wrong. The message sent to James Ennes
was no doubt typical of many. "You are an anti-Semitic, Nazi
bastard. Drop dead."
Those and similar other false and
filthy charges come out of the mouths of people who have been
brainwashed by Zionist propaganda and are beyond reason. I mean that
they are not open to informed, honest and rational debate. And that,
simply stated, is the reason why peace has not yet been possible in the
Middle East and probably never will be.
In passing I’ll tell you what I
have used as a shield against false and malicious charges of
I think I am probably the only
person in the world who enjoyed intimate access to, and on the human
level friendship with, arguably the two greatest opposites in all of
history – Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat,
Father Palestine. (She was called Mother Israel
because without the $50 million dollars she raised in America in 1947,
Ben-Gurion would not have been able to purchase the arms that enabled
Israel to unilaterally declare its independence and impose its will on
One of my most treasured
souvenirs from my television reporting days is a signed picture of Golda
when she was prime minister. The inscription in her own hand is – "To
a good friend, Alan Hart." Because I am a goy (a
non-Jew) that meant a lot to me. The picture is on my web site and it’s
the first one in my latest book. In the late 1980’s when I lectured and
debated coast-to-coast across America and Canada, I had the picture with
me and sometimes used it as a shield. When I was accused of
anti-Semitism, I would hold up the picture, read out Golda’s
inscription, and say to my accuser – "Do you think that old lady
was so stupid that she couldn’t have seen through me if I was anti-Jew!"
That always won me the applause of the audience and its contempt for my
Now to my explanation of why,
really, the Liberty was attacked. I’m going to follow this
with some thoughts about why the truth has to be given its necessary context
and handled with great care.
I’ll start by telling you where
I was on Thursday 8 June 1967. I was in the Sinai desert. I
was the first Western correspondent to the banks of the Suez Canal with
the advancing Israelis. On reflection some years later, I realised that what
I witnessed in the desert, well out of sight and sound of the
attack on the Liberty, was a key to understanding why
America’s most advanced and sophisticated spy-ship (perhaps I
should say intelligence-gathering platform) was attacked.
I’ll come to what I witnessed in a moment.
First, and to provide some
context to assist complete understanding, I must summarise very briefly
the whole truth about that particular war. By elements in the mainstream
media which peddle Zionist propaganda, and other elements of it which
are terrified of offending Zionism either too much or at all, the
Western world was conditioned to believe that Israel went to war because
it was in danger of annihilation – "the driving in the
sea of its Jews".
Zionism’s first assertion was
that the Arabs started the war by attacking Israel.
Zionism’s second story was that the Arabs were intending to
attack and that in the name of self-defense, Israel had no
option but to launch a pre-emptive strike because its very survival was
at stake. Both those stories were big, fat, propaganda lies. The Arabs
did not attack and were not intending
to attack. It was a war of Israeli choice and aggression.
If that was only my Gentile view,
it could be dismissed by supporters of Israel right or wrong as an
alleged manifestation of anti-Semitism. But let me now tell you this.
The forthcoming Volume 3 of my book begins with the longest chapter in
the entire work. It’s titled America Takes Sides, War With Nasser
Act II; and the Creation of a Greater Israel. In this chapter I
name and quote a number of Israel’s political and military leaders of
the time who, years after the war in most cases, admitted the truth.
There isn’t time this evening for me to name and quote them all, but
here to make the point are four:
- In an interview published in Le
Monde on 28 February 1968, Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin
said: "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two
divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough
to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."
- On 14 April 1971, a report in the Israeli newspaper Al-Hamishmar
contained the following statement by Mordecai Bentov, a
member of the wartime national government. "The entire story of
the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and
exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory."
- In the spring of 1972, General Peled, Chief of
Logistical Command during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s
General Staff, addressed a political literary club in Tel Aviv. He said:
"The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over
us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her
very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred
after the war." In a radio debate Peled said: "Israel
was never in real danger and there was no evidence that Egypt had any
intention of attacking Israel." He added, "Israeli
intelligence knew that Egypt was not prepared for war."
- In 1982, Prime Minister Begin, arguably the world’s most successful
terrorist leader, went even further. He said : "In June 1967 we
had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches
did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us, We must be
honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."
When I was writing the chapter on
the 1967 war, I found myself saying to my readers that there were
times, this was one of them, when I wanted to "cry out with the
pain of knowing how much Israel’s Jews (not to mention the
whole of the Western world) had been deceived, lied to, by their
In passing I’ll tell you why I
was well informed in my television reporting days about what was
happening behind closed doors in Israel. One of my sources, my
deep-throat, was General Chaim Herzog, a founding father of
Israel’s Directorate of Military Intelligence. (He went on
to become Israel’s ambassador to the UN and eventually the state’s
president). On the second day of the war, when he was advising me
on the best route into the Sinai to catch up with the advancing
Israelis, he said to me: "If Nasser had not been stupid enough
to give us a pretext to go to war, we would have created one within a
year or 18 months."
Another summary truth about what
happened in June 1967 is that there would NOT have been a war if
Israel’s prime minister, the much maligned Levi Eshkol, and his Chief
of Staff, General Yitzhak Rabin, had had their way. After
Eygpt’s President Nasser had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli
shipping, they wanted only a limited military operation
– to satisfy Israeli public opinion and, most of all, to put pressure
on America to lead the international community in delivering on a
promise President Eisenhower had made – that in the
event of Eygpt closing the Straits of Tiran, the "society of
nations" would be mobilized to cause the Straits to be re-opened by all
means short of war. That was what Nasser was hoping would
happen. For reasons of face, he needed to be able to say to the Arab
world, "I backed down because of international pressure."
So why didn’t Prime
Minister Eshkol and Chief of Staff Rabin have their way?
The short answer is that in
Israel the week before the war there was what amounted to a
MILITARY COUP in all but name and without a shot being fired.
The best journalists have their
brains not up here in their heads, but down here in their guts. From
early May, my gut instincts were telling me that war was inevitable, and
I persuaded my editor-in-chief at ITN (Independent Television News) to
let me go to Israel with a film crew to report on the countdown to it.
In those weeks I witnessed Israel’s military and political hawks
rubbishing Prime Minister Eshkol. They were painting him as
indecisive, weak and frightened to confront Nasser. Their objective was
to create a crisis of confidence in his leadership ,in the hope that he
would be forced to resign. When that didn’t happen, the generals
demanded that Eshkol, who was both PM and Defense Minister, surrender
his Defense Portfolio and give it to Israel’s one-eyed warlord and
master of deception, General Moshe Dayan. And that’s
what happened on Thursday 1 June, when a government of National Unity
came into being. It was then inevitable that Israel would go to war in a
matter of days. I actually predicted that it would do so on the morning
of Monday 5 June.
Defense Minister Dayan (whom I
knew quite well) was a law unto himself and had plans that went far
beyond the war aim on which all of Israel’s generals were agreed. It was
the total destruction of Eygpt’s Soviet supplied
military equipment – planes, missiles, artillery, tanks, the lot. (For
further background I have to tell you that Nasser had not wanted
to be armed by the Soviet Union. He wanted America
to be his arms supplier, and it was only when America refused that he
turned in despair to the Soviet Union. Also true is that Nasser didn’t
want an upgraded military for the purpose of initiating war with Israel.
He wanted Eygpt to be well enough armed to be able to demonstrate to
Israel that attacking Eygpt to impose Zionism’s will on it would
not be a cost free option).
The key to understanding WHY
Dayan ordered the attack on the Liberty is in President
Johnson’s pre-war understanding with Israel’s generals. Probably through
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Johnson gave Israel’s
generals the greenlight for war with Eygpt. But it was,
effectively, a CONDITIONAL GREENLIGHT. On no
account was Israel to widen the war the purpose of grabbing Jordanian
and/or Syrian territory.
Dayan intended to do just
that if and as the opportunity arose, but he had a
problem. He knew, as all of Israel’s generals and politicians
knew, that although they had Johnson’s greenlight to attack Eygpt, they
would have only three or four days of complete freedom to act.
Why? Because by the end of the third or fourth day, the Johnson
administration would have to go along with a Security Council Resolution
demanding an end to the fighting.
To guarantee that Israel could
complete the job on the Egyptian front in a race against the diplomatic
time clock, Dayan had to assign the bulk of Israel’s armour,
including elements of it that would be needed for an extended war on the
Jordanian and Syrian fronts, to the Sinai.
Now to the significance of what I
witnessed in the Sinai on the afternoon of Thursday 8 June when
(unknown to me at the time) the Liberty had been silenced….
Scores of Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers, which had
blitzkrieged their way through the Sinai sand, were being loaded onto
huge lorries with trailers for transportation to the north, and
re-deployment to the Jordanian and Syrian fronts. The orders for
this re-deployment were coming by radio from Dayan’s staff at the
Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv.
This takes us to what the Liberty’s
It was assigned to listen to all
of Israel’s military communications because some in the highest levels
of American military and political decision-making did not trust
the Israelis to keep their word about not extending the war to
take chunks of Jordanian and Syrian territory, to create a Greater
Israel of Zionism’s mad dream.
The biggest fear of those who
didn’t trust Israel was the possible consequence of an Israeli attack on
Syria, which had also been armed by the Soviet Union.
The reasoning behind the fear went something like this. Soviet leaders
almost certainly could and would live with the humiliating defeat of
their Egyptian client, but for reasons of face they might not be
able to live with the humiliating defeat of their Syrian client also.
And that raised at least the possibility – if Israel attacked Syria – of
Soviet military intervention, leading to the Cold War going Hot.
(And this at a time when American forces were getting bogged down in an
unwinnable war in Vietnam).
The idea behind the Liberty’s
deployment was that if it picked up messages indicating that Israel was
re-deploying from the Sinai to launch major offensives in the
north, and against Syria in particular, the
evidence of Israeli intent and duplicity would be passed to Johnson, and
that he would then pick up the ‘phone to Prime Eshkol and say something
like: "We know what your generals are up to. You must order
them to stop, and if you don’t or can’t, I will."
Simply stated, the Liberty
was on station as the Johnson administration’s insurance policy.
It’s main mission was to prevent Israel going to war with Syria
and possibly provoking a U.S-Soviet confrontation.
Dayan ordered the attack on the Liberty
to prevent it giving the Johnson administration early warning
of his intentions to extend the war.
As it happened, Israel’s last
land grab of the war – the taking for keeping of the Syrian Golan
Heights – DID provoke the threat of Soviet military intervention.
For some hours there was the prospect of a superpower
confrontation and possibly World War III. But at the brink, catastrophe
was averted by use of the White House-Kremlin hot line.
Of all the evidence indicating
that Dayan didn’t want any of the Liberty’s crew to live to
tell the story, the most compelling in my view is the use of NAPALM
during the attack. In Vietnam I saw what napalm can do. It
reduces targeted human bodies to small piles of squelchy, black pulp.
So far as I am aware, the only
honest piece of reporting in the American media in the immediate
aftermarth of the attack was on 19 June in Newsweek’s
"Periscope" section. A small item in that read as follows:
"Although Israel’s apologies were
officially accepted, some high Washington officials believe the
Israelis knew the Liberty’s capabilities and suspect that the
attack might not have been accidental. One top-level theory
holds that someone in the Israeli armed forces ordered the Liberty
sunk because he suspected it had taken down messages showing that
Israel started the fighting."
One could salute Newsweek’s
brief moment of courage, but in one important respect the item was very
wide of the mark. Everybody in Washington’s war-loop who needed to know
did know that Israel had started the war and that
President Johnson had given it the greenlight to do so.
For many years there has been
speculation that an Israeli general opposed Dayan’s decision to
attack the Liberty and said it would amount to "Pure
murder"? Who was that general? I think I know.
Despite the fact that in his own
memoirs he went along with the fiction that Israeli pilots failed to
identify the Liberty as a U.S. ship and that the attack was a tragic
mistake, I think it was, very probably, Chief of Staff Rabin
– the Israeli leader who, many years later as prime minister, was
stopped from advancing the peace process with Arafat and his PLO by a
Zionist assassin. In the time available to me this evening, I’ll give
you just one reason of several why I’m convinced it was Rabin who
When the Liberty was
being attacked, the insider gossip in Israel was that Rabin had "lost
his nerve… cracked under the pressure… was drinking heavily… was under
the table… a disgrace." I first heard this gossip from Israeli
friends I knew to be very, very close to Dayan. It was then former DMI
Herzog who confirmed to me that such rumours were rife. In retrospect I
think the gossip was inspired by Dayan to give him scope to
discredit Rabin if the need arose – if he so much as hinted to anybody
outside the command circle that he had tried to prevent the attack on
the Liberty. (Could it not be said that the idea of attacking
the Liberty was enough to drive any rational human being, even an
Israeli general, to drink?) The idea that Rabin might have been tempted
to make trouble for Dayan was not unthinkable if he shared – and he
probably did – Eshkol’s private view of Israel’s one-eyed warlord.
When the prime minister learned
that Dayan had ordered the attack on Syria without consulting or
informing himself or Chief of Staff Rabin, he thought about cancelling
the order and said of Dayan, to his aide-de-camp, "What a vile
man." (That quotation was unearthed by Avi Shlaim, one of
Israel’s leading "revisionist", which means honest, historians). What
could have made Eshkol resort to such extraordinary language? My guess
is that use of the adjective "vile" reflected most of all the prime
minister’s horror at Dayan’s ordering of the attack on the Liberty.
Who was it who described Thursday
8 June 1967 as a "Great Day"?
That evening Egypt’s President
sent the following message to his Syrian counterpart:
"I believe that Israel is about
to concentrate all of its forces against Syria in order to destroy the
Syrian army, and regard for the common cause obliges me to advise you to
agree to the ending of hostilities and to inform U Thant (UN Secretary
General) immediately, in order to preserve Syria’s great army. We have
lost this battle. May God help us in the future. Your brother, Gamal
That Nasser message, no doubt
like all others, was intercepted by Israeli military intelligence. In
the margin of a copy of it, Dayan scribbled the following note:
1. In my opinion this
cable obliges us to capture maximal military lines.
2. Yesterday I did not
think Egypt and Syria would collapse in this way and give up the
continuation of the campaign. But since this is the situation, it must
be exploited to the full.
A GREAT DAY. Moshe Dayan."
The Syrian leadership took
Nasser’s advice and announced its acceptance of the cease-fire. It came
into effect at 0520 hours the following morning, Friday 9 June. So far
as the Arabs and the organised international community represented by
the UN were concerned, the war was over…. Six hours and ten
minutes later, the IDF invaded Syria. Dayan had postponed the
attack to allow for the redeployment of IDF units from Sinai – a
redeployment that might not have been possible, Dayan had believed, if
the Liberty was allowed to go on listening to IDF movement
I end my chapter on this Israeli
war crime with this sentence:
The lesson of the cold-blooded
attack on the Liberty was that there is nothing the Zionist
state might not do, to its friends as well as its enemies, in
order to get its own way.
Now to my explanation of why the
truth needs its necessary context and must be handled with great care.
The problem with the truth, not
only the truth about Israel’s attack on the Liberty but its
ethnic cleansing of Palestine and many other manifestation’s of its
arrogance of power and contempt for international law, is that it’s
pregnant with extreme danger because it could provoke
anti-Semitism throughout the Western world where most Jews
live as citizens of many nations. There is, however, a way to
exorcise this extreme danger. It is by explaining the difference
between Judaism and Zionism. I believe that knowledge of this
difference is THE key to understanding.
JUDAISM is the religion of Jews,
not "the" Jews because not all Jews are religious. Like Christianity and
Islam, Judaism has at its core a set of moral values and ethical
ZIONISM as Jewish nationalism is a
sectarian, colonial ideology-and-enterprise which, in the process of
creating in the Arab heartland a state for some Jews – mainly by
terrorism and ethnic cleansing – made a mockery of, and
demonstrated contempt for, Judaism’s moral values and ethical principles.
Supporters of Israel right or
wrong conflate Judaism and Zionism because the
assertion that they are one and the same enables them
to claim that criticism of Israel is a manifestation of
anti-Semitism.Often, almost always these days, the accusation
that criticism of Israel IS anti-Semitic is a
form of blackmail, intended to silence criticism of, and
suppress informed and honest debate about, the Zionist (not Jewish)
state and its policies. The reality is that Judaism and Zionism as
Jewish nationalism are total opposites, and knowledge
of the difference is the key to understanding two things:
1. Why it is perfectly possible,
with good reason on the basis of all the facts, to be passionately
anti-Zionist (opposed to Zionism’s on-going colonial
enterprise) without being, in any way, shape or form
2. Why it is wrong to
blame ALL Jews everywhere for the crimes of the hardest core
Zionist few in Palestine that became little Israel, and then Greater
Though it is not well known, even
by many Jews today, the fact is that prior to the obscenity of the Nazi
holocaust, Zionism’s colonial enterprise was of no interest to
more than a tiny minority of the Jews of the world and was OPPOSED by
many of them. For example: On 5 March 1919, the New York
Times revealed that 30 of the most prominent and outstanding Jewish
Americans had signed a petition to President Wilson, warning
him against any U.S. commitment "now or in the future
to Jewish territorial sovereignty in Palestine." One of the 30
signatures was that of Adolph S. Ochs, the
Jewish-American of German origin who was then the owner and publisher of
the paper. In 1943, when the anti-Zionist
American Council for Judaism was formed, the then owner and
publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Hays Sulzberger,
was a member of it.
The many Jews who opposed
Zionism’s colonial enterprise, including the early owners and publishers
of the New York Times, knew it was morally wrong.
They also believed it would lead to unending conflict with the
Arabs. Most of all they feared that if Zionism was
allowed by the big powers to have its way, it would one day provoke
That fear was given a fresh
airing in 1986 by Israel’s longest serving Director of Military
Intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi. In a remarkable book,
Israel’s Fateful Hour, he wrote this:
"Israel is the criterion
according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish
state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and
concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical
roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is
cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical
proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic
irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of
anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism.
Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not
only by them but also Jews throughout the world."
Today there is almost
a case for saying that Israel’s "misconduct"- in my view it sometimes
amounts to naked state terrorism – has become not only "a
factor in the rise of anti-Semitism" but the prime factor.
I said "almost" a case because what we are witnessing today as a
consequence of Israel’s policies and actions is NOT the rise of
anti-Semitism, not prejudice against and hatred of all Jews
everywhere just because they are Jews.
What we are witnessing today in
many nations, where more and more citizens are beginning to see an
arrogant and insufferably self-righteous Israel as the obstacle to
peace, is anti-Israelism, which is more accurately
described as anti-Zionism. But as Harkabi warned, the
danger is that what starts out as anti-Israelism could be
transformed into anti-Semitism. My own view, which I know is
shared in private by a growing number of eminent Jews, is that this will
happen – I mean that there will be another
great turning against the Jews, possibly starting here in
- IF Israel stays
on its present course;
- IF the Jews of the world do not then distance
themselves from the Zionist state’s criminal behaviour and its denial of
justice for the Palestinians; and
- IF Americans and Europeans among whom most Jews of
the world live remain ignorant of the difference between Judaism and
Zionism… And that is why I say the truth has to handled with great care
and given its necessary context.
As some but perhaps not all of
you will know, it was your first ever Secretary of Defense, James
Forrestal, and General George C. Marshall
when he was serving as Secretary of State, who took the lead in trying
to persuade President Truman that support for Zionism’s colonial
enterprise was not in America’s own best interests. Their
views were shared by all of your relevant intelligence agencies of the
time. In my book I offer explanations of why a deeply troubled President
Truman did not take their advice.
In that historical light I think
it’s not uninteresting that a serving American General of our time, General
David H. Petraeus, has dared to say that continuing
American support for Israel right or wrong is not in America’s best
interests and is even damaging them. The Epilogue to the
forthcoming Volume 3 of my book is titled Is Peace Possible? In
it I ask this question:
Could it be that the stage is
being set for a titanic struggle in which President Obama, after the
mid-term elections, will have to chose between doing what the Zionist
lobby and its stooges in Congress want and what America’s top military
men know to be necessary if America’s own interests are to be
And I add this comment:
If they could speak from their
graves, I imagine the two most senior executives who advised President
Truman not to support Zionism’s colonial enterprise – Defense Secretary
Forrestal and Secretary of State Marshall – would say, "Let’s hope so
and that this time reason will prevail."
I’ll end my remarks to you this
evening by quoting a line from the Dear America introduction to Volume 1
of the American edition of my book. It’s a sort of open letter in which
I am speaking directly to readers. In the very first sentence I say
that if all of our children, wherever they live, are to have the
prospect of a future worth having, the world needs America’s
Only the truth can bring
out the best of America, and there’s no better place to start
than with the truth about Israel’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty.
I salute your efforts to make this truth known, If you can assist my
efforts to promote it and other related truths, it might be
possible to bring out the best of America before it’s too late for us