The unprovoked 1967 attack on the USS Liberty

Was Israel’s 1967 Attack on the USS Liberty, a mistake in identity?

You be the judge whether “mistaken identity” was even a remotely plausible excuse for the deaths of 34 servicemen and the injuries of 174 more. In the videos to follow, watch the testimonies of the courageous men who survived this horrific unprovoked attack. Under Secretary Ball’s concluding comment (below the first of two videos), will forever ring in my ears. Will we learn nothing from this tragic event? To what degree has our Middle East policy been shaped by this attack? And to what measure does the Israeli mindset, KNOWING that “they can get away with almost anything” without retribution, shape the Middle East today, some 43 years later? Our consistent acquiescence and insistence that their acts (like the one detailed below) are fully protected and empowered by the sovereign hand of God, is leading us in every direction but the Promised Land.

“Loss of Liberty” – The cover-up of the 1967 Israeli assault on the USS Liberty

George Ball (1909-1994), the Under Secretary of State of Economic affairs during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, wrote: “The ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack, was that it had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America. Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that the American friends would let them get away with almost anything.”

Comments from the surviving decorated heroes of the USS Liberty: “If we could get the truth of the Liberty out, it would change the history of this country.” “I can’t understand why the American newspapers and TV people have helped cover this up by not covering our stories.” “Never before has the U.S. Navy ignored eyewitness testimony of American Military, to accept on faith the story told by their attackers.” “There should be a congressional committee, both senate, and house, to examine all the data…and it’s getting late to do this, because, like McGonagle, God bless, he’s gone.” “To me, that was one of the worst cover-ups in American history. How low can our government go?” “So I will never buy the idea that some of the pilots thought this was another ship.” “We didn’t know who was attacking us. They didn’t know who was attacking us. I don’t know how Washington can say, Don’t go, because they’re friends of ours. That’s the thing that’s always bothered me, right there.” 

Anytime anyone even questions Israel, the immediate cry is racism and/or antisemitism. Let it be clear that I am neither a racist nor an Antisemite. Few abhor bigotry any more than I do. I love the Israeli people. and they desperately need the Gospel of Christ. However, they have not been well served by their Zionist leaders who have appeared to stop at nothing to further their cause. As Christians, I don’t believe it’s prudent to blindly accept Israel’s every action as though they are empowered by the hand of God. Clearly, they are an ally, but then again, what did that mean for the crew of the Liberty? Do allies intentionally sink the ships of their compatriots?

Forty-three years after the vicious and sustained attack on the USS Liberty, the testimonies of the survivors and the blood of the dead speak clearly. We can squabble about motives all day long but the fact is that only those so heavily weighted by presupposition could possibly believe this was merely a mistake in identity. The Zionist track record is simply not very good. With what many refer to as an ethnic cleansing in the late 1940’s throughout the 50’s (see Elias Chacour’s “Blood Brothers“) and the attempted sinking of the $40m USS Liberty intelligence ship in international waters, what else are they prepared to do?

(In my view, the above video by sensationalist Alex Jones, somewhat clouds the waters.)

The following quotes are from the book, The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship (2009, Simon & Schuster), by James Scott, a longtime journalist living in South Carolina, whose father was an officer on the Liberty.[]

[With the Liberty] the United States had the capability to intercept and decipher VHF and UHF radio frequencies, common frequencies used for government and military communications…

In the case of the Liberty, the White House, afraid of offending Israel’s domestic backers at a time when it needed support for its Vietnam policy, looked the other way…

Hints of disbelief did emerge, often from small newspapers outside the Beltway. Many puzzled over how Israel’s exceptional military could make such a blunder…

[T]he overall lack of criticism of Israel baffled some senior government leaders. The dogged press corps consistently challenged the administration on its Vietnam policy and ambitious social programs. In the case of the Liberty, the press aimed most of its critical questions at the American government. Israel in contrast, enjoyed a reprieve. Reporters soon adopted the phrase ‘accidental attack,’ a description that frustrated Pentagon officials, who felt it minimized the ferocity of the sustained assault that had killed or injured two out of every three men on board…

“We were quite convinced the Israelis knew what they were doing,” [Thomas Hughes, director of the State Department’s Intelligence office] later said. “It was hard to come to any other conclusion.” Other senior staffers agreed, believing that Israel did not want the United States reading its wartime message traffic….

Despite Jerusalem’s close ties with Washington, many State Department officials–and others in the intelligence community–believed the Jewish state’s survival instinct was so strong that, if necessary, Israel would attack a close ally in the interest of self-preservation….

[According to William Wolle, former State Department:] “The feeling of those of us at the working level in NEA [State Department Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs] was that the Israelis had deliberately done this so that we couldn’t read all of their communications, etc. We are their ally but they are not going to trust us when it comes to a wartime situation in terms of what information might get out, what we might pass along to someone. We all felt it was no accident.”… 

Soon after the Liberty attack, [National Security Agency director Lieutenant General Marshall] Carter appeared before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to discuss the Liberty. [Deputy Secretary of Defense] Cyrus Vance joined him… “Cy Vance just told me to keep my mouth shut,” [Gerard] Burke [Carter’s chief of staff] recalled his boss telling him…. “There was absolutely no question in anybody’s mind that the Israelis had done it deliberately,” Burke said. “I was angrier because of the cover-up… The only mystery to me was why was the thing being covered up.”… 

Some of President Johnson’s advisers later regretted the handling of the attack. “We failed to let it all come out publicly at the time,” said Lucius Battle, the assistant secretary of state for near eastern and south Asian affairs. “We really ignored it for all practical purposes, and we shouldn’t have.” George Ball, the former undersecretary of state prior to [Nicholas] Katzenbach, wrote that the Liberty ultimately had a greater effect on policy in Israel than in the United States. “Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend Americans to the point of reprisal,” Ball wrote. “If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with anything.”

” . . . an act of military recklessness reflecting a wanton disregard for human life.”
Then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk in a 10 June 1967 diplomatic note to the Israeli Ambassador, wrote the following:
“But I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels, we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.” Rusk, As I Saw It, W.W.Norton, 1990. p 388
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