Anniversaries That Need Remembering
The Passionate Attachment
June 4, 2012
In the next few days we are going to see anniversaries of some events that need remembering and that the truth be told about them.
Tomorrow, June 5, will mark 45 years since Israel launched an early-morning attack on Egypt which was its first step in taking over the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai. It gave up Sinai in 1979 in exchange for Egypt’s removing itself from the anti-Zionist front and defense of Arab interests and in 2005, Israel changed Gaza’s status from being a physically occupied territory to becoming the world’s largest prison camp. Israeli propagandists still insist that Israel was the victim of an Arab attack and thanks to the dominance of their friends in the media, many Americans believe that big lie. The truth needs to be told.
Wednesday, June 6, is the 30th anniversary of Israel’s second invasion of Lebanon (1978 was the first) with 80,000 soldiers which, combined with its air force, took the lives of more than 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians and wounded tens of thousands more. Curiously, Israel’s barbarism, which included the heavy use of white phosphorous and cluster bombs on wholly civilian populations, not only did not result in calls for NATO intervention but it was wildly applauded by both the Democrats and Republicans (and especially since it was an election year) and also by the AFL-CIA as it was accidentally, but properly labeled by Pres. GHW Bush when he spoke to it while president.
While people remember the Sabra and Shatila massacre by the Christian Falangists with Israeli assistance and under Israeli supervision in Sept. that year, the rest of the war and the 18 years of occupation that followed have been largely forgotten, except by those who experienced it. Our job is to tell others about it.
On Friday, June 8, 1967, three days after destroying the Egyptian air force in the early morning hours at the start of the war, the Israelis attacked, without warning, the USS Liberty, a lightly armed US Navy intelligence ship anchored offshore that was monitoring radio traffic, and murdered 34 US sailors and wounded 171 more in an attempt to sink the ship and blame it on the Egyptians while making sure the US did not hear Israel’s radio communications about its plans to seize Syria’s Golan Hts.
Fighter planes from a US air craft carrier were launched in response to a call for help from the stricken ship but when Pres. Lyndon Johnson, who was in the Israel Lobby’s pocket, and War Secretary MacNamara, learned that the attackers were Israeli, they ordered the planes to turn back, leaving their fellow Americans to be slaughtered.
When the ship did not sink and the survivors were eventually rescued, Pres. Johnson orchestrated a criminal cover-up, assisted by Adm. John S. McCain Jr., war criminal John’s father, and ordered the survivors not to speak a word about it under penalty of court-martial and a pliant Congress and an equally pliant media, knowing who paid for their butter AND their bread, and not wanting to rain on Israel and American Jewry’s wave of triumphalism, have kept the story of the crime and the cover-up out of the pages of the media and off our TV screens to this day.
So the message the US sent to Israel was that it could get away with anything, including the killing of American servicemen, and so it has. The remaining Liberty survivors are calling for a long delayed Congressional investigation of Israel’s crime. They need to be supported and the public, particularly veterans, need to be educated about the USS Liberty and learn the true nature of America’s “trusted” ally.
Jeff Blankfort is a Middle East analyst who has written extensively on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is a former editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin, a photo journalist and currently hosts a program on international affairs called “Takes on the World” for KZYX, the public radio station of Mendocino County in California.