Retired Captain Ward Boston, a former U.S. Navy attorney who was senior legal counsel to the military investigation of the near sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty by the Israelis, in 1967, has finally revealed the truth in a signed affidavit:

“For more than 30 years, I have remained silent on the topic of the USS Liberty. I am a military man and when orders come in from the Secretary of Defense and President of the United States, I follow them….

“The evidence was clear. Both [the late] Admiral [Isaac C.] Kidd, [Jr.] and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American sailors and injured 172 others, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew. I am certain that the Israeli pilots that undertook the attack, as well as their superiors who had ordered the attack, were aware that the ship was American….

“I am outraged at the efforts of the apologists for Israel in this country to claim that this attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity.’ … I know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

At a news conference, put on in the Rayburn House Office Building with the help of Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), retired Admiral Thomas Moorer, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thundered from his wheelchair:

Why in the world would our government put Israel’s interest ahead of our own?

A good question, one that baffles patriots – and is especially relevant today.

When Israeli war planes descended on the Liberty, which was parked in international waters in the Mediterranean, the crew was caught completely unawares: sailors were up on deck sunning themselves. It was a cowardly and vicious attack in which 34 U.S. sailors were killed, and 171 wounded. When the Israelis, after torpedoing the ship, came back in a second assault, they strafed the lifeboats as the crew tried to clamber aboard – a war crime. Those rafts are now on display in an Israeli museum, according to one account, and, as the [UK] Guardian points out:

“No one was ever court-martialed, reduced in rank or even reprimanded. Israel chose instead to honor motor torpedo boat 203, which fired the deadly torpedo at the Liberty. The ship’s wheel and bell were placed on prominent display at the naval museum, among the maritime artifacts of which the Israeli navy was most proud.”

Ah yes, our friends, the Israelis. It takes a special kind of arrogance to memorialize such a wanton, brazen murder – especially when U.S. taxpayers paid for that memorial, as they pay for practically everything else in Israel, from helicopter gunships and tanks to special subsidies for religious schools and right-wing politicians.

Apologists for Israel defend the attack, saying it was a “mistake,” and, alternately (and often simultaneously) pointing out that the Liberty was spying on Israel in wartime, and so deserved its fate. But now, thirty-five years later, the truth has been uncovered at last. The question raised by Admiral Moorer is surely relevant, but beyond that, another issue arises: what else are they covering up?

The official verdict was hardly challenged at the time – except by the survivors and the families
of the dead – an attitude that reflected the generally pro-Israel bias of the American media, but there was one prominent exception: National Review. The flagship journal of the American conservative movement ran an article that gave “the inside story” on the incident. Author James Jackson Kilpatrick reported what many of the survivors were saying at the time: that the attack was deliberate.

Now that NR has been vindicated, do you think they’ll have a piece triumphantly pointing out that Jackson’s reporting was right? Sadly, I rather doubt it. The NR of yesteryear was a patriotic nationalist magazine that put America first: the NR of today is Ariel Sharon’s bitch. No, we won’t be seeing so much as a note about this in the thoroughly neocon-ized National Review any time soon.


Speaking of cover-ups, has anybody noticed that the story about the anti-terrorist sting operation involving the sale of surface-to-air missiles seems to have disappeared into the ether? It was an odd item, involving a reputed arms dealer, Hemant Lakhani, a native of India, and one Yehuda Abraham, of Rego Park, New York, an Orthodox Jewish gem merchant. Mr. Abraham was charged with coordinating the financial transactions involved. He denies knowing what was being sold and to whom. Lakhani and a Malaysian accomplice were detained without bond, while the 75-year-old Abraham was released on a $10 million bond. The story then dropped out of sight, except for this exculpatory story in which the old crook “pours out his heart” in an interview:

“‘My wife cried because she didn’t know how I would manage. It was a dog house,’ he recalled. His nightmare was eased only when his wife, Zina, was granted permission to take him kosher food.'”

His wife wails:

“We are family people, we have children and grandchildren. Whenever we see a terrorist attack in Israel or elsewhere on television, I always see Yehuda take out his handkerchief to wipe his eye. Never in our life have we been to court for anything.”

Yeah, well there’s always a first time – especially when you’re in the habit of financing arms transfers to terrorists who openly express admiration for Osama bin Laden and talk about how they’re going to down a U.S. airliner with a SAM.

Abraham’s defense, as he puts it, seems to be that he is “incapable” of aiding and abetting terrorism precisely because of who he is: but wouldn’t that be the perfect cover?

An Israeli connection to Islamic terrorist activity in the U.S. has been a longstanding theme of the continuing “Israeli art students” story: Salon, Fox News, Le Monde, Die Zeit, and this column have all broached the possibility. In Mr. Abraham we have someone who is a staunch supporter of Israel, an immigrant from Afghanistan, the head of an international gem-dealing business with offices in Bangkok and Saudi Arabia – just the sort of person who might be useful to the Israelis – with a direct connection to terrorist activity.

And I’ll tell you what really worries me: the re-appearance of those Israeli “art students” – in Canada, this time – in tandem with the news of an unspecified “missle threat” to planes landing in Toronto. An El Al flight from Israel’s Ben Gurion airport to Toronto was diverted to nearby Hamilton because El Al had information about a possible SAM attack. Question: How did El Al get this inside information?

The U.S. government covered up Israel’s murder and maiming of American sailors for 35 years. Are we going to have to wait that long before we uncover the history of Israel’s more recent misdeeds?

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].