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April 5, 2005 6:54 PM   Subscribe

After decades of denial, official honors for terror bombers of Lavon Affair infamy. See also Liberty, USS.
posted by greatgefilte (36 comments total)

 
Have any other links on the matter for us Goyim who might be confused by a slanted link and intra-Zionist squabbling in the comments?
posted by klangklangston at 7:10 PM on April 5, 2005


Try this or this.

It's a peculiar development coming just a few weeks after Egypt returned its ambassador to Israel after an absence of four years. My guess is either that this was just very insensitive (i.e. "they were our spies and saboteurs so why shouldn't we honor them?") or a deliberate attempt to play to the Israeli right wing ahead of Israel's plan to pull out of Gaza and a bit of the West Bank starting this summer, which has been strongly opposed by settlers and hard-core Likudniks.
posted by senor biggles at 7:33 PM on April 5, 2005


Why do I think this wasn't the last Isreali false flag operation?
posted by undule at 7:37 PM on April 5, 2005


Sorry if I formulated the FPP suboptimally; I thought the blog post was pretty well-stocked. Anything else, and I would've just been plagiarizing.

And besides, the squabbling is entertaining.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:56 PM on April 5, 2005


Are they insane? Honoring these people as heroes? Way to improve relations with neighbors--not.

I've never ever heard of this.
posted by amberglow at 8:03 PM on April 5, 2005


Now that they have been officially recognised in Israel, the former agents are campaigning for a full account of their operation to be included in the high-school syllabus.--Haaretz

unbelievable. the definition of chutzpah.
posted by amberglow at 8:06 PM on April 5, 2005


jewschool is great, btw--and this is good news
posted by amberglow at 8:10 PM on April 5, 2005


The Lavron Affair was a bad thing, but the USS Liberty in the same FPP, seriously? The attack by Israeli planes on a US intelligence ship during the 1967 Six Day War, was investigated and found a mistake multiple times. Through declassified NSA decrypts. The CIA investigation. And ten other US investigations. Even if you don't believe any of the official investigations, just linking to a site claiming conspiracy seems a little off -- at least link to the (somewhat messy) Wikipedia article for an overview. Badly done.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:59 PM on April 5, 2005


Amber: Don't they have to be orphans to be the definition of chutzpah?
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 PM on April 5, 2005


i've never heard that definition (or is it a joke i'm not getting?)
posted by amberglow at 9:30 PM on April 5, 2005


okay, I don't get it. I guess I'm not cool enough.
posted by blacklite at 10:08 PM on April 5, 2005


A classic definition of chutzpa is someone who kills his father and mother, then begs for mercy because they are an orphan. Correct, klangklangston?

Also, more on the Liberty thing, since the sketchy insinuations of the post are still annoying me, the actual transcripts of the Israeli radio chatter during the attack.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:18 PM on April 5, 2005


ahhh : >
posted by amberglow at 10:23 PM on April 5, 2005


Are they insane?

Duh.
posted by scarabic at 10:33 PM on April 5, 2005


Yes, that's the classic definition of chutzpah.
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 PM on April 5, 2005


blah x 3: Sketchy insinuations? Merely a passing thought that if one 'conspiracy' to attack US targets was shown to be true, perhaps another might be as well at some point.
posted by greatgefilte at 11:03 PM on April 5, 2005


Re Egypt:
1) I really suspect that Egypt doesn't care all that much. This was >50 years ago, there were no egyptian victims, and there's enough spilled blood between the two countries (48,56,67,69-70,73) that this incident is quite minor by comparison.

2) Perhaps, this incident is actually meant to improve relations with Egypt. For many years, Israel distanced itself from the operation - either refusing to admit culpability at all, or saying that the operation was the work of rogue Military Intelligence officers, without knowledge or authorization either from the Mossad or from higher military echelons. Buried beneath this talk of 'heroes' is a admission by Israel that these were Israeli operatives on an official mission for the Israeli government.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:14 PM on April 5, 2005


Sketchy insinuations? Merely a passing thought that if one 'conspiracy' to attack US targets was shown to be true, perhaps another might be as well at some point.

Yes, that is the definition of an insinuation.

It is like a FPP on the CIA's 1954 coup in Guatamala, and then including a link at the end to a site that claims that the CIA orchestrated 9/11 or killed Kennedy. After all, if they did something underhanded once, how can we discount other accusations? And, of course, there is no better way of letting people make up their mind after that sort of set-up than linking to a conspiracy site. I mean, I can understand the problem, with over a dozen US government reviews and studies showing that there was no conspiracy, a conspiracy site makes much more interesting reading.

Again, poorly done.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:26 PM on April 5, 2005


MeTa
posted by schyler523 at 12:37 AM on April 6, 2005


err...MeTa
posted by schyler523 at 12:39 AM on April 6, 2005


Ten official inquiries by the United States.
posted by ori at 1:24 AM on April 6, 2005


Thanks, kicking, interesting points. I'm still not sure that in this day and age it's smart to honor people who planned to blow up movie theaters, post offices and US-funded libraries, whether or not they succeeded. Anyone trying that today would be called a terrorist. As for whether Egypt cares, well, their foreign minister says they do. Memories are long in the Middle East (including Israel) and I doubt this move will be helpful. If the aim was to admit responsibility, there are lots of other ways to do this without than having the President of Israel call them heroes.
posted by senor biggles at 3:17 AM on April 6, 2005


liberty this liberty that blah blah blah
The point is that Isreali operatives planned to kill US citizens and pin the blame on Arabs. And they are getting medals for attempting to do so.
posted by undule at 3:22 AM on April 6, 2005


I've never ever heard of this.

really?
I blame the liberal, Arab-loving US media!
posted by matteo at 3:54 AM on April 6, 2005


I've never ever heard of this.
really?
I blame the liberal, Arab-loving US media!


Or the fact that it happened in 1954. Why won't the stupid Israel-loving media cover breaking news like tbe Lavon Affair? Conspiracy!

Moving on to other contemporary topics: what about de Gaulle's police action in Algeria and McArthur deciding to cross into Chinese territory? We just aren't hearing enough about them in the news.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:07 AM on April 6, 2005


blahblah, the news is Israel now honors those criminals, 50 years after the fact.
it's news. n-e-w-s, no matter how embarrassed you are about it and how snarky that makes you.
the US media's reaction? please link to major news stories. MEMRI?

it happened in 1954.

the "facts" narrated in the Book of Genesis happened way before 1954. way before then. God knows the settlers keep mentioning them anyway
posted by matteo at 6:32 AM on April 6, 2005


Matteo, the Lavon Affair was a stupid disaster, one that brought down the government at the time. The rationale, however, is that these people were tortured, imprisoned, and several of them killed, while they were essentially disavowed by the government. Also, to correct your points, no one was killed in the bombings, and they were not awarded medals yesterday, despite the earlier post.

The planners of the illegal mission were forced to resign in disgrace, and their cases ended up in court -- the people who died to carry out their stupid orders were entirely ignored and left in prison. I don't think giving them a letter is as much N-E-W-S, as you seem to imply. Want proof? Only two articles in the Arab press on the ceremony.

On the other hand, Haaretz has an interesting article on the Egyptian reaction and the reasons for the ceremony.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:13 AM on April 6, 2005


blahblah, "stupid" is an interesting description for an Israeli false-flag operation against the US. was the Pollard spy operation "stupid" as well? some use language that is a bit stronger.


brought down the government at the time

I was under the impression that only the Defense Minister had to resign.
not exactly "brought down the govt"

to correct your points, no one was killed in the bombings,

I never said that, please don't put words in my mouth
posted by matteo at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2005


See also Vincennes, USS.

Iran Air Flight 655 "IR655" was a commercial flight operated by Iran Air, that flew on a Tehran-Bandar Abbas-Dubai route. On July 3, 1988, the flight was shot down by USS Vincennes on the Bandar Abbas-Dubai leg, which resulted in 290 civilian fatalities from six nations including 66 children. There were 38 non-Iranians aboard.

...

While issuing notes of regret over the loss of human life, the U.S. government has to date not admitted any wrongdoing or responsibility in this tragedy, nor apologized, but continues to blame Iranian hostile actions for the incident. The men of the Vincennes were all awarded combat-action ribbons. Commander Lustig, the air-warfare coordinator, even won the navy's Commendation Medal for "heroic achievement," his "ability to maintain his poise and confidence under fire," enabled him to "quickly and precisely complete the firing procedure."[4] (http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5260/vince.html) According to The Washington Post, 30 April 1990, the Legion of Merit, the U.S. armed forces second highest award, was presented to Captain Rogers and Lieutenant Commander Lustig on July 3, 1988. The citations did not mention the downing of the Iran Air flight at all.

posted by ori at 12:05 PM on April 6, 2005


LOL
WTF is that Ori? ok then! I'm convinced! Isreali false flag operations are ok by me!

you really want to distract this issue, eh?
posted by undule at 3:55 PM on April 6, 2005


While the NSA documents seem to paint the incident as an accident, testimony from USS Liberty sailors seems just as compelling.

In James Bamford's "Body of Secrets", he recounts that the Israeli planes were flying quite low enough to make out the American flag the ship was flying, and made several passes in an effort to identify it.

Also, it seems the Israelis were in the middle of committing a mass murder of POWS on the shore within the Libertyt's listening area, and the possible motive might have been to prevent documentation of that by the US.

Regardless...of who turns out to right or wrong in this particular case....shit like this happens all the time. False flag ops are used everywhere, and anywhere necessary.

Such is the business of war, and this is the business we have chosen.

ts
posted by timsteil at 5:38 PM on April 6, 2005


The Bamford account has been discredited since the 1997 document releases.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:43 PM on April 6, 2005


re: the possible motivations that could have led Israel to deliberately target the Liberty -- I think any discussion on this point is likely to be futile at worst, speculation at best. The Liberty survivors are not doing themselves any favours by indulging in this kind of theorizing...

On the other hand, there are some interesting points of (disputed) fact that, I think, should be followed up upon.

e.g. One of the crew claims that one of the Israeli pilots in the air that day contacted him after the publication of the former's book and said he refused to attack after seeing the American flag on the ship, and was jailed for this. (Scroll down about halfway, paragraph starts 'OF ALL THE REPORTS', or just search for 'Tovni' on that page.)

It would be an interesting endeavour to use Israel's version of the FOIA to research this further...
posted by greatgefilte at 9:50 PM on April 6, 2005


Gefilte, I do think motive is relevant. The idea that the attack was deliberate requires a reason. The two posited by pro-conspiracy folks (and repreated in the letter you link to in this most recent post) were the Bamford account and the belief that Israel did not want the US to know about its attack on the Golan. The Bamford account says that 1000 Egyptian prisoners of war were being killed at the time, but even the Egyptians never thought this happened, and, as you can see in the link above, Bamford was pretty dishonest with his evidence. The second view, about the Golan, became irrelevant after the US revealed in 1997 that the Israelis had warned them about the Golan attacks a day before the Liberty incident. Matteo argued (and your post seemed to imply) that a third motive would exist: that this was a false-flag attack to lure the US into the war. Despite his unusual statement that this is a common view, nobody, not even the most die-hard conspiracy theorist, holds this belief except Matteo, and it makes no sense, given that Israel made no effort to hide its actions, did not actually sink the ship, and immediately contacted the US once it realized the ship was American. In total, it seems that the case is pretty weak for the belief that it was conspiracy without any possible motive, which is why I found your use of insinuation, rather than fact, so bothersome.

As for the FOIA, as far as I can tell, Israel released a number of documents in 1997 (after the 30 year ban expired). I don't read Hebrew, but this is apparently the report from the Israeli navy and airforce in 1968. The transcripts I linked to above were similarly from the Israeli records, as was the material for Michael Oren's book (he also had access to Egyptian records). I know that people who believe that the attack was deliberate won't buy the Israeli accounts in any case, however, because if there was a conspiracy, it would of course all be part of the cover-up. When combined with the multiple US investigations and the lack of any motive or corroborating evidence, however, I think that it would be difficult to claim that a conspiracy is anywhere close to the most likely explaination. Which is why your FPP was so misleading.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:26 PM on April 6, 2005


A response to Matteo's post (which is, for some reason, on MeTa - he should really copy it over here).

Matteo claims that the Israelis were trying to drag the US into the war. This strikes me as rather odd - since the incident happened on June 8th, 1967, day four of the Six-day War. By that time, Israel had already won decisive victories on several fronts, and already had forces at the Suez canal, having already essentially captured all of the Sinai. The outcome of the war was scarcely in doubt at that point. Why, then, would they resort to such risky and desperate gambits, when they had already decisively bested their enemies and achieved their strategic aims?

Another reason I believe Matteo to be wrong is that, if the Israelis desperately wanted a Western ally at that point, America would not likely be who they'd turn to (I believe I've posted on this point before). Israel's current international position (where it is aligned primarily with the US), is largely a result of the wars of '67 and '73, and the resultant strategic shifts in the region. During the six-day war, the natural allies for Israel would have been France or the UK - which were her allies in the '56 Sinai campaign - rather than the US. (It should be noted that, in '67, Israel was using primarily French jets and british tanks [interestingly, some of those British tanks, WWII-vintage centurions, are still in active use by Israel, albeit in heavily modified variants]).

It was only after '67 (with the resulting pressure from Arab states) that France and the UK ceased to be Israel's primary military allies (a split that widened further after '73). Only during/after the Yom Kippur war, on the other hand, did Israel and the US develop a close military relationship, with the large shipments of American military aid during that war.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:24 AM on April 7, 2005


blah3 and kicking:

I think there's a distinction to be made between 'deliberate' and 'premeditated,' as with any kind of criminal offense. They may have recognized the Liberty as an American vessel, but decided to go ahead and attack it anyway. Why? Who knows, maybe they didn't want a foreign intelligence-gathering vessel eavesdropping on their war activities. There's also the anecdotal report of a threat by the Israelis to sink the ship if it didn't move (search for 'liberty' on that page to get to the goods).

So yeah, maybe it's not a conspiracy, but I very much doubt the truth lies with either of the two sides -- it's probably somewhere in middle.

(By the way, The Liberty site I linked to in the original FPP, while obviously taking one side in the debate, has a _lot_ of information, some of it useful, some of it now. Inasmuch as it also links to a number of sites relating the Israeli side of the story, I think it's a good resource. The observant reader will recognize it for what it is.)
posted by greatgefilte at 8:13 AM on April 7, 2005


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