Israel destroyed the USS Liberty, OK. But what was the motive?
(Mondoweiss) -- by Philip Weiss --
The USS Liberty is in the news. A former Navy signalman on the spy ship bombed to hell by the Israelis in 1967 was on the Gaza freedom flotilla, and John Mearsheimer has argued that the Liberty case shows that when the Israelis kill Americans, nothing happens. (Mearsheimer also cited Rachel Corrie's killing in Rafah in 2003 and Furkan Dogan's killing on the Mavi Marmara on May 31).
I like the Liberty story because it's so grotesque: 34 Americans killed and dozens wounded in daylight on the Mediterranean during the Six-Day War in a savage and repeated attack on an intelligence vessel. Officially described as a mistake, but few of the survivors believe it. Didn't the Israelis know what they were doing?
But if it was deliberate, what was the motive?
Lately I've been reading The Passionate Attachment, by the late former under secretary of State George W. Ball and his son Douglas Ball, and it argues that the Israelis were fearful that the U.S. would report on continued Israeli hostilities at a time when the U.N. had voted for a ceasefire. On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the war, they say, Israel still wanted to conquer the Golan Heights.
"[T]he United Nations had adopted a cease-fire resolution and they [the Israelis] feared there might not be enough time to accomplish this objective without, as it were, going into overtime....MORE...LINK
"The Liberty's presence and function were known to Israel's leaders. They presumably thought it vital that the Liberty be prevented from informing Washington of their intentions to violate any cease-fire before they had completed their occupation of the Golan. Their solution was brutal and direct. Israeli aircraft determined the exact location of the ship and undertook a combined air-naval attack...
[B]y permitting a cover-up of Israel's attack on the Liberty, President Johnson told the Israelis in effect that nothing they did would induce American politicians to refuse their bidding. From that time forth, the Israelis began to act as if they had an inalienable right to American aid and backing.