Trending Topics:

‘The New York Times’ runs Israeli propaganda on ’67 War: It was ‘defensive’

Media Analysis
on 64 Comments

Yesterday’s international edition of the New York Times contains a scandalously counter-historical article by David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner, entitled “Netanyahu sees a principle in taking Golan”, which accepts as given, without the slightest historical corrective or nuance, contentions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the 1967 Arab-Israeli war was a “defensive” war on Israel’s part.

Netanyahu’s statements:

“When you start wars of aggression, you lose territory, do not come and claim it afterwards…

“Everyone says you can’t hold an occupied territory, but this proves you can. If occupied in a defensive war, then it’s ours.”

Pompeo:

“Israel was fighting a defensive battle to save its nation, and it cannot be the case that a U.N. resolution is a suicide pact.”

The article contains extensive commentary on whether international law actually justifies acquisition of land by conquest, but there is no hint in this article of any fundamental — or even potential — historical reality problem with these assertions from the willfully deceitful Netanyahu and the utterly clueless Pompeo.

Surely Halbfinger and Kershner (as well as Netanyahu though probably not Pompeo) must know that Israel attacked first in 1967. That’s how it destroyed virtually the entire Egyptian air force on the ground in the first hours of the war.

For many years, Israeli generals and political leaders have argued that their attack was “preemptive”, since they believed that the Arabs were about to attack them. However, some generals subsequently admitted that they did not really believe this but, rather, simply saw an opportunity and seized it — hence a “preventive” war, the trendy euphemism for a war of aggression.

Mehdi Hasan revisited this subject in the Intercept on the 50th anniversary of the day when Israel launched its “Six-Day War”. He quoted prominent and knowledgeable Israelis confirming that this war was a war of choice initiated by Israel. Notably, Prime Minister Menachem Begin stated publicly in 1982: “We must be honest with ourselves. We chose to attack them.”

At the time, this admission was duly and accurately reported by the New York Times.

In an interview by James North on the 50th anniversary, Norman Finkelstein also took apart historical myths about the war:

* Egyptian president Gamal abdel Nasser and the other Arab leaders had absolutely no intention of invading Israel in June 1967.

* Israel’s existence was never in the slightest doubt, as both Israeli and American leaders knew that Israel could easily win any conflict, even against a coalition of  Arab states.

* The U.S. agreed with Israel that Nasser had no plans to attack.

* The U.S. tacitly gave Israel permission to start the war, or at least indicated there would be no repeat of Eisenhower’s repudiation after the 1956 Suez invasion.

Furthermore, the most widely believed reason why on June 8, several days after starting the 1967 war, Israel tried to sink the American spy ship USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans and wounding 171, was that Israel suspected that the ship might be overhearing Israel’s communications about its plans to attack Syria, which could have led the U.S. government to lean on Israel not to attack Syria. Israel took the Golan on June 9-10.

The Times has been showing some encouraging progress of late on Israel/Palestine, but this article is a reversion to the worst days of propaganda and disinformation.

 

About John V. Whitbeck

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

64 Responses

  1. Nathan
    Nathan on March 29, 2019, 3:38 pm

    It happens quite often here at Mondoweiss that there is an article in which the author is just stunned that the NY Times actually published an article that does not present the anti-Israel narrative. All the writers seem to be very intelligent people, however they just don’t understand that there are others who see the world differently. Yes, in the anti-Israel perspective, Israel fired the first shot and therefore she is the aggressive power. However, there are others who see the amassing of Egyptian forces in Sinai, the closing of the straits of Tiran, etc as serious threats not to be taken lightly. In the anti-Israel world, the threats to annihilate Israel and to drive her people into the sea were just casual and meaningless small talk. However, for others these threats were very serious and very scary. And, of course, in the anti-Israel alternative reality, there is never any room for criticism of the Arabs’ actions no matter how outrageous (for fear of justifying the Israelis, heaven help us). However, there are others who understand that the Arabs are thinking adults (worthy of our criticism), and hence they will claim that President Nasser of Egypt created the crisis that lead to war, and he knew that there would be war.

    It should be noted that the Soviet and Arab delegations to the UN tried very hard to get the Security Council to define Israel the aggressor, but to no avail. It was very clear that Israel was justified in going to war. This is why UNSC 242 speaks of the return of territories only with the establishment of peace. It’s also worthy of mention that the battle orders of the Jordanian army were captured during the war. The Jordanian officers were ordered to kill the population of the Israeli villages and towns that they were going to capture. In other words, there was an intention to invade Israel that apparently went by Norman Finkelstein.

    Finally, the protocols of the 1967 Israeli government have been published. There one can read about the terrible fear of the government ministers. The chief of staff of the army had a nervous breakdown. He was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the crisis. I know that anti-Israel people couldn’t care less about the anxiety of the Israeli public, and certainly threats directed at others (whom you hate) are of very little interest. However, a thinking adult viewing the events seriously has to make further observations beyond the non-sensical statement that Nasser had no plans to attack. Even an anti-Israel person should be able to fathom somehow that those against whom the terrible threats were directed might conclude that the situation is very bad.

    • JaapBo
      JaapBo on March 29, 2019, 5:28 pm

      Most threats came from Israel, not from the Arabs. Israels threat to attack Syria was the reason Egypt send its army into the Sinai.
      When you want to know facts read e.g. Zeev Maoz’ “Defending the Holy Land” or Norman Finkelstein’s chapter on the war in “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict”.

      • Neil Schipper
        Neil Schipper on March 29, 2019, 6:14 pm

        “We knew that by closing the Gulf of Aqaba it might mean war with Israel. [If war comes] it will be total and the objective will be to destroy Israel.”
        – Gamal Abdel Nasser
        (Washington Post, May 27, 1967)

      • Talkback
        Talkback on March 30, 2019, 5:06 am

        Do you understand why they knew it, Neil Shipper? Not because it was an act of war, but because Israel would see it as one.

        “Israeli Prime Minister Eshkol repeated declarations that Israel had made in 1957, saying that closure of the Straits of Tiran would be an act of war.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_the_Six-Day_War#The_Straits_of_Tiran_closure

    • RoHa
      RoHa on March 29, 2019, 11:00 pm

      “however they just don’t understand that there are others who see the world differently.”

      You keep saying this. What is your point? Do you think that, if a Zionist sees things differently from an anti-Zionist, the Zionist is automatically right?

      “It was very clear that Israel was justified in going to war.”

      It was very clear that the Security Council said that Israel was justified. Under standard Just War theory, Israel was the aggressor. Starting a war with a pre-emptive strike is only permissable when the enemy attack is imminent. Threats are not sufficient to justify an attack.
      In the case of the 67 war, it was obvious that the Egyptians were not going to attack.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on March 30, 2019, 10:58 am

        “however they just don’t understand that there are others who see the world differently.”

        A very high percentage of them.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on March 30, 2019, 6:37 am

      Nathan: “Yes, in the anti-Israel perspective, Israel fired the first shot and therefore she is the aggressive power.”

      ROFL. Is it different in the anti-Gentile perspective? Israel did indeed attack Egypt and was the aggressive power.

      Nathan: “However, there are others who see the amassing of Egyptian forces in Sinai, the closing of the straits of Tiran, etc as serious threats not to be taken lightly.”

      Well, not the honest Israelis in politics and military according to their own post-war statements. So who are these relevant “others”? Maybe invisible freinds?

      SinaI: Egypt had a right to build up a defensive position. Especially because Israel never allowed UN forces on its side of the border after it allready had attacked Egypt in 1956 to get control over the Suez Canal. Bear in mind that Egypt wanted to bring the UNEF forces back to deescalate the situatition. But Israel attacked.

      Straits of Tiran: Egypt had not signed the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone which would have allowed Israel free passage through Egypt’s waters. Egypt had a good legal case for closing the straits be cause passage is only “innocent” as long as it isn’t prejudicial to the peace, good order, or security of Egypt. An Israeli-flagged ship had not passed through the straits in two years and the Egyptian navy had only searched a couple of ships and thereafter relaxed the implemantation.

      Bear in mind that Egypt was on its way to the UN to settle this legal question to deescalate the situation. But Israel attacked.

      Nathan: “However, there are others who understand that the Arabs are thinking adults (worthy of our criticism), and hence they will claim that President Nasser of Egypt created the crisis that lead to war, and he knew that there would be war.”

      However, there are others who understand that the Israelis are thinking adults (worthy of our criticism), and hence they will claim that Israel created the crisis that lead to war by commiting a calculated large cross-border assault on Jordanian in 1966, not allowing UNEF forces on its side of the borders, not waiting for Egypt to settle the legal case for closing the straits and then finally starting the war against Egypt by simultaneously attacking nine Egyptian air bases. In short: Not doing anything which even comes close to deescalating the situation. To the contrary. Constantly claiming that they would go to full scale war if the straits were closed.

      Nathan: “It should be noted that the Soviet and Arab delegations to the UN tried very hard to get the Security Council to define Israel the aggressor, but to no avail.”

      Israel lied to the security council and claimed that it was attacked. After it was caught lying it changed its lie into the “necessary-pre-emptive-strike” lie which was later debunked by Israeli politicians and generals. You are even making a point for the Arabs states which weren’t defined as aggressors either.

      Israel deceived the world in 1967, and paid the price for it in 1973
      https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-deceived-the-world-in-67-and-paid-the-price-in-73-1.5479696

      Nathan: “It was very clear that Israel was justified in going to war.”

      Clear for whom? Your invisible freinds? The UN Charter doesn’t justify GOING TO war. It only justifies defending against somone who GOES to war. Otherwise everybody could claim like Israel that they only “defended” themselves by GOING TO war.

      Nathan: “This is why UNSC 242 speaks of the return of territories only with the establishment of peace. ”

      No it doesn’t at all. It always surprises me why you all claim the same idiocies over and over again. Read 242 and point out where it says that the territories are to returned “only” with the establishment of peace? To the contray. It speaks very clearly about the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” even if there isn’t peace. And it clearly says that the withdrawal of Israeli troops is one of the principles that is required to establish peace. Israel has no territory to “return”, because it has never been Israel’s. It can only end its illegal colonialization, illegal annexation and illegal belligerent occupation of these territories. This is required from Israel even if it there isn’t peace, because it doesn’t want peace but instead permamently violating international and human rights law without any resistance.

      Nathan: ” I know that anti-Israel people couldn’t care less about the anxiety of the Israeli public, and certainly threats directed at others (whom you hate) are of very little interest. However, a thinking adult viewing the events seriously has to make further observations beyond the non-sensical statement that Israel had no plans to attack Even an anti-Israel person should be able to fathom somehow that those against whom the terrible threats were directed might conclude that the situation is very bad.”

      I know that the anti-Gentile people couldn’t care less that the Israeli public was manipulated by its warmongers into believing that Israel was facing annihiolation and certainly Israeli threats directed at others (whom you hate) are of very little interest. However, a thinking adult viewing the events seriously has to make further observations beyond the non-sensical statement that Israel had no plans to attack since 1956. Even an anti-Gentile person should be able to fathom somehow that those against whom the terrible Israeli threats and attacks were directed might conclude that the situation is very bad.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on March 30, 2019, 9:17 am

        The Israelis had been itching to take the West Bank and ‘the Old City’ since ‘48, and any narrow reference to goings on in ‘67 as the catalyst for Israeli action is horse bleep.

        “Generations have not yet passed and all those matters have been repaired,” Eshkol stated in his first cabinet session after the ceasefire, on 11 June, referring to Ben-Gurion who considered the failure to take the West Bank in ‘48 a cause for “lamentation for generations to come.” “We are now an empire,” announced Dayan at the IAF victory ball.
        The Bride and the Dowry, Avi Raz.

        Raz wrote earlier in his book about what amounted to a ME Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ whereby Israeli state radio reported Egyptian armored advances towards the Negev on the morning of June 5, 1967, and radar signatures of Egyptian jets approaching “the coasts of our country.” None of this was true and the IAF had already begun offensive operations earlier in the day.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on March 30, 2019, 9:04 am

      @Nathan, et al

      Reality:

      At 7:45 AM on 5 June 1967, Israel attacked Egypt and thereby, Jordan and Syria who each shared a mutual defense pact with Egypt. The attack took place just hours before Egypt’s VP Mohieddine was to fly to Washington for a prearranged June 7th meeting with the Johnson administration to defuse the crisis between Egypt and Israel based on an agreement worked out in Cairo between Nasser and Johnson’s envoy, Robert Anderson. In a cable sent to Johnson on May 30, Israel’s PM Eshkol promised not to attack Egypt until June 11 to give diplomacy a chance to succeed. However, on June 4, when it heard about the June 7th meeting and the distinct possibility that it would rule out war, Israel’s cabinet ordered its armed forces to attack Egypt the next day. In short, the war was another massive land grab by Israel.

      Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former Minister without portfolio in PM Levi Eshkol’s cabinet, while addressing Israel’s National Defence College on 8 August 1982: “In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” (New York Times, 21 August 1982)

      Meir Amit, chief of Israel’s Mossad: “Egypt was not ready for a war and Nasser did not want a war.”

      Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” (Le Monde, 25 February, 1968)

      Prime Minister Eshkol: “The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military buildup there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel.” (Yediot Aharonot, l8 October 1967)

      Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defence: “Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter [and] it was our best judgment that a UAR attack was not imminent.” (The Vantage Point, Lyndon Johnson, p. 293)

      An article published in the New York Times (4 June 1967) just hours before Israel attacked notes that Major General Indar Jit Rikhye, Commander of UNEF in the Middle East, “who toured the Egyptian front, confirms that Egyptian troops were not poised for an offensive.”

      On May 26, in reply to Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban’s assertion that according to Israeli intelligence, “an Egyptian and Syrian attack is imminent,” Secretary of State Dean Rusk dismissed the claim and assured Eban that Israel faced no threat of attack from Egypt. On the same day, during a meeting at the Pentagon, Eban was also told by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and his aides that “…Egyptian forces were not in an aggressive posture and that Israel was not opening itself to peril by not attacking immediately. The contrary was true, Eban was told.” (Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, pp. 140-41)

      As the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) Commander, Major General Idar Jit Rikhye, revealed, Nasser was not enforcing the blockade of the Tiran straits: “[The Egyptian] navy had searched a couple of ships after the establishment of the blockade and thereafter relaxed its implementation.”

      According to Patrick Seale, highly regarded historian and journalist, Israel had been meticulously preparing for another war against the Arabs since its 1956 invasion of Egypt: “In the decade since the Suez campaign Israel had built up forces that could move fast and hit hard: mobile armoured units able to cover long distances, mechanized infantry, heliborne and naval paratroopers for use behind enemy lines, and above all an air force of Mirage and Super-Mystere interceptors and Mystere fighter-bombers of unchallenged superiority. The main lesson Israel had learned from the [1956] Suez war was the importance of air dominance not only to neutralize Arab air forces but also for use as flying artillery against infantry and tanks.” (Patrick Seale, Asad…, p. 117)

      Ezer Weizman, former commander of Israel’s Air Force confirmed in his memoirs that Israel spent years meticulously planning the attack against Egypt: “For five years I had been talking of this operation, explaining it, hatching it, dreaming of it, manufacturing it link by link, training men to carry it out.” Recalling how he felt at 7:30 A.M. on 5 June 1967, Weizman wrote: “Now in a quarter of an hour, we would know if it was only a dream or whether it would come true….” (Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem…, p. 202)

      Due largely to sloppy or deliberately misleading reporting by their main stream media just prior to and after the war, many Americans became convinced that Nasser was preparing to launch a genocidal war against Israel. Television news commentators and newspaper articles quoted him as declaring during a radio broadcast on 26 May 1967, “our basic objective will be to destroy Israel.”

      This classic example of misrepresentation by omission was a key tactic in what proved to be a successful propaganda campaign by the pro-Israel lobby to convince Americans and much of the western world that Israel’s invasion of Egypt was justified.

      Nasser’s full statement to the Arab world on Egyptian radio during his May 26th address to the General Council of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions regarding the possibility of war with Israel was as follows:

      “If Israel embarks on an aggression against Syria or Egypt, the battle against Israel will be a general one and not confined to one spot on the Syrian or Egyptian border. The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel.” (Translated by the Foreign Broadcasting Information Service, a U.S. agency in Washington; Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace?, Middle East Perspective, Inc., New York, 1979, p. 553)

      Clearly, Nasser’s speech confirmed he did not intend to initiate a war against Israel. He left no doubt, however, that if Egypt or its mutual defense pact ally Syria was attacked by Israel, he would respond with total war. (Jordan signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt on May 30.)

      Regrettably, the only portion of Nasser’s speech quoted by leading American television commentators, including Huntley and Brinkley and Walter Cronkite, and in articles published in newspapers such as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune was the last eight words. As a result, Nasser was falsely portrayed to the American public and the western world as thirsting to start a war of annihilation against Israel. (Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection…, p. 553)

      • Talkback
        Talkback on March 30, 2019, 11:22 am

        Great stuff, Misterioso. As always.

      • annie
        annie on March 30, 2019, 12:08 pm

        thanks Misterioso, that’s a keeper.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on March 31, 2019, 10:03 am

        Thanks, Misterioso–an informative book mark for sure!

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot on April 2, 2019, 4:48 am

      Nathan, the part where you are right is that many people believed Israel was in grave danger. That’s about it. The key people in the military knew that Israeli dominance was overwhelming. The rest didn’t need to know that. The neighbouring countries knew of course, they’d known for a long time they couldn’t afford war with Israel. You certainly don’t need to know that. The only thing you need to know is that your tribe demands your loyalty.

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic on April 2, 2019, 9:00 am

        The best book describing the origin of the 1967 war is probably The Fall of Jerusalem by Abdallah (Mark) Schleifer. He puts the origin in the context of the Yemen civil war, which everyone seems to have forgotten.

        Schleifer is an interesting guy. Click here.

        A close confidant of Nasser was passing information to the Israeli government in the prelude to the war. The Israeli government knew that Egypt was not going to attack and knew when Egypt went off high alert and stood down militarily.

        In the most charitable explanation of the confidant’s behavior, he was trying to calm the Israeli government and prevent war. Instead, he seems to have started the war because the Israeli government saw an opportunity to destroy the Egyptian air force and to finish the job of conquering the rest of Palestine.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on April 2, 2019, 10:03 am

        Alan Hart:

        “My headline takes me back 35 years to the day when I had a remarkably frank (honest) conversation in Tel Aviv with then retired Major General Shlomo Gazit, the very best and the brightest of Israel’s Directors of Military Intelligence. I put to him my conclusion that “It’s all nonsense.” I meant and said that contrary to the assertions spewed out by its leaders, Israel’s existence had never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab and other Muslim military force and was never likely to be. Through a sad smile Shlomo replied, “The trouble with us Israelis is that we’ve become the victims of our own propaganda.”
        http://www.alanhart.net/yes-jews-are-the-victims-of-zionist-propaganda/

      • gamal
        gamal on April 2, 2019, 12:01 pm

        “Schleifer is an interesting guy”

        Abdallah Schleifers black American Muslim wife, in the 80’s i guess or early 90’s is the first and only woman ever to refuse to shake my proffered hand in a Turkish restaurant in Little Venice, no big thing it is always useful to be taught proper Muslim ways by converts, happens all the time, and Schleifer spent the time complaining about the bad behavior of the Iranians to other important people present, he must be old now if he still alive he was old then.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot on April 2, 2019, 4:43 pm

        Yonifalic, however worthy the story of the Yemen war in the sixties is in itself, afaik it is easy to summarize the impact of the Yemen war on Egypt for the six day war: it made Egypt even weaker than it would have been otherwise and reluctant to doing anything adventurous.

        As for who in the Israeli government had a good picture of the actual situation, as for where the dividing line was between those who knew and were lying, and the others who were being manipulated: that dividing line is often extremely messy and blurry and I keep being astounded by the bullshit the liars actually believe in.

  2. Jethro
    Jethro on March 29, 2019, 5:20 pm

    You only need to see Isabel Kershner’s name in the byline to know that what follows will be 100% unadulterated hasbara.

    • Neil Schipper
      Neil Schipper on March 29, 2019, 6:15 pm

      “Our path to Palestine will not be covered with a red carpet or with yellow sand. Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood… In order that we may liberate Palestine, the Arab nation must unite, the Arab armies must unite, and a unified plan of action must be established.”
      – Gamal Abdel Nasser
      (Pre-election speech, 1965; quoted in Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History [Yale University Press, 2007], p. 162)

      • eljay
        eljay on March 29, 2019, 8:40 pm

        || Neil Schipper: “Our path to Palestine will not be covered with a red carpet or with yellow sand. Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood… In order that we may liberate Palestine, the Arab nation must unite, the Arab armies must unite, and a unified plan of action must be established.”
        – Gamal Abdel Nasser … ||

        I agree that “Arabs” simply aren’t as good as Zionists at making the unpalatable sound palatable less unpalatable.

  3. marc b.
    marc b. on March 29, 2019, 9:59 pm

    “Israel was able to launch its surprise attack against Egypt and Syria at the beginning of the Six-Day War thanks to information provided to Mossad by an intelligence network of former Nazis, according to a book by an Italian who claims to have played a role.“

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ex-nazis-gave-mossad-the-edge-in-six-day-war-q6fk5wp6z

    • Keith
      Keith on March 30, 2019, 12:49 am

      MARC B- ““Israel was able to launch its surprise attack against Egypt and Syria at the beginning of the Six-Day War thanks to information provided to Mossad by an intelligence network of former Nazis….”

      From your link: “Adriano Monti fought, aged 15, in the international division of the German SS at the end of the Second World War and was recruited into a postwar intelligence organisation founded by General Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen had run German army espionage efforts against eastern Europe during the war and worked closely with the CIA after it. His “Gehlen Organisation” became the backbone of West Germany’s foreign intelligence organisation, the BND.”

      Since (former Nazi General) Reinhard Gehlen worked for the CIA, the intelligence was provided by the US.

    • James Canning
      James Canning on April 1, 2019, 11:33 am

      The US provided Israel high-resolution photographs of the Egyptian air force sitting on the ground, so it could be taken out easily by Israel in its surprise attack.

  4. klm90046
    klm90046 on March 29, 2019, 11:46 pm

    A blockade is an act of war. Egypt must therefore take responsibility for starting the war, even if the actual shooting was started by Israel.

    Having said that, let me also quote a top Israeli general:-
    “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June, 1967, and that Israel
    was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after
    the war.”
    Israeli General Matityahu Peled, March 19, 1972. Quoted in THE BLACK HOLOCAUST AND OTHER TRAGEDIES (2006)

    • Talkback
      Talkback on March 30, 2019, 5:08 am

      klm90046: “A blockade is an act of war.”

      Not so fast!

      “Egypt stated that the Gulf of Aqaba had always been a national inland waterway subject to the sovereignty of the only three legitimate littoral States — Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt — who had the right to bar enemy vessels. The representative of the United Arab Republic further stated that “Israel’s claim to have a port on the Gulf was considered invalid, as Israel was alleged to have occupied several miles of coastline on the Gulfline, including Umm Rashrash, in violation of Security Council resolutions of 1948 and the Egyptian-Israel General Armistice Agreement.”[150]

      The Arab states disputed Israel’s right of passage through the Straits, noting they had not signed the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone specifically because of article 16(4) which provided Israel with that right.[151]

      In the United Nations General Assembly debates after the war, the Arab states and their supporters argued that even if international law gave Israel the right of passage, Israel was not entitled to attack Egypt to assert that right, because the closure was not an “armed attack” as defined by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Supporting this view in a letter written to the New York Times in June 1967, lawyer Roger Fisher argued that

      The United Arab Republic had a good legal case for restricting traffic through the Strait of Tiran. First it is debatable whether international law confers any right of innocent passage through such a waterway…. [Secondly]… a right of innocent passage is not a right of free passage for any cargo at any time. In the words of the Convention on the Territorial Sea: ‘Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order, or security of the coastal state… taking the facts as they were I, as an international lawyer, would rather defend before the International Court of Justice the legality of the U.A.R’s action in closing the Strait of Tiran than to argue the other side of the case…[152]”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_the_Six-Day_War#The_Straits_of_Tiran_closure

      • Nathan
        Nathan on April 2, 2019, 1:01 pm

        Talkback – Obviously, the legalistic argument that you present is based on the overall ideological position that Israel has no legitimacy, littoral or otherwise. However, the real issue is political, not legal. Was it wise on the part of Mr Nasser to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping? He knew that his action meant war. Everyone at this forum seems to be eager to prove that Mr Nasser had no intention of going to war, but it’s simply untrue. He created a crisis that by definition was intended to provoke war. Was it wise? I understand that in an anti-Israel website everyone is an apologist for the Arabs. The most absurd or idiotic policy will never merit even a raising of the eyebrow. The answer is clearly that Mr Nasser made a bad move. He had agreed already in 1957 to allow Israeli shipping. When one hears the argument that Egypt wasn’t even prepared for war, then it really looks like insanity that an adult who has finished the military academy and has been the leader of a large state for some 15 years makes such bad calculations. There is no reason to pretend that the issue was legalistic. The Arab world has its own agenda that you can’t understand. The legal argument is propaganda for your ears. And since you cannot bring yourself to express any criticism of the Arab world for fear that you’ll be making a pro-Israel statement, you are willing to repeat the propaganda nonsense.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on April 2, 2019, 4:05 pm

        Nathan: “Obviously, the legalistic argument that you present is based on the overall ideological position that Israel has no legitimacy, littoral or otherwise.”

        Here we go again with empty idiotic phrases that can easily be reversed.

        Obviously, the non-legalistic argument that you present is based on the overall ideological position that the Arab states and Palestine have no legitimacy, littoral or otherwise.

        But I’m obviously basing my legalistic argument on international law and to be more precies on Article 51 of the UN charter. You can’t do that, because of your overall ideological position that Israel has the right to attack states whenever it feels like doing so.

        Nathan: “However, the real issue is political, not legal.”

        Nope, it’s legal. You want to turn the real issue into something political, because you know that what Israel did was a war of aggression. This is not your first time you want to deflect from the legal issue which shows that you don’t have any respect for international law and human rights when Jews violate them.

        Nathan: “Was it wise on the part of Mr Nasser to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping?”

        It is irrelevant, if Israel wants to attack.

        Nathan: “Everyone at this forum seems to be eager to prove that Mr Nasser had no intention of going to war, but it’s simply untrue.”

        Everyone is proving that Nasser wasn’t going to attack and that Israel chose to attack what was a “war of choice” (Begin).

        Nathan: “He created a crisis that by definition was intended to provoke war. Was it wise?”

        ROFL. And poor, poor, poor Israel fell for this provocation and hat no intention to finish in 1967 what it started in 1948, right?

        Please explain why Israel suddenly stopped putting the Nonjews of Israel under martial law right before the war to implement the same permit system and martial law right after the war in the occupied territories? You know the answer, don’t you?! Otherwise Israel would have faced the accusation that it had put all Nonjews in historic Palestine under martial law.

        Nathan: “I understand that in an anti-Israel website everyone is an apologist for the Arabs.”

        Another empty phrase. I understand that in any anti-Nonjewish commenter is an apologist for the Jews. But I understand even more that your arguments are so weak you need to resort to your “anti-Israel” “grievances”.

        Nathan: “The most absurd or idiotic policy will never merit even a raising of the eyebrow.”

        Another empty phrase. The most absurd or idiotic Israeli policy will never merit even a raising of the eyebrow.

        Nathan: “There is no reason to pretend that the issue was legalistic. The Arab world has its own agenda that you can’t understand. The legal argument is propaganda for your ears. And since you cannot bring yourself to express any criticism of the Arab world for fear that you’ll be making a pro-Israel statement, you are willing to repeat the propaganda nonsense.”

        Another empty phrase. There is no reason to pretend that the issue was not legalistic. The Zionist world has its own agenda that you can’t understand. The political argument is propaganda for your ears. And since you cannot bring yourself to express any criticism of the Zionist world for fear that you’ll be making a pro-Arab statement, you are willing to repeat the propaganda nonsense.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on April 3, 2019, 12:56 am

        “The Arab world has its own agenda that you can’t understand. ”

        I thought it was the Chinese and Japanese who were the inscrutable Orientals. Have the Arabs been taking lessons?

    • James Canning
      James Canning on March 31, 2019, 7:00 pm

      Was John F. Kennedy’s blockade of Cuba in October 1962 an “act of war”? Or an act by a president hoping to avoid a war?

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on March 31, 2019, 9:09 pm

        Even if he was hoping to avoid a war with Russia or any other entity the blockade was a clear act of war against Cuba.

  5. TerryHeaton
    TerryHeaton on March 30, 2019, 9:51 am

    This entire argument is born of the old axiom, “In war, the victor gets to write the history.” It worked until humans developed media systems capable of shining a light on the truth that it’s never so simple as “he started it, mommy!”

    • captADKer
      captADKer on March 30, 2019, 11:07 am

      shine it then on the nautical blockade put in place by egypt a month earlier

  6. Talkback
    Talkback on March 30, 2019, 11:29 am

    So if you want to know even less than Wikipedia NYT may be something for you.

  7. Citizen
    Citizen on March 31, 2019, 10:09 am

    There’s a number of different theories for why Israel attacked the USS Liberty. I’ve long thought the major reason was Israel did not want the USA to know they were invading Syria as a land grab.

    The US Congress has yet to perform what had been prior custom in similar cases, a thorough investigation. They have settled for a Navy kangaroo court type deal, coupled with a long muzzling of the ship’s crew.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on March 31, 2019, 12:13 pm

      It may have been a US false flag operation called “Operation Cyanide”. Johnston ordered the attack on the Liberty to blame it on Egypt and then enter the war and take control over the Middle East.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on March 31, 2019, 7:04 pm

        Lyndon Johnson clearly wanted the USS Liberty to be sunk, even if that meant the deaths of nearly 300 US sailors.

  8. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw on March 31, 2019, 11:53 am

    More malarky from the mendacious maw of Mondoweiss.

    After Nassar’s caucus belli x3, there was a two-week delay, in which Israel allowed the diplomats and Washington time to resolve the problem but nothing happened.

    During that time, at the end of May, Soviet pilots, were sent to fly Egyptian marked, advanced, still-secret MiG-25 Foxbat fighter bombers, on provocative sorties over Israel’s Dimona nuclear complex to prepare the planned attack on it, and to scare Israel into making the first strike.

    Israel’s Hawk anti-aircraft batteries and Mirage III fighters failed to intercept, catch, or shoot down the intruders. The planes flew too high and too fast, and only Soviet pilots could have flown them, and only Soviet ground control officers could have directed the sorties to target.

    These overflights, along with Amer’s order to the Egyptian Air Force to attack Israel, including Dimona, on May 26 (an order immediately rescinded by Nasser), caused consternation, almost panic, in the Israeli General Staff and Cabinet.

    Meanwhile, the Soviets had submarine-based nuclear missiles poised for use against Israel in case it already possessed and tried to use an atomic device, and the USSR prepared and actually began a marine landing on Israel’s shores backed by strategic bombers and fighter squadrons.

    ‘If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first’ — Talmud

    • Talkback
      Talkback on March 31, 2019, 12:37 pm

      Jackdaw: “More malarky from the mendacious maw of Mondoweiss.”

      More malarky from the mendacious maw of Jackdaw.

      There was nothing that justified an attack by Israel. Nothing that you bring up justifies an attack either. Israel just fabricated a “caucus” belli whatever that is. LOL.

      Jackdaw: “‘If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first’ — Talmud”

      Nobody came to kill. Instead Israel went to kill, including the USS Liberty.

      Btw. do you think that Palestinians should learn this valuable lesson from the Talmud, too?

    • James Canning
      James Canning on March 31, 2019, 2:54 pm

      Jackdaw, I assume you are aware the American president, Lyndon Johnson, wanted Israel to attack Egypt and did a great deal to set up the first-strike by Israel.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on March 31, 2019, 4:27 pm

      The two Talmudic passages that I’m aware of, Sanhedrin 72 and Berakoth 58, expound Exodus 22:1 ff which licence killing a thief who has broken in by night. They do not seem to me to expand this licence in the direction of people who threaten to break in or who loiter menacingly. And indeed if we are to have a morality one of whose very prior objectives is to discourage resort to war – are we in your view? – then we must strongly discourage and condone only with greatest reluctance a decision to fire the first shot on the basis of an intention imputed to the other side. This sort of imputation is so clearly a game that both sides can play that the basic discouragement to fire first is all but trivialised.
      Those events and the intentions behind them stand to be debated for ages but surely there is least a reasonable case to be made that Nasser’s intention was to create international tension and thus international diplomatic intervention on his side. He would have had to be a complete idiot not to read the lessons of the April air battles over Syria.
      I don’t think that the commandment ‘If you have done bad things to people to the point where they want to kill you kill them first’ is in the Talmud, not that I’m a very competent Talmud reader. We may perhaps deduce it from Hobbes’ Leviathan, which doesn’t put it beyond dispute.

  9. James Canning
    James Canning on March 31, 2019, 2:50 pm

    US intelligence knew Nasser was merely posturing for domestic political purposes, and had no intention of attacking Israel. In fact, Lyndon Johnson wanted the war, and set up the attack on the USS Liberty (by Israel).

    • Citizen
      Citizen on March 31, 2019, 8:30 pm

      ‘In fact, Lyndon Johnson wanted the war, and set up the attack on the USS Liberty (by Israel).’

      Source?

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 1, 2019, 11:39 am

        Citizen, are you indicating you are not aware that Lyndon Johnson wanted a pretext for a US attack on Egypt, and that blaming the Egyptians for the attack on the USS Liberty was the game plan worked out in advance?

      • Keith
        Keith on April 1, 2019, 6:06 pm

        JAMES CANNING- “Citizen, are you indicating you are not aware that Lyndon Johnson wanted a pretext for a US attack on Egypt, and that blaming the Egyptians for the attack on the USS Liberty was the game plan worked out in advance?”

        Anyone who actually believes that Johnson encouraged/planned the attack on the Liberty as a pretext for a war with Egypt is batshit crazy. Citizen (and I) wants to know your source(s) to see just how deep you are into internet cult land. The internet has become the greatest source of disinformation the world has ever seen. And much of it is false flag BS designed to sow confusion.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot on April 2, 2019, 4:33 am

        I think it’s worth investigating the idea that Johnson was on board for a false flag attack but I never encountered any discussion about it. An important part of the context for me is that the US estimate for the war was that Israel could afford the other sides to attack first and it would still have complete victory in 8 days. In that context why does anyone want to involve the US? Israel doesn’t need the help. The US sees it as an easy war. Some people thought it a good idea for the US to get their foot in.
        On the other hand it is not because some people had a clear idea of the actual balances of power that everyone had that idea. You could just as well have people taking decisions based on the faulty assumption that Israel needed to get all the help it could.
        I’ve had such discussions about the end of the war with Japan. It’s not because the actual motivation for Japan’s instant surrender was the entry of the Soviets that the US understood that when throwing nukes.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on April 2, 2019, 1:49 pm

        I don’t think that there is much to be gained from investigating the extremely improbable. I’m close to Keith on this point! I can’t see how Johnson could have desired another massive war in the Middle East just when he was in so much trouble in the Far East.

      • Keith
        Keith on April 3, 2019, 10:23 am

        MHUGHES976- “I don’t think that there is much to be gained from investigating the extremely improbable.”

        While an LBJ initiated attack on the Liberty is ludicrous, the cover-up was quite real and should be investigated, along with the reasons for the attack and why the Liberty was left so vulnerable even after the Joint Chiefs ordered the Liberty to redeploy 100 NM farther away from the combat zone. On the other hand, what is the point of a second cover-up?

      • Citizen
        Citizen on April 3, 2019, 8:21 pm

        This is the first time I ever read a claim that Johnson wanted an attack on the spy ship. I have read that Israel wanted to blame the attack on Egypt, and that Israel’s motives also may have been to keep the US ignorant of its pending attack on Syria and/or to keep the ship ignorant of a massacre by Israel of Egyptian captives.
        Also, for the first time today I read in Quora a claim that the “US CNO had ordered all 6 US ships in the Eastern Mediterranean to leave the area ” and the other 5 ship obeyed. I know when attacked, the spy ship was in international waters.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on April 3, 2019, 8:33 pm

        James Canning April 2, 2019, 11:32 am
        Keith, are you implying that Israel did not attack the USS Liberty intentionally? Or, are you simply claiming Lyndon Johnson had no advance knowledge of the planned Israeli attack?

        What makes James Canning think Keith implied so? Anybody?

      • jon s
        jon s on April 5, 2019, 6:06 am

        The attack on the Liberty was a case of mistaken identity, a monumental screw-up. That’s the only fair and responsible conclusion.

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic on April 5, 2019, 8:59 am

        Jon S. engages in usual hasbarah-mongering to justify the crimes of SOI.

        From Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty: A Half Century Later, Still No Justice

        Ennes notes that even testimony by the Liberty’s communications officers about the jamming of the ship’s radios was classified as “Top Secret.” The reason? It proved that Israel knew it was attacking an American ship. “Here was strong evidence that the attack was planned in advance and that our ship’s identity was known to the attackers (for it its practically impossible to jam the radio of a stranger), but this information was hushed up and no conclusions were drawn from it,” Ennes writes.

        From my studies of Israeli military intelligence actions, I suspect that the military was worried that Liberty had acquired information on a mole at the top level of the Egyptian government and attacked the Liberty to prevent the USA from learning about this intelligence assent. The attack on the Liberty was broken off once military intelligence ascertained that the US military had gathered no information on an Israeli intelligence asset in Egypt. I have no doubt that the Israeli military would have destroyed the Liberty completely if SOI’s military intelligence had determined that Liberty had monitored any secret communications with or about this asset, who — I believe — continued to provide intelligence on the highest level of the Egyptian government planning during the presidencies of Sadat and Mubarak.

  10. Nathan
    Nathan on March 31, 2019, 8:48 pm

    Talkback – Here is the relevant text of UNSC 242:

    “Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
    (i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
    (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”.

    So, this means that the establishment of a just peace includes the withdrawal of Israel from territories captured in the 1967 war. Notice the connection between withdrawal and peace. The “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” does not contradict the principle that the withdrawal from occupied territories will be in the framework of establishing peace.

    Notice also that there must be an acknowledgement of the sovereignty and political independence of every state in the region. Israel was a member of the UN at the time of the above UNSC decision 242. So, the establishment of peace includes the acceptance of Israel and her right to live in recognized and secured boundaries.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on April 1, 2019, 12:22 am

      The Palestinians have agreed to all of that. The only sticking points are that the Palestinians don’t get to negotiate away individual rights and claims. That can never happen. Nor should it be allowed to. Just as Israel should not be allowed to trade away the rights of a holocaust survivor.

      The other sticking point is that it is Israel who hasn’t accepted that preferring to continue it’s territorial expansion along with it’s prerequisite of killing or forcing out innocent civilians.

      Spin all you want nathan. Israel is a rogue and criminal state. No one cares about your false justifications for crimes that are perpetrated.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak on April 1, 2019, 6:42 am

      Nathan: … the establishment of peace includes the acceptance of Israel and her right to live in recognized and secured boundaries.
      ——————————————————-

      Cf.

      LETTER FROM YASSER ARAFAT TO PRIME MINISTER RABIN:

      September 9, 1993

      Yitzhak Rabin
      Prime Minister of Israel

      Mr. Prime Minister,

      The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments:

      The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

      The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

      The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.

      [Etc.]

      Sincerely,

      Yasser Arafat
      Chairman
      The Palestine Liberation Organization

      https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/36917473237100E285257028006C0BC5

      [emphasis added]

      • Nathan
        Nathan on April 1, 2019, 8:04 pm

        Sibiriak – Thanks for the reminder that Mr Arafat recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. It’s quite interesting that so many of those commenting here have a debate with Mr Arafat.

      • annie
        annie on April 1, 2019, 8:31 pm

        it didn’t make one iota of difference nathan, the demands were all just a ruse. the ante was upped to “as a jewish state” shortly thereafter.

      • gamal
        gamal on April 1, 2019, 9:24 pm

        “Mr Arafat”

        Thats President Arafat to you… idiot.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on April 2, 2019, 10:09 am

        Nathan: “Sibiriak – Thanks for the reminder that Mr Arafat recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. It’s quite interesting that so many of those commenting here have a debate with Mr Arafat.”

        Well he was more interested in peace than Mr. Netanyahu or Mr. Trump will ever be.

    • eljay
      eljay on April 1, 2019, 8:15 am

      || Nathan: … the establishment of peace includes the acceptance of Israel and her right to live in recognized and secured boundaries. ||

      I agree that peace should include* the acceptance of a secular and democratic Israel…
      – of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally;
      – within the Partition borders it accepted and within which it was recognized as a state.

      But what Zionists want is the acceptance of a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel…
      – primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews;
      – in as much as possible of geographic Palestine.
      __________________________
      (*The establishment of peace should also include justice and accountability but that’s another non-starter for Zionists as they prefer absolution.)

    • Talkback
      Talkback on April 1, 2019, 9:01 am

      Nathan: “So, this means that the establishment of a just peace includes the withdrawal of Israel from territories captured in the 1967 war. Notice the connection between withdrawal and peace. ”

      That’s exactly what I said and you didn’t.

      Nathan: “The “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” does not contradict the principle that the withdrawal from occupied territories will be in the framework of establishing peace.”

      Indeed. It complements it, because Israel has no right to any territory which came under its occupation in 1967, including Jerusalem and the Golan.

      Nathan: “So, the establishment of peace includes the acceptance of Israel and her right to live in recognized and secured boundaries.”

      The establishment of peace includes the acceptance of every conflict party and their right to live in recognized and secured boundaries, including Palestine.

      But have a guess who violated these boundaries and has been violating them since then in clear violation of Sec Res 242 and 338. Have a guess who has not withdrawn its troops as requested by 242 and 338. Have a guess who has not ended the occupation despite Sec Res 476 reaffirming the the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem? Have a guess who illegally annexed Jerusalem and the Golan in clear violation of Sec Res2 42 and 338 and later 476 and respectively 497, both in 1980. And have a guess who has been violating Sec Res 242 and 338 by illegally colonizing the occupied territories, including Jerusalem and the Golan and has not dismantled them as requested by Sec Res 465?

      It’s obviously the party that doesn’t want peace, but as much land with as less Nonjews.

      And you know that this is exactly the reason, why Israel went to war. To finish what it had started in 1948. The belligerent take over of Palestine and more.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on April 1, 2019, 11:42 am

        In 2008, Israel very nearly made a deal for peace with Syria, that included Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Iran was amenable to that deal.

  11. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN on April 1, 2019, 1:55 pm

    This should surprise no one.

    It is an established fact that even today the New York Times runs all stories concerning Israel by the official Israel Censor before publication.

    The NYT has been called “the house organ of the American establishment.”

    And no more accurate characterization could be given.

    If you want to read about travel in rural France or about the lives of tennis players or how to best use artichokes or get a sense of life in a city Brownstone, the NYT is one of your go-to sources. They gain “creds” by doing good stuff on such subjects.

    But if you want any real insight into America’s wars or its Washington practices or events in the empire, it is to be avoided ever being taken seriously.

    It is a CIA disinformation outlet, one of the keys of the the great Wurlitzer organ a former CIA disinformation specialist once spoke of in “getting a story out there.”

    It has even been caught with CIA or CIA plants on staff.

    But really any educated, critically-minded person only has to read it. The gorp is obvious.

    And you can’t name a single ugly war the US has waged that the NYT has not fist-poundingly supported.

  12. James Canning
    James Canning on April 2, 2019, 11:32 am

    Keith, are you implying that Israel did not attack the USS Liberty intentionally? Or, are you simply claiming Lyndon Johnson had no advance knowledge of the planned Israeli attack?

  13. James Canning
    James Canning on April 4, 2019, 12:12 pm

    Citizen, do I understand you to claim, implicitly, that Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty, but took the gamble the Americans would not respond?

Leave a Reply