IS IT OK TO CRITICIZE ISRAEL? By LCDR Jim Ennes, USN (Ret) email: The question was answered eloquently several years ago by my good friend Stephen Green as he was researching the USS Liberty attack for his book "Taking Sides". Steve was the first to report that the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, meeting a few days after the attack, took testimony that the CIA learned the day before the Liberty attack that Israel was planning to attack and that this was the reason for the urgent messages telling us not to approach the coast. Steve told me that when he first planned to write a chapter on the Liberty for his book, it was his impression that the attack was "an interesting aberration in US-Israeli relations." Yet when he studied the matter more he realized that the Liberty attack was not an aberration at all; it was what he called "main line Israeli behavior" toward the US. It was only one of a long string of outrageous acts against American interests. A few examples that come to mind: selling our secrets and technology to China; selling our weapons to Iran; sending Jonathan Pollard to spy against us; threatening during the 6-day-war to shoot down any US jets that approached Israel; sending the Lavon espionage team to bomb American installations in Egypt during the Eisenhower administration; rudely demanding that we guarantee billions in loans, then demanding that the loans be converted to gifts; coercing more billions every year from our Congress while Congress cuts back on more vital needs at home. On the international scene Israel has an even worse record. Israel was responsible for the murder of over 1,000 innocent refugees at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps; they have driven hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab villagers from their homes; even today they drive farmers from land they have held for generations in order to make more Arab land available for illegal settlements. Israeli law dis- criminates against Arabs and allows torture and extended imprisonment without charges being filed. Israel was the first nation in the world to shoot down a civilian airliner, and it did so after careful, close-up examination. At the very moment the USS Liberty was off shore near El Arish Israeli forces were executing up to 1,000 Egyptian prisoners of war at El Arish almost within our sight, a fact which may have been their reason for attacking our ship. Just a few weeks ago they deliberately bombed a UN refugee camp in Lebanon, killing over 100 innocent people. The list goes on. Meanwhile, Israel continues to alienate the Arab world by building illegal settlements on captured Arab land in violation of US policy and international law. They threaten to renege on agreements to return captured land in exchange for a peace treaty with their Arab neighbors. Their actions are routinely condemned by every nation in the world except ours. These are not the actions of a nation "trying to find peace with its neighbors". These are the actions of a nation that holds the US and much of the world in contempt and cares nothing for the lives of a few American sailors whom they feared might have seen or heard some- thing Israel did not want the world to know. These are not friends who need special favors and special gifts and consideration from American taxpayers or from the shipmates and families of the men they deliberately and in cold blood killed on June 8, 1967, or who need to be protected from criticism in our tiny newsletter. To understand the murder of our shipmates, one must understand that the attack on our ship was consistent with a long pattern of such behavior which is usually funded by American Taxpayers. One need not be "anti-Semitic" to feel revulsion for those things. One need only be sensitive, caring, and aware.