20. Liberty incident misrepresented


Edith Parker's letter of January 17 [19] is a typical example of Israeli backers' letters who lose their critical sense whenever Israel is the subject matter at hand.

It is Ms. Parker's account of a deliberate daylight attack in international waters by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats on the Liberty that deserves to be qualified as "mendacious", since she is probably relying on a falsified account by Israel. She would have been better off if she had relied on the book Assault on the Liberty written by one of the survivors, James Ennes, or on the document prepared by Carl Salans, then the legal adviser of the State Department.

For instance, it is said in the Israeli report that "throughout the contact no American or any other flag appeared on the ship." The American report, however, noted that "the Liberty was flying her normal-size American flag (5 ft. by 8 ft.)... Five minutes prior to the attack by the torpedo boats, the Liberty put up a flag measuring 7 ft. by 13 ft. to replace the flag which had been shot down in the air attack."

Considering the "misidentification" with the Egyptian ship, the Israeli examining judge said in his report that "on examining photographs of the two ships, I am satisfied that a likeness exists between them." The American report, however, noted the following: "that the Liberty could have been mistaken for the Egyptian supply ship El Quseir is unbelievable. El Quseir has one-fourth the displacement of the Liberty, roughly one-half the beam, is 180 feet shorter and is very differently configured." To describe the United States, which is looking after its own interests, as committing a "gross mistake", as Ms. Parker did, because of the presence of the Liberty in international waters is truly outrageous.

[The fact that Ms. Parker aligned herself with what many American newspapers editorialized is appallingly similar to the protests organized by supporters of Israel in this country who orchestrated angry editorials against the USS Liberty Memorial Public Library in the town of Grafton, Wisconsin, complaining that any recognition of the attack on the Liberty is insulting to Israel.

In case there is still any doubt in anyone's mind, here is an eyewitness account of the attack, by a Liberty survivor, John Hrankowski: "The Israeli attackers strafed the American flag and machine-gunned signal lights identifying the Liberty as a friendly vessel, refused to acknowledge radio calls for help, dropped napalm bombs, blew up and seized life rafts, as well as firing torpedoes and shooting at unarmed Americans on deck."]

February 8, 1991