Israel Palestine Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern: A Matter of Justice

The extremists now heading the Israeli government have made no secret of their plans to move even more forcefully against the Palestinians. It was and is a powder keg that has now exploded.
Free Palestine” by alisdare1 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

By Ray McGovern /

I was nine years old (1948) when there was HUGE celebration in the Bronx at the founding of the state of Israel. No one told me that Arabs had lived on that land for centuries and were displaced by force, tens of thousands of them crammed into postage-stamp-size Gaza, now host to two million Palestinians.

The Religious ‘Justification’: Zionist Jews, like the ones now in power in Israel, claim God gave them the land they now occupy. They cite Deuteronomy. But given the way they treat Arabs, they ignore the fact that, according to Deuteronomy, it was a two-part ‘deal’. By their oppression of the Arab population, Israel’s leaders push aside the condition God is said to have imposed on their “inheritance”. It was an “only if”.

Deuteronomy 15:4-5 New International Version:

4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.”

In June 1967 Israel annexed the “West Bank” (of the Jordan) and Gaza by first attacking and destroying the Egyptian and Syrian armies in a surprise attack. Israeli leaders claimed Egypt was about to attack Israel, but former Israeli President Menachem later admitted publicly that this was a lie. In a speech he gave in Washington, DC, on August 8, 1982 he said:

“In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” 

On Nov. 22, 1967, UN Resolution 242, adopted unanimously, called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the “territories occupied in the recent conflict”. Israel withdrew from the Sinai after the Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979. It did not withdraw from other lands occupied in 1967 – the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights in Syria.

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As for Gaza, it has been blockaded to the point that it is almost impossible to get in or out – as I experienced personally in 2011 with gutsy, justice-oriented folks like Alice Walker on the aborted voyage of the “U.S. Boat to Gaza.”

Getting Away With Murder: On June 8, 1967 Israel tried to sink the intelligence collection ship USS Liberty and leave no survivors – in full daylight in international waters off the Sinai coast during the 6-day Israeli-Arab war. Washington (including the U.S. Navy!) covered up the killing of 34 U.S. sailors and the wounding of 170 others. Thus, Israel learned that it could literally get away with murder – of U.S. servicemen, as well as Palestinians.

The extremists now heading the Israeli government have made no secret of their plans to move even more forcefully against the Palestinians. It was and is a powder keg that has now exploded.

Why Should We Care?

It is, of course, a matter of justice. But if that does not resonate with most of our fellow citizens, malnourished as they are on the activities of Israeli “settlers”, I will appeal below to the enlightened self-interest of Americans.

(As for the “settlers”, I thank God Marine vets Matt Hoh and Mike Hanes were with me when armed settlers attacked a Veterans For Peace delegation in 2017 in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, and later fired tear gas at us in Hebron! I was grateful that the welt on my left breast from a tear-gas cannister, fired at us in Hebron, was gone by the time I got home, so I did not have to tell family members who tend to worry – even when I go off with such sturdy companions.)

American self-interest. In a word, the mistreatment of Palestinians played a huge role in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. You can be forgiven for being unaware of that, if you take your information from the likes of The New York Times or academia, both of which – like the U.S. government – shy away from telling the full story. They press the ‘delete’ button, sometimes literally – as I demonstrated in a Nov. 15, 2009 article in Consortium News that I called “Shining Light on Roots of Terrorism.” 

Here are short excerpts:

I cited the words of the ‘mastermind’ of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as to his motivation. He is quoted on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report published on July 22, 2004, as follows:

“By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed … from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

My article continued:

“A more convincing swing at this issue was taken in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004, just two months later. The board stated:

‘Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

‘Closer to home, by further identifying itself with – and justifying – Israeli repression of the Palestinians, the United States helps breed more Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds and Ramzi Yousefs, more young terrorists determined to make Washington and the American people pay a price.’”

Nothing has changed. If Americans are kept in blissful ignorance of this, and Washington continues to give knee-jerk support to Zionist Israel, terrorism cannot be kept from our shores.

I gave this short talk on “Is Israel a U.S. Ally?” at the National Press Club on March 7, 2014. 

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Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27 years as a C.I.A. analyst included leading the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and conducting the morning briefings of the President’s Daily Brief. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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