Have the United States and Britain Willfully Betrayed Israel?

November 27 , 1998 - D. Maimon

A remarkable book published a few years ago by a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney has been attracting growing attention in some circles. Author John Loftus uses thousands of previously top secret documents and interviews with hundreds of current and former spies, to argue that many Western countries, particularly the United States and Great Britain have willfully spied on Israel over many decades in order to promote favorable relations with the oil-rich Arabs.

Loftus contends that while on the surface the United States and Britain profess to be allies of Israel, they have used their intelligence services to betray Israel's secrets to the Arabs since the earliest years of Israel's statehood.

Western espionage has waged what is tantamount to a secret war against the Jews and Israel, says the Irish-American attorney author.

According to Loftus, "State Department disease"greed and self-interest have since the beginning of Mideast conflict between Jews and Arabs, infected powerful bureaucrats, perverting their sense of right and wrong. The ever present temptation to enrich oneself and one's family through Arab oil-related favors and industry, has turned the political sympathies of countless officials in the state department and CIA away from Israel.

Although the official policy of the U.S; government has always been pro-Israel, senior chiefs of these departments have long promoted a very different policy that has led to covert acts of treachery and betrayal of Israel.

One of the most disturbing examples in Loftus's litany of U.S. betrayals in an incident that took place during the 1967 war, involving an American vessel known as the L15S Liberty.


According to Loftus, in 1967 before hostilities began, Israel notified America of its war plans. The Americans in turn tried to warn Egypt and Syria. As the battles progressed the Americans did everything possible to spy on Israel and provide that information to Israel's enemies. The USS Liberty, a sophisticated CIA surveillance ship, was operating near Egypt when she was suddenly removed from Navy control, placed under the direct control of the NSA (National Security Agency), and told to "ignore all orders from the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order to support the Arab war effort against Israel.

The ship sailed close the southern Israeli shore and close to northern Sinai, and began monitoring the transmissions of Israeli tanks and small infantry units in the desert. Those transmissions were then relayed by satellite to British intelligence teams in Cyprus who, using sophisticated voice print matching equipment, could identify and locate every Israeli unit in the war. British intelligence then relayed this vital information to the Egyptian government.

When the Israelis learned of this treachery, Loftus recounts, they asked the United stares to explain the presence of an American vessel in the area. But the Americans lied, denying that the ship was American.

To save itself, Israel felt it had no choice but to eliminate the ship. They conducted a pinpoint attack by torpedo on the precise compartment housing the intelligence team. An hour later the whole thing was over. Thirty four American soldiers lay dead, with 171 wounded.

Loftus's account is at serious odds with the Israeli version which claims that Israeli intelligence failed to properly identify the ship, mistaking it for an Egyptian vessel, which of course it attacked. Profuse apologies were offered by the Israeli government as well as $13 million in damages to the Liberty's survivors. The American government immediately accepted these terms and despite a furious outcry from the survivors who unanimously insisted the attack was deliberate, the case was officially closed.

Loftus sees in the obvious haste on the American side to close the file on the Liberty, this despite calls for an investigation from dozens of senators and congressmen covert admission that the ship was indeed carrying out operations destructive to Israel, a fact which was to be kept secret at all costs.

(Loftus's contentions are disputed by survivors of the Israeli attack, notably James Ennes, an officer on the USS Liberty. Ennes wrote a book "Attack on the Liberty", where he maintains that the reason the Liberty was stationed so close to Israel's shores in 1967 was for the purpose of monitoring suspicious aircraft sent by the Soviets to Egypt. The planes were supposed to be flown by Arab pilots but the U.S. suspected that these were actually Soviet bombers under Soviet control using Soviet pilots. According to Ennes, the USS Liberty's job had nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict but was solely to determine who controlled those aircraft.)


Loftus traces many attempts on the part of the British to harm Israel, going back to the last months of World War II, when the Yishuv threatened to become a battleground with Irgun and Lechi forces trying to drive out the British Mandate army.

At that time, suspecting the wealthy Toronto Jewish community would send money for arms to the Yishuv as soon as the war ended, Britain sought permission from the Canadian government to tap the phones of Toronto Jews. What they found out confirmed their suspicions, Britain's prestige was sufficiently great that when news of this fundraising activity was leaked out to the press, no nation would sell the Jews in Palestine arms. Much desperate activity took place until arms were finally procured from Czechoslovakia, who for its own reasons, "crossed the picket line." According to Loftus, wiretapping and electronic surveillance of Jews by both the British and U.S. governments had become commonplace since the 1950's, and today is even more widespread. Were John Loftus a Jew, he might be suspected of paranoia, but even then, his carefully researched volume of 500 pages of print and more than 120 pages of source notes and bibliography would tend to discount paranoia;


Loftus's passion in tracking down antisemitism began many years ago, when he was assigned to the Nazi war crimes unit and given access to top-secret documents stored in an underground vault near Pt. Mead in Maryland.

It was there, about 20 years ago, that Loftus first began to discover that U.S. war criminal prosecutions in many cases were mere charades; while one arm of the government was working to prosecute, the other was protecting and even bankrolling known Nazis who had been deliberately brought to the country at the war's end.

The role of the government in sponsoring individuals with a reprehensible Nazi past had been rationalized and artfully covered up by those in charge of the operation. Taking in certain Nazis was seen as a means of protecting national security against the newest threat to world peace and stability communism People from Eastern countries hostile to communism were seen as necessary "anti-communist tools" useful in procuring intelligence and serving other Western interests.

Loftus brought the story to the public through CBS News in 1979, creating a national scandal.

"Mike Wallace of CBS got an Emmy for the news story, and my family got death threats from people whose cover was blown and whose past was now revealed, Loftus noted in a recent interview.

Loftus, who quit his job with the Justice Department after his discoveries, and devoted himself to publicizing his findings through hooks and speaking engagements, began to research other areas of government two facedness in respect to Jews and Israel.


Some of the most alarming disclosures contained in his hook The Secret War Against the Jews throw new light on the Jonathan Pollard case, advancing the author's contention that Pollard was scapegoated to protect then Vice President George Bush.

Most of the information Pollard admitted to passing to the Israelis was low-level data on Soviet sponsored arms shipments to the PLO. Or so everyone thought.

In March, 1984, US hostages were kidnaped in Lebanon. Quite by accident, in April, I~X4. Pollard reported to the Israelis that he had discovered a pattern of illegal arm shipments smuggled through Greece. Acting on Pollard's tip, the Israelis passed word to the Creek government which staged a raid in May 1984, seizing an entire freighter full of arms. A minor incident which Pollard forgot about, but which, according to Loftus, became the crux of the campaign to shut him up for life.

"Pollard had not stopped a PLO shipment out of Greece, he had blown the whistle on Vice President George Bush's first attempt to trade arms for hostages. The Greek shipment of arms had been arranged, at Bush's request, by a Syrian contract agent working for the White House. Oliver North's recently declassified diaries confirm that the White House paid a Syrian middleman by the name of Monzer Alkassar millions of dollars to purchase arms for the Contras."

Pollard's routine data on Greek shipping patterns could have exposed the fraudulent chronology given to Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings, which resulted in official blame being directed at Israel as the initiator of the arms to Iran scheme.

"Jonathan Pollard," writes Loftus, "the one man who might have put the pieces together and ruined Bush's run for the Presidency, was buried alive in federal prison under a ton of exaggerated accusations." Pollard's life sentence, guaranteed by Caspar Weinberger's vicious memorandum accusing him of being a traitor and highly dangerous to the national security "has nothing to do with his actual crime, and everything to do with politics." In Loftus's view, as in the view of increasing number or Americans, Jonathan Pollard was the victim of the worse double cross in the history of American jurisprudence.


Loftus's allegations of ingrained antisemitic bias in some of the upper echelons of U.S. government are being echoed today by a CIA lawyer who has come under national attention for being the first American to file suit against the CIA.

A few months ago, Adam Ciralsky, who had worked for the CIA's Office of General Counsel since 1996, was suspended from duty under suspicion of unauthorized contact with Israel. Ciralsky filed an unprecedented suit challenging the validity of the spy agency's "lie detector" test, which he claims stereotypes Jews as security risks.

Ciralsky, who is Jewish, was placed on paid leave last October after the agency's polygraphers refused to clear him for an assignment at the While House.

Only months before, Ciralsky had passed two previous polygraph tests that questioned him about his contacts with Israelis. Ciralsky suggests that as a Jew he has been victimized by a government wide "witch hunt" for Israeli spies launched last March. The hunt resulted in the suspension of more than 10 Jewish federal foreign policy and defense specialists from their jobs, in the wake of rumors that an Israeli secret agent was operating in Washington.

Ciralsky charges the CIA with carrying out a purge of its Jewish employees by using an extraordinarily antisemitic security profile which won't allow clearance for employees who speak Hebrew well, give money to Zionist organizations, attend an Orthodox synagogue or visit Israel frequently, on the grounds that they pose a security risk. The implication is that a lew who feels solidarity with his people is somehow suspect, lacking in patriotic sentiment.

On previous polygraph tests the CIA questioned Ciralsky about his tourist trips to Israel, his attendance at Israeli embassy cultural events in Washington, his wealthy parents' donations to Jewish groups, and his close friendship with a former Judaica teacher.

Ciralsky is demanding that the CIA publicly renounce the profile which is humiliating and antisemitic, release him for his While House assignment and undertake a thorough reevaluation of its polygraph program, which began in 1952.

Meanwhile, Ciralsky has not been officially accused of anything, nor has he been exonerated, sources say. For eight months he's been in a state of limbo, collecting his CIA check at his home in Maryland.

The White House is trying discreetly to untangle the controversy. No one wants the spectacle of having the Justice Department defend in court the CIA's use of a polygraph whose screening questions clearly carry the implication of Jewish "dual loyally," or lack of patriotism, typical antisemitic charges.

See Also:
  • Adam Ciralsky and The CIA Witch Hunt