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Israel and the Kennedy Assassinations
JFK pushed to halt Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons. RFK tried to designate a precursor to AIPAC as a foreign agent. Why has Israel been avoided when discussing the Kennedy assassinations?
[I researched this piece and wrote much of it many months ago as I wrote a piece about JFK having tried to stop Israel from getting nuclear weapons. I’d hoped to find time to investigate things further before the Nov. 22 “anniversary” of the assassination of JFK. But particularly with Israel’s assault on the Palestinians in Gaza, I’ve not found the time to dig deeper. But that assault, the under-covered role of Israel’s nukes, the power of the pro-Israeli lobby and the disconnect between the US public and the government in the current slaughter makes this piece all the more relevant, so I’m sharing what I have.]
If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say that JFK (reportedly) saying he wanted to shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces led to his assassination I’d be a very wealthy man.
For decades, I’ve done work on Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal and the refusal of the US establishment to even acknowledge its existence.
But, incredibly, I’d not heard that there might be a connection between the two — the JFK assassination and Israel’s nukes — until a year or two ago.
If JFK apparently making a rhetorical statement about the CIA is a go-to basis for many that the CIA actually killed him, what about the fact that, as I wrote this summer: “60 Years Ago, JFK Tried to Stop the Israeli Bomb”?
Where’s the evidence? Well, the Warren Commission narrative is bunk, but actual proof that the CIA and mafia killed Kennedy is wanting as well. Why has the possibility of pro-Israeli forces playing a role in the assassination been often ignored?
I hadn’t even paid much attention to what JFK’s position on Israel’s nukes were, taking at face value Noam Chomsky’s assessment that it was wishful thinking to believe JFK was much different from any other president.
That was clearly a mistake.
As I noted in my piece this summer, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding prime minister, and JFK clashed about Israel’s nuclear weapons with Ben-Gurion stalling nuclear inspections Kennedy was demanding. JFK finally wrote the US "commitment to and support of Israel could be seriously jeopardized" by Israel’s pursuit of a clandestine nuclear weapons arsenal. Just then, Ben-Gurion resigned and Israel continued stalling the inspections. Then JFK was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson effectively dropped the matter.
The letters are published in The Letters of John F. Kennedy, edited by Martin W. Sandler, who takes very seriously the possibility that Israel played some role. See his talk aired on C-SPAN beginning at 51:25 about Israel. It’s posted by IfAmericansKnew, “Author Martin Sandler says Mossad may have assassinated JFK”:
The man who exposed Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal, Mordechai Vanunu (aka John Crossman), said in 2004 that Kennedy was assassinated due to "pressure he exerted on Israel's then head of government, David Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona's nuclear reactor." (Quote at end of Reuter’s piece “Vanunu warns Israel of 'second Chernobyl' risk” and longer quote here, the comments were apparently originally made to Al-Wassat.)
Former Congressman Paul Findley, who was driven out of office by the Israel lobby, in 1992 wrote the piece “In Kennedy Assassination, Anyone But Mossad is Fair Game for U.S. Media” for The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. (I didn’t know about this even thought I’d communicated with Findley over the years until recently, when I happened to bump into Delinda Hanley of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and asked her about Israel’s nukes and the Kennedys.)
Key to all this is may be James Angleton. Jefferson Morley, who writes at JFK Facts, wrote a book about him, The Ghost, see a talk on it. Morley notes that Angleton played a unique dual role at the CIA: He was chief of counterintelligence and he headed overseeing relations with Israel. He was also key in ensuring that Israel got nuclear weapons that Kennedy tried to stop. Morley doesn’t subscribe to — nor does he dismiss — the theory that Israel played a role in the JFK assassination, but he does note that Angleton was in an excellent position to manipulate Lee Harvey Oswald. And he notes that Angleton's closeness to the Israelis can't be doubted. They even built a monument to him in Jerusalem.
Anya Parampil recently noted that in his memoirs, longtime Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko writes about his final meeting with JFK, two months before the president’s assassination JFK named two groups as stifling peace efforts between Washington and Moscow: ideological anti-communists and Zionists. He wrote: “I don’t know why, but when I first heard the Tass report of Kennedy’s murder it was that talk on the White House terrace that came into my mind — what he had said about there being opponents to his policy.”
James Bamford in his Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency wrote that Palestinian representatives at the time reportedly privately wrote: “the Zionists murdered the courageous President.” Likewise, the Italian ambassador to Syria cabled Rome saying that the government in Damascus saw Zionism behind the murder.
The lawyer William Kunstler represented Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald. In his book My Life as a Radical Lawyer he writes: "When Jack told me he had killed Oswald 'for the Jews,' I believed him. On each of the three occasions we talked, he said, 'Bill, I did this so they wouldn't implicate the Jews.’” Kunstler added "During our last visit, he handed me a note in which he reiterated his desire to protect American Jews from a pogrom that could occur because of anger over the assassination." Kunstler frames this as being about the group Oswald was involved with — Fair Play for Cuba — having had a “number of Jewish members”. How killing Oswald would decrease rather than increase the scrutiny of the other members isn’t explained. Kunstler depicts the mob-connected Ruby (born Jacob Leon Rubenstein) as mentally crazy. But of course Ruby’s actions could well be consistent with an assessment that JFK was assassinated for the benefit of Israel.
Robert Kennedy Assassination
Lisa Pease, author of A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., recently stated: “If you want to make the case for the Mossad killing a Kennedy, there’s a stronger case to be made that they were involved in the RFK assassination. The patsy [Sirhan Sirhan] (who is firing blanks, not bullets, in a hypnotic state, thinking he was firing at targets on a range) was Palestinian. One of the on-site organizers at the Ambassador Hotel was purportedly from Israel. James Angleton, the Mossad contact in the CIA, ended up with a set of the RFK assassination autopsy photos. The other shooters, except for the security guard, who was CIA, bore a resemblance to Sirhan and could’ve come from the Middle East as well. That’s more evidence right there than there is that the Mossad killed JFK.” In addition, though she is decidedly cool to the idea that there’s any Israel connection to the JFK assassination, she does report that the Israelis built a scale model of Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated.
In terms of motive regarding the RFK assassination, though he publicly was very supportive of Israel, when RFK was attorney general under his brother, he seriously clashed with the Israel lobby. Grant Smith wrote:
Details of the JFK-RFK duo’s effort to register the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) parent organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC) as an Israeli foreign agent were shrouded in mystery until declassified in mid-2008.
Between 1962 and 1963 Senator J.W. Fulbright uncovered a massive network of financial “conduits” moving funds directed by the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem to [Israeli] lobby startup groups across the United States. Even as JFK attempted to place Israel’s Dimona nuclear weapons program under US inspection, RFK ordered the AZC to openly register and disclose all of its foreign funded lobbying activity in the United States.
The DOJ and AZC fought their secret battle as Fulbright’s hearings disclosed the immense proportions of the Israel lobby effort. Nathan B. Lenvin, a DOJ attorney who had been after AIPAC’s founder Isaiah Kenen since 1951 to continue registering as a foreign agent after he left the employ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took copious notes of the many meetings, AZC’s offers of limited registration and the DOJ’s counter offers.
But the law enforcement effort ended in tragedy. JFK’s assassination … in Dallas meant RFK’s political cover for the prosecution was gone and his days at the DOJ were numbered. He left to run for a New York senate seat. In 1965 the DOJ allowed the AZC to file a highly redacted and non-standardized FARA declaration in secret. The AZC then shut down and transferred lobbying activity to AIPAC, which refused to register.
The anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism wrote to RFK about their fight against the American Zionist Council:
Several months ago I watched “Israel & The Assassinations of the Kennedy Brothers: A Documentary” by Laurent Guyénot. I spent several hours trying to find a factual error in it and couldn’t. Some of the tone is problematic, as I recall it gets into figuring out who in the story is Jewish or such, but it puts forward a number of interesting ideas. Perhaps the most intriguing is that it tries to connect the JFK and RFK assassinations. Karl Golovin has highlighted this and related work, asking questions at various events in DC (his questioning Jefferson Morley at an event at the National Press Club was part of what sparked my interest in this) and noting, among other things that Oliver Stone’s JFK — which makes no mention of Israel — was funded by Arnon Milchan (he was actually executive producer) — and would later admit to having been a spy for Israel. So, there’s a case to be made that Oliver Stone is actually a limited hangout.
My friend Wade Frazier has written several pieces about this (partly sparked by my questioning) and recently wrote that Monika Wiesak in her book America’s Last President has “a chapter on JFK’s relationship with Israel and the Middle East. JFK was way too Arab-friendly for Israel’s liking. The Jewish mob was definitely involved with the JFK hit, for Jack Ruby’s participation alone, but I doubt that Israel masterminded it, if it was involved at all. As we can see from Wiesak’s book, plenty of domestic interests wanted JFK dead.”
As Whitney Webb has effectively argued, the Epstein network may well have been — and may effectively continue to be — a blackmail operation that serves both the CIA and Mossad. Why wouldn’t there be similar dynamics regarding conspiracies that resulted in assassinations?
I have long argued that “Ultimately, I don't see nations. I see forces. The ‘US-Israeli relationship’ is probably the most extreme manifestation of the force of imperialism today.”
Another strand of my interest in this has been my tracking the remarkable RFK Jr. campaign. As I wrote last August about RFK Jr.’s off-the-charts catering to Israel:
As to the mechanisms for this, some have speculated that Kennedy may be compromised in an Epstein-like manner; that pro-Israeli money is the factor; that his wife’s career in Hollywood may be dependent on pro-Israeli individuals; or that it is tied to the possibility that his uncle and father may have been assassinated at least in part over their attempts to stop Israel from getting nuclear weapons and attempts to designate Zionist organizations as foreign agents respectively.
Particularly notable is how RFK Jr. himself and Lori Spencer, who works for the RFK Jr. campaign and who bills herself as a JFK assassination specialist, continually claim that the Kennedys were always supportive of Israel in-spite of what I’ve outlined in this article. Why do they lie?
The notion that the Kennedys were always on splendid terms with Israel also isn’t true since Yitzhak Rabin’s widow lambasted JFK Jr. in 1997 for publishing a piece in his magazine George by the mother of Rabin’s assassin blaming the assassination on Israeli spooks. (I just spotted that Guyénot, who cites the work of Michael Piper, also puts forward the notion that Israel had a role in JFK Jr.’s 1999 death.)
I raise this last point because of one personal footnote: Shortly after I moved to DC to become communications director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1996, I got an unexpected letter. It was from JFK Jr. He was asking me (as well as several other writers I’m sure) to write a short piece for a symposium of sorts he was going to publish. I wanted to write the piece but, I suspect because I had a fear of seduction by what I saw as the jet set, I never submitted it. But it was remarkable that he would reach out to me.
I can’t find the quote, but I recall a few years ago, someone in a position to know — I believe a (former?) custodian of the JFK assassination records — saying that their release would fundamentally alter the US public’s understanding of international affairs. I think I’ve seen other (former?) custodians say the opposite, claiming that documents will be released and will have nothing of note. But long promised records have yet to be made public, continuously delayed by successive administrations.
If many have long suspected the CIA had a role in killing JFK, how would confirmation of that fundamentally alter the US public’s understanding of the assassination, much less world affairs? But if Israel were known to have a role as many have suspected but as has been rarely been widely discussed, what would the ramifications be?