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Letter to the editor of
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

March 25, 2004

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs is a slick, very well edited monthly publication that promotes the purposes of the Arab countries, of the Muslims and particularly of the Palestinians.

In so doing, of course, they denigrate the state of Israel and Jews in general.
One of the recurring themes in the magazine is the affair of the USS LIBERTY, which in the opening days of the Six-Day War was attacked by Israel. The attack caused heavy damage to the ship and over thirty fatal casualties.

It has been clearly demonstrated over the course the decade and fully proven that this was a regrettable error that occurred in the heat of war. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and many others equally so inclined have never accepted that.

I wrote about that to the magazine and they reprinted my letter under the heading FLAME Thrower, as follows:

Dear Editor:

You have in the past repeatedly paid much attention and have given extensive coverage to the Israeli attack on the USS LIBERTY during the Six-Day war in 1967. Even though this dreadful incident happened over thirty-five years ago, you seem to be still totally absorbed by it.

This is remarkable because it has been proven over and over again that it was an unintended attack that occurred in the heat of battle.

Also, in the years since then, many other incidents have occurred by which American troops have been damaged intentionally by foreign military powers in time of peace or by Moslem terrorists. I don’t recall The Washington Report reporting on those.

Also, there were a number of incidents in which American military attacked civilian targets which they believed to be enemies. Finally, there are the many incidents of “friendly fire” that occur in every war.

The Jerusalem Report, certainly a reputable publication, has published an editorial “‘USS LIBERTY Hit was Unintentional’ says CIA,” which may or may not have come to your attention. I include it herewith and I am confident that, in the spirit of editorial honesty, you will not fail to bring it to the attention of your readers.


Gerardo Joffe, San Francisco, CA

But they not only published it, they commented on it editorially as follows:

To respond to your Fallacies and Lies About the Middle East (or FLAME, the organization which you head): Perhaps if you knew — or cared about — Americans who died or who still suffer the effects of Israel’s 1967 attack on a virtually unarmed intelligence ship (as opposed to a virtually unarmed Egyptian horse transport ship), you, too, still would care after more than 35 years. While Israel and its fellow travelers have argued over and over that the attack was a mistake, that has never been proven. Nor was it necessary for the Washington Report to cover other incidents when Americans were injured. BECAUSE THOSE INCIDENTS WERE FULLY INVESTIGATED. (We strive to avoid redundancy.) As for The Jerusalem Post, it may once have been a reputable newspaper. Since Rupert Murdoch purchased it, however, it is as reputable as his other acquisitions — Fox News, say, or the tabloid New York Post, or William Kristol’s neo-con springboard, The Weekly Standard. Finally, we don’t understand why you and your cohorts refuse to believe the men who actually lived through the attack. What are you afraid of?

I replied to their comment on my letter and wrote the following:

Dear Editor:

I appreciate your having published my recent letter regarding your insistent coverage of the USS LIBERTY affair. It seems that you are somewhat obsessed with this event that happened thirty-five years ago; I don't think I can change that.

I do believe that you are unkind in referring to my organization (FLAME) as "Fallacies and Lies about the Middle East." That certainly would not come under the rubric of journalistic evenhandedness.

You do fulminate against Rupert Murdoch, whom you believe to be the proprietor of The Jerusalem Post. You're wrong in that, of course; the owner of The Jerusalem Post is the Hollinger Corporation (Lord Conrad Black, Chairman).

I also notice that in your current issue you give substantial coverage to Mordecai Vanunu, probably the most prominent traitor in Israel's short history. The Israelis, foolishly I believe, are going to let him out of prison, after only eighteen years. How does that compare with the terrible punishment (life in prison without parole) imposed on Jonathan Pollard who did not actually betray his country, but who did indeed deliver information, to Israel, information vital to its survival. Israel is of course a friend and an ally of the United States, and not a hostile nation. Many believe that it would have been the obligation of the U.S. government to turn the information over to Israel that Pollard delivered surreptitiously. I don't recall reading anything in The Washington Report regarding the unprecedented penalty imposed on that man.

Finally, I think it would be appropriate if you dedicated an article regarding the rampant corruption within the Palestinian Authority. Specifically, you might wish to address the inquiry that the French government has launched into the transfer of $11.5 million into the private bank account in Paris of Suha Arafat, the wife of the chairman, between July 2002 and July 2003.


Gerardo Joffe

P.S.: Would you accept FLAME advertisements? I am really quite serious about that, because I believe that your readership, which only gets one-sided information, could benefit from the information that we can impart.

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