This is one of the least known stories of the 2% Jewish minority’s unbreakable grip over the American nation of 305 million people. This relates to the privately-funded memorial library established in the city of Grafton near Milwaukee twenty years after the June 1967 Israeli attack on USS Liberty ordered by one-eyed Israeli Gen. Moshe Dayan. As was and still is required in the Land Of The Free, the Israeli connection was played down with the focus almost exclusively on commemorating those who had served and suffered for their motherland at the hands of Israeli Jews.
This is a story of a slave nation which has constructed Holocaust Museums and Memorials in almost every major city in the country in the memory of Jews who died in far-away European countries during the early 1940s – but is allergic to the idea of building even a single Museum in the memory of mass-killing of tens of millions of American Natives or African slaves by the European settlers.
The former commanding officer of the USS Liberty, Captain William McGonagle, generously donated to the Gift Fund during a memorial service for crew members in June 1989. His donation and a grant co-funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Wisconsin Humanities Committee enabled the library to offer The Library of America, a 60-volume set of writings of major American authors.
Books on the Middle East also are available from all points of view, in keeping with the remark by Joseph Joubert, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”
A debate raged while the library was under construction over the suggestion by two major donors to the project to name the library in honor of the USS Liberty. The proposal set off attempts, mostly by residents of nearby Milwaukee, to induce residents to change the name. These included unrelenting critical media coverage, picketing during the ground-breaking ceremony, refusal by the school board to permit the high school band to participate, and the refusal of some area clergy and many invited military and federal government officials to attend the village’s memorial service for the crew.
The project trustees wanted to name the library after Theodore and Benjamin Grob, two Swiss-born Jewish industrialists who donated $250,000 towards the project. But they rejected the offer saying: “Name it the USS Liberty Memorial Library in honor of the 34 Americans who died when Israel attacked the USS Liberty in 1967.”
The powerful Jewish lobby Anti-Defamation League in Chicago describes the Liberty Lobby-whose name has no connection to the ship or the USS Liberty Veterans Association – as “the best-financed, most active anti-Semitic organization in America.”
Howard Schoenfeld, president of Milwaukee`s Jewish Council, said the Liberty Lobby’s aim in keeping the issue before the public is “to be divisive and damaging to the US-Israeli relationship.” He denounced the effort as a “particularly pernicious attempt to take a tragic event and wrap anti-Semitism in the American flag.”
A $83,000 federal donation was withdrawn, an invitation to the White House to send a representative was ignored (as was a personal invitation to GHW Bush), the local high school refused to provide a band for the opening ceremony, denouncing the organisers as Nazis, while the Commander of a nearby Naval Training Centre was ordered not to attend by Naval brass.
“But they will never give up,” warned a war-weary of the Golda Meir conflict (renaming of the library at the Wisconsin University in Milwaukee after the Arab-hating Zionist prime minister). “A year or five years or ten years from now, they will be back to try to change the name. Sooner or later they will win. And if Grafton is not careful they will probably change it to something like Menachem Begin or Ariel Sharon.”