The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
13 Points

The Israeli Military intentionally attacked the USS Liberty

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,649 times Debate No: 67364
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (302)
Votes (5)




I appreciate EmilRose being willing to debate this topic with me. I honestly didn't think many people would be too interested in this topic so I reached out to her knowing her interest in Israeli politics as well as history. I also wanted the challenge of facing an undefeated opponent. Little did I know that quit a few people were actually interested in debating this but I think I picked the best person for this particular debate anyway.

The Elo limit unfortunately has to be at above 2,000 Elo to prevent a certain troll who is extremely biased in my favor from voting on this debate. I hope this limit doesn't exclude too many people.

I dedicate this debate to the men who lost their lives that day as well as the survivors of the USS Liberty.

Note- I may be consulting with Joe Meadors, USS Liberty Survivor, Director of Operations, USS Liberty Veterans Association. If I do consult with him it's primarily for help tracking down documents I need to make good rebuttals or counter rebuttals.

Joe was on the ship and hoisted a 2nd American flag after the first was destroyed under fire.


1. Round 1 is for acceptance and to dispute any facts I may have got wrong in getting readers up to speed with the events of that day.

2. No new arguments in the final round.

3. Burden of proof is split on this debate.


Intentionally- done in a way that is planned or intended.

More specifically, I'm stating that the Israeli military, portions of or personnel knew the ship they were attacking was American either before the attack or sometime during the attack and continued attacking anyway.


This event isn't widely known or heard about. Unlike most debates the majority of readers of this aren't likely to have ever heard of the USS Liberty attack. The events I describe are merely to get readers up to speed on what happened. I'll just relay some facts that aren't going to be likely disagreed upon by me or my opponent.

I expect in the rounds to follow me and my opponent will basically disagree on any other topic except what's mentioned here. She should also feel free to add any neutral details, she feels I've left out.


The USS Liberty was a United States Navy technical research ship. On June 8, 1967 it was positioned in international waters about 25 miles off the coast of Egypt, during the 6 day war.

That day it was attacked by Israeli Jet fighters and torpedo boats. This attack ended in the death of 32 crew members and 171 more were injured.

I would catch you guys up more but those are likely going to be the only details in the debate which won't be contested by either side.

Good luck EmilRose, I very much look forward to this debate, in fact I.m thrilled to be taking on such a great opponent.



Thanks Wylted! It is a pleasure to contend this topic with you, particularly considering your experience in the area of debating.

To clarify my position: I will be arguing that the 1967 Six Day War attack on the USS Liberty was the not intentional; and that neither the Israeli government or Israeli forces pre-planned or intended to attack a U.S ship, this applies to before and during the event.

Good luck Wylted and I look forward to seeing your arguments.

Debate Round No. 1


Thanks again to EmilRose for accepting this debate.


AThe day in question was a clear day with high visibility. At about 9:00 AM 2 jet fighters flew over the Liberty and then circled 3 times. At 10:56 AM another jet fighter that was later on identified as Israeli jet flew over and circled the liberty as well. This reconnaissance was repeated in 30 minute intervals. The crew had identified identified the ship as Israeli and it probably granted them some ease.[1]

"though this plane was unidentified, the thoughts of Robert L. Wilson (one of three NSA civilians aboard the Liberty) must have been shared by his shipmates. Wilson remembered thinking when he saw the plane, that "it must be Israeli because what else is flying out here at this point in the war and also it's coming from the direction of Israel and it's going back to Israel, so it was obvious that it was Israeli. I didn't think much of it. They were just out there checking us out. That's what I would do too""[1]

There was no way the ship wasn't identified as American at that point. The Israelis already did several reconnaissance fly bys to identify the ship. The flag was flying as naval regulations demand.[2]

United States Navy
Regulations on the display of the national ensign (NTP-13B)

503. Vessel Underway

a. During peacetime, the national ensign shall be displayed during daylight hours from the gaff (or from the triatic stay in the case of those ships with mast mounted booms and stays which would interfere with the hoisting, lowering, or flying of the national ensign) under the following circumstances, unless otherwise directed by the senior officer present:

(1) Getting underway or mooring/anchoring
(2) Falling in with other ships
(3) Cruising near land
(4) When engaged in battle

There were also several witnesses to the fact the flag was flying including, not to mention the hull markings clearly visible.[3] Source 4 is a summary of some of the testimony that is taken from declassified NSA documents found in source [11].

"Testimony of Ensign Scott

Q. Do you recall the flag or the national ensign flying?

[Ensign Scott:] Yes sir, it was flying. I noticed at first light that the ensign was flying. I looked up to it to check the wind direction just in the event I had to blow tubes and I wanted to have a favorable wind direction. That's about all I recall about the flag being up on the day and night while we were over here. I don't recall seeing it down at all."

"testimony of LT. Golden

[LT. Golden:] Yes sir. At approximately 1145, I completed eating lunch, and went to the 01 level forward to sunbathe along with the Captain and some of the other officers. I have a lounge chair, most of us do have; while laying on my back sunbathing, I noticed a plane flying over. I dozed off, and approximately 25 minutes or so later on, I woke up and saw a plane circling again coming from the port beam, crossing the ship. While watching it, I glanced up and noticed it just crossing over the stack area, and I noticed a small amount of smoke coming out of my stack, and also the flag was flying.

Counsel for the Court: Was it extended?

[LT. Golden:] Yes sir, there was a slight breeze blowing."

"Testimony of LTJG Painter

Counsel for the Court: Did you have occasion to see the national ensign flying?

[LTJG Painter:] Yes sir, I did. I saw the national ensign flying after the, it was at the time I believe when we were going to abandon ship. I ran out on the main deck to get the life rafts ready. I remember distinctly looking back up and seeing the Ensign flying. This was, I think, after the air raid, after the torpedo attack.

Q. Had you seen it earlier that morning?

[LTJG Painter:] I saw it earlier that morning when I came up, I don't know when it was. I came up on and of off that morning checking a patrol plane that had been flying over us. The quartermaster, DAVID QM2, had told me that the night that he was wounded that he had put the flag up at 0730 that morning."

"Testimony of Chief Smith

Counsel for the Court: Did you have occasion to see the national colors flying?

[Chief Smith:] Yes sir. At the time I ran out of the radio central space to the transmitter room."

"Testimony of LTJG Watson

Counsel for the Court: Excuse me, any time prior to the attack, did you notice the national colors flying?

[LTJG Watts:] Yes sir. At lunch that day, we were discussing the situation and Mr. Golden made the statement that someone had said something about the ensign flying so the people would know who we were."

I think we can conclude with relative certainty that the flag was flying and visible.

The Israeli's did officially release that they identified the ship as American before the attack.[5]

"At 0600 hours (local time) on 8 June 1967, an Israeli aircraft, with a naval observer on board, located a ship 70 miles west of Tel Aviv. On the basis of this information, Israeli Navy Headquarters marked the object in red (meaning an unidentified target) on the combat information center plottable. ~ At about 0900 hours, another Israeli plane reported sighting a ship 20 miles north of AI 'Arish, The pilot reported that the ship was "coloured gray, very bulky, and the bridge amidships." The ship was then identified by the Israelis as a supply vessel of the American Navy;"[5]

B After the attack the Israeli military claimed to have mistaken the Liberty for the Egyptian battle ship El-Kasir. A now declassified document by the NSA reveals exactly why this type of mistake is absurd.

"The final error was the identification of the Liberty as the Egyptian supply ship El-Kasir, The fact that two separate torpedo boat commanders made the same false identification only raises the question of the veracity of both commanders. The El-Kasir was approximately one-quarter of the Liberty's tonnage, about one-half its length, and offered a radically different silhouette. To claim that the Liberty closely resembled the El-Kasir was most illogical"[7]

Ship Identified As American During The Attack

A.Once the attack began a jet fighter who was ordered to attack it reported back to the naval liaison officer who reported it to the Naval Command bridge and to the head of the naval department, that the ship looked like and had similar markings to the Liberty.[6] Despite the head of the naval department and everybody on the command bridge knowing that one of the pilots positively identified the ship, the attack persisted.

"Witnesses testified that when the Naval Liaison Officer at the Air Force Headquarters telephoned the Naval Command Bridge about the hull markings and their similarity to those of the Liberty, the officer to whom he spoke repeated the message in a loud voice so that it was heard by all present on the Command Bridge including the Head of the Naval Department. The examining judge stated, therefore, that there was thus no reason to repeat to the Head of the Naval Department a fact that had been audibly announced to those present."

The division commander received a message to not proceed with the attack and he ignored it,[6] The Liberty wasn't just identified once prior to the attack and forgot about, it was identified several times.

Other Signs Of Guilt

A The radio communications were being jammed by the Israeli military.[8] One of the first things that was shot at was also the radio towers.[1] This implies a clear intent to cut off all outside communication so that no help would come. You'd have to intentionally target the American signal with jamming devices in order to pull this off, so claiming you thought it was an Egyptian ship makes no sense.

B The Israeli ships were shooting out the life rafts and aiming for the men on deck to make sure nobody survived the attack.[9][10] I presume just like many of the people on the ship that the Israelis didn't want them in that area for some reason.


I think it's important that we give the Israelis the same criticism and suspicious eye, we'd give to any other country, It wouldn't be fair to see North Korea make the same claims and be scoffed at but weigh the evidence differently just because this is Israel. Evidence is evidence and to give the Israelis a benefit of doubt that we'd never grant the Egyptians in this case is special pleading,

These crew men aren't lying. This wasn't a ship full of anti-semites who are capitalizing on their friends deaths to forward some agenda. They just want their story heard and to be taken seriously.

I think touching on the cover-up, that took place after the event is going to be one of the keys in showing this attack was intentional. I suspect that a large part of my rebuttal will provide me an opportunity to go into those details and I look forward to that. I give the floor to EmilRose.

I end this round with the following quote

"A point that baffles me (and my shipmates) about that view is that the Israelis did NOT
stop firing when they drew close enough to positively identify us as American"
Jim Ennes [10]

[1] (pg 25 actual 35 PDF)
[2] NTB 13(B) 503
[5] (pg37)
[6] ibid pg 39
[7] ibid pg41
[8] (Video 10:40-11:00)


Thanks Wylted.

C1) Context of the Six Day War

In order to fully understand the attack on the USS Liberty which took place on June 8, 1967, near the Sinai Peninsula and 29.3 miles from the Egyptian city of El-Arish, one has to be aware of the circumstances between Israel and Egypt and what was taking place place within the six days. The 1967 war was not only a simple operation but a full-scale conflict initiated by Egypt with its closing of the Tiran Straits, a vital shipping area for Israel, and the subsequent mobilization of its troops in the Sinai.

Because of the ensuing war and the fact that Egypt was Israel's military enemy, anything that was in nearby Egyptian territory if unidentified would've been considered a threat by Israeli forces.

C2) Warnings and Failed Communications

Leading up to to attack on the USS, Israeli general Yitzhak Rabin specifically informed commander Ernest Carl Castle, the American naval attaché in Tel Aviv, that Israel would defend its coast with every means at its disposal, which included the sinking of unidentified ships in the area. Rabin explicitly asked that the U.S stay away from their location or at the least make it known of their (U.S ships) exact positioning. Despite this advice, the U.S provided Israel with no clear information on the Liberty and failed to disclose its location. The Liberty was an old Navy vessel first used in the second world war, that had since underwent conversion. Such details when combined together make it conceivable that Israel was not able to formally establish its identity by merely flying over.

On June 7, the Pentagon had issued an order to Six Fleet headquarters to tell the Liberty to come no closer than 100 nautical miles to Israel, Syria or the Sinai coast. However, by the time that warning was sent, the Liberty was already cruising 10-12 miles off the coast of Israel and the Sinai. Due to communication errors, the message to remain at 100 miles away from Israel and the Sinai was unfortunately not transmitted to Liberty frequency until hours after the attack had taken place.

(C3) Israeli Communication

Before any proceeding action action against the USS Liberty, two reports were made about about the sighting of a ship on the El-Arish coast. Both of which reached the conclusion that the ship was "unidentified" and made no reference to an American flag, which survivors from aboard the Liberty have claimed was clearly visible. The second sighting that was made at 9:AM by an Israeli fighter jet, twenty miles North of El-Arish on the Sinai coast, merely reports that the ship is
"gray", "bulky", and "with its bridge amidships". Once again, no large American flag, which was allegedly flying from the Liberty's starboard halyard, was seen. Because the sea was calm on the day of the attack, if the U.S flag was up, it would've very likely dropped and not easily been identifiable.

During the attack, you in fact explicitly hear an Israeli pilot shouting:
"there is no flag on her!"

Another Israeli pilot, when flying at ninety feet, stated the same thing to Israeli headquarters: "I see no flag", only observing markings on the boat which he could not distinguish.

In 2003, another Israeli crew member that was involved in the attack Yiftah Spector stated that he had been advised an Egyptian ship was off the Gaza coast and continued with the point that the ship was unidentified and that no flag was observed.

"This ship positively did not have any symbol or flag that I could see. What I was concerned with was that it was not one of ours. I looked for the symbol of our navy, which was a large white cross on its deck. This was not there, so it wasn't one of ours.”

A recording of Yiftah's radio transmission was later obtained in which in he is heard saying, I can't identify it, but in any case it's a military ship.”

An Israeli admiral named Shlomo Erell, who was Chief of the Israeli Navy in 1967 during the Six Day War, released the following statement:

“No one would ever have dreamt that an American ship would be there. Even the United States didn't know where its ship was. We were advised by the proper authorities that there was no American ship within 100 miles.”

Yitzhak Rabin, after the incident had taken place, commented that: "I must admit I had mixed feelings about the news, profound regret at having attacked our friends and a tremendous sense of relief [that it was not Soviet]."

Once that Israel had established that it was not a Soviet or an Egyptian ship, they immediately reported the incident to the U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv and offered to provide a helicopter for those aboard and to assist in evacuating the injured and with salvaging what was left of the ship. The offer was accepted, and later a U.S naval attaché was sent to the Liberty.

(C4) Investigations

On the contrary to no formal inquiries, several investigations have been conducted by the U.S government and three by Israel.
These include:


-U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry

-Joint Chief of Staff's Report

-CIA Intelligence Memorandums

-Clark Clifford Report

-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony

-House Armed Services Committee Investigationion

-The NSA History Report


-Fact Finding Inquiry by Colonel Ram Ron

-Preliminary Inquiry by Examining Judge Yeshayahu Yerushalmi

-IDF History Department Report, "the Liberty" incident

All reports have found no evidence of any premeditated or intentional attack on the Liberty, instead concluding that the attack was indeed accidental and the result of errors made by both sides. I'll highlight again that Israel made it clear that the waters within the Sinai location were extremely hostile and that it expected full transparency from the U.S in relation to ships it may deploy to the area. The CIA report that was issued in 1967 concludes that "no malice" was found, the U.S Navy Inquiry asserts that it was a case of "mistaken identity", the Clifford report finds there is "no evidence" that the ship was determined as American, with the National Security establishing the same.

(C5) Explosion

Shortly before the Liberty attack, an explosion was heard within the territory of El-Arish. This is in fact the primary reason on as to why Israel proceeded with its course of action and sensed a threat in the area. The explosion was additionally observed by those aboard the Liberty who noted a thick wave of smoke come towards them. The day prior, the area had been shelled by Egyptian warships, thus again, making Israel on high alert. Minutes after the explosion, reports of naval bombardment had reached Yitzhak Rabin, convinced there was further shelling he decided to pursue the matter and restated the order to sink any unidentified ships.

(C6) Motivation

If something as significant as a nation attacking its ally occurs, the question of motivation also arises. What exactly would Israel have to gain from attacking a U.S ship? There's certainly no military advantages, as Israel was not fighting with the U.S, and in terms of close allied friendship, what would be the purpose in sacrificing that for an intentional attack on a ship that belonged to the U.S and posed nothing of any great importance to Israel? The losses are far higher and more detrimental than anything Israel would have to benefit. Such losses include being accountable for and potentially convicted of war crimes, lack of U.S backing, expenses, such as those that go on legal cases, etc. Alluding further to the financial costs, Israel has paid millions of dollars in compensation to survivors and victims families and towards damages suffered to the ship. Avraham Harman stated that Israel was fully prepared: "to make amends for the tragic loss of lives and material", giving his "deep condolences" and "sympathy" to the victims families.

Reasons that have been presented, including those put forward by Liberty survivors include suggestions of the Liberty listening in on Israel's plan of capturing the Golan Heights which was to occur two days later, however, this particular allegation is proved false by the fact that Israel had already revealed its military plans and made virtually no attempts to conceal its intentions of an offensive against the Syrian army. On June 8, the American consulate in Jerusalem reaffirmed that Israel was retaliating for Syria's attacking of Israeli villages in the north, stating "in an apparent prelude to large-scale attack in effort to
seize Heights overlooking border kibbutzim." On the same day, the U.S. Ambassador Walworth Barbour while in Tel Aviv commented that "I would not, repeat not, be surprised if the reported Israeli attack on the Golan does take place or has already done so". The Israeli Defence Forces Intelligence Chief Aharon Yariv also told Harry McPherson, a senior White House executive, that "there still remained the Syria problem and perhaps it would be necessary to give Syria a blow."

Baring in mind that the Liberty was in Egyptian territory, the listening devices were not powerful enough that they could listen in on Israeli conversations in Tel Aviv.
Another suggestion that has been made is that the Liberty somehow discovered, (through its devices) the alleged massacre of Egyptian POW'S, once again however this is unsupported and there is no evidence that any massacre has ever even occurred.
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks EmilRose for your thoughtful responses.


I'm not really appreciating how my opponent uses sources. It makes my rebuttals a little harder because they're just kinda cobbled together at the end. I'm also not sure which citations, belong to which facts. My facts also come as close to first hand sources you'll get to with just an internet connection. I'm citing NSA declassified documents and direct statements made by eyewitnesses. My opponent is citing opinion pieces, which may or may not be full of good citations, themselves.


My opponent asserts that the Israeli military didn't know of the presence of an American ship in the area but go back to my round 2 arguments backed by declassified NSA documents and also statements made by the Israeli government.

Statement by Israeli government:

"At 0600 hours (local time) on 8 June 1967, an Israeli aircraft, with a naval observer on board, located a ship 70 miles west of Tel Aviv. On the basis of this information, Israeli Navy Headquarters marked the object in red (meaning an unidentified target) on the combat information center plottable. ~ At about 0900 hours, another Israeli plane reported sighting a ship 20 miles north of AI 'Arish, The pilot reported that the ship was "coloured gray, very bulky, and the bridge amidships." The ship was then identified by the Israelis as a supply vessel of the American Navy;"[1]

Further more from the same source:

"Later that morning at 1055 hours, the Naval Liaison Officer at Israeli Air Force Headquarters reported to the Acting Chief of Naval Operations at Navy Headquarters that the ship sighted earlier was "an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy, named Liberty"

This is the Israeli government admitting it knew prior to the attack according to now declassified NSA documents. It knew the ship by name.

This is leaving out the fact the acting chief of Naval operations knew of the ships identity, prior or during the attack. More evidence of the knowledge of who they were attacking is that the division commander of the torpedo boats was informed by the deputy commander that the ship was American and shouldn't be attacked. The division commander ignored this.[2]

"the deputy commander of the boat testified that he had received the message and passed it on to the division commander"[2]


Not everything listed by my opponent is an investigation into the USS Liberty. I will say this . The reports put out about the USS Liberty by the Israeli government aren't going to conclude that they committed war crimes. No nation does a report on them self and conclude that they committed war crimes.

Concerning the IDF history report it's not an investigative inquiry report. It's a report that intends to come to the conclusion that the authors assumed prior to the report and states so in the introduction.

"The object of this paper is to present an authoritative version of the circumstances and chain of events which led to the "Liberty" incident" and to respond to some of the claims made regarding Israel's intentions"

The preliminary inquiry by Judge Yeshayahu Yerushalmi is another weird investigation to bring up. It was a preliminary hearing that was a mere 48 hour study as mentioned in the beginning of my opponent's citation.[3]

That report is also the original source of a few of the pieces of evidence, I've used in my favor so the conclusions are actually bewildering. [4]

The senate investigation report, I looked at didn't really say anything of value. I encourage anyone to look at the citation my opponent gave. It just appears to be 2 senators debating whether the attack was intentional but neither one actually offering any evidence to support their position. [5]

My opponent knows characters are limited in this debate and has chosen to use a debating technique known as Gish Gallop. Here is a description of Gish Gallop from a Wikipedia article on it.

"The Gish Gallop is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of small arguments that their opponent cannot possibly answer or address each one in real time. More often than not, these myriad arguments are full of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments " the only condition is that there be many of them, not that they be particularly compelling on their own. They may be escape hatches or "gotcha" arguments that are specifically designed to be brief, but take a long time to unravel. Thus, galloping is frequently used in timed debates to overwhelm one's opponent."[6]

I've discredited a few of those but I clearly don't have the character length to effectively discredit all of them. Also, merely giving the conclusions on some studies isn't a replacement for an argument. If con has a good case to make, they don't need to refer to the conclusions of anther's arguments.

It's probably better to just look for evidence within these investigations to support your arguments. It's my belief that the evidence points towards an intentional attack and their conclusions are a non sequiter (doesn't follow). It also should be noted that these reports contain a bias because obviously the people doing these investigations want to err on the side of caution, not making false accusations.

We don't have to do that here, nor should we. This is a split Burden of proof debate. In these investigations if there is a 51% chance Israel intentionally did these attacks then they are going to conclude not enough evidence exists to call the attack intentional. If voters decide there is a 51% chance my side is correct, they must vote for me to win this.


There are several possible motives for the attack. I don't think the topic of motive is extremely important to this debate. I will say that Israel has a history of attacking it's allies in false flag operations. It's kinda their Modus Operandi. If you take a look at what's now known as the Lavon Affair. It's now part of the historical record that The state of Israel attacked a number of American, British and civilian targets with bombings as part of a false flag attack to blame the Muslim brotherhood as well as a few other targets.[7]

Knowing that Israel has a history of black flag ops it may have been to incite America in joining the war.

"The losses are far higher and more detrimental than anything Israel would have to benefit. Such losses include being accountable for and potentially convicted of war crimes, lack of U.S backing, expenses, such as those that go on legal cases, etc."

Actually it was a very small risk to take. They attacked and have not been convicted of any war crimes or lost any U.S. backing.

Israel is prone to make high risk moves like this (see Lavon Affair).

The United States has an incredibly strong Israel lobby. Pro Israel people control the mainstream media almost exclusively. Their is also a large group of conservative Christians who dictate the outcome of several election, who have a religious belief that any country who is loyal to Israel is also loyal to Jesus and will be on the correct side in the final battle (referred to as Armageddon), written about in Revelation.

The truth is that Israel can do whatever they please and because of this strong religious voting block as well as the amount media controls public opinion, they can get away with quite a bit.

Another possible motive is to cover up war crimes. The Israeli's had killed a bunch of POWs during the 6 day war and the attack on the Liberty may have been an attack to cover that war crime up.[9]

According to the Washington post (quoted in the same article:

""Israeli soldiers killed hundreds of Egyptian prisoners of war during the 1967 Middle East war - deaths that commanders who are now prominent leaders have known about for years, historians said today."


I've provided a link to pictures of the markings on the hull of the USS Liberty. I've provided testimony from 5 different survivors of the Liberty attack about how visible the flag was. Any testimony you find from survivors, talking about the flag report the same thing, while reports of people who could face charges of war crimes if they confessed to seeing the flag before attacking may be different, they have motive to be different.

Unless my opponent is calling the Liberty survivors liars, I'd like her to explain why she thinks they may be mistaken about the flags being highly visible and up.

On top of that some Israeli sources contradicting that the flag wasn't visible has stated:

"When they saw the U.S. flag, the Israelis
thought it was probably the Egyptians pretending to be
Americans and did not bother to check."

It seems like the Israeli government can't really forward a straight story.


Even in the opening arguments my opponent seems to be doing very little to forward a positive case. I'll remind voters that not only must my opponent forward a positive case to win, her positive case must be stronger than mine when all the smoke clears.

I give the floor to Con, good luck.

[1] (pg. 37)
[2] ibid (39)


Thanks Wylted.

Firstly, all sources displayed refer to specific information that I have summarized in my argument. The first sources provide brief descriptions of the Six Day War and its context, with later sources providing an overview of the Liberty attack, source three in particular supporting my argument that IDF had received orders from Yitzhak Rabin to sink any unidentified ship within the area, something that is referenced in his memoirs. Source four is a comprehensive copy of the Israeli Ram Ron report which gives in-depth assessment of the events prior (such as the IDF hearing an explosion) and during the attack. Source five makes reference to all investigations conducted by the U.S and their official conclusions, which are of course, that no evidence on intention has been found and that instead the attack was the result of a series of miscalculations and errors.

Additional sources provide other reports, such as nine, in which the official IDF historical report on the Liberty attack is displayed, which like Ram Ron gives a comprehensive assessment of the incident and refers in detail to the events surrounding it. The report naturally comes to the same conclusion as other U.S and Israeli investigations, in stating that the attack was caused by "incorrect target identification and faulty data analysis, due to the ambiguities and the pressures of the situation in which Israel was involved." Which is of course where the context of the Six Day War applies. The report goes on to clarify that as soon the IDF air and naval forces had realized the mistake, the attack was entirely halted and assistance was immediately provided.

Perhaps more revealing, the report also explicitly highlights how the Liberty's commander was in fact concerned about the order to operate within such visual range to the coast, and had apparently considered distancing the ship from the dangers inherent to such a situation. Likewise the final source used references the compensation that Israel made and the offer put forward "to make amends for the tragic loss of lives and material damage",professing full sympathy towards the victims' families and those aboard the ship.

Therefore, I'd like to make it clear to readers that sources used are not "opinion pieces" but actual articles and reports that support my case.


Concerning Pros assertion of Israel being aware of Liberty's presence, it would remain inconclusive that the ship was in fact formally identified by the Air and Naval forces directly involved in the incident. As outlined in round two of my argument, in the transmission recordings of Israeli crew member Yiftah Spector, he can be explicitly heard saying: "I can't identify it, but in any case it's a military ship. Also stating that after the incident that the ship "did positively have no symbol or flag that (he) could see", and that his main concern, keeping in mind again that this was taking place in full-scale war in waters that been shelled by the Egyptian army, was the fact the ship did not belong to Israel.

The main contention in my argument is that there was a clear serious of miscommunications and miscalculations on both sides, the information (or rather, "update") from the Israeli Liaison Officer was not necessarily relayed to those who would directly participate in the attack thus not proving anything that would lead to the attack being "intentional". As highlighted, the Israeli recordings and additional information surrounding the Liberty would entirely suggest that the Air and Naval forces who were involved in the attack, had not been made aware of or identified any nationality of the ship. In the first reference to an Israeli recording outlined in my previous argument, you can again hear these words by an Israeli pilot: "there is no flag on her!"
On the contrary to be conclusive proof of an intentional attack, it would only seem evident that there was a considerable lack of communication between the Israeli military.

I'd point out again that neither of the Israeli sightings, with the first one being "unidentified" and thus leading to the ship being marked in red, make any reference to an American flag, which according to survivors, was clearly visible.

Pro states that this was the "Israeli government admitting it knew prior to the attack", which I'd naturally contend. The Israeli government may have admitted or indicated that the ship was identified by one particular source, but once more it does not mean that this information (on the ships identity) was successfully relayed across the entire Israeli Air and Naval forces. Evidence would clearly indicate the opposite. This is also where the learning of an explosion arises, the response upon hearing that there was an explosion in the nearby the location of the Liberty, given that Egyptian ships had previously targeted the area with shelling, was understandably to assume action and eliminate any threat being posed (I.E, by the Egyptian military.) Given the circumstances of that, combined with the level of misinformation, the case of mistaken identity is very much conceivable.


As I have outlined, in my opening argument a number of three reports are referenced, including the Ram Ron Report, one official U.S government investigation, and the IDF "Attack on the Liberty" report. Another source provides summaries of all investigations conducted by the U.S and Israel, along with brief conclusions. Which were all in compliance with one another with regards to the attack and if any intention was there, all reports established that the attack was indeed accidental and that there was a series of miscalculations and errors before and during the attack. I'd note to Pro that the two other Israeli reports referred (such as Ram Ron and Yerusashalimi) are official inquiries. The IDF historical report provides a comprehensive look at the attack and the events surrounding it, therefore it is still valid. Pro uses the statement himself that one of the main objectives through the report is to "respond to some of the claims regarding Israel's intentions", with all responses indicating that the attack was not intentional.

The inquiry by Yesha'yahu Yerusahalimi still stands as a credible citation to include as again, it provides an assessment of the attack and also officially categorized as an "investigative" piece. Overall a number of ten U.S and Israeli reports have been made on the USS Liberty attack, with nine all counting as investigations.

I would particularly like to highlight that Pros assertion of myself using the "Gish Gallop Technique", in which only half-truths, lies and straw-man arguments are conveyed is neither a proper rebuttal to points made or relevant to the debate. Instead of actually using the characters to include the Wikipedia definition, Pro could have continued to address arguments made and rebut them accordingly. Anyone who views my opening argument would be able to see that I have not "merely given the conclusions" (which do actually count) to studies made but have went in detail to events surrounding the Liberty attack and provided sound explanations as to why such an attack could happen, and more importantly, why it is conceivable that it was non-intentional.
Now alluding to motive:

The Lavon Affair is an entirely separate case to the USS Liberty attack and its circumstances and reasons to why such an attack occurred have clearly been overlooked by Pro. Israel had wanted the British forces to retain their presence in the Suez Canal area of Egypt. The case alludes to again to Egypt being the main military enemy of Israel at the time. Civilian places that were targeted were all done so after closing hours, and no civilians were killed.

Pro states that there a "several possible" motives for the attack, while only actually including one. A motive that I've already demonstrated has a lack of a credibility, primarily due to the fact that no evidence for any mass execution of Egyptian POWS has ever surfaced. One cannot simply not include this as a viable motivation, when there is no such proof of it ever happening. There also arises the question of how this relates to the Liberty, which did not have the power to learn anything about such a cover-up. Naturally it's rather senseless that Israel would go about covering up one alleged war crime (which the Liberty would have no knowledge on) with committing another alleged war crime.

The statement that the attack on the Liberty "was a small risk to take" also fails to draw an actual motive, it's still left unanswered what Israel would have to gain from such an attack. Things like paying millions in compensation, which Israel immediately offered to do, are certainly not valid reasons to attack an allied ship. Regardless of being committed of war crimes or not.

In addition, it's also irrelevant to state that "Pro Israel people control the mainstream media almost exclusively." One only has to view U.S news outlets such as CNN, NY Times, etc. (which show absolutely no bias towards Israel) to prove that incorrect. Certainly in modern cases, Israel cannot do "whatever they please" without any repercussions, the recent 2014 Gaza conflict offers good indication of this.

U.S Flag:

The quote used does not state whether this is before, during or after the attack itself, which could make all the difference to its contextual meaning. More importantly it still doesn't negate my own case that no sightings reported made reference to a U.S flag, as do no Israeli recordings.

Relating to Pros final point, my assertion is based on the fact that in two seperate recordings Israeli officers are heard stating that they could see no flag.




Debate Round No. 3



I don't want voters to lose site of what this debate is about so I feel we need to readdress a few points. I'll go over them point by point.


What's meant by intentional is clearly laid out in round one by both me and con.

"More specifically, I'm stating that the Israeli military, portions of or personnel knew the ship they were attacking was American either before the attack or sometime during the attack and continued attacking anyway." ( round 1 as part of the clarification of resolution).

I think I've demonstrated that portions of the Israeli military or personnel knew the ship was American before and during the attack and that the military continued attacking anyway. I've produced declassified NSA documents that demonstrate this. Israel in fact doesn't deny knowing the identity of the ship prior to and during the attack.

Just a reminder of what was mentioned in these declassified NSA documents.

"Witnesses testified that when the Naval Liaison Officer at the Air Force Headquarters telephoned the Naval Command Bridge about the hull markings and their similarity to those of the Liberty, the officer to whom he spoke repeated the message in a loud voice so that it was heard by all present on the Command Bridge including the Head of the Naval Department. The examining judge stated, therefore, that there was thus no reason to repeat to the Head of the Naval Department a fact that had been audibly announced to those present."

"At 0600 hours (local time) on 8 June 1967, an Israeli aircraft, with a naval observer on board, located a ship 70 miles west of Tel Aviv. On the basis of this information, Israeli Navy Headquarters marked the object in red (meaning an unidentified target) on the combat information center plottable. ~ At about 0900 hours, another Israeli plane reported sighting a ship 20 miles north of AI 'Arish, The pilot reported that the ship was "coloured gray, very bulky, and the bridge amidships." The ship was then identified by the Israelis as a supply vessel of the American Navy;"

"Later that morning at 1055 hours, the Naval Liaison Officer at Israeli Air Force Headquarters reported to the Acting Chief of Naval Operations at Navy Headquarters that the ship sighted earlier was "an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy, named Liberty"

"the deputy commander of the boat testified that he had received the message and passed it on to the division commander"

The division commander of the attacking forces had the message given directly to him by the deputy commander. My opponent doesn't contest any of these things. This is all I need to win this debate, the way I clarified my position in round 1, but even if you don't buy that interpretation of the resolution (and you should buy it), My opponent expects us to believe that all these high ranking people and even the person in charge in the field directly attacking the Liberty who were directly told that the ship was American had communication issues.

We're expected to believe that the person who was directly told the ship was American (Division commander) just didn't understand his deputy commander when he stated the ship was American. This isn't a piece of information you'd allow your superior officer to misunderstand during the attack. You'd likely bend over backwards to make it extremely clear that you're attacking an allied ship to prevent further damage. Anybody that applies Occam's Razor to this situation knows that the division commander ignored his direct subordinates plea to stop the attack.

It's important to keep the term Occam's Razor in mind. It applies to a bunch of things here. For those who don't know;

"The principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but"in the absence of certainty"the fewer assumptions that are made, the better."

We can either assumed one of the best trained militaries in the world not only accidentally fired on an American ship with hull markings and a visible flag and in broad daylight with clear weather but they also had miscommunications, not just at one level but on several different levels from the command room all the way down to the division commander who was told directly the ship was American.

Do we believe that theory which needs a hundred different details to work or do we believe the theory that requires fewer assumptions, that the attacks were intentional.

Burden Of Proof

The burden of proof in this debate is split, meaning that my opponent has to forward some type of case if she expects to win, So far she has provided some context and attacked my case but has forwarded very little in terms of her own case. My opponent acts as if I have to prove my case beyond a reasonable doubt and I most certainly do not.

" Given the circumstances of that, combined with the level of misinformation, the case of mistaken identity is very much conceivable. "

Sorry Con, you need to do more than conceivable. Your version of events has to fit the situation better than mine. This isn't a court of law or an official investigation where things need to proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a debate where if my version of events had even a 51% chance of occurring I should win.


My opponents sources still are just sloppily thrown at the bottom of the argument and I'm not sure which source is used for which facts. I'm specifically stating the forces for whatever sets of facts I lay out. Just look at my opponent's sources for the last round. Every single one goes back to articles that are of merely interested parties and most of the information in these articles aren't cited. A few articles she lists are well cited but these are the exception.


I've listed a ton of eye witness testimony from Liberty survivors. These testimonies show a flag that is up and clearly visible. These testimonies are ones I pulled from declassified NSA documents showing interviews with these individuals. My opponent has failed to explain how these individuals are mistaken or any motive for these men to lie. These people are among medal of honor recipients for God's sake. I'd like to see some explanation from my opponent for this.

I've even shown declassified documents that the Israeli bridge commander was told by a pilot that the ship was American. I cited as close to first hand sources as you'll get, though some of their citations are in fact from classified documents. My opponent has shown statements by Israeli pilots but not only can I not find the citations on these statements so I can see the full statements the one statement I do find is only from an uncited document.

I ask that my opponent do better with citations.


My opponent has put out several investigations that conclude that the attack on the USS Liberty was accidental. I don't think she understands my rebuttals to this. The conclusions of these investigations don't count as evidence. Now I've read some of these investigations and others just aren't available to read. I've even used some of the information in these investigations to make my case.

I suggest my opponent read these investigations to come up with some evidence. This debate is about examining the evidence and presenting each of our sides in their best light but my opponent has attempted to use the opinions of a few people on the conclusion of the evidence.

No only is this just a short cut to cutting out debate, the conclusions aren't valid because they have a higher burden in their conclusions than we do ours. If there is a 40% chance that the incident was an honest mistake then they need to do the honorable thing and conclude that not enough evidence exists to conclude it's anything other than an accident.

However in this debate a 40% possibility of an honest mistake isn't good enough. There has to be a 51% chance of it being an honest mistake for my opponent to win this.


Look at my rebuttals from last round. My opponent acts as if those are part of my case but they aren't. They're intended to undermine her premises and do just that. She has to show why they don't undermine her premises but she just creates read herrings. Take this for example, Here is my opponent's premise for Israeli not intentionally attacking a US ship:

"The losses are far higher and more detrimental than anything Israel would have to benefit. Such losses include being accountable for and potentially convicted of war crimes, lack of U.S backing, expenses, such as those that go on legal cases, etc."

I respond by pointing out that Israel is willing to risk those things andI provided evidence by bringing up the Lavon affair'

Here is her response to her premise being undermined.

"The Lavon Affair is an entirely separate case to the USS Liberty attack and its circumstances and reasons to why such an attack occurred have clearly been overlooked by Pro."

This completely ignores the fact that her premise was undermined. We can't always know a nation's or commander's motive for doing something but we can look at their actions to assess their motive in the moment. Which is what this debate is about.

I'm actually out of space and time. Good luck to my opponent.



Firstly, I'll highlight that the Liberty was not formally identified by Israel to the extent of its presence and nationality being an established fact that was understood by all components of the IDF and more specifically the Air and Naval forces that were directly involved. The mis-communication, as has been emphasized throughout my entire argument, was in fact one of the largest factors in why the attack occurred.

Such miscommunications start off with the U.S' failure to inform Israel (as Yitzhak Rabin had explicitly ordered to the U.S. Naval Attaché in Tel Aviv) if it planned on deploying ships within the Sinai area and to outline their exact positioning. However, the U.S clearly failed to oversee. Another significant U.S error was the fact that radio transmissions sent by the JCS to the Liberty, instructing it to stay 100 miles away from Israel and Egypt, were not received by the ship until after the attack had taken place. Israeli errors can again be found in the Liberty not being officially identified by the entire IDF unit. There still remains the case that two pilots were heard clearly stating they could identify no flag during the incident.

As also outlined, Yitzhak Rabin had told the U.S Naval Attaché that any unidentified ship would be sunk. Which isn't exactly something that would be said if Israel was indeed planning on attacking an a U.S ship. As soon as the IDF had realized their mistake and established its identity, the attack was stopped and immediate assistance was offered, as well as the later financial compensation that Israel offered to survivors and victims families, and towards damage costs of the ship.

Israeli Air Force reports that were made make no further reference to any ship in the area that was suspected as American or established as American. The only thing that would've been high on Israel's agenda on the day of the attack was Egyptian submarines, that had been seen off the coast at 11:AM and were actually what the Israeli Air Forces were initially looking for.

Soon after at 11:24 AM, the explosion off the el-Arish coast had been heard, thus alerting the Israeli forces and indicating that the coast was again being shelled by Egyptian forces; as it had been the day previously. I'll point out again that this explosion had also been observed by those aboard the Liberty, who noted thick black smoke coming towards them. The IDF Southern command then reported seeing two unidentified vessels close offshore, causing further concern. When news of possible naval bombardment reached
IDF General Staff Headquarters in Tel Aviv, Yitzhak Rabin reiterated the orders to sink any unidentified ships in the area, with two being reported at that point.

More than half an hour had passed in the duration in between the Air and Naval forces locating to Al-Arish, which promoted the General Staff to respond with:
“The coast is being shelled and you—the navy—have done nothing.” Captain Izzy Rahav, who had took over from Captain Lutz, then decided to send out three torpedo boats to the vessel(s) believed to be responsible for causing the explosions.

Ensign Aharon Yifrah, a combat information officer aboard one of the torpedo boats (T-204), had then informed its Captain Moshe Oren that again an unidentified ship had been noticed northeast of el-Arish at a range of 22 miles. The ship was said to be sailing towards Egypt at a speed of 30 knots, Yifrah estimated. This assessment, which happened to be twice recalculated, was extremely important in regards to the fact that the Liberty, could apparently only travel at a maximum speed of 18 knots and is what further lead to the Israelis believing that the ship was indeed an enemy one. Upon hearing the news Captain Rahav then alerted the Air force, and two Mirage jet fighters were sent out to the area. Alluding again to any identification of flag on the ship, when asked by General Motti Hod whether he could see a flag, Yiftah Spector responded with a clear "negative".

Onto further rebuttals, Pro states that the division commandeer was in fact made aware however most of Pros information applies only to the sustained number of hours leading up to the attack, not just before or while the attack was taking place; which I'd contest is when information is most relevant. The fact that Pro states the vessel was marked with red (meaning unidentified target) in no way negates my argument. It would also seem evident that again, the Liberty was not officially identified in the respect that it had specifically been written down or relayed to Yitzhak Rabin or the IDF, particularly those who were directly involved in the attack. I'll reiterate to Pro that its the details surrounding the attack just before that bare the most significance. I'll briefly summarize why:

-An explosion was heard was heard in el-Arish (the same location as the Liberty), making it suspected of shelling.

-Two unidentified vessels were reported.

-Orders were repeated to sink any unidentified ships.

-One unidentified vessel was noted by Aharon Yifrah at going a speed of 30 knots, while the Liberty was said to only said to have a maximum of 18.

-No flag was formally identified.

Such facts, particularly when combined, make it again entirely feasible how the attack could have been unintentional.

Pro appears to be placing much emphasis on the division commander being told by his deputy that an American ship was identified, however, I'd note again that the only real Israeli information concerning the Liberty was when it was marked as unidentified approximately five hours before the attack, and that there had been brief suggestion of an American ship operating in the area. It's important to note that it was not definitive or officially conveyed to the rest of the IDF. An explosion was still heard off the coast of Sinai, and unidentified vessels reaching knots that were beyond their limit were still reported , with the Liberty being one.

Israeli Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, arguably the most "high ranking" officer at the time, clearly deemed it necessary to respond to suspected shelling off the al-Arish coast and was evidently not made aware that an American ship was operating directly in that area, something that he had previously asked the U.S to ensure. If Rabin did have full knowledge of the Liberty presence within that exact vicinity and if the Liberty was formally identified by the Air and Naval forces there at the time, the outcome of the Liberty incident would've most likely been very different.

Once again my sources are all relevant to the debate and all support my points for each round, according to where my arguments are placed. I have used official reports and references to the Liberty incident, therefore all sources apply. Pros own argument largely revolves around survivor testimony, something evident in his own sources. Likewise, the declassified NSA documents do not necessarily confirm or lead to anything definitive surrounding the attack. The first NSA link used by Pro entitled
"Attack on a Sigint Collector, the U.S.S. Liberty" first only delves into the details surrounding the ships deployment and the technical factors involved. It also strongly supports one of my own main points in highlighting that there were "directions to withdraw the Liberty" and that the "the JCS/JRC made a new assessment of the danger inherent in the Liberty's operations. JRC considered the distance of the Liberty from the Sixth Fleet, some 300 to 400 miles". More importantly, it states that the message sent out by the JCS instructing the Liberty to keep within a certain distance of Israel and Egypt, was not delivered to the ship until after the incident due to an error made by the Department of Army Communications, who had wrongly delivered it to the Naval Communications Station in the Pacific.

The exact words:

"Although a copy of the message was to have gone to the Liberty, it would not reach the ship prior to the attack."

U.S Flag

Pro states that he has listed a "ton" of witness testimony from Liberty survivors all noting that the U.S flag was clearly visible. However, I have also provided my own Israeli evidences in which those involved in the Air attacks observed no visible flag and explicitly stated so. I have also outlined that no U.S flag was reported by any of the Israeli aircraft that flown over the same area hours prior to the attack. The only information outlined by the Liberty was that it was "gray", "bulky", "with its bridge amidships".

One major contradiction concerning the U.S flag can be found in the account of James Ennes, a Liberty survivor. In his book he argues that it would have been impossible for Cap. McGonagle to recognize the flags and markings on the Israeli boats.

"McGonagle must have been mistaken about sighting the Israeli flag at this point in the attack. For one thing, it would have been practically impossible to identify a tiny and wildly fluttering Star of David a mile away, particularly since any flags displayed by the torpedo boats would have streamed back, away from McGonagle and out of his line of sight." (Assault on the Liberty, p 149)

Another similar contradiction is that Lt. Painter claimed the jets were "unmarked", while signalman Russell David states that he saw visible Israeli markings on the jets.

Given this particular statement, who is to doubt that that Israel would have seen the U.S flag from a mile away? The fact there is disagreement over whether the Israeli flag could be seen, naturally it should also be questioned whether the same applies to the U.S flag.

As for Pros assertion regarding alleged Israeli jamming of Liberty frequencies, there is absolutely no definitive evidence in support of this. In fact such a claim can be attributed to survivor testimony only, namely James Ennes himself. Technically the Israelis trying to jam the outgoing signals is impossible, as the Liberty would have been able to send its distress signals regardless of any attempted jamming.

Debate Round No. 4


Unfortunately due to an overly busy week, I don't have much time for a response (or sleep). I ask that the voters disregard any new evidence or arguments that may be provided in the final round. I'll focus on a few points which I think judges need to consider before deciding a winner.

1. Consider the definition for intentional in round 1 and reminded of in round 2. If you answer yes to the following question after reading this, you must award me the win.

Question: Did any portion of or personnel in the Israeli military know that the ship they were attacking is American?

This is how the resolution was worded and expanded upon in round 1 and brought back up in the previous round. I've provided NSA declassified documents showing that portions of and certain personnel in the Israeli military, were aware that an American ship was being attacked and even warned their commanding officers in an attempt to get them to stop. This is something the Israeli government doesn't deny and readily admits.

2. My opponent has quoted several facts and used citations in a sloppy way. Most of the citations are from second hand sources (journalist articles), while mine are directly from eye witnesses and NSA declassified documents.

I really take issue with the way she uses citations because it's hard to track down which facts belong to which citations just because of the lack of annotation and having them just randomly placed at the bottoms of each argument. I think judges need to weigh the use of citations, extremely heavily.

3. My opponent has pretty much not forwarded a case at all. She asserts miscommunication but doesn't really provide any premises beyond the claims of people who would be tried as war criminals if found guilty of this intentional attack. Occam's razor when applied to this situation tells you that it's more likely these multiple warnings from subordinates were ignored. Unless the Israeli officers are holding their hands over their ears and singing "la la la la", I don't get how they can't hear somebody literally screaming on the command bridge or a subordinate directly telling his commanding officer that they were attacking an American ship.

We have to think what's more likely that the Israelis all of a sudden just turned into a bad military that has communication issues. Are we to believe they were attacking a ship that they thought was literally fleeing and of no danger or did they intentionally attack an American ship because somebody in the chain of command thought they'd benefit from it.

One of these scenarios make sense for a professional highly trained military to do. One of these scenarios makes no sense at all.

Conclusion- I apologize for being brief this round but we can't add any new arguments this round anyway so none of this should effect the judges decision to an incredibly huge degree.

I'd like to thank EmilRose for being willing to debate this with me. She's a worthy opponent and it was fun.

Thanks everybody, for reading along this far as well. I hope you found this debate interesting.


Thanks Wylted.

Summarization of points

-That the attack took place in the middle of a full scale war in enemy waters.

-That Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Chief of Staff, had specifically asked the U.S to either not deploy ships to the area or if they do to inform Israel of precise positioning.

-That Israel was not told about the presence of the Liberty.

- That orders issued by the Six Fleet Headquarters telling the Liberty to remain at least 50 miles away from Israel/Egypt had been misdirected, and did thus not get received by the ship until after the attack.

-Explosion. As stated in all previous rounds, a loud explosion was heard off the al-Arish coast, an area that been shelled by the Egyptian army the day prior. After this explosion, Yitzhak Rabin was reported to and Israeli forces were told to investigate. Half an hour passed in which no action was taken, leading the General Staff to believe that the area was continuing to be shelled and that the Israeli navy were doing nothing to counter it. After being told this, Captain Rahav and IDF needed no further persuading and quickly located to the al-Arish area.

-Two unidentified were vessels were reported. One being noted by Aharon Yifrah at travelling at a speed of 30 knots. The Liberty could supposedly only travel at a maximum speed of 18 knots.

-No flag was formally identified by the Israeli military. While earlier on in the day there had been sightings, no actual mention of a flag had been made and there had only been speculation as to the boats identity. It was categorized as "unidentified".

Two Israelis were heard stating that no flag could be seen during the attack, with the latter stating that he could only observe markings on the boat that could not be distinguished. A third Israeli crew member involved in the attack (Yiftah) stated that he had been advised an Egyptian ship was off the al-Arish coast and that there was no official flag.

-Lack of Motivation. I'll state again that Israel would have more to lose than gain from intentionally attacking the U.S, its ally.


While Pro disputes these reports, they are all technically classified as official inquiries into the Liberty incident. All several U.LS reports have concluded that no evidence has been found for intention or premeditated action, and that the attack was a case of mistaken identity.

Brief rebuttals:

Pro asserts that absolutely no argument has been given, which as can be seen by my round one and following arguments is simply not the case. I have provided valid reasons as to why such an attack could happen and there is significant evidence to support my position. More to the point, I have highlighted that there is no real evidence to confirm any intentionality. I've supported my case by listing examples of the miscommunication between the U.S and Israel, such as failure to inform the Chief of Staff of the Liberty's exact positioning, the U.S radio transmission telling the Liberty to remain 50 miles from the area of conflict but it not receiving, etc. The fact that no flag or nationality was formally identified and made known across the entire IDF unit (or more importantly, to Yitzhak Rabin) has also been noted.

Other important information I have highlighted is the al-Arish explosion, which is what lead to the Israeli Air and Naval forces locating to the area in the first place. I'll reiterate again the point of two unidentified ships being seen moments before the Liberty attack.

To deny the probability of the USS Liberty incident being an accident and a case of mistaken identity, Pro is unknowingly suggesting that friendly fire incidents cannot take place at all. The number of friendly fire incidents that have happened throughout history are in fact higher than one might think. Germany in particular encountered an array of incidents in WW2, including one in which they accidentally sent a bomb to their ally, and others where they even sunk their own ships. Italy also encountered a significant number of errors, such as shooting at its own forces and sinking other Italian boats. One of the most notable is when an Italian submarine sank the Italian destroyer "Antoniotto Usodimare".

Another case is when a train carrying 800 Allied prisoners of war was bombed in Italy, with around 400 British, U.S. and South African prisoners being killed. As well as when USAAF heavy bombers bombed the headquarters of the Canadian Infantry Division and 1st Polish Armoured Division, killing 65 and wounding 250 Allied soldiers. In 1944 alone there was the high number of 28 cases of friendly fire, mostly involving Germany, Italy, the U.S, and Britain. Another was when theU.S. Army Air Forces was bombing German-Albanian units entering from Kosovo. The U.S. planes mistook the advancing Soviet tanks as enemies and began attacking them, the Soviets then called in for air support in which a five minute fight took place. This particular attack is stated as being attributed exclusively to miscommunication issues.

One more German example is when 900 German fighters attacked Allied airfields. 300 aircraft were lost and 237 pilots killed. The case that is most widely considered the worst is the Cap Arcona incident in which three ships were sunk in four separate attacks by the Royal Air Force, resulting in the loss of over 7,000 Jewish concentration camp survivors and Russian prisoners of war, along with POWs from several other allies. Again, this attack was also attributed to miscommunication issues, and the British claimed that they were unaware the ships carried POW'S and camp survivors.

One mistake made by Israel (in the first year of its establishment) towards itself is when its first general was accidentally shot and killed by a sentry, this is largely attributed to the fact it was involved in a full-scale war against several Arab nations, and was fighting for its very existence.

Alluding further to U.S errors, a number of 13 cases of friendly fire occurred in the Vietnam war as well as 11 in the Gulf War. Even more cases were in the Afghanistan war with the considerable number of 25 friendly fire cases, which involved attacks against British troops. In the Iraqi war there was a total of 13 friendly fire incidents.

Anyway, I will leave my argument here. Likewise I have very much enjoyed debating this topic.

Thanks to all those who have followed this debate and read!

Friendly fire incidents: [1.]
Debate Round No. 5
302 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
No, You'll have to post on some inactives account to get that
Posted by ClashnBoom 2 years ago
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Friend request sent. I'm Kevin
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
What is your Facebook rockstar? I want to friend you.
Posted by rockstar1967 2 years ago
@Emilrose To address a misconception you are operating under due undoubtedly to the lack of time to do the necessary amount of research into the issue, our radios WERE being jammed during the attack.

Evidence of that fact is contained in the US Navy Court of Inquiry Report as well as the proffered testimony of USS Liberty"s radio personnel and would be contained in the US government"s reports that were prepared as a result of the myriad of investigations they are claimed to have conducted if only they had conducted an investigation of the attack.

But they haven"t.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
I know, lol. I was just trying to get under Emilrose's skin a little also. Clearly a retreating ship isn't necessarily no longer a threat. Retreats are sometimes temporary such as in guerrilla warfare tactics.

The vote's shouldn't be about anybody's opinion on Israel at all. I don't think I did anything to bias judges if voting were still open.

Than again I often underestimate my own influence and am shocked when I all of a sudden am surrounded by a cult following who engage in some shady stuff at my command.

You have no ideal how many times in my life, I've gathered a small cult following who hang onto my every word. I never realize how serious they take me until they commit a few small acts of violence at my direction.

How does this keep happening to me? :(
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
Well, I guess it's good that the debate is done, but just generally, best not to make this a "you're for or against Israel" vote. It biases your voters. Calling the Israeli government factually "scummy" certainly won't bring you the kind of attention you want, especially not on a debate.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
What type of assholes2 actually attack a retreating ship anyway? They said they thought the ship was retreating wtf?

The Israeli government is scummy as hell. That's not to say the American government is better but it's just a fact they're scummy.

How much damage did they cause with their black flag ops I. Egypt destroying a bunch of American buildings? Why do people think it's a ridiculous conspiracy theory when you suggest the Oklahoma City bombing was a black flag Op when governments have a history of doing such things?
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
You said that, yes. I don't think that simply asserting that it was speculation makes it so. Pro presented a source specifically showing that some members had identified the ship as American. I don't doubt that, as a whole, the military still determined that it was unidentified at the time. That doesn't mean that no single member of the military had a positive ID on the craft. Pro's source certainly seemed to be an official ID, and it was documented. It doesn't matter when the ID was made as long as those members of the military were a) aware of the ship's identity, and b) the military still attacked.

Given Pro's definition of intentional, which was clearly laid out in R1 and reiterated multiple times thereafter, Pro met his burden of proof. I agree with Pro failed on a lot of fronts with regards to the actual definition of intentional, especially as it applies to the full military. The fact that it "undermined the credibility of his argument" doesn't mean that his evidence disappeared, though. I didn't buy the attempt to jam their radio communications either, but that wasn't necessary to his case.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I had a hard time with this. I'm not sold on Pro's definition of intentionally, at least not insofar as how he applies it. What he seems to be saying is that an attack by the Israeli military can be deemed intentional so long as any portion of that military was aware of the identity of the ship before and during the attack, before it was called off. Intent, to me, is a question of whether the party engaging in the attack is both aware of their target's identity and, by some means, motivated to engage in said attack. That seems in keeping with the definition Pro cites, as opposed to his extended definition. That being said, Pro repeatedly points back to his version of the definition in the final rounds, without rebuttal by Con, despite ample opportunities. Whereas I believe Con wins much of the rest of this debate, Pro wins this piece. I choose not to intervene with my definition, accepting that the evidence shows that some in the Israeli military may have been aware, and thus vote Pro.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I believe that the mighty unbeaten Emily remains unbeaten in this debate! Although Wylted tried very hard and instituted strong evidence suggesting that the Isreals really did attack the US on purpose, including the radio communication and the talk with the captain (and later the NSA documents), but Emily refuted all the evidence using more people, stressing on Isreali's mis-communication, and professional reports, to support that in fact, there was no way for the Isreal to know the ship's identity as American. Thus, Emily remains strong and unbeaten!!
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to say, this is a job very well done from both sides. In this specific topic, showing the thoughts of the attackers on the specific attack is adequate to prove either side. Thus, I will focus on this. Con did this, and in this case all the quotes presented strongly supported her case. Pro tries to refute this by saying that the attackers kept on shooting even after they were close enough to identify the ship as American, but Con already stated that regardless, they could not identify the ship, and were informed that there were no American ships within 100 miles off the coast of Israel beforehand. Just this was enough to win her the debate. To end the RFD, Con clearly showed the standards of an unbeaten.
Vote Placed by Hanspete 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I found Con's arguments to be well well more developed, although Pro's arguments were very well done too, I think Con's were better. S and G goes to Con as well, because although minimal Pro did make several mistakes.