The image of the processor ship on Kodiak's waterfront Star of Kodiak can have a special meaning. Charlie King was assigned to the Star’s sister ship the USS Liberty. June 8 will mark the 52nd anniversary of the attempted annihilation of that spy ship’s crew.
I use Charlie’s name here with permission. Next time you see the Liberty ship on our waterfront you might think of his shipmates’ struggle to survive the two-hour coordinated betrayal and attack. Charlie, of course, knew some of the 34 crewmen killed and 175 wounded on that day in 1967 by Israel, which had also attacked her Arab neighbors and was about to take the Golan Heights from Syria against the will of the Johnson administration. Some of the Liberty’s crew had survived the cannon fire, napalm, strafing and torpedoes by unmarked fighter jets and gun ships and were attempting to abandon ship under fire. They were machine gunned in life rafts. (Ref: Council for The National Interest established by Rep. Paul Findley: R. Illinois).
I asked Sen. Dan Sullivan at a town hall meeting to stand up and publicly acknowledge Charlies’ crewmates breaking the 50-year cover-up that the attack was deliberate. Sen. Sullivan’s response seems evident: cosponsoring Senate Bill S720 (115th Congress) aimed at punishing criticism of Israel.
The deliberate macabre attack in ’67 is motivation enough for me to join in the ongoing Boycott Disinvestment and Sanction Israel movement, and I shouldn’t be turned into a criminal for standing up for the crew of the US naval ship. Priorities are important. Machine-gunning life rafts is not an accident and isn’t acceptable even against enemy seamen nor is the use of napalm on a ship acceptable.
Boycotting, in my opinion, is a form of constitutionally guaranteed free speech, which our Congress is expected to cherish. Boycotting worked well in turning the political tide against South African Apartheid and for US civil rights issues. It can be useful against Israeli apartheid and other injustices.
Criticism of Israel or Zionism should not be conflated with hatred for a people. BDS is criticism of a nation and a nation’s policies. I think that Sen. Sullivan should reconsider his priorities.
Dana Glenn Carros