Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Golda Meir: JFK Conspiracy Theorist

The Israel State Archives just published a series of documents commemorating 50 years since President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Half of the documents are in English, but one of the more interesting ones is in Hebrew: the minutes of the Israeli government--and Golda Meir--discussing conspiracy theories as to who killed him.

On December 1, 1963, eight days after the assassination of JFK, Golda Meir (then foreign minister) spoke in Israel's government meeting. She'd just returned from Kennedy's funeral and shared her feelings and thoughts with her colleagues.

Here are some of her words (my translation): "After that [the assassination] happened, there was a feeling that in that moment, the world changed for the Americans--not only for the Americans but the entire world. There was a feeling of personal loss for everyone, and it was not artificial. They say that 2 million people were in the streets in Washington. I haven't seen something like that – complete silence, not a word. It was a cold morning, people stood for hours. It was real mourning – a personal loss."

Then came an interesting conversation about the unsolved mysteries of the assassination--mysteries that plagued the public discussion regarding it and Kennedy's presidency in general: "In my opinion," said Golda, "there are some 'dark corners' that I doubt will be ever be cleared… The fact is there is something strange about the Dallas police. A policeman enters the building [the Texas School Book Depository] to check if everything is all right, a guy [Lee Harvey Oswald] with a package passes. The officer asks him 'what's that?' and the guy answers 'a curtain.' The policeman, instead of checking the package and verifying that it is indeed a curtain, lets him go and when someone says to the policeman 'he works with us,' he doesn’t check it as well."

"Oswald was registered as a Castro man, a communist. He tried to be in Russia, as if they [?] knew that he was in Dallas. Very strange things, but the strangest thing is the Jack Ruby affair. …He was seen on television, Oswald saw him a second before Ruby approached him, and he [Oswald] recoiled and it was obvious that Oswald recognized him [Ruby]. How did Ruby enter there? How does a stranger enter the police building? How does he park his car in the police parking area? Later a policeman said: 'if I would have seen him, I would have chased him away; we know him, he has a police record.' If one policeman identified him, probably others identified him as well. How did he enter?"

"And the American government – they now have an investigation not only into how Kennedy was assassinated, but who is Ruby and why and for what reason did he murder Oswald. A high ranking official told me that the question of whether Ruby did this on his own initiative or in order to silence Oswald is a question of war and peace for us [the US]."

"...If he [Oswald] was an emissary of Castro--if there's a clandestine group of Castro sympathizers that murdered the president, and it's organized in way that they silence the murderer … I would say this is as severe as Kennedy's murder. ...Not only am I not a detective, I don't even like detective stories, but I ask myself--I think that Ruby was someone's emissary..."

The rest of the conversation deals with Vice President Johnson, thrown into the president's seat so abruptly, and his attitude towards Israel, as well as the funeral and Jacqueline Kennedy's noble and brave demeanor that impressed Golda Meir. She also described the answer she received to the telegram of condolence she sent to Secretary of State Dean Rusk (which we published last year) and other matters.


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