The President of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, Ernest A. Gallo, sent a letter dated January 10, 2016 to President Barack Obama requesting that he invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend a Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetery at noon on June 8, 2016 commemorating the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS LIBERTY in which 32 Americans were killed and 171 were wounded.
The letter addressed to President Obama reads in part:
“In 1943 the Germans discovered mass graves of some 22,000 Polish nationals in the Katyn Forest of Russia near the border with Poland. Although Stalin claimed that the victims had been murdered by the Nazis in 1941, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill knew that the Russians were responsible. In 1990, fifty years after the massacre, Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged and condemned the perpetration of the killings by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD), as well as the subsequent cover-up by the Soviet government.
“On June 8, 1967, Israeli air and naval forces attacked USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5) killing 32 Americans and wounding 171 others. While the Israeli and U.S. governments reported that the attack was 'the result of an error,' indisputable evidence exists to prove that the attack was intentional and that both governments have been engaged in a cover up now for almost 50 years.
“The most tragic part of this cover up has been the tremendous harm that has been done to the survivors and families of the dead and surviving crew members. No monetary compensation can heal the pain and suffering we have endured….Considering the intensity and duration of the air and sea attacks that left the Liberty drenched in blood with a forty square foot hole in her hull and smoking from napalm that incinerated anything and anyone topside, it’s a miracle that any of us survived.
“In April of 2010, President Vladamir Putin invited his Polish counterpart, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, to attend a Katyn Memorial Service commemorating the 1940 massacre. On behalf of the Liberty Veterans Association, I am writing to request that you invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend a Memorial Service in Arlington National Cemetery at noon on June 8, 2016 commemorating the 1967 attack. We believe the time for confessing, forgiving, and healing is long overdue.”
There has been no response from the White House to the letter.