Skip to main content  Text Only version of this page


18th June 2003
Text only

BBC Four - Documentaries - Feature
Make this my homepage Make this my homepage

What is BBCi How to get BBC Four
BBC Four

BBC Homepage

Contact Us


Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

  Adm. Shlomo Errel  



Former Head Israeli Navy, 1967



Admiral Shlomo Erell was head of Israeli Navy during the Six-Day War. He explains his certainty that the attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity.

BBC Four: What is your response to those who don't believe the attack on the Liberty was accidental?
Admiral Shlomo Erell: The notion that it was deliberate and there was knowledge of her identity is simply preposterous and is an insult to common sense. If Israel really wanted to destroy the Liberty it would not have done it in such a clumsy and hesitant manner. It would not have rushed off to offer help as soon as the ship's identity was discovered.

BBC Four: Why do think there are people who don't accept that it was an accident?
SE: I'm convinced that a few are misinformed and there are others who have political interests. I really wonder what is the purpose of digging up this unfortunate accident 30 years after so many investigations have been carried out. I believe that all the facts about the USS Liberty have been amply disclosed and if people think that the attack was deliberate I would question their motives.

BBC Four: What would those motives be?
SE: I have a suspicion that it is all political - that it is aimed at discrediting Israel in its struggle against Palestinian terror.

BBC Four: How can you be so convinced it wasn't deliberate?
SE: Anyone who is familiar with the Israeli democratic system, with a free press and a myriad of political rivalries cannot believe that a deliberate attack on an American ship would not have been known to dozens if not hundreds of people. It would be simply inconceivable that a cover-up could have been maintained for 35 years. There was absolutely no motive for attacking the Liberty.

BBC Four: So why was the Liberty attacked?
SE: This was a clear case of mistaken identity in a war zone. We don't have to go back far to find instances of mistaken identity with catastrophic results: How could American fighter planes shoot down two American helicopters over northern Iraq with dozens of American officers on board; why did American cruiser in the Persian Gulf shoot down an Iranian airliner?

Continued... "the Americans made some mistakes too"

Read Liberty crew member John Hrankowski's contrary account of events

Back to the Dead in the Water homepage

A USS Liberty survivor tells a very different version of events
  John Hrankowski
Do you think the attack was an accident? Share your views
  BBC Four Message Board

Divers investigate the torpedo wound to the USS Liberty
Divers investigate the torpedo wound to the USS Liberty

Further Links

USS Liberty
Comprehensive site run by two survivors with images and documents

USS Liberty
Another site, with info on the Dead in the Water video

Attack on the USS Liberty
Well-presented academic account of the conflicting arguments

USS Liberty Photo Album
Photos from the 60s and the crew's recent reunions

The Six-Day War
Overview from the American-Israeli Co-operative Enterprise

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Terms of Use | Privacy