Conversation with a Zionist over James Forrestal’s Murder

On May 28, 2013, I received an email from a woman with a common Jewish last name.  The email address had a suffix denoting that it was from Australia and the subject was simply “Forrestal.”  It reads as follows:

Just curious, what is your interest in Forrestal, and why are you so determined?

Are you the one doing the research, or are other persons also doing this?


I never heard of him, btw, but someone posted a comment and it made me curious so I looked at your blog.


In spite of her Jewish name, I tried to remain open minded about her motivation for writing me.  I once had a colleague, a native of New York City, with the same last name.  His father, it turned out, was raised Jewish but had married an Episcopalian and had pretty much abandoned the Jewish culture.  My colleague was not in any way Jewish.  Even if my new correspondent happened to be Jewish, she might not have been one of those whom Gilad Atzmon in his book The Wandering Who? considers to be the most troublesome for the rest of us.  The following is from pp. 16-17:


As far as self-perception is concerned, those who call themselves Jews could be divided into three main categories:


1.      Those who follow Judaism.

2.      Those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin.

3.      Those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.


The first two categories may denote a harmless and innocent group of people….


The third category is problematic.  Its definition may sound inflammatory to some.  And yet, bizarrely enough, it was the formulation given on the eve of the 20th century by Chaim Weizmann, a prominent early Zionist figure and later the first Israeli President.  “There are no English, French, German, or American Jews, but only Jews living in England, France, Germany, or America.”  In just a few words, Weizmann managed to categorically define the essence of Jewish-ness.  It is basically a “primary quality.”  You may be a Jew who dwells in England, a Jew who plays the violin or even a Jew against Zionism, but above all else you are a Jew.  And this is exactly the idea conveyed by the third category.


Readers may decide from reading what follows if I have accurately characterized “Suzanne” in the title of the article. 


I responded to her on the same day:


Hi Suzanne,


I must say that my curiosity far exceeds yours.  What could possibly move a person to write such an email?  If you have actually spent any time reading what I have written about the life and death of one of the greatest public servants this country has ever had, I don’t think you would have seen fit to ask me such a question.  Why should you expect a person with at least a degree of public-spiritedness in him, in a putative free country, not to be interested in the assassination of such a significant public figure, especially when the ruling opinion molders have all told us that he committed suicide?  I gather from your email address that you are not from this country, but as much as what happens in the United States affects the entire world, I should expect that you would have some interest in Forrestal’s fate as well.  In fact, you apparently do, or you would not have made your inquiry.


I think that I first became interested in Forrestal in particular when I saw Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr., described on more than one occasion as “the highest level government official to commit suicide since Secretary of Defense James Forrestal.”  By that time I knew enough to know that Foster had been murdered and had not committed suicide, so that fact, alone, was enough to make me curious about the true story of Forrestal’s fate.


I have a Ph.D. in economics with a specialization in economic history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I retired in 2009 from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Skip a few irrelevant personal facts.)


As far as how I learn what I do, I document all my sources.  Beyond that, there’s really not a lot more to be said.


Now that I have answered your questions I would appreciate it if you would explain yourself a bit more.  Who are you and why do you find it odd that I should have done so much research on James Forrestal and his death?  If you are interested, I have a rather longish piece I have put together called “My Biography.”  I’ll send it to you if you give me some significant facts about yourself.




P.s.  I have the email addresses of Mike Campbell and Bill Hendon.  You might want to ask Campbell why he is so interested in the fate of Amelia Earhart and Hendon why he is so interested in the fate of American POWs in Southeast Asia.


Suzanne answered promptly on May 30:


Hi Dave,


What on earth made you think I was attacking you, so that you felt you had to defend yourself?  I think my short email was to the point.  I even said I'd never heard of him.  I can only imagine other people ARE attacking you, or you wouldn't have assumed that I was too.


Like I said, I never heard of him.


I haven't read your piece, just the short one, because it's too long for me to read CONSIDERING that I'd never heard of the man.


I'm American and I live in Sydney, AU.


What I'm curious about is why you are so interested in this man, when I couldn't EASILY find anyone else who was, that's all.


I think there a many more important issues at stake in the USA at the moment.  Unless his death, however it occurred, fits in with current events, it's of little interest to me.  Having said that, I am finding that historic events I have never heard of greatly influence current events.  


And if you do think he was murdered, I'd rather think that it was ordered from someone within the US government, unofficially, rather than from without.  I got the impression from the person who first posted about this that you somehow think Israel was behind it.  I seriously doubt that is the case, as he was not a terrorist guilty of murder.  And because there are so many people out there these days working 24/7 to demonize Israel, I just got curious why you were pursuing this mystery.


Keep in mind, I didn't read all of what you wrote.




I responded equally promptly as follows:


Hi Suzanne,
First, I do not just think Forrestal was murdered.  If you would bother to read what I have written, you would have to conclude as I have that he was certainly murdered.

Second, I believe
Hugh Turley has well summed up the current relevance of Forrestal's death with the beginning of his article on my site:

As Americans are killed and wounded daily in the Middle East the public might well revisit the May 22, 1949, death of James V. Forrestal, the first Secretary of Defense of the United States.  

Forrestal cautioned that U.S. oil supplies could be endangered, relations with Middle East nations could be strained, and a possible military entanglement in the region could result from U.S. support for the partitioning of Palestine and sponsorship of Israel in 1948.

Third, I agree with you that U.S. government officials were certainly involved in Forrestal's death.  The most likely high official I have identified is a powerful White House aide whom President Truman inherited from President Roosevelt, David Niles.  Niles was later sacked because of rather solid evidence that he was passing important military secrets to Israel.  You can read about that latter episode in Part 4 of "Who Killed James Forrestal?" but there's much more in the full article, especially the first two parts, that connects the Zionists to the crime.  They do have quite a long and full record of assassinations and attempted assassinations, I think you must agree.  I trust that you are not among those who would defend such behavior.

Fourth, I don't think that it's a good idea to attempt to determine what is important by a hasty informal poll of friends and acquaintances.


Suzanne responded within an hour or so, and to my mind she finally laid all her cards on the table.  Dispensing with the salutation she wrote:


They had their reasons.  But, you probably aren’t interested in understanding them.  I doubt they had much influence inside the US gov.


To save me the trouble of clicking on it, she copied and pasted the Menachem Begin Wikipedia page into the email, followed with this:


It’s also possible you are onto something else.  That being that Niles did have communist connections.


It has been said that the communists wanted the state of Israel to be a communist state.  I suppose, that would have been their foothold into the middle east.




With no further questions to field and with nothing further to say to Suzanne, I allowed her to have the last word.  I believe that she is good to her word that she has still read very little of what I have written on James Forrestal.  I address the question of the Communist loyalties versus the Zionist loyalties of David Niles at some length in Part 1 of “Who Killed James Forrestal?”  I also conclude Part 1 with the following passage related to Suzanne’s apparent hero, Menachem Begin:

Just eight months before Forrestal's death, members of future Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's "Stern Gang" gunned down the United Nation's chief mediator in Palestine, the Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte. In November of 1944 that same organization was responsible for the murder of Lord Moyne, a high British official supervising that country's Mandate over Palestine. In July of 1946, agents of another Zionist terrorist organization, Irgun, led by another future Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, blew up the building where the British had their headquarters in Jerusalem, the King David Hotel, killing 35 people, including 17 Jews.

The most extreme of the Zionists in Israel have always had an inordinate amount of power and influence in the United States, right up to the present day. Criticism of their actions is much more prominently voiced in Israel, itself, than it is in this country.

Only a few months before James Forrestal’s confinement to the Bethesda Naval Hospital (also famous, or infamous, we might remind readers, for the autopsy of John F. Kennedy) a group of the most illustrious Jewish intellectuals in the United States were moved to warn the country with the following message:

Letters to The Times
New York Times December 4, 1948

New Palestine Party Visit of Menachem Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village

A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants-240 men, women, and children-and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.

Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen

The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.


Would men like Menachem Begin and his followers have hesitated at assassinating the most popular, outspoken, and powerful critic of the nascent state of Israel in the United States if given the opportunity? It certainly did not stop them when the perceived obstacles to Israeli ambitions were members of the British or the Swedish leadership and nobility. Would someone like David Niles have used his power and influence to assist the assassins, and did he have sufficient power and influence to see that the deed was accomplished? From the evidence we have presented, I believe the answer would have to be in the affirmative.

I wrote those words long before I knew of the attempts on the lives of Ernest Bevin, Anthony Eden, and Harry Truman by Zionists.  But I’m sure they had their reasons.

David Martin

May 30, 2013


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