Point-blank: The Kennedy assassination

Mohamed Salmawy
Tuesday 25 Jun 2024

It has been 60 years since John F Kennedy was assassinated, yet the incident remains shrouded in mystery.


Does it stand to reason that all the legendary capacities of the FBI and CIA have been unable to shed more light on who was behind that crime which so deeply shook the US and the rest of the world?  

Recently, some researchers in the US have reopened their inquiries into the case that many thought had been put to rest decades ago. Among them is Martin Sandler, noted for his unique work, The Letters of John F Kennedy, which he published on the 50th anniversary of the famous president’s assassination. Sandler recently delivered a lecture on the subject in which he laid the blame squarely on Mossad.

Sandler bases his theory on two sets of documents that infuriated the Israeli ruling establishment. One consisted of Kennedy’s correspondence with the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Kennedy had initiated the exchange so he could familiarise himself with the perspective of the other side of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nasser obliged and Kennedy apparently accepted the Arab point of view with an open mind. Mohamed Hassanein Heikal had published some of the correspondence in Arabic from the Egyptian side, however the US covered it up following Kennedy’s assassination.

The second and more important set of documents consists of an exchange of angry letters between Kennedy and Ben Gurion, the father and first prime minister of the Zionist state. The main subject of the correspondence was the Dimona nuclear reactor.

Kennedy at the time was trying to promote acceptance of the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). After considerable efforts, he managed to bring French president Charles de Gaulle on board. Israel, by contrast, was both evasive and openly obstructive. It refused to stop its nuclear tests. Tensions between the US and Israeli leaders intensified until Kennedy felt compelled to deliver an ultimatum which, in turn, led to Ben Gurion’s resignation.  

Project Israel thus faced what it perceived as an existential threat: Washington’s rapprochement with the Arabs on the one hand and a clash between Washington and Tel Aviv on the other. Israel would not sit back and let that happen.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 27 June, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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