The Israeli Plot to Murder a Former US Senator

An Interview with James Abourezk


James Abourezk represented South Dakota in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 to 1973 and in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 1979. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Advise & Dissent: Memoirs of South Dakota and the U.S. Senate. CNI asked Mr. Abourezk about his experiences with the Israel Lobby while he served in Congress. In his response he told of an Israeli plot against him in whch the US press has displayed no interest. Below is his description of this and other incidents:

Q: Despite such books as Paul Findley’s They Dare to Speak Out, Edward Tivnan’s The Lobby, and Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby, some people still tend to downplay the power of the Israel Lobby. Can you tell us about some of your experiences with it?

A: I’m an eyewitness to what the Lobby does to Members of Congress, including to me during the time I spent in D.C.  I was threatened, marginalized, attacked, lied about, among other matters in an effort to silence my criticism of Israel’s policies and of the Lobby. 

At one time Bob Cordier, from the Washington FBI office, called me to tell me that, during the investigation into Alex Odeh’s murder (Alex was one of my staff people) the FBI had uncovered a “plot” on  my life.  Not a threat, but a plot, but, he said it’s OK now, as the guy who intended to murder me had now gone back to Israel.  Alex Odeh’s murder came not long after I had run four full page ads in the Washington Post asking for support against the Israel Lobby.

My assumption was that, reading the ads had enraged the plotter, which led him to bomb the ADC office in Orange County, California. 

I also assume that the plotter was Robert Manning, a hit man who was later convicted of the murder of the secretary of a Jewish businessman in California.  Apparently Manning had been hired by another Jewish businessman who was a competitor.  They found the fingerprints both of Manning and of his wife on remnants of the letter bomb that was sent to his target, but opened by his secretary, who died as a result of the explosion.

Manning and his wife were safe from extradition from Israel, due to Israeli policy of not extraditing Jews for any reason, until Peter Jennings on ABC Nightly News did a story on how Manning was running free in his West Bank settlement.  The news story so embarrassed the U.S. government as well as the Israeli government that he was allowed to be extradited to California, but on the condition that he not be tried for killing Alex Odeh, but only for the secretary.  That condition was tantamount to a confession that he had murdered Alex Odeh.  Manning’s wife died of a heart attack in an Israeli jail while awaiting extradition.

James Bamford, now a writer living in Washington, D.C., and who was Peter Jennings’ producer then, has film clips of the news story that he shows at lectures he gives on the subject.  He went to the West Bank and filmed a machine gun toting Manning for the news story.

Lobby-engineered mud-slinging

I was under continual attack by the Lobby while I was in politics.  Because I kept myself clean during my time of service, someone in the Lobby dug up a story designed to embarrass me by exposing my oldest son to ridicule.  He was, at the time, living on an Indian reservation in South Dakota on food stamps.  The Lobby got Spencer Rich, who was a political reporter for the Washington Post, to do a story on him.  Rich several times called both my wife and me trying to get us to comment, but we refused.  So he ran the story, headlined, “Senator’s Son Living on Food Stamps.”  That set off a fire storm of criticism against the Post, and against Ben Bradlee, who was then Editor in Chief.  Larry Stern, who was one of my friends, and an editor of the Post, complained bitterly to Bradlee. 

One of the Style section writers, Tom Zito, whom I had never met, called me one day and told me the story about his protest to Bradlee over the story.  Bradlee finally said, “Alright, go find some other famous people whose kids are living on food stamps and we’ll run it.”  Zito told me that he had found that Bradlee’s daughter was living on Food Stamps out in Oregon, causing Bradlee to kill the story on the spot.

Years later I ran into Spencer Rich in a store in DC.  He confessed to me that he still felt bad about doing the story on my son’s food stamp adventure.

“We’re going to get him”

Si Kenen, who was then Executive Director of AIPAC, used to tell anyone who knew me, to tell Abourezk “we’re going get him.”   And when I returned from a trip through the Middle East, I spoke about the trip at the Federal Press Club (reserved for women and blacks) and talked about how every Middle East leader I met with said they would be willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel if Israel would go back to the 1967 borders.  A young fellow named Wolf Blitzer, who wasthen writing for AIPAC, rose to ask me several hostile questions.  The next issue of the AIPAC newsletter headlined that “Abourezk Sells Out to the Arabs.”

That was the beginning of the war, as I failed to collapse after that broadside, and worked to make AIPAC sorry for their attack on me.

I used to take the lead in human rights legislation in the Senate.  I once offered an amendment to a bill that would cut off American money for any country violating the human rights of their people.  Before anyone would vote, I was asked during debate “whether the amendment would apply to Israel.”  When I said “no” I would get that person’s vote.

I also had all kinds of pressure put on me by rabbis who would come to visit me.

Once an Iraqi Jew, a woman, came to visit me to tell me how bad it was for Jews in Iraq, I suppose trying to get me to change my mind on the Palestinian issue.  She said she was constantly beat up and called a “dirty Jew” when she lived in Iraq.  I told her I knew her feeling, because when I grew up in rural South Dakota, other kids would beat me up and call me a “dirty Jew.”

After I left the Senate, Art Meggido, a writer for the Baltimore Jewish newspaper asked me for an interview.  When I asked him why I should give him an interview, he told me that the Jewish community would eventually have to deal with me when it came to making peace in the Middle East.  So I agreed.  When the article came out, he related a story that an unnamed Ted Kennedy staffer told him that I had approached Kennedy and asked for money to go to Iran and free some hostages to help him in his 1980 primary campaign against Jimmy Carter.

The truth of that libel was that Kennedy sent three of his supporters to me to ask if I would go to Iran to free some hostages in his name.   One was Jan Kalicke, one was Sen. John Culver and the other was Ted Sorensen.  I supported Ted, so I agreed.  The only thing I asked for was that they buy my ticket to Tehran, which they agreed to do.

When I read the article I wrote to Meggido telliing him that unless they retracted the lie, I would sue him and the newspaper.  They ran the retraction.  Because we had agreed that we would not talk on the phone about this, we decided to talk only in person about the trip.  No one knew about our deal except Kennedy and his staff, which included Tom Dine, who had been working for AIPAC earlier.  It had to be Dine who talked to Meggido with the lie.  And during the kerfuffle, I had a hard time getting Kalicke to call Meggido to verify my story, but it all came out in his retraction.

There are other stories that I could tell you at the risk of boring you to death, but the Lobby had every Senator, except me, scared shitless.

* * *

Since CNI does not feel that anyone will be bored by these other stories, we have asked Mr. Abourezk, who is a member of our board of directors, to provide additional ones, which he has agreed to do on occasion. He is a columnist for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which has long published such commentaries and reminiscences. For an earlier article by Mr. Abourezk on this topic, see “Yes, It’s the Lobby: ‘Political Fear’ Drives US Support for Israel.


  1. #1 by Michael Santomauro on 02/28/2012 - 6:13 pm

    Actually, it is safe to say that virtually every mainstream publication or or other type of media organ is “nothing more than a screen to present chosen views.” The great battle over the last century has been a battle for the mind of the Western peoples, i.e., non-Jewish Euros.

    The chosen won it by acquiring control over essentially the complete mainstream news, information, education and entertainment media of every type, and using that control to infuse and disseminate their message, agenda and worldview, their way of thinking, or rather the way they want us to think.

    Since at least the 1960s this campaign has been effectively complete. Since then they have shaped and controlled the minds of all but a seeming few of us in varying degree with almost no opposition or competition from any alternative worldview.

    So now most of us are mentally trapped in the box the chosen have made for us, which we have lived in all our lives. Only a few have managed to avoid it or escape it, or to even sometimes see outside of it, and so actually “think outside of the (Jewish) box.”

    Michael Santomauro

  2. #2 by Ingrid B on 02/28/2012 - 7:00 pm

    “Manning’s wife died of a heart attack in an Israeli jail while awaiting extradition.” : makes me wonder if she knew things, or made threats.. maybe I`m just paranoid..

  3. #3 by Jim on 02/28/2012 - 7:01 pm

    What if President Obama had a special address to the nation, in which he revealed that it had come to light that Israel and some traitors in the American govt had done 9-11? He could relate the evidence, invoke martial law, arrest anyone who was culpable, shut down AIPAC, gag the zionist media, and arrest anyone who conspired to revolt.

    Meanwhile, before his announcement, Israel had already been tactically nuked (TelAviv, during a Knesset meeting) and its nuclear missile submarines sent to the bottom of the ocean. War! There you zionist pigs; you wanted a war? You got one. Americans would be shocked, but would support him, as would the military and intelligence agencies, purged of zionists. An avalanche of facts and stories about the long list of evil deeds committed by Israel would then be published, free of the previous censorship imposed by the zionist media. Americans, finally, would learn the truth.

    President Obama would be hailed as the savior of the world.

    A true coalition of willing nations could then chase down any Rothschild funded mercenaries in all corners of the earth, and seize all their assets. It would be a real war on terror. The world against zionism. Do away with the central bankers and start fresh. The world could then live in peace without the constant meddling, incitement and supremacist agenda of the mad dog known as Israel which would henceforth live only in the history books.

    A Holocaust? No, the prevention of another one instigated again by the zionists, world enemy #1. Everyday secular Jews who were innocent could go on with their lives unmolested. But no doubt, many would pay. The zionist movement would be crushed without mercy. Extinguished.

    The world economy would be fixed and brighter days would lay ahead for the entire world community after a much needed shakeup like this.

    Crazy? Crazy times require radical fixes if destruction is to be avoided. The world is upside-down and needs to be righted. The zionists have been given way too much rope.

  4. #4 by Historian on 02/28/2012 - 7:13 pm

    Hitler almost did all of that. You can see how well it worked out for him…

  5. #5 by Isaac on 02/28/2012 - 7:16 pm

    Not only John Mersheimer and steven Walt and Paul Findley but there were dozens of other writers. One of the most bravest man who wrote at the beggining of the 90’s was President Jimmy Carter. After that many, many writers started to tell the whole world about “THE POWER OF ISRAEL IN THE UNITED STATES”. James Petras, Jonathan Cook, Kevin Barret, David Ray Griffin, Tariq Ali, Norman Finkelstain, Noam Chumsky, Illan Pappe, Israel Adam Shamir, Ramsy Baraud, Warren Hinkley and William Turner, Andrew Carrington Hitchcock and many more, there are movies, documentaries, computer links, independent and liberal radio talk shows.
    How is it possible that with that much information and the American people keep sleeping in their Zionist dream?

  6. #6 by Gary on 02/28/2012 - 9:00 pm

    Jim#3- Believe me you’re not crazy; either that or we’re both crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the very same thing. Unfortunately, the jew controlled media would pull the plug on his address before he could finish the first sentence. And the very next day our jew congress would impeach him.

  7. #7 by equalizer on 02/28/2012 - 10:55 pm

    Jim and Gary, if President Obama brought ALL of the United States Armed Forces back to U.S. soil; he would have enough manpower to “arrest anyone who was culpable”.


    That includes the assets of the media moguls, AIPAC; and the “doers at the ADL and BATF&E”.

  8. #8 by Ponders70 on 02/28/2012 - 11:11 pm

    You took the words right out of my mouth.
    I could not possibly have said it better than
    that. It really would make the world a much
    much safer and better place to live. I
    only wish that it would happen. Today. Now.
    God bless you brother.

  9. #9 by restinpieces on 02/28/2012 - 11:15 pm

    Can’t touch us.
    oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

    Told you homeboy,
    can’t touch us.
    oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
    oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

  10. #10 by equalizer on 02/28/2012 - 11:26 pm

    My suggestion to sanction Israel was posted many, many months ago at In any event, House Resolution 3107 could be re-written to sanction Israel, instead of Iran and Libya. This bill discusses the sanctioning of individuals, corporations, etc., as well.

    The Emergency War Powers Act would come into play.

    Towards the end of the bill, under Sec 14: Definitions; (1) ACT OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.
    All applies to what the SAYANIM did to me.

    If this link fails, put H.R. 3107 in your search engine, Cheers!

  11. #11 by equalizer on 02/29/2012 - 12:53 am

    “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right
    [and Duty] of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

    -Declaration of Independence

    as recently viewed on the Freedom Calender:

  12. #12 by ruby22shoes on 02/29/2012 - 1:15 am

    As a supporter of CNI and an avid reader of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs I am familiar with Mr. Abourezk.

    I can barely imagine the horror he must have felt when the FBI person told him there was a plot against his life. A plot is so much more than a threat, and these lobby people, (I’m supposing here) seem to think that murder for the zionist entity is no crime at all – but a mitzvah.

    On a personal note, I had my eyes open to the injustice of zionism and the plight of Palestinians from reading Washington Report ( I support them, Al AWDA and If Americans Knew.

  13. #13 by Flipper on 02/29/2012 - 2:44 am

    Read between the lines, and see how they found the Mannings’ fingerprints on the letter-bomb?
    It’s like they want to be caught, and don’t care about anything but an israeli war and redemption.

    They even researched James’ history, and tried to manipulate him with it.

    Cynthia McKinney could testify to the congressional version of this.

  14. #14 by Ingrid B on 02/29/2012 - 4:34 am

    @Jim, I, too, love the picture you paint, except for one thing, Obama is not your man, he`s a big part of the problem, a tool in the hands of those profiting from war, their mouthpiece if you like. What I would suggest is, that you run for President. I`d vote for you if I could, as would every single person on this planet who is sick to death, of the death and destruction, which has been inflicted on, not just parts of the planet, but all of it, by the bestial policies of parasitic monsters, because, unlike Obama, you would probably keep your word..

  15. #15 by MJ on 02/29/2012 - 1:33 pm

    Jim, Ingrid I would love to see the States change its policies and refuse war and although the awakening is occuring I am not holding my breath. Having said that I support all Americans who wish to change the status quo because even if it takes many years it can happen with due diligence God willing.

    Palestine the True Holocaust!!
    The Light Pt 18 (The Face Of Zionism)
    The end is eye opening.

  16. #16 by ruby22shoes on 02/29/2012 - 4:12 pm

    #5 Isaac: that is a comprehensive list of truth telling journalists, except for the omission of Mohammed Omer, brilliant, young, prize winning journalist writing from Gaza. Ali Abunimah, and of course Mark Glenn, the excellent George S. Hishmeh James Zogby and there are many others that escape my feverish thoughts.(Kawther- last name escapes me) Alison Weir, these are primo journalists that I trust.

    These are the writers, that I turn to when I’m comfused.

  17. #17 by Adalberto Erazo on 02/29/2012 - 6:34 pm

    @ ruby22shoes

    Kawther Salaam. She also covered the disturbing aspect of IsraHellis in the Patagonian region like Adrian Salbuchi.

  18. #18 by ruby22shoes on 03/01/2012 - 12:00 am

    thnx Adalberto, it was driving me crazy, because I like her work & like to keep up with her. She was doing some protesting in New Orleans the last time I heard of her. Anyone who puts their body on the line has my utmost respect.

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