The most plausible motive for Israel to kill Kennedy has been revealed by two books: Seymour Hersh’s The Samson Option in 1991, then Avner Cohen’s Israel and the Bomb in 1998, and the lead has been followed up in 2007 by Michael Karpin in The Bomb in the Basement.
What these investigators reveal is that Kennedy, informed by the CIA in 1960 of the military aim pursued at the Dimona complex in the Negev desert, was firmly determined to force Israel to renounce it.
With that purpose in mind, he replaced CIA Director Allen Dulles by John McCone, who had, as Eisenhower’s chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), leaked to The New York Times the truth about Israel’s Dimona project.
The story was printed on December 19, 1960, weeks before Kennedy was to take office. As Alan Hart writes, “there can be no doubt that Kennedy’s determination to stop Israel developing its own nuclear bomb was the prime factor in his decision to appoint McCone.”
Then Kennedy urged Ben-Gurion to allow regular inspections of Dimona, first verbally in New York in 1961, and later through more and more insistent letters.
In the last one, cabled June 15, 1963 to the Israeli ambassador with instruction to hand it personally to Ben-Gurion, Kennedy demanded Ben-Gurion’s agreement for an immediate visit followed by regular visits every six months, otherwise “this Government’s commitment to and support of Israel could be seriously jeopardized.”
The result was unexpected: Ben-Gurion avoided official reception of the letter by announcing his resignation on June 16.
As soon as the new Prime Minister Levi Eshkol took office, Kennedy sent him a similar letter, dated July 5, 1963, to no avail. Did Ben-Gurion resign in order to deal with Kennedy from another level?
Five months later, Kennedy’s death relieved Israel of all pressure (diplomatic or otherwise) to stop its nuclear program.
Faced with Johnson’s complete lack of interest in that issue, John McCone resigned from the CIA in 1965, declaring: “When I cannot get the President to read my reports, then it’s time to go.”
Kennedy’s determination to stop Israel’s Dimona project was only part of the “Kennedy problem”.
During his first months in the White House, Kennedy committed himself by letters to Nasser and other Arab heads of State to support UN Resolution 194 for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
Ben-Gurion reacted with a letter to the Israeli ambassador in Washington, intended to be circulated among Jewish American leaders, in which he stated:
“Israel will regard this plan as a more serious danger to her existence than all the threats of the Arab dictators and Kings, than all the Arab armies, than all of Nasser’s missiles and his Soviet MIGs. […] Israel will fight against this implementation down to the last man.’”
Kennedy behaved warmly toward Nasser, Israel’s worst enemy. Historian Philip Muehlenbeck writes:
“While the Eisenhower administration had sought to isolate Nasser and reduce his influence through building up Saudi Arabia’s King Saud as a conservative rival to the Egyptian president, the Kennedy administration pursued the exact opposite strategy.”
After Kennedy’s death, American foreign policy was reversed again, without the American public being aware of it.
Johnson cut the economic aid to Egypt, and increased the military aid to Israel, which reached 92 million dollars in 1966, more than the total of all previous years combined.
For 50 years, the Israeli trail in the Kennedy assassination has been smothered, and anyone who mentioned it was immediately ostracized.
American congressman Paul Findley nevertheless dared write in March 1992 in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: “It is interesting to note that in all the words written and uttered about the Kennedy assassination, Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, has never been mentioned.”
One single author has seriously investigated that trail: Michael Collins Piper, in his 1995 book Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy.
Piper was largely ignored by the mainstream of the Kennedy truth movement. But his work has made its way nevertheless.
In 2013, Martin Sandler wrote about Piper’s work in his edition of letters by Kennedy, which included those addressed to Ben-Gurion about Dimona: “Of all the conspiracy theories, it remains one of the most intriguing.”It is, in fact, a theory widespread in Arab countries.