Myth-Debunking Snopes Obscures Israel’s Role in 9/11, officially known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, has since its humble inception in 1995 come to be regarded as one of the most trusted debunkers of conspiracy theories on the internet.

Described by one of its many fans – it apparently has over 6 million visitors per month – as “the grand-daddy of all fact-checking sites,” Snopes is downright cavalier, however, in its attitude to facts surrounding Israel’s role in the 9/11 attacks.

In its large section on urban legends relating to 9/11, Snopes purports to debunk a claim that “four thousand Israelis employed by companies housed in the World Trade Center stayed home from work on September 11, warned in advance of the impending attack on the World Trade Center.” A click on the link under “Israelis” brings the curious reader to an entry titled “Absent without Leave,” in which the “four thousand Israelis” have suddenly and inexplicably been replaced by “four thousand Jews.”

In “Absent without Leave,” Snopes reproduces a September 17, 2001 report by Lebanon’s al-Manar satellite television station, which claimed that the Israelis (not “Jews”) “remained absent that day based on hints from the Israeli General Security apparatus, the Shabak.” The Al-Manar piece cited also refers to the five Israelis arrested hours after the attacks, after having been witnessed filming and celebrating as the Twin Towers collapsed.

Below the al-Manar article, Snopes has appended a shoddily written, anonymous, unsourced internet piece, in which the 4,000 Israelis have again been mysteriously transformed into 4,000 Jews. In contrast to the al-Manar report, this diatribe includes such absurd and provocative anti-Semitic statements as “the Jews knew and were prewarned” about 9/11.

Snopes makes no distinction between the two pieces, however, lumping them together as examples of what it calls the “plenty of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and anti-Israeli groups eager to use the horrors of September 11 as fodder for propaganda to serve their own political ends.” Considering its tendentious conflation of legitimate criticism of Israel – and the exclusivist ideology on which it is based – with an irrational hatred of Jews, one doubts whether Snopes would level the same accusation against Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon.

How could they not have known?

Asked on the night of September 11 what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Netanyahu replied, “It’s very good.” Then he quickly edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” Later that night in an appearance on Israeli TV, the then Israeli prime minister Sharon indicated how Tel Aviv intended to exploit that “sympathy,” when he “repeatedly placed Israel on the same ground as the United States, calling the assault an attack on ‘our common values’ and declaring, ‘I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.’”

Dancing Israelis

Three of the Dancing Israelis

Instead of attempting to debunk the well-documented claims that at least some Israelis were forewarned about the 9/11 attacks, Snopes peremptorily dismisses them, claiming they “scarcely merit the dignity of a rebuttal.” Yet, Haaretz reported that two employees of Odigo, the Israeli-owned instant messaging service, “received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen.”

Asked whether Israeli agents had advanced knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, Fox News reporter Carl Cameron quoted U.S. investigators who concluded, “How could they not have known?” And then there were those “dancing Israelis” who later claimed on an Israeli talk show that their “purpose was to document the event.”

Disregarding evidence of Israeli foreknowledge, Snopes asserts that “no miracles, human intervention, foreknowledge, coincidence, or vagaries of fate saved more than a few World Trade Center workers from meeting their deaths that day.”

Lucky Larry Silverstein

One of the lucky few (not mentioned by Snopes) was Larry Silverstein, who signed a 99-year lease on the World Trade Center six weeks before 9/11, insuring it for $3.5 billion.


Silverstein’s wife’s insistence that he couldn’t cancel an appointment with his dermatologist that morning ensured that he missed his daily breakfast meeting with tenants at the Windows on the World restaurant on the top floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

His son and daughter, who worked with him in the Twin Towers, were also fortunate to be “running late” on September 11.

Silverstein’s good fortune no doubt delighted his close friends in Israel. Soon after the attacks, the property developer received phone calls from no less than three Israeli prime ministers – Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon – inquiring how he was.

Seemingly puzzled by suspicions that Israelis had advance warning of the World Trade Center attack, Snopes asks rhetorically: “Why would Israel follow such a course of action, betray its staunchest ally, and doom thousands of innocent Americans to death?”

One could also ask why Israeli agents planted firebombs in American installations in Egypt in 1954? Or why Israel murdered 34 U.S. servicemen in a deliberate attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967? Or why Mossad decided not to warn the United States about the October 23, 1983 attack on its Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 troops? Or why Mossad’s Operation Trojan led Washington to believe that Libya was responsible for the April 5, 1986 Berlin disco bombing which killed two American soldiers?

To date, Snopes has yet to investigate any of these acts of betrayal by Israel of “its staunchest ally.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail writes extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East. Read other articles by Maidhc, or visit Maidhc's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. BartFargo said on July 23rd, 2010 at 12:19pm #

    Snopes is absolute sh*t anyway, the site is run by arrogant, litigious racists, and populated by the same type of individuals as evidenced by the content on their forums. Many of their articles are completely one-sided in their fact checking, they have no special sources, and so all their articles can be reproduced by readers simply by doing independent web searches. The only reason most people visit the site is to see pictures and video of gory crime scenes and suicides.

  2. Rehmat said on July 23rd, 2010 at 7:43pm #

    Every other day one read in the Zionist-controlled mainstream media about the “terrorists” (singled out by their Muslim faith) being arrested by the security officials – while according to the Justice Department, out of 200,000 federal inmates only 28 are imprisoned on terror-related convictions.

    Interestingly, since 9/11 no terrorist attack on the American soil has been reported – though on several occasions, suspected Israelis have been arrested for being involved in terrorism-related activities but most of them have been deported to Israel on flimsy accuses. A survey conducted by World Public Opinion this year indicated that only 3% of Pakistanis believe that Al-Qaeda was behind 9/11 attacks.

    “Among the many lies about 911, the most egregious are the ‘official ones’ put forward by the Bush administration and Bush personally. Make no mistake about it: the story of 19 Arabs hijackers coordinated from a cave in Afghanistan by a man who wa most certainly already dead of kidney failure, is the most absurd lie among them. If Bush has taken his ‘case’ to court, a ‘burden of proof’ would have been imposed. It would have been interesting to see the government prosecutors attempt to ‘prove’ a case against a man that that could not have been proven to have been alive let alone co-ordinate multiple hijacking with cell phones from inside a remote cave in Afghanistan……” Dr. David Ray Griffin in Official Lies about 911 Exposed.

  3. mary said on July 24th, 2010 at 1:43am #

    A safe Israel and damn the rest. That is all that matters.

    Note the murder of 9 (maybe more) and the wounding of many others is called ‘recent flotilla activity’. Is this Dayan related to the Sux Day War General Dayan?
    Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan will introduce representatives of the ‘Atalef’ – Israeli Naval Special Forces (equivalent to U.S. Navy SEALs) vets. who will discuss their personal real-life experiences from the field, including the recent flotilla activity.

    Sunday, July 25, 7:30 pm at Stephen S. Wise Temple
    15500 Stephen S.Wise Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90077

    This is a unique opportunity for us in Los Angeles to hear first hand from those in the field who must fight Israel’s defensive war against those who attack while under a white flag. They will also describe Israel’s practice of purity of arms (moral conduct in warfare).

    Major (Res.) Yair Schindel, MD, MBA, IDF special forces combat medical officer and its Chief Medical Officer for a total of five years, will head the team. He participated in numerous highly dangerous special ops and was awarded the Navy’s highest decoration for valor in saving the life of a comrade while under fire.

    The net proceeds from the $10 fee will be given to the Atalef Foundation, a support unit for the IDF Naval Special Forces.

    RSVP here: moc.liamgnull@ofni.suxenci
    Alliance For Jerusalem
    4629 Van Nuys Blvd.,
    E, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
    818 390-7172

  4. Deadbeat said on July 24th, 2010 at 3:33am #

    Hmmm, no wonder Noam Chomsky ridicules the 911-truth folks.

  5. Unkut said on July 24th, 2010 at 6:21pm #

    Deadbeat your arrogant ‘one liner’ does little to debunk the content of this researched article.

  6. kalidas said on July 24th, 2010 at 9:13pm #

    Six million visitors, eh?
    I don’t believe it.

  7. PatrickSMcNally said on July 25th, 2010 at 9:54pm #

    > And then there were those “dancing Israelis” who later claimed on an Israeli talk show that their “purpose was to document the event.”

    As far as it can be determined from their comment, they did not have any foreknowledge. They never said that their purpose in entering the USA was to document something which they had advance foreknowledge of. They only said that their purpose in taking pictures after the first plane hit was to document the event (that was also the same purpose of many thousands of other people who got out their cameras). Misrepresenting what they said does not help anything.

  8. PatrickSMcNally said on July 25th, 2010 at 10:20pm #

    > One of the lucky few (not mentioned by Snopes) was Larry Silverstein, who signed a 99-year lease on the World Trade Center six weeks before 9/11, insuring it for $3.5 billion.

    Unfortunately the estimated costs were 6.3 billion:

    But one thing is certain: the cost of the buildings, now estimated at $6.3 billion, is going to jump. Jones Lang LaSalle, the real estate company advising the Port Authority, has built inflation into the numbers. Construction costs are continuing to escalate, at the rate of 1 percent a month.

    Silverstein was awarded 4.55 billion:

    He and the Port Authority together received some $4.55 billion in insurance money as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, some of which would be put into the new towers… Still, even with the insurance money and government commitments to take two-thirds of Tower 4’s office space, the general consensus is that he would be unable to find banks willing to lend enough to build all three towers, particularly—and this is a case he is sure to make—because the Port Authority is woefully behind schedule in building some of the surrounding infrastructure, including a PATH station that is not slated for completion until at least 2013, up from 2009. An incomplete site makes the task to find a tenant that much harder.

    Silverstein doesn’t seem to have applied any foreknowledge which he had very well:

    In its court papers, Swiss Re shows how Silverstein first tried to buy just $1.5 billion in property damage and business-interruption coverage. When his lenders objected, he discussed buying a $5 billion policy. Ultimately, he settled on the $3.5 billion figure, which was less than the likely cost of rebuilding.

    If Silverstein knew that the towers were going to come down then he should have gotten more insurance to cover the costs. Looks like he blew it.