You’ve probably heard the 9/11 story of the “dancing Israelis.” You may even recall that most mainstream media at that time treated the story — if they covered it at all — as though it was a distasteful rumor or “canard”. Trump even made a dishonest implant reference to “dancing Arabs” in New Jersey that day.
Then in 2019 the FBI at last acknowledged this event and declassified and released 144 pages documenting the agency’s investigation into a group of men who witnesses reported were filming and celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on 9/11 — mere minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center — five men, later revealed to be Israeli nationals, positioned themselves and their Urban Moving Systems van in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey. They were seen filming the attacks, taking happy pictures, high fiving each other and celebrating as the Twin Towers burned.
At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI reported seeing the Israelis’ moving van in the parking lot as early as 8 a.m. that morning — more than 40 minutes prior to the attack.
Around 4 p.m. that afternoon, the van was spotted on a service road off Route 3, near New Jersey’s Giants Stadium. A police officer pulled the van over and found five men, between 22 and 27 years old, inside the vehicle. The men were taken out of the van at gunpoint and handcuffed by police.
The arresting officers said they saw a lot that aroused their suspicion about the men. One of the passengers had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock. Another was carrying two foreign passports. A box cutter was found in the van. But perhaps the biggest surprise for the officers came when the five men identified themselves as Israeli citizens.
In addition, the van in which the Israelis were arrested was “oddly” lacking “equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties,” according to the FBI, and residue of explosives was found inside.
Of the explosive residue, the declassified FBI report states:
A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.
Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees’ release. Upon entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft’s first clients.
The official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack.
This links to a series of photos released by the FBI of the Israelis with heads redacted. The Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014.
When the photos were finally forthcoming, they were not actual photos but instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the pictures. In addition, of the original 76 images developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.
One photo in particular shows pre-knowledge. One of the Urban Moving Systems Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the Twin Towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Times report from November 2001.
However, the picture shown below includes a visible date of Sept. 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection. The background however is whited out.
Only three out of the 14 pictures appear to carry that date and, second, previously classified FBI report indicates an eyewitness adamantly stated that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on Sept. 10, 2001, at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language.
In November 2001, three of the Israelis appeared back in Israel and told their story. One proclaimed they were there to “document the event.”
At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives.
We lead off with the FBI file on the filming at Doric Tower. Note that the Israelis were filming from the parking lot for 10 minutes between 8:30 a.m. 9 a.m. This is most curious given that the first strike on the North face of the North Tower (WTC 1) occurred at 8:46:40 a.m. At 9:03 a.m., the South face of the South Tower (WTC 2) was “hit.”
Anyone old enough to have followed the events that morning would know that no one had a clue what this was about at 9 a.m. that morning. It just appeared to be an odd aviation accident.
The FBI confirmed that the photos confiscated were “three of the Israelis”and that other photos showed five of this crew later at the roof of their employer, Urban Moving Systems.
Next, another eyewitness spots the three Israelis “less than five minutes” after the first tower hit. They were filming from the Doric Tower parking lot.
Several other eyewitnesses corroborated the celebration and filming spectacle. One said the men were there as early as 8 a.m.
Another leg of the investigation showed the presence of Urban Moving Systems (UMS) and Israeli nationals out near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a “plane” was alleged to have crashed. An interview with the owner of UMS revealed no deliveries outside of New Jersey.
Strangely, another Urban Moving System vehicle was spotted near Boston around the time the two flights left Logan Boston airport.
7:59 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew members, departs 14 minutes late from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for Los Angeles International Airport.
8:14: United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767, carrying 56 passengers and 9 crew members, departs 14 minutes late from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for Los Angeles International Airport.
The investigation turned up another Israeli New Jersey based “moving” outfit with direct links to one alleged “hijacker.”
Later, according to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance and intelligence mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.”
This prescient doozy turned up in the file. Be sure to read last sentence.
The relevant section of the FBI report asks, “Did the Israeli nationals have foreknowledge of the events at WTC and were they filming the events prior to and in anticipation of the explosion?” The answer is notably redacted in its entirety.
For more coverage on the FBI’s “dancing Israelis” report, we highly recommend Whitney Webb’s article on Mint Press News.