Dancing Israelis

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There are many claims of 9/11 foreknowledge, but perhaps the most widespread concerns the so-called "Dancing Israelis":

This Fox News article is one of the most quoted sources of the foreknowledge claim:

This is referring to another article, though. We browsed the New York Times archive and believe this is what Fox were talking about:

The setting up of the cameras “prior to the attacks” is an inference from the phrase “they photographed the attacks” in this report. It’s a reasonable literal interpretation, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. Anyone who took photos of what happened on 9/11 may well say they "photographed the attacks" without meaning that they recorded both plane impacts, for instance. Here are a couple of examples:

Even if the unnamed officials were saying the cameras were set up before the attack, these may be reports of the allegations they are investigating. The report does talk of the men “apparently” setting up cameras near the Hudson River, for instance, and that they said “said” to have congratulated each other afterwards. The report itself is very early, published on the 13th, perhaps written less than 24 hours after they were arrested, so it would be surprising if these officials had reached definitive conclusions.

Document the event

Of course it’s difficult to form meaningful conclusions by simply analysing one or two words. That is demonstrated more than adequately here:

Here it’s suggested that saying “our purpose was to document the event” is in itself somehow suspicious, that it indicates foreknowledge. Why? We’ve no idea. Here's a Florida blogger talking about a meteor strike on his property, for instance:

Does saying "I wanted to document the event" mean the blogger knew beforehand that the meteor was about to strike? Of course not. It simply means he wanted to record what had happened by taking videos afterwards.

We ran a Google News search for the phrase "document the event", and on the very first page found this reference:

Must "document the event" here refer to photos showing the bomb being dropped, or the moment of the explosion? Absurd. Plainly photographs of the aftermath are also documenting the event.

And equally, every single person who pointed a camera at the WTC on 9/11 did so because they wanted to “document the event”. The phrase does not in any sense imply that they knew what was going to happen.

This is also the opinion of Marc Levin, the director of "Protocols of Zion". His clip of the Israelis on the talk show is the one that most commonly appears on YouTube videos as "proof" of foreknowledge, yet here's how he saw it:

Eye witness

Let’s abandon the second-hand reports, then, and look at what the witness to this filming actually said. This ABC article crops up a lot:

There’s nothing here to support the foreknowledge claim. The time frame as to when she noticed them is vague, but it definitely came after the call from a neighbour, which itself followed the first plane hitting the towers.

What’s more, if you look at the full 20/20 transcript from which this story is derived, you find that Maria says she saw the van park after she’d been watching the WTC for a few minutes. And so they did not film the first impact (or ar least, not from here). The report also talks about other issues involved with this story, so we’re reproducing the whole piece:

Maria speaks with a strong accent, so it might be possible to argue that she meant to say that she saw the van "parked", rather than park. Of course, even then, Maria's statement says she doesn't see them until some time after the initial attack, so there's nothing here to say that they were set up filming beforehand. And as further evidence, there are additional reports of complaints about them celebrating the attacks in other locations, before reaching Maria's parking lot:

Their lawyer said:

And here's a 9/11 truth-supporting source:

If the Urban Moving five were supposedly "celebrating" the attacks before they reached the parking lot, then Maria's testimony about seeing them there cannot demonstrate foreknowledge. For that we'd need to find some incriminating detail in the earlier police reports, or perhaps get a look at the photos they took, but until that happens there is nothing to show that they were set up and filming before the attacks occurred.


But why would the Urban Moving five be "celebrating"?

They denied that they were, however an Urban Moving employee gave more details of the response of others within the company:

They were "joking", something that disturbed this witness, but if he felt that meant they were involved then he didn't mention it here.

And if they were joking because they knew about the attacks in advance, why do this in front of witnesses at all?

The reality is that people react to situations in different ways. Israelis and others in the Middle East didn't all see 9/11 in the same way as Americans. And even in the US, the NORAD tapes have several examples of NEADS staff joking around. Around 9:00, for instance, they believed the World Trade Centre had been hit by a plane, were assuming it was Flight 11, and had just heard of a second hijack from the same airport, yet still found time for humour ("supposed to be on the same plane, they just got mixed up"):

<mp3>NEADS Joking.mp3|download</mp3>

Inappropriate? Absolutely, and anyone watching those men at that moment would probably have seen them smiling, laughing, apparently light-hearted. That kind of black humour to break tension in a group isn't at all unusual, though, and it doesn't in any way mean we should be suspicious of the officers involved. And it's extremely weak evidence against the Urban Moving five for the very same reason.

The 9-11 Conspiracies

Channel 4 in the UK interviewed Maria, three of the Israelis and others involved for their documentary "The 9/11 Conspiracies". They reported receiving information that Urban Moving was a front for Israeli intelligence, but repeated the Israeli's story that they didn't arrive and begin filming until after the attacks had begun.

FBI and police documents

Police and FBI documents on the Urban Moving employees were made available online in 2011.

East Rutherford police documents

FBI Documents, section #1
FBI Documents, section #2
FBI Documents, section #3
FBI Documents, section #4
FBI Documents, section #5

Related claims

This page is intended to focus solely on the foreknowledge issue, but plainly (as you can see above) there are other considerations, too. By all means read the Killtown article, WhatReallyHappened page and anything else you can find for more on these, but be sure you check sources carefully. We’ve seen this story used as evidence that the Israelis’ van contained explosives, for instance:

But mysteriously this correction from the same source, issued less than 8 minutes after the first story, doesn’t get the same attention:

More on this here.

Question everything you read, then (even here). And we may return to this topic at a future date.


One curious footnote to this story appeared three years later, when four of the Israelis filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice:

We've not yet discovered what happened to the case, and the lack of information suggests it never reached court. Still, bringing the case at all is hardly what you'd expect if these really were Mossad agents somehow connected to 9/11. Surely three years on they'd want to keep their heads down, not re-open the whole affair?