Zionism 101: Far Better Than the Courses at Vassar or Stanford, and about $60,000 Cheaper Edward Alexander

(Editor’s note: Zionism 101 was Herbert Zweibon’s last project. Herb had become increasingly concerned with the need for basic Zionist education and had come up with this innovative way to use short films on the Internet to build a comprehensive course on Zionist history. He pegged David Isaac to carry out the project and David enlisted his brother Rafi. The Isaac brothers are implementing the idea both because of its importance and in honor of Herbert Zweibon, whom they had known since childhood. Herb Zweibon’s son Mark continues to fund the project as a tribute to his father’s legacy.)

To those of us old enough to remember the first Israel Independence Day, in 1948, it stands as one of the few redeeming events in a century of blood and shame, one of the greatest affirmations of the will to live that a martyred people has ever made. It has turned out to be much more than the thinly veiled form of assimilation that many of the orthodox at first mistook it for, or a solution to a personal identity crisis for people who felt no longer able to be “Jewish.” It has emerged, through much struggle, as integral to Judaism and not just to that mélange of habits, tendencies, and cultural styles called “Jewishness.” Cynthia Ozick has rightly described Zionism as the modern flowering of a great series of diverse intellectual and pietistic movements, all of them rooted in the yearning for human dignity symbolized by the Exodus from slavery that has characterized Jewish civilization for thousands of years. The creation of Israel just a few years after the Holocaust was, in the words of Ruth Wisse, the most hopeful sign for humanity since the dove returning to Noah from the primeval flood holding an olive branch.

Of course, you would never learn this from the typical college course on the subject of Zionism or Israel or the (misnamed) “Arab-Israeli Conflict.” At Vassar, for example, the chairman of Jewish Studies gives a course that openly boasts of its lack of objectivity and its full allegiance to the Arab “narrative”; at Indiana University a “chaired” professor in Jewish Studies offers a course on the subject in which the writings of Judith Butler and Jacqueline Rose are included among “Zionist” writings. (This is analogous to a school of medicine offering “Euthanasia 101? in its curriculum of “Life-preserving strategies.”) At Stanford you will be told by a political science professor (and former head of MESA–the Middle East Studies Association) that he makes no pretense at impartiality, and that “the state of Israel has already lost any moral justification for its existence.” For such instruction (frequently delivered by unkempt professors dressed in sweatshirts and blue jeans) about Israel and Zionism (to say nothing of what remains of world literature, history, and philosophy in the present

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A Secret Memo

On May 8, 2014, two days after the White House released its fourth National Climate Assessment Report, this secret exchange occurred between two top White House staffers. (They used phony initials worrying—rightly as it turned out–the email might be leaked):

PJ: Al Gore, move over! With this Report, it’s tornadoes in your living room, right this minute. Hurricane Sandy is coming to take out your neighborhood any day now. Forget rising seas taking out New York a hundred years from now. End fossil fuels now, today, before they end you tomorrow morning.

AD: Still, the polls show climate change at the bottom of issues the public wants the government to address.

PJ: Bad marketing. All that babble about global warming. If you’re old and cold that sounds good. Climate change is worse. It sounds as scary as Donald Duck. Climate disruption hits home. What disrupts your life? Divorce. Disease. Losing your job.

AD: We scored with pollution. Thanks to us the words go together like cream and sugar—carbon dioxide pollution. Good going when you think that without carbon dioxide there are no plants and without plants there is no “us.”

PJ: Wasn’t it Prince Phillip who said he wanted to be reincarnated “as a killer virus to lower human population levels”?

AD: Let’s not go down that road. I still see a problem with credibility. The Heartland Institute said the report “reads like a press release from the Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists—probably because it essentially is a press release from the Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

AD: You must be joking. The Heartland Institute is a bunch of deniers no one ever heard of. We’ve had a great press, Washington Post, New York Times. U.S. News and World Report is my favorite: “The National Climate Assessment dramatically changes the economics of climate change.” Whatever it costs, it’s better than food you can’t afford, water you can’t drink, your home that’s swallowed up by the sea.

PJ: Maybe this report will galvanize the public. But if not, what about a backup?

AD: There’s something in the works. On disease. Al Gore talked of galloping malaria. But in America, who worries about malaria? Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, now you’re talking. And we’ll have a report showing how they can only be explained by climate disruption. We’re lining up doctors to sign it now. We aim for 97% of them. If you are a denier–expect no reimbursements under Obamacare.

PJ: You don’t think this is a stretch?

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The Real Palestinian Refugee Crisis Asaf Romirowsky

Perhaps the most insurmountable and explosive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the so-called “right of return”—the demand that millions of Palestinians must be allowed to “return” to the State of Israel under any peace agreement. While Israel has made clear that it cannot agree to this, since it would effectively destroy Israel as a Jewish state, the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to compromise on the issue.
But how many actual refugees are there? Surely over the years, many of those displaced have passed away, and such status does not normally transfer from generation to generation.

The issue is so emotive because, in many ways, Palestinian identity itself is embodied in the collective belief in a “right of return” to “Palestine.” Along with the belief that resistance to Israel is permanent and holy, Palestinian identity is largely based on the idea that the Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees; that they have been made so by Israel; and that the United Nations should support these refugees until they can return to what is now Israel.

This belief is passionately safeguarded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The organization was established in 1949 following the failure of the Arab war against Israel’s independence, and its original mandate was to provide services to the approximately 650,000 Arabs displaced by the conflict. Today, it is essentially a massive social welfare system serving millions of Palestinians, primarily in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. At the same time, its activities go well beyond simple humanitarianism. It plays a distinctly political role in Palestinian society, working to further the cause of Palestinian nationalism through politicized education, activism, anti-Israel propaganda, and other activities.

In effect, UNRWA has come to depend on the refugee problem itself. While the refugees benefit from its services, the organization benefits even more from the refugees. UNRWA has no incentive whatsoever to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem, since doing so would render it obsolete. As a result, the agency not only perpetuates the refugee problem, but has, in many ways, exacerbated it.

UNRWA’s role in perpetuating and even expanding the refugee problem is a complex one; but, more than anything else, it is the result of the agency’s own definition of a Palestinian refugee—which is unique in world history. The standard definition of a refugee, which applies in every case except that of the Palestinians, includes only those actually displaced in any given conflict. UNRWA has defined a Palestinian refugee as anyone whose “normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” But it has also continually expanded this definition, now stating “the children or grandchildren of such refugees are eligible for agency assistance if they are (a) registered with UNRWA, (b) living in the area of UNRWA’s operations, and (c) in need.”
As a result, the number of official Palestinian refugees—according to UNRWA—has expanded almost to the point of absurdity. The best estimates are that perhaps 650,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1948-1949; but

UNRWA now defines virtually every Palestinian born since that time as a refugee. That number now reaches well into the millions. This is quite simply unprecedented. In no other case has refugee status been expanded to include subsequent generations over a period of decades.

UNRWA’s involvement in Palestinian society is equally unique. Its role there has expanded from simple refugee relief to one of the most important and influential Palestinian institutions. In particular, the agency now employs nearly 30,000 people, most of whom are Palestinian. This makes UNRWA the single largest employer in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and indispensable to the Palestinian economy. As such, there is a strong economic incentive to keep the prosperous organization afloat.

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The Jews of San Nicandro – A Tale of Faith, Conversion, and Zionism Ruth King

On January 28, 1935, a Polish Jew from Palestine, Jacques Faitlovich, a scholar famous for his untiring efforts on behalf of Ethiopian Jews, known as Falashas, and his efforts to bring them to Palestine, knocked on the door of an Italian man named Donato Manduzio who lived in San Nicandro, a small and fairly isolated town in southern Italy. When Manduzio, who now met a real Jew for the first time in his life, greeted him warmly, Faitlovich announced “I have come from Jerusalem to bring you greetings from all our brothers in the Holy Land.”

What propelled the peripatetic Faitlovich to visit San Nicandro and the home of Donato Manduzio? He had heard of the conversion of eighty Italian Catholics to Judaism and their efforts to connect and bond with Jews whom they now considered coreligionists and brothers. And Faitlovich’s goal was to bring as many Jews as possible to restore the Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Who was Donato Manduzio? He was a charismatic Catholic veteran of the First World War whose injuries left him virtually paralyzed and totally housebound. He was deeply inspired by the evangelical communities–Seventh Day Adventists,, Pentecontalists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Baptists whose sermons and rituals were steeped in the Bible and Jewish history.
He began practicing the Jewish faith and ritual and many of his neighbors joined him. He proscribed the eating of pork and insisted on observance of the Sabbath. He urged his followers to give biblical names to their offspring, but also included Christian readings in his sermons.

The story of his followers and fellow converts whose faith endured in spite of the hardships of Catholic opprobrium, internal divisions and quarrels, Papal ostracism and criticism, the increasing anti-Semitism of Italy’s fascists who adopted harsh Nazi anti-Jewish laws, and the pursuit and murder of Jews during the Holocaust in Italy, as well as the initial resistance and distrust from Jewish Italian religious and fraternal organizations is told in John A. Davis’s marvelous book The Jews Of San Nicandro.

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May 14, 1948-

“ACCORDINGLY, WE, the members of the National Council, representing the Jewish people in
Palestine and the Zionist movement of the world, met together in solemn assembly today, the day of the
termination of the British mandate for Palestine, by virtue of the natural and historic right of the Jewish
and of the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations,

HEREBY PROCLAIM the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine, to be called ISRAEL.”

Happy Birthday to Israel from Americans for A Safe Israel

Mark Langfan,National Chairman

Helen Freedman, Executive Director

Outpost Editor: Rael Jean Isaac Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans for a Safe Israel

Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st Street)
New York, NY 10128
Tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
Email: afsi@rcn.com

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Adelson Inc. : William Mehlman

There’s a bill with an uncommon degree of bi-partisan support in the Knesset, Israel’s famously disputatious parliament, that would ban the distribution of free newspapers in the Jewish State, as well as newspapers that are not free but are regarded as “too cheap.” Its proponents, an unlikely group of bedmates, include representatives of the Left-leaning Labor and Justice Minister’s Tsipi Livni’s Hatnuah parties, Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas, Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Russian Yisrael Beitenu, (moving toward a breakup of its marriage with Likud) and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s religious national Zionist Bayit Yehudi.

They are conjoined, they declare, in an effort to “strengthen written journalism in Israel and fair conditions of competition between newspapers.” Eton Cabel, the Labor Party’s point-man on this crusade, may be excused for failing to imbue its “mission statement” with any additional clarity, but having been the moving force in silencing news service Arutz-7’s radio voice to 350,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, he is clearly an authority on “the threat to pluralism and democracy” posed by a medium bearing the wrong message.

The bill to ban free newspapers is kith and kin to an earlier proposed measure to bar newspaper ownership of any kind to a non-citizen of Israel. The target of both bills, bitterly opposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, is Las Vegas-based, mega-billionaire international casino mogul and Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson, whose give-away Hebrew daily Yisrael Hayom (“Israel Today”) climbed to the top rung of the Israeli circulation ladder virtually with its first issue in 2007 and has remained there ever since. Adelson, recently described by the New York Times’ eminence grise Thomas L. Friedman as a “crude right-wing pro-Israel extremist,” the personification of “everything that is poisoning our democracy and Israel’s today,” spends somewhere around $15 million a year on Yisrael Hayom, which takes little advertising, partly for the sheer pleasure of sticking it to pontificators like Friedman and Peter Beinart, who in the same New York Times lumped him with hate mongers Louis Farrrakhan and Mahmud Ahmadinejad for asserting that “there isn’t a Palestinian alive who wasn’t raised on a curriculum of hatred and hostility toward the Jews.” Mostly, however, Adelson says he started Yisrael Hayom as a counter to the predominantly left-oriented Israeli media, print and electronic, “in order to give Israelis a fair and balanced picture of the news and the views.” The public appears to have responded in kind. A recent national survey has revealed that 39 percent of Israelis who read newspapers read Yisrael Hayom as against 27 percent for Yediot Aharonot, its nearest competitor, and 12.7 percent for the doctrinal left-wing Ha’aretz.

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From the Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Abbas Equals Hamas

Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government are responsible for maintaining the fiction that Abbas differs from Hamas. Following Abbas’ announcement of Fatah’s agreement to form a unity government with Hamas, Netanyahu, apparently thinking this a great stroke of public relations, has repeatedly thrown out the silly, worse, the dangerous line that Abbas has to choose between peace with Israel and Hamas–he cannot have both. But as Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik of Palestinian Media Watch properly point out, nothing substantive separates Abbas from Hamas:
“The agreement signed this week between Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah and the terrorist organization Hamas to form a unity government should not have surprised international observers. For years Mahmoud Abbas has been seeking and demanding unity between Fatah and Hamas, despite international recognition of Hamas as a terror organization. In 2009, Palestinian Media Watch documented Abbas’ assertion that there is nothing to prevent unity because Hamas and Fatah agree on all important issues:
“There is no disagreement between us [Fatah and Hamas]: About belief? None! About policy? None! About resistance? None! So what do you [Hamas] disagree about? Why are you not signing the [reconciliation] agreement?” [Abbas was speaking on official Palestinian Authority TV, Dec. 31, 2009]
“What is clear from the documentation Palestinian Media Watch has released in recent reports is that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, like Hamas, deny Israel’s right to exist, glorify terror and incite hatred against Jews and Israelis. The only reason there was no agreement between the two parties from 2009 until now was because of internal political competition between Hamas and Fatah, and not because of essential differences in their attitude towards Israel.”
Why is Netanyahu’s public relations ploy dangerous as well as foolish? If Khaled Abu Toameh is right, Abbas has zero interest in sharing power or sitting in the same government as Hamas. Rather he is playing the hero who stands up to the Americans. But it’s a balancing act for he can’t afford to have U.S. financial aid to the PA cut off. As Abu Toameh sees it, Abbas is banking on Obama and Kerry’s desperation to keep “negotiations” with Israel going (there has to be some foreign policy “success” somewhere).
Abu Toameh writes: “The ‘reconciliation’ agreement [with Hamas] is just the latest in a series of moves taken by Abbas since the eruption of the crisis in the peace talks a few weeks ago. Abbas’s moves started with the application to join 15 international treaties, and continued with threats to resign and dissolve the Palestinian Authority….Abbas is convinced that it is only a matter of time before Kerry or top U.S. diplomats rush to Ramallah to try to persuade him not to make peace with Hamas….Abbas is now waiting to see what the U.S. Administration will offer him in return for rescinding his plan to join forces with Hamas. When this happens, Abbas will most probably come up with new demands and conditions, just as he has been doing during these past few weeks.”
But if Abbas backtracks on union with Hamas, Netanyahu will be stuck with his idiotic formula–Abbas will then have chosen “peace” with Israel. And surely Israel has to respond generously to this historic choice!

The newest segment of David Isaac’s Zionism 101, entitled “NILI” is now available. You can see it directly via the following link:
“NILI” relates the dramatic tale of a Jewish spy ring in Palestine during World War I. Led by world-famous scientist Aaron Aaronsohn, this small group of men and women put their lives at risk to provide vital information to the British, which ultimately helped in the defeat of the Turks. As the deputy military secretary to Field Marshal Edmund Allenby said:
“It was very largely the daring work of young spies, most of them natives of Palestine, which enabled the brilliant Field Marshal to accomplish this undertaking so effectively.”

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Anti-Semitism and Alternative History – Weapons in the War against the Jews: Moshe Sharon

Hatred of Judaism and the Jews is an intellectual creation. Its foundations were laid in ancient times by historians, writers, poets, philosophers and artists long before Christianity added the theological dimension. Since then it has been the one permanent feature that has accompanied the Jews throughout their history.
Born in Hellenistic Egypt, intellectual anti-Semitism has two main features which go hand in hand; one is the invention of an alternative (or counter) history for the Jews; the other describing them as inferior human beings, filthy, bearers of disease and haters of humanity and of the gods.

Alternative history declares the historical records of its target people as false, and presents its own version as the truth. Since its creation by the anti-Semites in Egypt in the 3rd century BCE, the practice has continued to this day.

The denial of the Holocaust is the latest and most arrogant example of alternative history, the essence of anti-Semitism in modern times. The Holocaust deniers know the truth, for there is hardly a case in history that is more documented than the Holocaust. Nevertheless they are out to absolve the Nazis, and blame the victims, presenting the extermination of 6,000.000 Jews as a Jewish conspiracy. Mahmud Abbas (nom de guerre: “Abu Mazen”), the current Palestinian darling is one of them. In 1982 he received a PhD from Lumumba University in Moscow for his thesis on the “Secret Relations between the Nazis and Zionism,” which included all the elements of Holocaust denial.

The first known alternative history of the Jews was written in Alexandria by the Egyptian priest Manetho, who felt the need to supply his Greek readers with a reply to the Biblical story of the Exodus, with the explicit aim of denigrating the Jews. According to Manetho’s alternative history, the Jews were a group of 80,000 lepers who rebelled, took over Egypt and, ruling it for more than a decade, spread death and horror in the country. Their leader was Osarseph, a priest from Heliopolis. After thirteen years in exile the Egyptian King returned to Egypt, killed most of them and drove the rest out of the country, pursuing them to the borders of Syria.
Manetho’s story was designed to negate everything positive about the Jews. The Jews described Joseph as a wise governor who saved Egypt from disaster, and Menetho replied by making him an apostate Egyptian priest of Osiris (hence his name Osarseph) who ruined Egypt. The Jews regarded themselves as a people, and Manetho described them as a horrifying mob of lepers. The Jews claimed that God had brought them out of Egypt; Manetho asserted that they had been expelled.

Manetho’s “history” and the abundance of horror stories about the Jews, spread by his copiers and successors, are characterized by a mixture of hate and fear. Later, Moslem classical historians also created their own versions of Jewish alternative history. But unlike their predecessors, their attitude to the Jews was that of hate resulting from contempt rather than hate based on fear. However, once the Moslems became acquainted with European anti-Semitism, they embraced the Western description of the Jew as the embodiment of pure evil, and Judaism as a bloodthirsty religion whose followers planned to subdue the world with the help of Satan. Thus the hatred felt by the Moslems towards the Jews now comprised both fear and contempt.

The blood libel, the unholy, gruesome lie of Christian Europe against the Jews, assumed immediate prominence in Islamic anti-Semitic thought and practice.
The first blood libel case under Islamic rule in modern times was the “Damascus Affair.” In 1840, the Jews of Damascus were accused of the ritual murder of a Capuchin friar. Far from immediately opposing the false accusation, Ratti Menton, the French consul in Damascus, gave it credibility. Supported by the French government, he himself conducted the “investigation” of the case together with the Moslem Governor. The entire Jewish community was held to ransom, and its leaders were arrested, some tortured to death, before a general outcry in the world put an end to the affair.

But the Damascus Affair has never died. To this day it is presented as proof of ritual murder in the Jewish religion. Mustafa Tlas, the Syrian minister of war, wrote his PhD on the subject and published it in a book called The Unleavened Bread of Zion. In this popular book, which by 2002 had gone through eight editions, he described the Damascus Affair in great detail with a single aim–to prove its evidence of the Jewish practice of ritual murder. Ratti Menton is his proof for the truth of the information.

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Brandeis Redux? by Peter Metzger

In October 2008 Outpost published an article by H. Peter Metzger, himself a Brandeis graduate, entitled “Brandeis: School for Terrorists?” Clearly no one was paying attention, for today many profess to be shocked, shocked that Brandeis should have canceled its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak and be presented with an honorary degree, on the excuse that they had discovered her opinions were inconsistent with Brandeis “core values.” Metzger’s 2008 article, reprinted below, throws light on those “core values.”

Brandeis: School For Terrorists?
H. Peter Metzger

Snatching a loaded M4 carbine, the diminutive mother of three fired on her FBI questioners, and was swiftly injured by return fire. She is now in federal court awaiting charges of attempted murder. The FBI had placed her near the top of its most wanted list of fugitive terror subjects. A CIA spokesman said, “I don’t think we’ve captured anybody more important and well-connected as she since 2003.”
Her name is Aafia Siddiqui, and she is charged with being an important Al-Qaeda ”fixer,” a person who coordinates terror plots between various other terrorists within this very secret organization. In 2004, the FBI called her an “Al-Qaeda operative and facilitator who posed a clear and present danger to America.” When arrested in August just before the shoot-out, she was carrying plans to bomb various U.S. landmarks and to kill former Presidents Carter, Bush and Clinton.

But nowhere in the extensive news coverage of this event was her tie to Brandeis University explored, nor was it mentioned that she was only the latest in a long series of terrorists coming out of that university. Now, I don’t mean kids protesting the Vietnam War, which was common in the 1970’s. I mean real terrorists.
One might ask “So what’s new?” As a long ago graduate of that place, I remember when a terrorist coming out of a Brandeis education was not an extraordinary event. In fact, Brandeis, a university of less than 5,000 students, has provided a sanctuary for more extreme radicals than any other university in America.

From its earliest days, Brandeis attracted not only leftist liberals, but many far-left radicals. Most of the people I cite below were arrested and spent time in prison for violent crimes done in the name of far-left extremist politics.

It all began around 1970, when Brandeis saw three of its women students posted to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List (Angela Davis, Susan Saxe and Katherine Power), no small feat since only seven women were put on that FBI list in its entire history

Those Brandeis girls were famous leftist revolutionary America-haters, but they were only the “stars” of the then Hate-America movement. There were many other lesser lights. For example, another Brandeis student was Jennifer Casolo, a revolutionary who was found to have an arsenal of weapons and explosives buried in her backyard–“tons” of the stuff according to White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitz-water. Then there were other minor players like Brandeis students Laura Whitehorn and Naomi Jaffe. Curiously, all these violence-prone misfits were women.

So what has Brandeis been hosting up there anyway? Well, it would appear that Brandeis has been providing a friendly intellectual climate for kids wanting to become violent domestic revolutionaries, all under the guise of elevating “social consciousness.” For example, several of the so-called Brandeis terrorists trace their intellectual development back to classes taught there by Marxist professors like Herbert Marcuse and other America haters.

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David Isaac : A Review of “Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul” by Daniel Gordis

Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul is a pleasure to read. The author, Daniel Gordis, a fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalem College, has a gift for clearly summarizing complex events, including key incidents about which much nonsense has been written.

Begin was born in the Polish town of Brisk in 1913. His most important early influence was his father Ze’ev Dov Begin, a deeply religious man who helped organize Jewish self-defense.
Fatefully, Ze’ev Dov switched Menachem, then age 13, out of what he considered the overly socialist Hashomer Hatzair youth group and into Betar, a competing Zionist youth organization and the brainchild of Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky. Gordis notes, correctly, that, “There is no understanding Begin without understanding Jabotinsky.”
Jabotinsky butted heads with the other Zionist leaders, disagreeing with their accommodating policies toward the British, who were backing away from their commitment to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine.
When Begin heard Jabotinsky speak for the first time, he was overwhelmed: “You sit there, down below, and begin to feel in every fiber of your body that you are being lifted up, borne aloft, up, up … Have you been won over? No, more than that. You have been consecrated to the idea, forever.” It was thanks to Begin’s own oratorical skills that he quickly rose in the ranks of Betar.

During WWII, Begin made his way to Palestine and in January 1944 became head of the underground Irgun, or Etzel, as it was also called. Gordis neatly sums up the difference in philosophy of the Etzel and the competing Haganah by the way they opened their radio addresses. For the Haganah, it was: “Thou shall not kill.” For Etzel: “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

It was during this period that Begin earned the right to be considered a founding father of Israel. For without the Etzel, it is unlikely the state would have come into being. It is also here that Gordis shines, offering a fair account of events badly misrepresented at the time and, indeed, still widely misconstrued. These include the King David Hotel bombing, the Altalena affair, and Deir Yassin.

Take the King David Hotel Bombing. Etzel warnings phoned into the hotel were ignored and 92 died. It was a joint operation approved by the Haganah during a period of cooperation between the underground groups. Yet David Ben-Gurion denied any involvement. “Begin assumed full responsibility, an astonishing display of nobility given Ben-Gurion’s obvious mendacity,” Gordis writes.
Deir Yassin followed the same pattern. Etzel fighters took this Arab village as part of an operation approved by Ben-Gurion. The plan went awry as a truck with loudspeakers meant to warn the Arabs became stuck in a tank trap. The Jews came under fire. Five died and 31 were wounded. The number of Arabs killed is contested, but estimates today put it at 107. “The episode was quickly dubbed the ‘Deir Yassin massacre,’ the name that it retains in most accounts to this day,” Gordis observes. Ben-Gurion again denied involvement, and used the opportunity to vilify Begin and Etzel.

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
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