STATE OF TERROR: HOW TERRORISM CREATED MODERN ISRAEL
Olive Branch Press
reviewed by Alan Dent
reviewed by Alan Dent
Our first identity is human. To place any subsidiary identity above our humanity is a mistake. Though there are genetic differences between racial groups, they are trivial compared to our shared biological inheritance, as are differences of belief . Language is a prime example of that inheritance. All individuals born without brain damage will assimilate the languages of their linguistic community effortlessly and unconsciously. The extraordinary variety of languages is underpinned by the fact of language per se. Nor is there any need to be anxious about the loss of individuality in recognising our shared biological heritage. Every individual has an idiolect, ie, a unique way of using their language or languages. Our shared inheritance has guaranteed our uniqueness.
Our shared biological inheritance is a relatively recent discovery. For millennia, people have defined themselves primarily by some secondary characteristic; usually belonging to a “tribe” (in the widest possible sense) or by occupation by right of having been there first in a geographical territory. Flannery and Marcus in their study The Creation of Inequality, argue that “we were here first” is a powerful assertion in the creation of identity and relationships. The history of humanity (as opposed to the pre-history) is the story of uneven development. Our shared humanity runs up against the barriers of property and power. Yet our shared biological inheritance is a fact. It ought to be the fact which guides our actions. Henry Morton Stanley and Cecil Rhodes might have believed they were superior because they had white skins. Their delusion doesn’t excuse their arrogance or violence; but today the delusion has been exposed. Show the world’s best neuroscientists a European brain, and Asian brain, an African brain, a Latin American brain, the brain of a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, an atheist and they won’t be able to tell you which is which. Racial purity is nonsense; racial superiority tantamount to insanity.
Nor can the fact of our shared biological inheritance be compatible with messianic entitlement. People have a right to believe what they like, but not to deny the facts. Injustice can be usefully defined as the establishment of a special case. All injustice rests on this: the special case of the monarch, the aristocrat, the slave owner, the feudal lord, the employer, the husband, the priest. The doctrine of messianic entitlement is an obvious special case. It is not the same as “we were here first” but rather an assertion that even if we weren’t . we have a right to turf you out because a deity of some kind has granted us a part of the earth as our own. Neither the Bible nor any other religious text is potent as legal title. That is a gross confusion of the secular and the spiritual. As a matter of historical fact, land ownership has been gained through conquest. In the modern world, where title to your garden and that of a nation state to what lies within its borders is legally determined, deities are an irrelevance.
The Israeli claim to Palestine rests on four precepts:
God promised the land to Abraham;
Jewish people settled and developed the land;
the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to Jewish people;
the territory was captured in defensive wars.
All four are dubious. God can’t grant legal title to anything. The right to freedom of belief is a fundamental human right, but that a possible deity can be claimed as indefeasible proof of a right to ownership is inadmissible, for the obvious reason that the claim can’t be granted any objectivity. A woman may claim the fairies at the bottom of her garden have granted her the right to a piece of the earth, but why should the rest of us accept it? That some Jewish people settled and developed some of the land is uncontroversial but across the three thousand years of the Israeli claim, a significant variety of people were involved in the same way. If Israel claims the support of the international community, then logically it should comply with the rules that community agrees. Hence, it ought to withdraw its illegal settlements and lift the siege of Gaza. The wars and conflicts by which Israel gained control of the land it now occupies were by no means exclusively defensive.
This book examines in thorough and excruciating detail the terrorism which brought Israel into existence. Suarez has unearthed some previously ignored documents in the British archives which establish the historical accuracy of his thesis: that far from being isolated incidents carried out by a few rogue elements, Zionist terror was co-ordinated, sustained, planned, conscienceless and sustained beyond the establishment of the Israeli State. If you’re unfamiliar with Irgun, Lehi, the Haganah, and more organizations convinced that the brutal slaughter of anyone who stood in their way (including Jews) was legitimate in the campaign to seize the land granted by god, this book will enlighten you.
Partly the book is a catalogue of the barbarism. Suarez has chosen to do this, presumably, to make clear the evidence is incontrovertible. Some of the atrocities are famous: the bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem on 22nd July 1946 by the Irgun, for example. Others, though no less vicious and motivated by an insane conviction of rectitude, might have slipped from public notice but for this book.
The Irgun was active between 1931 and 1948. Its philosophy, if that’s not too elevated a term for a belief in thuggery, was the Revisionist Zionism of Jabotinsky, who believed every Jew has the right to enter Palestine and only armed force could ensure a Jewish State. Lehi, often known as the Stern Gang after its founder, Avraham Stern, was born in 1940. Its aim was the establishment of a “new totalitarian Hebrew republic”. It sought alliance with both fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and thought Britain a greater threat to the Jews than the Nazis. After 1942 it sympathised with Stalin and in 1944 declared its faith in National Bolshevism. Yitzhak Shamir, who became Prime Minister of Israel in 1983 was its erstwhile leader. The Lehi underground newspaper The Front declared: “Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat…We have before us the command of the Torah: Ye shall blot them out to the last man. Stern set out eighteen principles of rebirth of the State of Israel. The ninth was: Constant war against those who stand in the way of fulfilling the goals.
Those who stood in the way included Jews. The die-hard Zionists wouldn’t accept, for example, that displaced people who were victims of the Nazi holocaust should choose any destination after liberation other than Palestine. Sacrificing Jews in the cause of Zionism was perfectly admissible. As Suarez points out, if Zionism is identified with being Jewish, then Zionist terror encourages exactly the anti-Jewish sentiment violent Zionism feeds on. All utterly self-righteous creeds when put into practice end up devouring their own children.
The State of Israel, as it has existed since 1948, couldn’t have been brought about without extreme violence. A homeland for victims of the holocaust did not imply what Israel became. Even the misguided Balfour Declaration recognised the rights of the inhabitants of Palestine. As Suarez observes, the Palestinians were slow to respond to Israeli brutality. The Israelis required them to become violent. It was a specifically pursued policy and obviously still is. The Israeli double-bind is simple: either the Palestinians submit, in which case they will be wiped out, or they resist, in which case they are terrorists, who must be wiped out.
A few examples of the psychopathic violence of the Zionist terrorists (every bit as demented as that we see today from so-called Islamic State) will give a flavour of the outrages enumerated in detail: on 22nd August 1949, Israeli soldiers kidnapped a Bedouin girl, aged about fifteen. They took her to an IDF camp, stripped her and made her stand under water pipe as the soldiers rubbed her with soap. She was then raped by three soldiers. Her hair was shorn and her head washed in kerosene. She was gang raped over a period of three days. Then they dug her grave in front of her and shot her. When this atrocity came to light, the Israelis claimed it was an exception and the soldiers involved untypical of the IDF. Suarez points out, however, that Ben-Gurion’s elite Palmach was well-known for murder and rape. In November 1940 the passengers from three illegal immigrant ships were transferred by the British to the Patria which was to take them to safe haven in Mauritius. At 9.15 on the morning of 25th November, an explosion blew the ship apart. It keeled over within fifteen minutes killing some 267 people, more than 200 of them Jews seeking refuge from the European war. The bombing was carried out by the Haganah (forerunner of the IDF) under the control of Moshe Sharett, later to be Israel’s Prime Minister. The Zionists spread the lie that the passengers had blown up the ship themselves in distress over being unable to enter Palestine. Thus, an evil act of Zionist terror was spun to into Zionist propaganda. On December 18th 1947, after the UN had passed Resolution 181(the partition of Palestine), Palmach attacked the picturesque village of Khisas, a mixed Christian-Muslim community. The assault began at 9 pm. Houses were blown up, burying people in their beds. 15 Palestinians, including 5 children died. The operation was led by Yigal Allon, a future IDF general and Israeli statesman. The villagers were unarmed. They posed no threat. It was later revealed that the Palmach was aware of the benign nature of the settlement and engaged in the attack for “experience”.
The Zionist leadership saw partition as a mere temporary expedient. As early as 1937, when partition was first suggested, Ben-Gurion had reassured the Zionist Executive that “in the wake of the establishment of the State, we will abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.” The Zionist project has never accepted the idea of a Palestinian State on the land it considers to have been its birth-right for three millennia. Prior to partition the CIA warned that Zionists would never accept it. The Arab representatives at the UN, on the other hand, based their claim to a Palestinian State on the high-minded principles agreed internationally after the First World War: rejection of conquest, the right to self-determination, democracy. The Zionists engaged in fierce and base propaganda of dehumanization of the Arabs, as conquerors always must.
Israel has had twelve Prime Ministers. More than one is implicated in terrorism. It’s current Prime Minister has written that “nothing justifies terrorism..it is evil per se.” He’s right. The terrorism which brought the State of Israel into existence was evil per se. It was perpetrated out of conviction based on the four precepts cited at the start of this review. As Suarez argues, the Israeli claim to Palestine is based on racial purity and messianic entitlement. There is no solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians (some Israelis deny that such a thing as a Palestinian people has existed, does exist or can exist) without a renunciation by the Israelis of both racial purity and messianic entitlement. They are regressive, outdated, intellectually and morally flawed concepts.
As early as January 1949, the New York Times journalist Anne McCormick was arguing that no two-state solution was possible because of Israeli refusal to accept the limits imposed by UN Resolution 181. Of course, the minority view of UNSCOP was that there should be a single State with autonomous Arab and Israeli areas. Ernest Bevin thought Resolution 181 had ceded to the extreme demands of the Zionists and was frustrated that the opportunity for a democratic State, founded on one person one vote had been missed. Such a State was impossible without defined borders, which Zionists refused and Israel still does not have. In 1949 the CIA reported that the Israeli refusal to accept borders was “a long-range disaster”. Reuven Shiloah, the first director of Mossad, declared it would always be Israel’s right to take more land as necessary.
Is there any other nation-State which does not accept borders? Any other which claims for itself the permanent, inalienable right to seize such land as it deems fit?
The Jewish community in Iraq, which had been there for some two thousand years, was destroyed by the Zionists in a dirty tricks operation. The Israelis drummed up anti-Jewish violence in Iraq as a prelude to ethnically cleansing 120,000 Jews who were put in refugee camps.North African Jews were coerced by the Zionist into leaving their homes, were sprayed with DDT and conscripted to the army for three years to bear the brunt of the attacks across the Armistice Line.
The Zionists sent letter bombs to Churchill, Bevin, Eden; the Kingdom of Israel, a post- 1948 terror group, made two attempts on the life of Adenauer and even tried to murder Jascha Heifetz for including Richard Strauss in one of his programmes.
The distressing and depressing details pile up. What they all lead back to is a simple but devastating mistake in thinking and feeling: the Zionist belief that they are a special case. The self-deceptions by which the Israelis maintain their ludicrous claim to the whole of Palestine would be laughable if they hadn’t led to so much death and misery. At more than one point, Suarez assimilates the ideology and terror of the Zionists to the ideas and practices of the Nazis and there is no doubt that the Havaara Transfer Agreement brought relief to the Nazi regime by breaking the effective economic boycott. Ethno-political Zionism is an anti-democratic creed and no democrat should give it comfort. That is why the USA’s unconditional support for Israel is unacceptable. Without that support, the Israelis would be much less likely to resist compromise. As for the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem it’s hard to decide which is greater, its stupidity or its wickedness.
There is much more to say about this indispensable book. It leaves no doubt that violent Zionists had no qualms about employing terrorism in order to fulfil their aims. That is as vile and morally abject as the actions of Islamic State .Apparently intractable conflicts can be resolved. The violence in Northern Ireland was brought to an end by compromise on both sides. Whether the partition of Ireland was a crime against the Irish people may remain a potent question, but the willingness to accept existing realities and to make peace the only worthwhile aim brought a settlement. The same can happen between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but just as Ian Paisley had to ditch his rhetoric of no surrender, so the Israelis will have to let go of messianic entitlement.
In response to the recent events in Gaza, the long-serving Labour MP Louise Ellman was quick to blame Hamas: they encouraged violence; they goad people to attack the fence. It is beyond controversy that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, but Zionist leaders are on record as saying that terrorism by the Palestinians serves their cause. If supporters of Israel are to condemn terrorism, let them condemn the Irgun, Lehi, the Haganah. Then the world will know they are serious about peace.
There have been instances of unacceptable anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and a recent furore. Mrs Ellman takes what could perfectly reasonably be seen as an anti-Palestinian view. Her position is deeply biased. She excuses Israel its faults and heaps all blame on those who, as Suarez argues, have never laid siege to Israel, controlled who may or may not enter Israel, blocked Israeli students from pursuing their education, commandeered Israeli aquifers, decided who Israel’s leaders may be, forbidden Israelis from eating lentils or using shampoo. Why isn’t there a furore over that? Why are there no calls to expel anti-Palestinians from the Labour Party?