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May 27, 1977 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-05-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

6 Friday, May 27, 1977


Menahem Begin, Irgun Zvai Leumi, Deir Yassin: Facts of History

(Continued From Page 1)

amed of their act, were
proud of this massacre, pub-
sin. This village, off the licized it widely, and in-
main roads and surrounded vited all the foreign corre-
by Jewish lands, had taken spondents present in the
no part in the war, and had country to view the - heaped
even fought off Arab bands corpses and the general
who wanted to use the vil- havoc at Deir Yassin.
lage as their base.
"The Deir Yassin in-
"On April 12, 1948 terror- cident exemplifies the char-
ist bands attacked this acter and actions of the
peaceful village, which was Freedom Party.
not a military objective in
"Within the Jewish com-
the fighting, killed most of munity they have preached
its inhabitants — 240 men, an admixture of ultra-na-
women and children — and tionalisrh, religious mystic-
kept a few of them alive to ism, and racial superiority.
parade as captives through Like other fascist parties,
the streets of Jerusalem.
they have been used to
"Most of the Jewish com- break strikes, and have
munity was horrified at this themselves pressed for the
deed, • and the Jewish destruction of free trade
Agency sent a telegram of unions. In their stead they
apology to King Abdullah of have proposed corporate
Trans-Jordan. But the ter- unions on the Italian fascist
rorists, far from being ash- model.
"During the last years of
sporadic anti-British vio-
lence, the IZL and Stern
groups inaugurated a reign
Of terror in the Palestine
Jewish community. Teach-
ers were beaten up for
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adults were shot for not let-
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and exacted a heavy tribute
from them.
"The people of the Free-
dom Party have had no
part in the constructive
achievements in Palestine.
They have reclaimed no
land, built no settlements,
and only detracted from the
Jewish defense activity.
Their much-publicized im-
migration endeavors were
minute, and devoted mainly
to bringing in fascist com-
"The discrepancies be
tween the bold claims now
being made by Begin and
his party, and their record
of past performance in Pa-
lestine bear the imprint of
no ordinary political party.
This is the unmistakable
stamp of a fascist party for
whom terrorism (against
Jews, Arabs, and British
alike), lying and mis-
representation are means,
and .a "Leader State" is the

"In the-light of the fore-
going: considerations, it is
imperative that the truth
about Mr. Begin and his
movement be made known
in this country. It is all the
more tragic that the top
leadership of American Zi-
onism has refused to cam-
paign against Begin's ef-
forts, or even to expose to
its own constituents the dan-
gers to Israel from support
to Begin.
"The undersigned there-
fore take this means of pub-
licly presenting a few
salient facts concerning
Begin and his party; and of
urging all concerned not to
support this latest manifes-
tation of fascism."


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Had Arendt and Einstein
known the facts, it is doubt-
ful whether they would
have appended their names
to this statement. It was be-
lieved that Einstein often
was misled into affiliations
,resulting from his adamant
pacifist views.

But, as stated, Begin
always was a ready to .get
for attack and it-waS not
surprising that he should
have been so vilified. And it
was especially deplorable
that the Deir Yassin trag-
edy should have been cause
for the anger that was ex-

The Deir Yassin incident
and the facts regarding
Begin and, his party were
clarified in a reply that was
published in the New York
Times Dec. 15, 1948. Very
prominent names were
among the signers of that
letter. It appeared over
these names:

Konrad Bercovici, Louis
Bromfield, Ruth Chatterton,
Mordecai Danzis, Guy M.
Gillette, Fowler Harper,
Ben Hecht, Nathan George
Horwitt, Aaron Kope, Jo-
seph Morse, Paul O'Dwyer,
Rabbi Baruch Rabinowitz,
Will Rogers Jr.,. ' Maurice
Rosenblatt, Harry Louis Sel-
den, Irving Shendell, Johan
J. Smertenko, Andrew L.
Somers, Alex Wilf, Isaac-
Zaar, William B. Ziff.
The text of their letter is
of great importance at this
time. Here it is. in its entire-

"Most of the names sign-
ed to a letter which ap-
peared in The Times of
Dec. 4 attacking Menahem
Begin and the Israeli Free-
dom party are unknown to
us. But we are sure that Sid-
ney Hook will be astonished
to learn, that the contents
of the letter to which his
name was appended are a
compilation of the irrespon-
sible fulminations which ap-
pear at intervals in the
Daily Worker.

"We think that Prof.
Hook would be as inter-
ested as we to receive some
evidence in support of the
charges made in the letter
you published, which are
strangely similar to a col-
umn in the Worker of Nov.
30. We who have cham-
pioned the cause of Hebrew
liberation for a number of
years have, of course, been
subjected to this barrage in
the past. Our most thorough
investigations have failed to
produce any support for

"Those who have made
them to us have remained
strangely unresponsive to
our requests for sub-
"The assertion in the let-
ter's opening paragraph
that the Freedom party is

'closely akin in its organiza-
tion, methods, political phi-
losophy and social appeal to
the Nazi and Fascist party'
is a blatant falsehood. The
assertion that 'until recent-
ly they (Mr. Begin's party)
openly preached the doc-
trine of the Fascist state' is
another lie, equally unsus-
ceptible of any proof.
"The party, which was
formed only a few months
ago, cannot already have es-
tablished a record of such
iniquity as is attributed to
it. Quoted below are a few
necessarily brief and dis-
jointed excerpts from the
party's platform:
" 'A free democracy in
which the people are the
source of authority. The
people, and the people
alone, have the right of deci-
sion with regard to all prob-
lems of their national exist-
`In this democracy all citi-
zens will be guaranteed full
and unconditional enjoy-
ment of civil liberties and
human rights and equality
of opportunity, regardless
of origin, race, religion, po-
litical affiliation or sex.
`The government of the
people will continually
strive to raise the standard
of living and the opportu-
nities for advancement of
the workingman, to assure
every citizen the minimum
essentials of life and to
eliminate economic and
other privileges tending to
create distinctions between
man and man and crass
and class. -
`It is the undeniable right
of all workingmen to unite
in trade unions which will
strive—alongside the
state—for the continuous
betterment of the work-
ingman's standard of living.
`The 'state shall endeavor
to create conditions most fa-
vorable for the devel-
opment of industry, agricul-
ture, commerce and nation-
al resources.'
"The distorted descrip-
tion in the letter of the cap-
ture of the village of Deir
Yassin is another case in
point. As any objective cor-
respondent who was in Pa-
lestine at that time will at-
test, there is no ground for
characterizing the attack
on this village as an act of
wanton massacre. The
Irgun was operating under
an agreement which provid-
ed for close coordination
with other defense forces.
"The story of the attack
on Deir Yassin was told
anew in the Times of Nov.
30. What was not pointed
out even then was that the
capture of Deir Yassin was
vital to the defense of Je-
rusalem. At the risk and
cost of a number of Hebrew
lives the Irgun gave
loudspeaker warnings to
the inhabitants to withdraw
"The Arab marauders


from Syria and Iraq„ who
were using the village as a
vantage point against the
Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road,
prevented the population
from leaving and made it
necessary for the Irgun to
conduct a house-to-house
struggle for the village.
"Loss of life is highly
regrettable, but it is one of
the -unfortunate con-
comitants of war. There
were undoubtedly non-
combatants killed at Deir
Yassin. The atom bomb
which leveled Hiroshima
was incapable of dig
tinguishing between soldi
and non-combtant, but its
use was nevertheless justi-
fied. It is in this light that
Deir Yassin must be view-
"The falsehood that the
Irgun has been used to
`break strikes' was some-
what more particularized in
the Daily Worker article.
There it was stated that 'in
1946 - Irgun members made
a violent assault on textile
strikers in Petah Tikva.'
Careful investigation dis-
closes that in 1946 at Petah
Tikva there was juris-
dictional strife between in-
dependent unions and the
trade union monopoly of the
Mapai. The Irgun was in no
way involved in this and no
one else has ever alleged
that it was.
"The allegation in the let-
ter that the Irgun or the
Freedom Party preached
racism was also made in
the Daily Worker. The best
refutation of this is informa-
tion just received that Arab
Moslems and Christians,
Circassians, and Druses in
northern Palestine have
joined the Freedom party.
"In view of all this, it
seems supererogatory to
deal with the other vilifica-
tions contained in the rest
of the Dec. 4 letter. It may
be significant that the letter
finally complains that the
top leadership of American
Zionism has refused to cam-
paign against Begin's ef-
These are facts not to be
ignored. The record must
be kept straight. Too much
confusion has already mud-
died the political waters.
Let the facts speak for ,

Sharon Strassfeld
Heads Book Group

Strassfeld has been appoint-
ed director - of the Jewis
Book Council of the Jewis
Welfare Board.
Strassfeld is a writer and
editor; with her husband Mi-
chael and Richard Siegel,
she edited "The Jewish
Catalog." She and her hus-
band also compiled and
edited the recently pub-
lished "Second Jewish Cata-

t' AV .



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