Tuesday, July 16, 2024

A 1921 Interview With Jabotinsky

Here is Sophie Irene Loeb's interview with Ze'ev Jabotinsky published in The Evening News on, November, 17, 1921. Jabotinsky was in America as a member of a Keren HaYesod delegation with other senior Zionist leaders.

Mrs. Loeb nee Simon was born in Rivne, Russia (now Ukraine) in 1876. Coming to the United States at the age of six, she later moved from McKeesport, Pennsylvania to New York. She was the president of the Board of Child Welfare of New York and in 1921 established the first child welfare building. In 1924, she became president of the Child Welfare Committee of America. In 1926, she succeeded in having the  Widows' Pension Law legislated by Congress.

She led campaigns that resulted in the New York State Widows' Pension Law, penny lunches in public schools, the motion picture law of New York, making building sanitary and fireproof and additional movements for public betterment. As the first woman called to be a mediator in a New York strike, she brought about the settlement of the strike in the taxicab industry in 1917.
In 1927, she was invited to work with the social service section of the League of Nations in Geneva to frame an international code for the care of dependent and afflicted children. She traveled to Palestine in 1925 and wrote “The New Jerusalem”. The profits from her "Palestine Awake” were dedicated to the United Palestine Appeal. She died in 1929.
Her interview was one of a series with leading Zionist officials at the time.
In preparing for the interview, she "looked up his history [and] wanted to stop work, run up to the woods and write the novel of the day. For the facts connected with the doings of this young man would stir the imagination of a Guy de Maupassant or provoke the pen of a Poe.
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Q. I heard it said that Zionism cannot be reconciled with the principle of self-determination, because Arabs and not Jews are today the majority in Palestine. What is your answer to this contention?

A. I t depends upon what you call self-determination. Some people think that this principle simply means taking a snapshot of the world as it is constituted and populated today, and then acting as though everything "were good and just. For instance, you take a statistical snapshot of Armenia and you state that the Armenians are a minority in their own country, because the Kurds and the Turks, have been successfully massacring them for hundreds of years; therefore self-determination for Armenia should mean the reestablishing a Turkish or Kurdish state, in which the Armenians would be left to the tender mercies of the majority. I think that this conception of self-determination is wrong.

Self-determination means a reconstruction, a readjustment of the world.  A homeless people can certainly claim no majority anywhere in the world in the present moment, just because it is a homeless people, and the world has got to be so reconstructed as to give every homeless people a territory where it could try and reconstitute Its majority. This is exactly what we demand for the Jews in Palestine.

Q. And what about the Arabs?

A. The question has two sides. First of all, the Arabs in Palestine itself. The number is just over 500,000. There is neither need nor intention to disturb or displace even one of them. The country, if properly developed, can feed 4,000,000 or even 6,000,000, and we undertake to cram these millions in without squeezing anybody out. I believe that when the Jews gain a majority in Palestine, the position of the Arabs there will be politically the same as the position of the Scotch in Great Britain. It will be absolute equality of rights and duties, and, in addition it will probably be what we term in Eastern Europe “cultural autonomy"—the right to run their own schools in their own language, to use that language for all official purposes, and of course to be absolute masters of all their religious institutions and holy places. Besides, we're going to make of them citizens of a rich country, whereas to-day they are citizens of a poor one. So much for the Arab in Palestine.

Now, the other side of the question is the national interest of the Arab race as a whole. Allow me to remind you of a few figures. All the Arabic-speaking populations of Asia and Africa total less than 40,000,000, but they occupy a territory almost as big as the whole of Europe, stretching from Morocco to the Persian Gulf.

Palestine is only 1-170th part of this immense territory. Its transformation into a Jewish national home will leave the Arab race as rich in national territory as it is to-d ay — indeed, one of the richest races of the world, as far as land  is concerned. They will be able to develop their national being In Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Tripoli, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Mesopotamia, the Hedjaz, the Yemine — I really think It is quite sufficient to satisfy the most ambitious nationalism. There is hardly any race In Europe, however victorious, which has not sacrificed a small fraction of its territory for the needs of the world's adjustment.

Q. Do you expect America to help you?

A. I expect American Jewry to shoulder, financially, the main burden of reconstruction. But if you ask me what we expect from America as a whole — indeed from Christian America — I must make a little preface. This is my first visit to this republic, but somehow l cannot think of myself as a complete stranger to American conceptions.

As a child, I was practically brought up (so was the whole of my generation in South Russia) on Fenimore Cooper, Bret Harte and the American tales of Capt. Mayne Reid and numberless other authors, perhaps forgotten by you, but not by me. My favorite author, after Dante, has always been Edgar Allan Poe; my favorite heroes, after Garibaldi, are Washington and Lincoln —and — you will forgive my impartiality — Grant and Lee. I won’t bore you with mentioning more names of statesmen and writers and others (up to your wonderful Griffith), with whom I and many of my fellow-Jews live in almost daily communion.

All this may account for the fact that whenever a great beau jeste or a bold call comes from America, be it Woodrow Wilton's fourteen points or Mr. Harding's disarmament scheme, I feel never surprised. To me it comes natural. It is just what I and my like expect from America as we know it. This is my reply to your question: What we expect from America.

Zionism is a great idea, akin to those ideas which inspired Washington and Lincoln: its prospects and vistas far back and far ahead as vast in the spiritual plane as your prairie is in the physical; a nation accustomed to great horizons cannot fall to grasp the value of our ideal. We expect America to understand our struggle, and when the time comes, to throw her mighty word in our favor.


'White Privileged' Jews and Jabotinsky

I found that a 2008 thesis entitled 'Quasi-barbarians' and 'wandering Jews': The Balfour Declaration in light of world events presented by (and later incoporated in her book) Maryanne Agnes Rhett that she writes of Ze'ev Jabotinsky as becoming "the vehicle of [Max] Nordau‘s activist approach". He began

advocating the masculinization of Judaism and the militarization of the people via the creation of a Jewish legion. Jabotinsky recognized that in order to carry out the process of militarization, a new ideology to help reinforce muscular Judaism was necessary. For this model Jabotinsky turned to legend and lore of Biblical Israel and closely allied it with modern philosophical and ideological trends.

She then goes further postulating that Muscular Judaism is an Extension of Muscular Christianity:

Parallels that exist between what Max Nordau sought for the Jewish community and what European Christians were seeking are significant for our study. The policy of Anglicization‘ and the prevention of societal degeneration were driven by the same impulses that inspired the creation of the New Jew. While Anglicization was closely associated with an Anglican Christian viewpoint, it nevertheless shaped the identity construction of all Jews, Catholics, and other Christian denominations, especially those of the upper class. Among the Anglo-Jewish elite, identity construction manifested itself not only in sending their sons to the same schools as their Christian counterparts, but in establishing parallel Jewish organizations, like the Anglicized Boy Scouts, for immigrant Jewish boys and girls.

Just as muscular Christianity was a means for inculcating the Christian youth of Britain into a militarized physical identity; British Judaism underwent a revitalization of its own militaristic past with the development of paramilitary organizations like scouting groups. The Jewish Lads‘ Brigade, the most prominent example of these groups, was founded in Great Britain in 1895.

Later on, p. 153, she adds about 

Jabotinsky‘s campaign for a militarized Jewish body

and at p. 232 she suggests, based on "Historian Yakov M. Rabkin" who

argues that one reason De Hahn became disillusioned with political Zionism was because of its aggressive nature,‘ in particular the proto-fascism Vladimir Jabotinsky and his followers seemed to advocate. Rabkin contends that ―his [De Hahn‘s] acquaintance with Jabotinsky and other leaders of the future Israeli right wing, which was fascinated by the growing fascist movements of Europe, alerted De Haan to the threat that Zionism‘s violent side represented. (Footnote: Yacov M. Rabkin, A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, Black Point, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing, 2006, 130)

DeHa an arrived in Palestine in January 1919 and Jabotinsky left Palestine in July 1920. What other "future right-wing Israeli leaders" did he know? How well did he know Jabotinsky?


Monday, July 01, 2024

Avishai Raviv and the Israel Media, 1997-98

The following article was submitted for publication to the Jerusalem Post in November 1997 but was not accepted. A second article on the subject "The Complicity and the Conspiracy" was published by the paper the following year. The two form one though outlook and we have decided to post the year-old article to complement the second.



by Yisrael Medad

The recently released Shamgar Commission’s secret section details the negligence of the electronic media as a contributory factor to Raviv’s "success".

The report blames specifically the television for being engaged, in part, in the creation of a virtual reality of a right-wing "incitement campaign".

"Eyal", the report states, referring to Avishai Raviv’s fictitious skeleton crew, "existed for all intents only in Raviv’s pronouncements and via the coverage provided him by the television".

The electronic media failed. The public were cheated of the truth.

The commission directly addressed one unique instance when TV’s Channel One broadcast a "swearing-in ceremony" in September 1995. In the fourth section of chapter four, on page 28, a clear charge of guilt is made when the commission’s members write:

"...all during that time, [Raviv] continued his connections with the media in order to portray Eyal as an existing group and achieved the collaboration of the television when it broadcast a swearing-in ceremony, that was actually a staged event, and anyone who was present should have been aware that it was nothing but a staged affair".

Media consumers, we now know, were, to a large degree, fed misinformation. Raviv sought coverage that would justify himself in his eyes and those of his General Security Services handlers.

The media were interested in the situation because it was good film footage. Each exploited each other. But someone of responsibility in the GSS, and ultimately, someone in the political overview echelon, let developments get out of hand.

Raviv was permitted by his handlers to move fringe actions, in themselves initiated by Raviv, to center stage by titillating reporters and cameramen with material they could not pass up.

Raviv was shown instructing teenagers in the art of urban guerrilla warfare;

Planning an armed break-in to the Orient House;

Patrolling, in a violent fashion, the alleyways of Hebron.

Praising Barukh Goldstein for murduring arabs worshipers in Hebron.

No one, though, thought to take a deeper look and focus their lenses on Raviv himself.

His initial taking the credit for the killing of an Arab in Halhul early in September 1995 was widely reported.

So, too, was the supposed links with the Hamas.

Recalled into service in 1993, he was ordered him to paint anti-peace process slogans on walls.

Raviv called for Rabin’s death while being paid by the government.

Somehow, the media accepted his actions as "normal" or as understandably representative of the Right.

The media cannot now avoid its own need to undergo a process of accounting. The media surrendered its professional duties to get a story which fitted a certain mold it felt comfortable with. That mold was retold by the Michael Karpin propaganda film produced for the "We Shall Not Forget" society which highlighted the incitement campaign while conveniently ignoring Raviv. And that mold, one can suspect, was fed by personal ideological persuasions of media persons.

Not one investigative reporter or program producer was intrigued enough to go after Raviv. Even after Israel’s Media Watch filed a criminal complaint against the Israel Broadcasting Authority for transmitting that "swearing-in ceremony", we as well as the subject were treated with disdain. What the late Law Faculty Dean of Tel Aviv University and the former President of the Supreme Court considered a staged event, was presumed an aberration.

We, media consumers, are owed an apology. Our right to know was harnessed to an out of focus approach by many media persons. The time has come to clear up matters if they are to fully regain our trust as commentators of the political scene.

Yisrael Medad is director of Israel’s Media Watch

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The Conspiracy and the Complicity

by  Yisrael Medad, Executive Director, Israel's Media Watch,

November 12, 1998

The decision of Israel’s Attorney-General, Elyakim Rubinstein, to press criminal charges dealing, in part, with an orchestrated "swearing-in" ceremony supervised by General Security Services (GSS) agent Avishai Raviv, was long overdue.  It was three years ago that Israel's Media Watch (IMW) first brought to public attention the probability that Raviv's performance was staged, perhaps in collusion with the TV’s Channel One film crew.  And today, IMW is still concerned over the role then played by the electronic media in the coverage of the Raviv/Eyal escapades.

Rubinstein's decision, courageous as it was in the face of opposition from within the State Prosecutor's Office and the criticism of left-wing politicians,  does not adequately deal with the issue of possible complicity that existed between the media and the political agenda of the previous government.

Ami Ayalon, current GSS director, admitted to the government last year that the Prime Minister’s bureau was notified a few days after the ceremony was broadcast that it was "a sham, a double deception also on behalf of the television".  Former A-G Michael Ben-Yair has also gone on record that the footage was a hoax.  Thus, the sharp criticism by such left-wing political figures as Amnon Rubinstein, Yossi Sarid, Ori Orr and Shimon Peres that Rubinstein is providing succor to those who would believe in a conspiracy theory in connection with Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, should be judged as self-serving in the extreme.

Avishai Raviv was implanted into the nebulous area of right-wing fringe groups.  Ever since late 1987, when he was 21 years old, he has been a paid employee of the state of Israel.  But what exactly was he paid to do?  What was his mission? One cannot avoid the nasty suspicion concerning the GSS motives when one reflects more closely on just what the Raviv Affair is truly all about.

According to the Shamgar Commission Report, an intrinsic part of Raviv's job was the perpetration of violent and criminal deeds.  He engaged in assault, spouted racist invective, battered Arabs, damaged property, solicited minors to commit illegal acts and, ironically, lied to his handlers.  As part of his cover, he married and then, psychologically and physically, abused his spouse until she divorced him.  He was constantly excused for his behavior and, following stern talks, repeatedly rehired even after he assumed responsibility, as leader of the Eyal organization, for the murder of an Arab in Halhul in September 1995.

As the Shamgar Report makes clear, Raviv was engaged not only in violence but in provocation.  The report notes that "his handlers even chose to order him to write graffiti against the peace process". In any normal society, his employers would be chastised for moral corruption in serving a partisan political direction.  Despite the recent interviews of GSS officers, Raviv’s main task was the promotion of an image, the image of a wild, anti-democratic, felonious and outlaw ideology.   And, with GSS prodding, and the willing cooperation of central Israel media personnel, that image took hold.

The media, especially the electronic media, with its demand for "action", for pictures and scandal, alighted upon Raviv.  His ceremonies, his camps for arms training and his military-style exercise in preparation for the "conquest" of the Orient House broadcast on TV’s Channel One and Two, became a focus of attention.  Those scenes locked into the public’s consciousness.  As British media observer Patrick Birkinshaw has written, "TV represents the most immediate and effective mass persuader and conveyor of information in our culture".  And Raviv was a TV star.

Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Eitan Oren, a reporter for the weekly round-up program, "Yoman", had already been suspended for planning a staged item back in 1988.  His September 22, 1995 clip of Raviv’s gang was the highlight of media self-enticement.  As the Shamgar Report states: "[the clip] was a performance, for anybody who was present at the site must have been aware that it was a fake" (page 28).  Eitan’s professionalism, it would appear, failed him.  His personal agenda overrode ethical judgment for, it seemed, he was convinced that he was serving a higher principle: combating the right-wing.

Oren, his editor, Yisrael Segal, ITV director Yair Stern and IBA director-general Mordechai Kirschenbaum all sought to deny what everyone else perceived: Israel's state-supervised television channel was acting in complicity, willingly or otherwise, to convince the viewers that what they were seeing was truth, when it wasn't.

Whether or not with malice aforethought, the media took a true outsider with no real support or representative status and with the help of millions of TV screens, placed Raviv, now the epitome of the "extreme right", in everyone’s living rooms and in their minds and thoughts.  One cannot deny the atmosphere of antipathy and wrath directed against Rabin and his policies at the time.  But, for months, if not years, the outstanding and dominant example and role model of right-wing "incitement" was Avishai Raviv, media star and GSS agent provocateur, paid out of public funds.

The bandied about conspiracy theory should not be whether the GSS staged Rabin’s assassination.  Rather it is that the GSS may have crossed the lines of democratic norms.  The GSS is now perceived as having lent itself as a weapon of the Labor-Meretz coalition against a massive public protest campaign.  In this, the media was willingly compliant.

If there was actual complicity by the GSS and media elements to aid and abet Raviv’s illegal activities may be difficult to ascertain.  Raviv’s trial, if there is to be one, will be conducted behind closed doors.  But, as Raviv’s defenders are now aware, no locked door can for too long suppress the truth. 


Thursday, June 27, 2024

"Palestinians" were Syrians

From MYTHS ABOUT PALESTINIANS by Kathleen M. Christison, (1987) Foreign Policy, (66), 109. 


Palestine or Palestine of Syria?

From Emigration from Syria by Najib E. Saliba, Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Winter 1981):

"Palestine", during the end of the Ottoman period, was not a separate country.


Monday, June 24, 2024

When Jabotinsky Wrote An Article Entitled "Zionist Fascists"

The term "fascism" has been applied to Ze'ev Jabotinsky unrelentingly since 1921 and his involvement in the Petliura Affair.

The Zionist Left, Ben-Gurion and especially HaShomer HaTzair, were quite accusing during the 1930s.

Some antagonistic sources are here and here. More neutral ones are here and here. He wasn't a fascist, by the way. Chaim Weitzmann met Mussolini four times but Jabotinsky declined as Mussolini's policies were intolerable for Jabotinsky, even if to advance Zionist aims. He did, though, exploit contacts among pro-fascist Italian Revisionists in 1934 to found the Betar Naval Academy in Civitavecchia. He criticized Abba Achimeir, a member of his Revisionist movement who was enamored of fascism in the late 1920s and early 1930s until Hitler's anti-semitism became blatant.

However, in fact, an article did appear penned by him which carried the title "Zionist Fascists". It was published, in a shortened edited version in English translation under the title "Zionist Fascists" in the organ The Zionist, Volume 1, Issue Number 6, dated June 1926. The original Russian-language piece appeared in November 1925 in Rassviet.

Jabotinsky wrote it after his first appearance at a Zionist Congress, the 14th Congress of 1925  held in Vienna, Austria, a short few months after founding the Revisionist Union of Zionists.  Jabotinsky demanded a more activist policy for the Zionist movement and opposed the inclusion of non-Zionists within the Jewish Agency. His speech, in Hebrew, was reported in Davar (p. 2). The ruling leadership attempted to quash his independent, oppositionist stand.

I found the original Russian (1) and translated it, comparing to a Hebrew translation found in הרוויזיוניזם הציוני בהתגבשותו that appeared in 1985.

It shows that, at least in 1925, for Jabotinsky, as well as for his presumed audience, the term "facism", basically meant an overbearing, dominant leadership that was fairly intolerant of criticism and wasn't enthralled with democracy. Moreover, the article argued for a much more democratic Zionist movement that what he faced at that time.

Judge for yourselves:

Fascists of Zionism.

V. Jabotinsky, Rassviet, No. 51, Paris, November 11, 1925


There is no other name for the trend that now dominates official Zionism. 

It has no program nor any theoretical ideology either. There is only a cult of "leaders", and the bearers of the official banner themselves admit this. I saw it in Kovno, in Frankfurt am Main, in Brno, in Chernivtsi [Tshernowitz] and all over. In discussion meetings or just in interviews, after letting them criticize our heresy (high duties lead to higher living costs, England will not agree to agrarian reform, and the legion is militarism, etc. [that is, the Revisionist program]), I always asked them the same question: 

"Okay; let's assume that Revisionism is no good. But what do you propose — you, the majority of the 14th Congress? How will you provide markets for the sale of Palestinian goods? How are you going to get agricultural colonization off the ground, at prices of almost 20 pounds per dunam? And how will you ensure the protection of hundreds of scattered Jewish settlements with a garrison of 1,500 people? Please show me the program." 

This question always and everywhere acted in a magical fashion: half of the opponents became vague, the other half began to stutter or fall into abstract eloquence (in Brussels, one local talent answered my question with a speech about the theory of knowledge in connection with [Henri-Louise] Bergson’s system. Really.), and in the end a frank confession: “We don’t have a program in this sense, and it’s not our business. We have leaders, we trust them; they know what needs to be done and they will do it as soon as the opportunity arises.”

I am not discussing today the question of who these “leaders” are, what their human and political value is, and whether they have already twenty times, or at least once in their lives, presented the government with a demand for agrarian reform [the claim was that the local Ottoman land system inherited by Mandate Palestine as inefficient, destructive, and in need of reform such as the land tenure system]. We are not talking about these “leaders,” but about the psychology of the majority. It has now been completely and utterly reduced to the cult of individuals, and it manifests and proclaims it with all the grace of unprincipled and carefree cynicism. Programs, directions, beliefs are all worthless. The whole point is that A, B and C are at the head of the movement. They will do everything that is necessary and possible and if they don’t do something, it means it’s either not necessary or it's impossible.

This was once a case in a Balkan kingdom of parties, even directly named after the surnames of their 'tzaddiks': Rallists for G. Rally, Theotokists for G. Theotokis. What the difference between the programs was unknown and unimportant. Perhaps an even more vivid analogy can be found if you decide to take a walk through the annals of medieval Islam. The textbook says that Caliph Omar ordered the burning of the library of Alexandria, because if these scrolls say the same as in the Quran, then they are superfluous. And if they say something that did not occur to Mohammed, then they are harmful. Mohammed knew the whole truth and set it all out in the Quran, but the rest is unnecessary.

This is the psychology that was revealed at the 14th Congress, which now dominates the thinking amongst Zionist officials. To discuss it seriously is somehow awkward: it is outside the bounds of culture. Nevertheless, it is necessary to discuss it, if only to disassociate ourselves from it.


The cult of personality is now in great fashion everywhere. The Italian example has partly had an influence in this respect, which will probably continue to poison the atmosphere until it ends in inevitable shame. As for us, in Zionism, the English psychology and terminology, which many of us hurried to adopt, played a role in the same direction. As we know, the idiotic notion of "leader" is also of English origin. You hear phrases now like "it is the person, not the program, that counts."

Of course, this is not news in Jewish life. The old ghetto did not seem to know any other principle of orientation. The direction of the flock was determined unquestioningly by authority. There were two types of authority: of the "scholar" and of the "plutocrat" or gvir. The scholar knew the Talmud well, the gvir skillfully conducted his business.The congregation therefore believed that they could get all sorts of information about the governor and about the typhoid epidemic. When the "leader" changed his views, the flock also changed them. All this was not dangerous at that time, since there was no objective possibility at all to fight either the epidemic or the governor. Unfortunately, we have transferred the skills of the ghetto to Zionism — and not only in this one respect.

No one argues against the fact that personality can sometimes play a major role in history. If there had been no Napoleon or Garibaldi, not even Marx or even the Besht, Europe or, in particular, Jewry, would now be nothing like what they have actually become. There are, of course, "leaders" of parties. But personalities of this caliber do not arise on demand.They cannot be turned into a permanent institution; there is no such principle as "let there be a leader". And it is impossible to build a durable political system on this principle.

Moreover, no one anywhere is building a political system on this principle, with the exception of fascism and the three backwaters mentioned above: the Balkan kingdom, the old ghetto, and, unfortunately, the Zionist organization in its current composition. The English piously preserve the notion of "leader" simply out of habit, bowing to tradition, but in reality, when seriously needed, they have as little regard for this tradition as for all others. In elections to the lower house, they argue not about who is the best "leader"- Lloyd George, Macdonald, or Baldwin - but about which party has the most suitable program. It happens that the Conservatives win, although no one denies that Lloyd George has a real talent for leadership, and Baldwin is merely a middle-sized gentleman. And in France, parties win or fall quite regardless of whether the best "leader" is [Raymond] Poincaré or [Paul] Penlévé. It is the same - with one temporary exception - in every civilized country: the political struggle can proceed only along the lines of programs, without any reference to the personal genius of the representatives and secretaries.

Again, no one ever raises the question - except in the Middle Ages and in the provinces - that "if the opposition’s demands were reasonable, wouldn’t the current prime minister himself understand their rationality? After all, he’s so smart!" Civilized peoples have become accustomed to the idea that although Gladstone is smart and Disraeli is smart, and both "understand", yet they understand differently, and that is why they belong to different parties, and nothing can be done about it. Gladstone will not accept tariff reform, Disraeli does not believe in Home Rule. 

Therefore, the role of the opposition is not at all reduced to the fact that, without trying to convince a single convinced opponent, a mechanical majority removes the ruling party and takes its place. To do this, the opposition appeals to a non-partisan judge, i.e., to the mass of voters. And the duty of this mass in the elections is not to establish who is more talented, educated, tactful or effective - Disraeli or Gladstone - but to find out whether tariff reform is necessary or not, whether Home Rule is useful or harmful. The fair struggle of parties is anonymous by nature. This is the only way the masses in cultural societies understand their political duty. The Quran is a good book, Mohammed is a great prophet, but it does not follow from this that there is no truth outside the Quran and Mohammed.


To take a different point of view means to get bogged down in a swamp of absurdities, and worse, in a quagmire of social disorder. If at the head of the Zionist movement there must necessarily be “personalities” possessing such and such personal qualities - and if these individuals must be preserved at all costs, regardless of their program - and if therefore the Congress, following the example of the 14th, must adapt its decisions not to its own moods, but to the leaders - then why do we have a struggle of opinions, why elections, why debates at the congress - and the congress itself? The entire Zionist community then turns into an unnecessary absurdity. A person or group who has a new thought must then simply present it to the "leaders". If the “leaders” reject it outright, then this is the end of the matter: there is no point in continuing to fight, there is no point in recruiting supporters, there is no point in speaking at the congress - after all, this is not in the Quran, which means the book will be burned, for Mohammed must remain a prophet under all conditions.

It becomes even more absurd when, in the end, new “leaders” will have to be chosen—which is inevitable in a long-lasting enterprise. We will choose them, then, again based on personal qualities: oratorical talent, knowledge of languages, manners, acquaintance with feudal rulers and local governors, those with “personal magnetism”, etc. If at the same time the city turns out to have voters have different favorites, it will be interesting to listen to this paperwork. How to measure, with objective persuasiveness, qualities completely immeasurable? In English, you can still arrange an exam. But where are the scales for such an essential detail as, say, "personal charm" as applied to the average type of the English Minister of the Colonies? I think it's superfluous to apologize for the lightness of my tone but strictly speaking, this whole "ideology" deserves nothing but mockery.

That is why I called the notion of a "leader" an idiotic notion. I repeat: the English themselves do not take it seriously but we believe in it with the fervor of a provincial who has entered a restaurant in the capital for the first time and bowed to the gilded doorman. In England, each party elects a representative and, according to the old custom, awards him the title him "leader". However, in reality, he is simply the chairman of the Central Committee. He maintains his post as long as he obeys the instructions of the party congress, and in case of disagreement, it is not the congress that abandons its views, but the chairman simply leaves. With us it is the other way around. One can't help but remember the saying: if you put him in a position to pray to God, he will bruise his forehead.

This is all about absurdities; but there are also ugly outrages. The mere fact that young people growing up in our country are indoctrinated with the rule: not to reason, not to move their brains, but to go where the god-inspired ones tell them to go - this alone is a public disgrace. The disgrace is the boom around individual names, the very injection of the term "leaders", which creates the impression that our movement is alive not with thousands of ordinary bearers of enthusiasm, not with the sweat of pioneers old and new, not with the blood spilled in Gallipoli, in the Jordan Valley and in Tel Hai, not with the pennies of ordinary people and the moral hard labor of those who collect these pennies, going from house to house - but is alive only thanks to the incidental talent of two or three individuals. 

But even worse ugliness will result if the opposition accepts all this clerical whistling as a dogma and also admits that "it's not about programs, but about personalities”. For then what can be done by those who, as honestly and sincerely as their admirers, believe neither in their divine inspiration, nor in their special talent, nor in the intellectual subtlety of their "leaders"? Instead of arguing about the benefits of agrarian reform, they will have to engage in blaspheming Mr. A. or Mr. V., while praising Mr. S., their own candidate. All this belongs in a bazaar, not in a decent movement.

In our time, in the European cultural scene, there is only one country where something similar is observed. Fascism, too, has no clear program - no such provisions and demands which would not be a rehash of what every other patriotic and bourgeois party has said a hundred times. That is why the program there is replaced by faith in a "leader." The latter concept is so alien to the Italian tradition that there was not even a suitable word for it in the everyday dictionary: we had to take the Latin "dux" and re-Italianize it into "duce". Henceforth, the truth is what the "leader" says, that is, what is not in the Quran is to be burned. But in Italy, at least, behind all this, there is a fighting temperament, youth, national pride. In our case, it is all used to justify the schutz judentum [lit.: Jews protected by the Crown who acted as go-betweens], or the abandonment of national ideology for the sake of attracting moneybags. And in Italy this blindness will end badly. In ours, it will be even worse, and sooner.

It is true that we do not have a physical club with which to subdue the opposition but we have surrogates of no less squalid and impure character. The most popular of these is simple slander. Those who deny the "leaders" are thereby declared to be opponents of the Keren-Hayesod [the funnding arm of the World Zionist Orgnaization]. Worse, they are said to advise Jews not to go to Palestine. They need to be "boycotted."

When a person from the opposition comes to Chișinău [formerly Kishinev], and he is greeted in the streets by a crowd of ten thousand people, the local Zionist Committee considers it its duty to announce somewhere in the Events section of the local newspaper that the committee in this meeting 'will not be participating'. (It is obvious that in a few years, if the executive will pass into other hands, and if Mr. Sokolov, then an opposition figure, will come to Chișinău to state his views, it then will be necessary to 'boycott' him). 

But there are worse subsitutes for truncheons. In one city, the pro-Revisionist secretary of the Zionist committee is removed from office. In another, the teacher at the Jewish gymnasium is offered an ultimatum: either to leave school or to abandon the role of chairman of the [new] activist group. Lackeyism and boorishness always go hand in hand. It is obviously impossible to defend an unprincipled position by pure means.

But an assault on an unprincipled position can and should be carried out by pure means, i.e., principles, namely: 

1. The struggle within Zionism is to be conducted only on the basis of programs. Proper names cannot play any role in this. An honest program is essentially anonymous. 

2. Congress votes not for an Executive or against an Executive, but for this or that program. Only after this do they see whose name is signed under the winning program. No matter whose name it is - Wolfgang von Goethe or Ivan Bezrodny - its bearer is entrusted with drawing up the executive agenda. We will achieve this. And, judging by the ideological collapse that I now saw in the ranks of Zionist fascism from Riga to Bucharest, soon.


(1) Here's the first paragraph, as an example:

Фашисты сионизма. В. Жаботинский

Никакого другого имени для направления, господствующего теперь в официальном сионизме, не придумаешь. Программы у него нет, теоретической идеологии тоже; есть только культ «вождей», и носители официального знамени сами в этом сознаются. Я это видел в Ковне, во Франкфурте-на-Майне, в Брюнне, в Черновцах и повсюду. В дискуссионных собраниях или просто в собеседованиях, дав им покритиковать нашу ересь (высокие пошлины ведут к вздорожанию жизни, на аграрную реформу не согласится Англия, а легион есть милитаризм, и т. п.), я всегда задавал им один и тот же вопрос: «Хорошо; допустим, что ревизионизм никуда не годится. Но что же вы предлагаете — вы, большинство 14-го конгресса? Как вы-то обеспечите рынки для сбыта палестинских товаров? Как вы-то сдвинете с мертвой точки земледельческую колонизацию, при ценах чуть ли не по 20 фунтов за дунам? И как вы-то обеспечите защиту сотни с чем-то разбросанных еврейских поселков при гарнизоне в 1500 человек? Будьте любезны, предъявите программу». Вопрос этот всегда и всюду действовал магически: половина оппонентов стушевывалась, вторая половина начинала заикаться или впадать в отвлеченное красноречие (в Брюсселе один местный талант ответил на мой вопрос речью о теории познания в связи с системой Бергсона: факт), и в конце концов раздавалось откровенное признание: «Программы в этом смысле у нас нет, и не наше это дело. У нас есть вожди, мы им доверяем; они знают, что нужно сделать, и они это сделают, как только явится возможность».

Eighteen Years On

A close friend, N.S., sent me the snippet in which I appeared being interview by Ricard Dawkins in his January 2006 program, Root of All Evil. Earlier posts here, and also here.

"The Root of All Evil", later renamed The God Delusion, is a documentary written and presented by Richard Dawkins in which he argues that humanity would be better off without religion or the belief in any god . The documentary first aired in January 2006, as two 45-minute episodes (excluding commercial breaks), on the UK 's Channel 4 . Dawkins' book The God Delusion, published in September 2006, examines the issues raised in the documentary in greater detail.


From the transcript:

Dawkins: I’m in Jerusalem’s old city, trying to understand the role deeply-held faith plays in the bitter conflict here. One of the first things you notice is the edgy watchfulness, the different ethnic and religious communities live cheek-by-jowl, but there are security checkpoints throughout the old city, and one section above all is under heavy guard. For the Muslims, the compound enclosing the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque is, after Mecca and Medina, the third holiest site in Islam. It was from here, they believe, that the prophet Mohammad flew up to heaven. As bad luck would have it, the Jews believe the same place is the site of the long-destroyed first and second temples, the holiest shrine in Judaism.

Jews are not allowed to worship inside the compound, their prayers are restricted to the ruined western, or wailing, wall.

Yisrael Medad, Mount of the Lord Advocacy Group: “When Jesus came here to overturn the tables, there was no mosque in view.” “When the Arabs conquered this part of the world, they established the Al-Aqsa mosque.” And then they put over where we think is the main temple compound, where the altar was, where the holy of holy was, they put another building called the Dome of the Rock, it was not properly a mosque, and we at the present moment are simply not allowed in there, inside the compound, identifiably as Jews. 

The Muslims reject these Jewish claims.

Quite short, that. In actuality, we stood at the location overlooking the Kotel for over a half-hour and I think I stood my ground admirably.

Pics I grabbed at the time:

Thank you N.S.


Monday, June 17, 2024

What Happened to the Starvation? And the Famine and Malnutrition?

On March 18, 2024, an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) was published.

It read:

The IPC acute food insecurity analysis conducted in December 2023 warned of a risk that Famine may occur by the end of May 2024 if an immediate cessation of hostilities and sustained access for the provision of essential supplies and services to the population did not take place. Since then, the conditions necessary to prevent famine have not been met and the latest evidence confirms that Famine is imminent in the northern governorates and projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May 2024.

According to the most likely scenario, both North Gaza and Gaza Governorates are classified in IPC Phase 5 (Famine) with reasonable evidence, with 70% (around 210,000 people) of the population in IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe)...The famine threshold for household acute food insecurity has already been far exceeded and, given the latest data showing a steeply increasing trend in cases of acute malnutrition, it is highly likely that the famine threshold for acute malnutrition has also been exceeded. The upward trend in non-trauma mortality is also expected to accelerate, resulting in all famine thresholds likely to be passed imminently.

The southern governorates of Deir al-Balah and Khan Younis, and the Governorate of Rafah, are classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). However, in a worst-case scenario, these governorates face a risk of Famine through July 2024.The entire population in the Gaza Strip (2.23 million) is facing high levels of acute food insecurity. 

The IPC latest report, published June 4 reads (FRC=Famine Review Committee):

The FRC does not find the FEWS NET analysis plausible given the uncertainty and lack of  convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis. Therefore, the FRC is unable to make a determination as to whether or not famine thresholds have been passed during April. As the FRC does not find the FEWS NET analysis plausible for the current period, the FRC is unable to endorse the IPC Phase 5 (Famine) classification for the projection period. However, this FEWS NET projection is in line with the FRC projection done in March 2024, which has not yet been updated.

In other words, there is no starvation, nor famine nor malnutrition in Gaza.


What Rabinovich Could Have Said

Back on February 1, 2024, Emily Bazelon moderated at the New York Times a conversation with six participants.  Entitled "The Road to 1948", it was to discuss "how the decisions that led to the founding of Israel left the region in a state of eternal conflict."

Participating were Salim Tamari, sociologist at Birzeit University in the West Bank, Abigail Jacobson, history professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Leena Dallasheh, historian working on a book about the city of Nazareth, Derek Penslar, history professor at Harvard University, Nadim Bawalsa, historian and associate editor for The Journal of Palestine Studies and Itamar Rabinovich, history professor at Tel Aviv University.

It is very instructive not only as regards the historical facts (and non-facts) included but how too many fudge issues and spin them.

One particular statement caught my eye, that of Rabinovich, at the very end. It is illustrative of how an Israeli, with a trump card in his hand, lets it drop from his fingers and, moreover, uses it in a way that is detrimental to Zionism. 

Here he is:

I want to speak about the destructive power of nationalism. What we have here is the collision between two national movements that were born at about the same time. In 1905, the Lebanese [Maronite Christian] intellectual Najib Azoury published a book in which he said these two national movements would have a destructive effect on the whole region. At the end of World War I, three multinational empires collapsed, the Ottoman, the Austro-Hungarian and the Russian. None of them was great at that point. But look at what they were replaced by — mostly ethnic conflicts and the collision between national movements in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Levant.

Rabinovich is quite familiar with Azoury's book, Le réveil de la nation arabe 

(and see here), 
is, indeed important, as it refers to a Palestine as a country:
La Palestine était donc ouverte de partout aux invasions étrangères 

And, more importantly, it refers to the Zionists:

Les Juifs de nos jours ont parfaitement compris les fautes de leurs ancêtres ; aussi cherchentils soigneusement à les éviter dans la reconstitu¬ tion de ce qu’ils appellent leur ancienne patrie, en acquérant la partie de la Palestine que leurs aïeux n’avaient pu posséder, et en occupant avant tout les frontières naturelles du pays ; voilà deux points des plus importants dans le plan d’action des Sionistes. [The Jews of our day have perfectly understood the faults of their ancestors; they also carefully seek to avoid them in the reconstitution of what they call their ancient homeland, by acquiring the part of Palestine that their ancestors could not have possessed, and by occupying above all the natural borders of the country; These are two of the most important points in the Zionist action plan.]

Azoury also wrote:
"Zionist and Arab nationalist aspirations were likely to come seriously into conflict...two important phenomena are emerging at this moment in Asiatic Turkey. They are the awakening of the Arab Nation and the latent effort by Jews to reconstitute on a very large scale the ancient Kingdom of Israel... They are destined to fight each other continually until one of them wins."
Rabinovich could have used the quotation to indicate that even the Arabs were aware, at the beginning ocf the 20th century, that the Jews were an ancient people in the country and had a Kingdom and additional elements of history, a narrative contemporary Arabs refuse to recognize, denounce and deny.

He could have quoted Azoury regarding demographic figures, page 22:
If we only count the rural population, the West Bank is no more inhabited than the other part of Palestine, despite its larger surface area...From Léontès to the Bir-Sabeh plateau, the rural population hardly exceeds 100,000 inhabitants. By adding the urban population of Hebron, Gaza, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Nablus, Caiffa, Saint-Jean-Acre, Tyre, Nazareth, Tiberias and Safed, we arrive at 170,000 souls. To this must be added the 30,000 nomadic Bedouins of the Bir-Sabeh Plateau, which gives us a total of 200,000 inhabitants. In this number we do not count the Jews who also number 200,000; because we are only considering, for the moment, the population that lives off the ground.
I cannot confirm his data but that is a remarkable accounting.

Azoury possessed a negative view of Jewish aspiration, writing on page 46 of a Jewish "encroachment" (l’envahissement). On page 48, he refers positively to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion ("L’étude approfondie que nous faisons...servira aussi à montrer à ceux qui liront Le Péril juif universel, combien les circonstances présentes sont favorables aux projets des Sionistes dans le pays qui fût le rêve de leurs ancêtres et qui, au¬ jourd’hui encore, excite tant leurs convoitises" - "The in-depth study we make...will also serve to show those who read The Universal Jewish Peril how present circumstances are favorable to the projects of the Zionists in the country which was the dream of their ancestors and which, even today, excites their desires so much").

In other words, given an opportunity to make a firm, uncompromising Zionist statement based on an Arab's writing, and there is much he could have said based on Azoury, Rabinovich 'drops the ball'.


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Non-Arab Minorities in the Middle East.

Have you seen this short clip?

A Jew without army is a Yezidi!

If Jews didn’t have their own army, they would have faced the same fate of Yezidis by lSlS Terrorists!

Watching/listening brought back memories.

As a Betar member and Revisionist Zionist, I got to know the first stirrings of what would become the Canaanite Movement.

Its first ideologues were Uriel Halperin (to become the poet Yonatan Ratosh) and Ada Gurevich (A.G. Horon) in the late 1930s influenced by French pro-Phoenician thought. A new book is out (not yet in my hands): The Hebrew Falcon: Adya Horon and the Birth of the Canaanite IdeaThe Hebrew Falcon: Adya Horon and the Birth of the Canaanite Idea. An older bookolder book. Another source is here.

When I served a Betar emissary in the UK 1975-77, I developed a hasbarah presentation based on a booklet Horon had published showing how the Middle East was not truly Arab but Arab dominated and occupied and that all minorities should unite, including Israelis. I asked the official bodies I worked with (Jewish Agency; Embassy) to assist but they just looked at me dumbfoundedly. 

The Maronite Lebanon civil war broke out shortly thereafter. Oh well. In any case, the dozen or so times I lectured before audiences was amazing when the idea began to sink in.


Sunday, June 02, 2024

Were IDF Troops Moved to Hawara Prior to Oct. 7?

A staple claim of Israel's Left is that a day or so prior to October 7th, significant enough numbers of soldiers were moved from the Southern Front Command to the area of Samaria and, specifically, to Hawara to protect the succah that MK Tzvi Succot had set up in the town 

as a protest against repeated terror attacks against Jews traveling through the town. That move of soldiers supposedly affected the ability of the IDF to defend the Gaza Envelope area from the Hamas-led invasion and slaughter. It wasn't clear exactly how many but the rumor made its rounds. The assertion was the "settlers" had "blood on their hands". One tweet claimed 25 battalions were moved over (that's thousands of soldiers).

Here's from a news report quoting Roy Sharon of Kan News, Channel 11:

Over 100 soldiers diverted from Gaza to Judea and Samaria just days before massacre. Two troop companies were relocated from the Gaza Division to Judea and Samaria two days before the Hamas massacre.

It went on:

"Two companies from the Commando Brigade that were reinforcing the Gaza Division during the holidays (as part of a General Staff standby, not as a routine security force) were called from the Gaza envelope to the Huwara region two days before the massacre. Over one hundred soldiers were indeed diverted from the jurisdiction of the Gaza Division to that of the Samaria Brigade," Sharon wrote.

He noted that "to the best of my inquiries, these companies (that left the Gaza Division) were not replaced with other forces; the IDF Spokesperson did respond to this question as well." Sharon also mentions the fact that just a day ago, he reported that the IDF did not move forces from Gaza to Judea and Samaria.

Now Sharon claims: "Unfortunately, the information that IDF officers gave me was erroneous (yesterday they explained that they did not remember/know that two companies came from the Gaza envelope)."

Some of the stories that appeared (in Hebrew) are here; and here. The IDF Spokesman denied the facts but they belief in their supposed truth persisted. Already on Oct. 6, Naor Narkis tweeted that soldiers had been transferred to guard the MK's succah and he was endangering them unnecessarily.

We now have the actual internal IDF document that established, prior to Oct. 6, the manpower order to move troops over:

and it proves that troops were set to be moved from the South to Huwara already in August as part of a quarterly program arrangementand moreover, the military document proves that on the day before Oct. 7, forces from the area surrounding Gaza had not been sent to protect MK Zvi Sukkot's protest tent in Huwara.

As explained,

...the transfer of the forces to reinforcement positions throughout Samaria was part of a quarterly IDF plan from as early as August last year, and therefore is not connected to MK Zvi Sukkot's protest tent.  According to the quarterly plan from August, which was disclosed by the head of the Samaria Council, no battalions were brought there from Gaza, but according to the same pre-planned reinforcement program, a force of [dozens of] soldiers from the Egoz unit – as defined in the document as "General Staff Reserve" (meaning soldiers not belonging to the Gaza area) - replaced a group of soldiers..."

In fact, those soldiers arrived a half-day prior to the terrorist incident which led to the protest succh being erected. 

Sometimes, one just cannot trust the news. Especially when Jews resident in Judea and Samaria are involved.