Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Terrorist "Celebration"

I am right now helping out Geulah Cohen who has been contacted by a researcher dealing with the circumstances of her arrest in February 1946 in the mdist of an underground radio broadcast.

I wanted to inform him about her book, now called "Voice of Valor" but originally back in 1966 as "Woman of Violence". Googling around, I found this:-

Dr. Charles Smith (*) of the University of Arizona followed with an analysis of trends in the occupied territories. Dr. Smith stated that nearly all national movements seeking independence have been accused of terrorism. This is clear in the depiction of nationalist resistance by English or French colonial regimes after World War II, but it is also manifested in Jewish celebration of Zionist resistance to the British after World War II. He referred to the 1966 book by Geula Cohen titled Woman of Violence: Memoirs of a Young Terrorist, 1943-1948, a memoir which celebrated terrorism specifically as justified violence for the sake of freedom.

David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel, wrote a laudatory preface calling the book “a proud memorial to the daring fighters who offered their lives for the cause of Jewish redemption. Citing further examples, he explained that Cohen was a member of the LEHI terrorist group, one of whose leaders was Yitzhak Shamir and she served in the Knesset as a Likud member for years. Her son, Tsahi Hanegbi, currently in the Knesset, recently voted against Sharon’s disengagement plan as violating the Likud platform calling for retention of all land settled by Israelis. Therefore, Dr. Smith argued, terrorism and redemption through violence are not solely Islamic ideals and those who hold such views can achieve high political office.

One person's freredom fighter is another's terrorist, true. But as for "celebration", Smith is way off base. Or maybe he should ask some of those Virginians of 200+ years ago who revolted against the British in a military, oops, terrorist fashion, how they celebrated.

Dr. Charles D. Smith is a specialist in modern Middle East history at the University of Arizona, Department of Near Eastern Studies. He has an undergraduate degree from Williams College, an M.A. from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan. He has been a visiting professor at a number of academic institutions and has lectured at various military institutes including the Marine War College. He has received numerous fellowships in the US, Middle East, and Europe, including the Fulbright Scholarship. He is long-time member of the Board of Directors of the American Research Center in Egypt. Dr. Smith is the author of Islam and the Search for Social Order in Modern Egypt and Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict along with numerous articles and reviews.

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