Friday, January 01, 2010

We Got Fooled

I attended this event Thursday evening:

The Jewish Historical Society of England Israel Branch

Thursday, 31 December

Professor David Cesarani, OBE

"Britain's War on Terror in Palestine, Europe and the United Kingdom (1945-48),

and its impact on British Jewry"

On Ussishkin Street in Jerusalem there is a plaque commemorating the abduction in May 1947 of Alexander Rubowitz, a young activist in LEHI. The boy was never seen again and the British security forces were accused of his murder. This talk will explore a scandalous chapter in Britain’s war against the Jews in Palestine and suggest reasons why its counter-insurgency strategy failed. It will also look at the efforts of the Irgun and LEHI to strike at British targets in Europe and the UK, and the greater success of MI5 in deflecting these attacks. Finally it will examine the impact that this ‘war on terror’ had on Jews in Britain at the time.

As I had reviewed his book, critically, I was anxious to hear him but the lecture turned out to be solely on the topic of The Irgun and Lechi's Terror War Against Great Britain in Europe and the British Isles.

He made one fairly outrageous statement that this was "the first wave of international terrorism".

The problem is not whether this was the first but that in using the word 'terror', which indeed was the term used at the time and also in underground literature, Lechi more than the Irgun, at this current time, we conceive of "terror" as blowing up planes, crashing them into office buidlings and other civilian targets. That was not the terror of the Irgun and the Lechi.

The Irgun and Lechi exclusively targeted government agencies: police, officials, railways, telephone lines, etc. No buses, no restaurants, no schools. Their war of liberation was directed at representative objects of the British administration - not the British people per se.

Quite sloppy of him, really.

The changing of his topic precluded me from asking him some of these questions relating to his book:

1. Why did your book depict fictional circumstances of AR's death? Do you plan to correct those false depictions?
2. Why did you not research/confirm the identities of Farran's team, who are also responsible for AR's murder? Are you aware that Steven Rambam has identified many of them, and obtained their British Army files, including the records of one of the killers which indicate his remorse for the abduction and murder of AR? Are you aware that one of the team members left a diary?
3. Why did you not interview Farran's family? Farran's Arab "auxiliaries"? All Israeli sources?
4. Why did you not properly research AR's last days? (Are you aware that he was under regular surveillance by the Shai?)
5. Are you aware that Steven Rambam, working with researchers in Israel, has uncovered documents indicating that Farran may have killed seven "terrorists" (probably other innocent people), not just AR and that Farran apparently did it with the ongoing knowledge of Ferguson? and that is likely one of the reasons he was quickly released and shipped out of Palestine?
6. Where is Alexander?


a) David Cesarani:

b) Cesarani and Lloyd Gartner, Emeritus Professor of Modern Jewish History at Tel Aviv University:

c) Part of the crow of some 60-70 persons:


Anonymous said...

If your intended questions are accurate, then Cesarani's book is nothing more than a dishonest work of fiction. Perhaps it was to avoid questions from yourself and others that the content of Cesarani's speech was changed?

Thank you for your always informative articles. Your blog is an essential part of my daily newsgathering.

Judy Lash Balint said...

Could you post a link to your review of the book? Thanks and shavua tov..


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