Sunday, May 31, 2015

Correcting A Book Review

Found some errors or rather incomplete information and omissions in a book review:

1.  "It was Lehi that began the terror war against the British in 1940".

Well, if one starts in 1940, correct. But if you want to be historically correct, the blowing up of British objects like phone booths and post-offices and the assassination of British police office (engaged in torturing Jewish prisoners), then it started in 1939 after the publication of the British White Paper in May:

After Raziel's arrest, Hanoch Kalai, his deputy, was appointed Commander in Chief. Avraham Stern, who was then in Poland, was summoned back to Palestine and appointed head of the Information Department. The other members of the General Headquarters remained in their positions. At the first meeting of the General Headquarters under Kalai, it was decided to launch a second front against the British administration in retaliation for the publication of the White Paper. In accordance with Irgun procedure, the jailed commander was not consulted, and Raziel did not take part in decision-making.

The first operations directed against the British took place in Jerusalem. On June 2, 1939, Irgun fighters blew up three telephone network junctions. Close to 1,750 telephones were cut off, including some serving the army and the police. On the same day, a mine exploded near the Old City wall, killing five Arabs and injuring many more. After the Jerusalem operations, telephone network junctions were also blown up in Tel Aviv, and the railway line between Tel Aviv and Lydda was attacked.

Four days later the Irgun fighters again launched an attack on British targets. This time they damaged eight telephone network junctions, and dozens of public telephone structures. They also destroyed four of the British Electricity Corporation transformers, plunging the city into darkness. In all, they attacked 23 sites and dozens of fighters took part in the operation.

And  Cairns and a colleague, Ronald Barker, were assassinated by an Irgun land mine on 26 August 1939 in RehaviaJerusalem, on the orders of then Irgun leader Hanoch Kalai.

2.  "a poem written by Stern, which would become Lehi’s anthem". 

True.  But it was first the Irgun's anthem until Stern split off.  The Irgun then adopted the thrid stanza of the Betar anthem.

3.  "Stern was killed by the British in 1941".

February 1942.  Raziel was killed, in Iraq, in 1941.

4.  "after a successful British counter-terror operation, in which most of the Zionist leadership was rounded up, Ben-Gurion called off the Haganah". 

Even before that operation, the 'Black Sabbath', Chaim Weizmann had been demanding the Hagana halt it terror campaign.  B-G opposed it and he and Moshe Sneh left for Europe to fight for its continuation.  There was a July 30th operation in Tel Aviv but that didn't affect the decision to halt the United Resistance Movement actions by the Hagana and Palmach as on August 22, Palyam frogmen attached a limpet mine to the side of the British cargo ship Empire Rival, which had been used to deport Jewish immigrants to Cyprus. A hole was blown in the ship's side.

5.  "A total of 141 British soldiers and police and 40 terrorists died between August 1945 and August 1947, he writes, “including those executed or who committed suicide awaiting execution.” 

That is quite a narrow time-frame.

The official May 15, 1948 White Paper reads:
Since the war, 338 British subjects had been killed in Palestine, while the military forces there had cost the British taxpayer 100 million pounds.


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