Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Daniel Gordis' Use of A Too Forceful Pen

Daniel Gordis had written an op-ed, Before we preach to Israelis living abroad, and in it he wrote:

At moments like this, it’s hard not to think about the Altalena affair. Tragic though it was, it was the defining moment at which Ben-Gurion made it clear to all that there would be one central authority in the Jewish state. Those who sought to subvert it would be treated in accordance with what they were – threats to the state’s very existence. One prays that some progress can be made here without the use of force. But if it cannot, it’s worth remembering that we once had a prime minister who knew what had to be done.

I had noted it here, as a mischaracterization.

I realize that it is easy, too easy, to understand that as implying that shooting could be employed - "what had to be done". But it is not explicit. Nevertheless, I think he was sloppy with his historical comparision and I am sorry that Gordis, in using the phrase "the use of force" in the context of the Altalena when Ben-Gurion ordered the IDf to shoot at other Jews, is more than being an unfortunate error but one that completely distorts the Altalena affair.

The arrival of the Altalena was agreed upon in principle by the representatives of Israel's government, including the landing point at Kfar Vitkin. The Altalena was known to Hagana and Mossad L'Aliyah in France in February already. The 10-minute ultimatum handed to Begin there on the beach by General Dan EDden was an impossible situation.

Moreover, shooting unaremd Jews in the water is niot using force but acting criminally.

In any case, as a Rabbi, Gordis should have been more clear whether he was giving his blessing to killing Jews or simply the right of the government to use police force.


1 comment:

Jake F said...

Come on, there are bad Jews too..