Sunday, 18 July 2010

We Were Warned - 62 Years Ago - By Hannah Arendt and Albert Einstein

...but we took no notice.
New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, May 5, 1978.

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization,
methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United
States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American
support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement
political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States.

Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome
his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout
the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and
perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions,
public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine
of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist
elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the
record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual
character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism,
whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist
state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real
character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to
do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir
Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish
lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands
who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK
TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a
military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants—240
men, women, and children—and kept a few of them alive to parade as
captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community
was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of
apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from
being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it
widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the
country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the
Freedom Party.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of
ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like
other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have
themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their
stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and
Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish
community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults
were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster
methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the
terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive
achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no
settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their
much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to
bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and
his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the
imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp
of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British
alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the
truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It
is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has
refused to campaign against Begin’s efforts, or even to expose to its
own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few
salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all
concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

Isidore Abramowitz, Hannah Arendt, Abraham Brick, Rabbi Jessurun
Cardozo, Albert Einstein, Herman Eisen, M.D., Hayim Fineman, M. Gallen,
M.D., H.H. Harris, Zelig S. Harris, Sidney Hook, Fred Karush, Bruria
Kaufman, Irma L. Lindheim, Nachman Maisel, Seymour Melman, Myer D.
Mendelson, M.D., Harry M. Oslinsky, Samuel Pitlick, Fritz Rohrlich,
Louis P. Rocker, Ruth Sagis, Itzhak Sankowsky, I.J. Shoenberg, Samuel
Shuman, M. Singer, Irma Wolfe, Stefan Wolfe.

Herut (Hebrew: חרות‎, Freedom) was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent to Revisionist Zionism. Herut was founded by Menachem Begin on 15 June 1948 as the political successor to the Revisionist Irgun, a militant paramilitary [terrorist] group in Mandate Palestine.
Although the party had been founded a week earlier, the attempt to privately smuggle weapons for Begin's partisan Irgun use was seen as undermining the authority of Israel's fledgling government under Ben-Gurion; the Prime Minister and much of the cabinet feared a military coup. The [Altalena] event highlighted the tension between the government and its armed Revisionist rivals, and Herut’s reputation as a democratic party was damaged. Begin gave up Irgun's independent arms only after Lehi's assassination of Folke Bernadotte in September 1948, when he reconciled with the provisional government on arms and proceeded solely as a political party to push its irredentist ideology. The main issue on the Herut political agenda was expanding the borders. Following the UN partition, Begin had an overbearing hatred of King Abdullah, who held areas which Begin considered the fatherland, and thus endangered Israel's sovereignty. While Begin protested the 'totaltarian' emergency laws following the Altalena and Bernadotte incidents, and complained of Ben-Gurion's 'dictatorial regime', Herut was basically a one-issue party demanding the destruction of Jordan.

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