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The Grand masters of Moral Inversion: another case history
The following full-page advertisement appeared on page 42 of the May 14, 1947 edition of the New York Post. It was penned by prominent playwright Ben Hecht, co-chairman of the American League for a Free Palestine. This ad led to a formal complaint from the British government to the Truman administration, objecting to shameless U.S. public campaigns to support certain Jewish criminal undergrounds in Palestine. To British eyes, the line "We are out to raise millions for you" was particularly incriminating. Truman took action on these complaints, whereupon the criminals began attacking US targets as well!
Letter to the Terrorists of Palestine
My Brave Friends,
You may not believe what I write you, for there is a lot of fertilizer in the air at the moment. But, on my word as an old reporter, what I write is true. The Jews of America are for you.
You are their champions.
You are the grin they wear.
You are the feather in their hats
In the past fifteen hundred years every nation of Europe has taken a crack at the Jews.
This time the British are at bat. You are the first answer that makes senseâ€”to the New world. Every time you blow up a British arsenal, or wreck a British jail, or send a British railroad train sky high, or rob a British bank, or let go with your guns and bombs at the British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts. Not all the Jews, of course. The only time the Jews present a United Front is when they lie piled by the millions in the massacre pits. I shenck you this front. I like yours better.
Historically, the corpses of the Jews are very impressive as to numbers. But they are not a monument to Jewish valor. They are a monument only to the brutality of the Europeans who piled them up. The Jews of America are for you because the corpse of an Irgun soldier is a unique and very high class type of Jewish corpse. The corpse of Dov Gruner hanging from a British gallows is not a monument to the British brutality that strangled him. It is a monument to the Hebrew valor that fights for a home- land of its ownâ€”and for the dignity of all Jews such as myself who have a homeland elsewhere.
Brave friends, I can imagine you wondering, "If the Jews of America are behind us why don't they help us with their support and money?" This is a legitimate curiosity. I'll try to answer it. It so happens that a certain small percentage of the Jews of America are not behind youâ€”yet. (Remember you haven't won yet.) Unfortunately, this small percentage includes practically all the rich Jews of America, all the important ones, all the influential ones, all the heads of nearly all the Jewish organizations whom the American newspapers callâ€”"the Jewish leaders." They're all against. Every time you throw a punch at the British betrayers of your homeland, nearly all these Jews have a collective conniption fit.
They ululate and deplore. They rush in waving white handkerchiefs and alibis. They didn't do itâ€”not they! Respectable people don't fight. They gabble. This exhibition of weak stomachs, weak minds, and weak spines would be the blackest mark ever pasted on the word Jewâ€”were it only a Jewish exhibition. Luckily for the Jews, history lightens their shameful antics. History tells us (a little sadly) that respectability and wealth never line up with a revolutionâ€”or a fighting minority.
The American Revolutionary Army under George Washington went a long time without shoes, guns, or food. The respectable and wealthy American Colonists preferred British admiration to liberty and freedom. They thought it was bad taste to fight for such thingsâ€”against the British, of all people. And they wouldn't kick in a dime. In fact they proved their respectability by playing informer to the British. You can see how little respectability has changed since 1776. There's another side to Jewish respectability. I'll tell you a story that illustrates it. I went to see the Max Schmeling - Max Baer world championship fight with an important Jewish Hollywood tycoon. He sat beside me for nine rounds without raising his head to look at the ring. He couldn't bear the spectacle of a Jew being beaten by a German. But on the tenth round my Hollywood friend looked at the ring. He not only looked. He jumped and cheered. He cheered so long and so loud that he was hoarse for three days. Schmeling was on his back and the referee was counting him out. He didn't look good. Max Baer, with the Star of David stitched on his trunks, was upright and grinning in a neutral corner. He looked fine. Brave friends, I can promise you that all the respectable and wealthy Jewish personalities will be on their feet cheering far youâ€”in Round Ten. They'll all be for you when you don't need them. That's the history of respectable people and Nervous Nellies, whatever their nationality. Right now all the respectability of the Jews is handsomely engaged in cooing before the Court of Nations.
Let me tell you what the Jews of America, such as myself, think of these capers. It may give you a chuckle between jail deliveries. We are aware that the British pulled the U.N.O. trick because they were frightened of you. They were afraid that your gallant and desperate fight for your homeland would gather to you the sympathy of the world.
It looked as of the cheering sections were for you. So they took the ball out of play by handing it to the refereeâ€” who was a personal friend. The British figured that the sound of Jewish gabble before a world court would drown out the sound of Hebrew guns in Palestine.
Let me assure you, my brave friends, that it hasn't and it won't. True enough, Jewish respectability is making a bit of noise at the moment. Our "Jewish leaders" are pleading for a Jewish sanctuary in fine and measured strophes. They are not nearly as hot-headed about it as were the bird lovers of America who a few years ago pleaded for a sanctuary for the vanishing penguin. But, barring a little steam, they are much alike. They want a sanctuary where the Jews of Europe can all stand on a rock and eat philanthropy-fish till the Messiah arrives. These Jewish Penguin Patriots are very proud for the moment because Somebody is listening to them. Not the British or the Arabs, of course, who stand ready to shoot down Jews whether they turn into Penguins or Dodo birds. And, thank Godâ€”not you!
The fact that you are keeping to your gallant fight against the British invaders is the sanest and healthiest thing that has happened to the battered Hebrew cause in 1500 years.
Not the gabble of respectable Jews, but your fight is the history of tomorrow. It will be your fight that will win for the Jews of the world what they have never hadâ€”the respect of their enemiesâ€”and a land more honorable thin a bird sanctuary. Brave friends, we are working to help you. We are raising funds for you. We are ringing doorbells and peddling your cause and passing the hat and trying to lift the heads of oar Jewish respectables to have a look at the ringâ€”before Round Seven It's tough goingâ€”even on the fringe of a fight for freedom. So forgive us if our take is a little meager for the time. The rich Jews are pouring millions into the business of feeding the survivors of the German massacre.
Jewish wealth and respectability are fearlessly rushing sandwiches to them. But, for a change, the Jews of America hear more than Jewish groans to solace.
We hear Hebrew courage. We hear a battle cry that rises above the pathetic gabble in Flushing Meadows.* We hear brave men fighting on despite torture, calumny, low supplies, and overwhelming odds!
We hear you.
We are out to raise millions for you.
And the money is coming inâ€”not from Jews alone but from all Americans.
Because America is not a Fact Finding Commission and a State Department. America is a dream of freedom in the hearts of its millions and a cheer for all brave men who fight its never ending battle. Hang on. brave friends, our money is on its way.
Yours as ever,
Only the heroic battle in Palestine will decide the issue. Only your money can swing the tide of battle. Be you Christian or Jew, be you a veteran of the last war, the parent of a boy or girl, a rich man or a laborer â€”you have a stake in Palestine. The fighting Resistance is holding the front line for all. $500 will buy a surgical kit. $25 will buy clothing for a fighter or someone in his family. Your money is nourishment, plasma, and survival. Your money is the only bridge to victory. Send in your check today for the liberation and dignity of the Hebrew Nation.
(Reprints and Advertising Mats Are Available on Request)
PALESTINE RESISTANCE FUND
530 PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK, N. Y.
Russell Gordon Carter
Nathan George Harwitt
Prof. Constantine Panunzio
Andrew L. Somers, M.C.
Alex Witt [brother of convicted communist spy Nathan Witt]
The cost of this advertisement was contributed as a pub-
lic service by Mr. Walter Kirschner of Indio, California
A Zionist play that changed history
RAFAEL MEDOFF, THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 4, 2006
From his earliest days on the stage and screen, Marlon Brando was a heartthrob who was accustomed to young women responding emotionally to his performances. But the frenzy Brando stirred with his role in the 1946 play, A Flag is Born, was a different kind of emotion than the one to which he was accustomed.
Portraying a Holocaust survivor who criticizes American Jewry's response to the Holocaust, Brando's character shouts: "You Jews of America! Where was your cry of rage that could have filled the world and stopped the fires?"
That accusation "sent chills through the audience," Brando later recalled.
At some performances, "Jewish girls got out of their seats and screamed and cried from the aisles in sadness, and at one, when I asked, 'Where were you when six million Jews were being burned to death in the ovens of Auschwitz?', a woman was so overcome with anger and guilt that she rose and shouted back at me, 'Where were YOU?'."
"At the time, there was a great deal of soul-searching within the Jewish community over whether they had done enough to stop the slaughter of their people," Brando later wrote. "Some argued that they should have applied pressure on President Roosevelt to bomb Auschwitz, for example - so the speech touched a sensitive nerve."
A Flag is Born, which premiered on Broadway 60 years ago today, was the creation of Academy Award winner Ben Hecht, perhaps the most celebrated screenwriter in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. His credits included such blockbuster movies as Gone With the Wind and Scarface.
When news of Hitler's intensified persecution of European Jewry began reaching the West in 1941-1942, Hecht joined the Bergson Group, a New York-based activist group that lobbied for the rescue of Jewish refugees and the creation of a Jewish state. The group made waves with its use of protest tactics that were unusual for that era, including full-page newspaper ads, theater productions, and a march by 400 rabbis to the White House.
THE GROUP'S leader was 27 year-old Hillel Kook, a nephew of Palestine's Chief Rabbi, Abraham Isaac Kook. As an Irgun Zvai Leumi activist, Kook helped defend Jerusalem against Palestinian Arab rioters in 1936, then spent several years in Poland, organizing Jewish immigration to Palestine in defiance of British restrictions. In 1940, Revisionist Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky sent him to the US, where he adopted the pseudonym "Peter Bergson" to shield his family from the controversies generated by his political activity.
"My father had an amazing talent for thinking up new ways to get his message across," said Bergson's daughter, Dr. Rebecca Kook, a lecturer in political science at Ben-Gurion University. "He was able to think outside the box, at a time when too many Jewish leaders were mired in a business-as-usual mindset that was not at all suited for the crises the Jewish people faced."
HECHT RECRUITED numerous celebrities to join Bergson's group, including the Adlers, the "first family" of the Yiddish theater, and they were central to A Flag is Born. Luther Adler directed the play. His half-sister Celia and another Yiddish star, Paul Muni, costarred as elderly Holocaust survivors, making their way across postwar Europe. Their sister Stella, the statuesque actress and acting coach, alternated in the role of narrator with journalist Quentin Reynolds.
Stella's most promising student, 22 year-old Marlon Brando, was cast in the role of David, a passionate young Zionist who encounters the elderly couple in a cemetery. "When my mother came home from the first rehearsal, she said of Brando, 'I can't remember his name, but boy, is he talented'," recalled Celia Adler's son, Selwyn Freed, a retired professor of urology.
"Brando, Muni, Adler - wow, what producer wouldn't want a cast like that? It was a dream come true," said former Broadway producer John Martello, a longtime Ben Hecht afficionado who is director of The Players, a theater-oriented club in Manhattan.
Prof. Freed, a self-described "backstage brat," attended some of the rehearsals and was struck by the "emotional fervor" that the actors brought to their roles. "Clearly this was not just an acting job, but a cause in which they believed," he pointed out. His mother Celia, unlike Luther and Stella, had not been active in Jewish causes, "but she too was captivated by the play's powerful Zionist message, and she became much more active for Israel as a result," he said.
STELLA ADLER'S daughter Ellen, then 17, was a particularly interested onlooker. Brando had been studying acting with Stella Adler since 1943, spending every weekend in their Manhattan apartment. Soon Ellen and Brando began dating, and Ellen was on hand for the Flag rehearsals. "Marlon was simply gorgeous, and his acting was astounding," she said. "At one rehearsal, his performance was so intense that my uncle Luther was moved to tears. And it wasn't just acting - Marlon really cared about the Jewish refugees, just as he later became active for black civil rights and the American Indians."
Stella was not only Brando's acting coach, but also his political mentor. She introduced him to the Bergson Group's campaigns for Jewish refugee immigration and statehood. Soon Brando was deeply committed to the cause. As a gesture of solidarity, he and the other actors performed in A Flag is Born for the minimum Actors' Guild wage.
Brando championed the Jewish cause offstage as well, becoming, as he put it, "a kind of traveling salesman" for the Bergson group, giving speeches around the country about the international community's abandonment of the Jews during the Holocaust and the need for a Jewish state.
On September 5, 1946, Flag debuted at Manhattan's Alvin Theater, today known as the Neil Simon Theater. Due to popular demand, the four-week opening run was extended to 10 weeks.
THE CHARACTERS' sharp criticism of British rule in Palestine irked many in England. The London Evening Standard called it "the most virulent anti-British play ever staged in the United States." American reviewers were kinder. Walter Winchell said Flag was "worth seeing, worth hearing, and worth remembering ... it will wring your heart and eyes dry ... bring at least 11 handkerchiefs."
The play is set entirely in the cemetery. Through a series of emotion-laden conversations, primarily between Brando's character, David, and Muni's Tevya, Hecht recounts the travails of Jewish history, culminating in the Holocaust, and makes the case for Jewish statehood.
At the end, Tevya dies. David takes the talit covering the body and fashions it into a Zionist flag, symbolizing the rebirth of Jewish nationhood after the the Shoah.
'WHEN THE Zionist flag was raised in the final scene, with Kurt Weill's music in the background, it sent a chill through the audience," said Miriam Chaikin, a children's book author who worked for the Bergson Group.
"It sounded a note of hope, it stirred feelings of pride and strength that had lain dormant in Jewish hearts for too long." Chaikin notes that her 10 year-old brother Joseph, later the founder of New York City's famous Open Theater, was inspired to go into acting and directing after accompanying her to a performance of Flag. Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of the political weekly The Nation, was also inspired by Flag. Navasky was one of the teenage ushers who collected contributions in buckets after each performance. "The buckets were always full," he recalled. "The audiences were extremely enthusiastic about the play's message. For me, too, it was a political awakening about the right of the Jews to have their own state."
AFTER ITS successful run in New York City, Flag was staged in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore.
Brando had other acting commitments, so he was replaced in some of the out-of-town performances by young Sidney Lumet, who later became an Academy Award winning director.
"This is the only romantic thing left in the world," Lumet told reporters before one performance. "The homecoming to Palestine, the conquest of a new frontier, against all obstacles."
The Baltimore engagement was the most controversial. A planned performance at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. was relocated to Baltimore's Maryland Theater because Hecht would not permit his works to be staged at theaters, such as the National, which barred African-Americans. But Hecht discovered, just before the Baltimore showing, that the Maryland Theater restricted blacks to the balcony, which bigots nicknamed "N***** heaven." The Bergson Group and the NAACP then teamed up against the theater management, with the NAACP threatening to picket and a Bergson official announcing he would bring two black friends to sit with him at the play. The management gave in, and African-Americans attending the opening night performance on February 12, 1947 -Lincoln's Birthday- sat wherever they chose. Exuberant NAACP leaders hailed the "tradition-shattering victory" and used it facilitate the desegregation of other Baltimore theaters in the years to follow.
A Flag is Born was a triumph. It influenced American public opinion by reaching large audiences with an inspiring message about the plight of Holocaust survivors and the need for a Jewish state. It raised enough funds to purchase a ship - renamed the S.S. Ben Hecht- that tried to bring 600 survivors to Palestine, and focused international attention on the refugees when it was intercepted by the British. And Flag scored an important victory over racial segregation in Baltimore, demonstrating that, as Hecht put it, "to fight injustice to one group of human beings affords protection to every other group."
For the Jewish activists who organized A Flag is Born, the fight for justice in the Middle East was inseparable from the fight for justice at home.
The writer is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
A Disputation with a Disputer -
A Disputation with a Disputer - "Mikey" responds to Steve Cohen
Added by David Hirsh on October 25, 2006 09:49:04 PM.
I very much enjoyed Steve Cohen's "That's Funny You Don't Look Anti-Semitic", but I cannot say the same for his latest piece. Cohen writes writes
Use Lenni Brennerâ€™s â€œZionism in the age of dictatorsâ€ as your bible. Iâ€™m not going to advocate burning it. Iâ€™m prepared to believe every dot and comma.
Well sadly it says a lot that he is prepared to believe â€œevery dot and commaâ€ as many people arenâ€™t. The book has been thoroughly discredited. Bryan Cheyette wrote in Patterns of Prejudice when the book came out:
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) in the 1930s is accused of refusing to incorporate the American Communist Party into its anti-Nazi activities â€“ in Brennerâ€™s world this becomes â€˜another tragic sacrifice to Zionismâ€™â€¦ (In fact, at the time, the WJC in America only consisted of the American Jewish Congress, an individual membership organisation â€“ so the question of admitting affiliated organisations never arose.) Albert Einstein is stereotyped as a â€˜classical Zionistâ€™ who â€˜subscribed to Zionist race conceptionsâ€™â€¦ The Board of Deputies of British Jews is characterized erroneously in the 1930â€™s as â€˜Zionistâ€™ which, for Brenner, accounts for their â€˜ignoringâ€™ the British Union of Fascistsâ€¦ Professor Bernard Wasserstein of the Tauber Institute at Brandeis becomes a â€˜later-day apologist for the Holocaust Jewish Establishmentâ€™... These are just a few examples; they could be multiplied ad nauseam.
Cheyette was right - they could be. There are numerous errors and distortions in that book, Steve Cohenâ€™s own book on antisemitism was published by a small publishing collective that also published Gill Seidelâ€™s â€œThe Holocaust Denial, Antisemitism, Racism & the New rightâ€. Seidel had a section about Brenner and she was not that impressed. She said at one point:
Brenner does not deny the Holocaust, or seek to minimise itâ€¦. Rather, on the basis of skewed and irresponsible interpretations of particular documentsâ€¦ he claims that the Zionist movement in general not only collaborated with the Nazis, as if that allegation were not disturbing enough, but that Zionism and Nazism are entirely congruent; and that Zionism, by implication, bears responsibility for the Holocaust.
Brennerâ€™s work has been so discredited that even some of the ant-Zionist left are stepping away from it. Even the Socialist Workers Party activist and self declared â€œTrotsky supporting, anti-Zionist veteranâ€, John Rose in his book â€œThe Myths of Zionismâ€ criticized Brenner. He commented that â€œit is very foolish to draw the conclusion that â€˜Zionist collaboration with the Nazisâ€™ was typical or somehow automatically built into the Zionist project, an interpretation that which could be put on the subtitle of Brennerâ€™s 51 Documents bookâ€. Rose went on to admit â€œZionism was perfectly capable of inspiring resistance to the Nazis, as â€˜Antekâ€™ Zuckermann, makes clear in his massive autobiography, A Surplus of Memoryâ€.
Cohen might be better off re-reading Seidelâ€™s book before believing â€œevery dot and commaâ€ from Brenner.
Cohen argues that the Judenrat (Jewish Council) were â€œbetrayersâ€. As Martin Gilbert States:
Most Jewish Councils were themselves murdered, often before the rest of the community was deported and killed. To give one, alas typical, example of the fate of a Council leader: The head of the Jewish Council of Zamosc was deported with the community, reaching the death camp at Belzec on 15 November 1942. An eye-witness recalled: â€œThey put the leader of the Jewish Council against a wall and started to beat him about the head and face with whips. Those who tortured him were Irrmann â€“ a fat Gestapo man â€“ Schwartz, Schmidt and some of the Ukrainian guards. Their victim was ordered to dance and jump around to music while being beaten. After some hours he was given a quarter a loaf of bread and made to eat it â€“ while still being beaten. He stood there, covered in blood, indifferent, very calm. I did not hear him even groan once. His torment lasted for seven hours. The S.S. men stood there and laughed, â€˜here is a grand personage, the President of the Jewish Council!â€™ They shouted loudly and wickedly. It was six oâ€™clock in the evening when Gestapo man Schmidt pushed him towards a grave, shot him in the head and kicked the body on to the pile of gassed victims...â€
[T]he majority of Jewish Councils were involved in a four-year-long struggle to preserve Jewish communal life, to promote escape, and to gather such strength as was possible for resistance. Many council leaders committed suicide rather than carry out S.S. orders. Many other Council members were murdered by the S.S. for refusing to carry out orders.
Hundreds of acts of defiance and revolt were organised by Jewish Councils. Take, for example, a seven day period in May 1942. On May 1, in Bilgoraj, the Jewish Council was ordered to compile a list of candidates for deportation. The Vice-Chairman of the Council, Hillel Janova, and three other members of the Council refused to do so. All four were shot dead on May 3. Two days later, in Dabrowa, the Chairman of the Jewish Council, Adolf Weinberg, refused to deliver a list of so called â€˜resettlementâ€™ candidates, or to reveal where those threatened with deportation were hiding. He and his entire family were deported to their deaths. At Markusow, on May 7, the Jewish Council warned the Jews of the village of an impending â€˜actionâ€™ and advised the community that â€˜every Jew who is able to save himself should do soâ€™. At Szczebzeszyn, a Council member, Hersh Getzel Hoichbaum, on learning that none of those sent away for â€˜resettlementâ€™ were ever heard of again, told his Council colleagues that he did not wish to be the despatcher [sic] of fellow Jews to their deaths, and hanged himself in his attic. At Iwje, two council members, Shalom Zak and Bezalel Milkowski, were among those selected by the Germans not to be deported. They at once insisted on joining the deportees, and were killed, together with their families and 2,500 other Jews, on May 8.
Cohen makes a specific comment about Adam Czerniakow. He states â€œI can give as yet another grotesque example Adam Czerniakow, President of the Association of Jewish Artisans, who headed the Warsaw Judenratâ€. Cohen does not specifically state what Czerniakow did. Had he bothered, I hope he would have had at least checked a biography, for example this one, and noted that â€œHe [ Czerniakow ] refused to sign the posters announcing the forced deportation of Jews-which in effect meant that they would simply be transported to death camps. The day before the deportation to the Treblinka death camp was to begin, July 23, 1942, he committed suicideâ€. Someone that committed suicide rather than forcing people to their deaths hardly seems like a â€œgrotesqueâ€ person.
Cohen states that Kasztner did a â€œdealâ€ with Eichmann. This is a classic distortion. The matter reached the Supreme Court in Israel and the 4:1 majority decision was that Kasztner did not collaborate. Justice Agranat who wrote the main opinion for the majority explained in a â€œdealâ€ you need some measure of free will between both parties. He commented on the words Eichmann had said to Kasztner: â€œYou seem extremely tense, Kasztner. I am sending you to Teresienstadt for recovery; or would you prefer Auschwitz?â€. Agranat explained that Kasztner was under the control of the Gestapo, who subjected him to abuse and even imprisoned him on occasions and therefore Kasztner could not possibly feel like an equal partner in the negotiations. The final opinion of Agranat in a judgment of 109 pages on Kasztner was â€œone cannot find a moral fault in his behaviour, one cannot discover a casual connection between it and the easing of the concentration and deportation, one cannot see it as becoming a collaboration with the Nazisâ€. It would have been helpful if Cohen had mentioned some of this.
Cohen comments that the Kasztner case was â€œcentral to Jim Allenâ€™s play Perditionâ€. He is correct on that point, but fails to mention that the play was widely criticised for inaccuracies and antisemitism and that the Royal Court Theatre that was due to show it in 1987 decided to pull it as they lost confidence in the play. He also comments that people should read â€œPerfidyâ€ by Ben Hecht. This book also was widely criticised for inaccuracies and distortions and is not taken seriously by historians. The book was basically a party political pamphlet for Herut against Mapai in Israel and gives a very one sided view of the Kasztner case. Hecht even mentions that it is one sided in his book â€“ On page 2 of â€œPerfidyâ€ Hecht states â€œFor though I write a history I am not a historian; that is if an historian is a man full of facts and with an objective attitude. Facts I have, but I am not objectiveâ€. If someone does wish to understand Kasztner then I can recommend any of the following books. Randolph Brahamâ€™s detailed account of â€œThe Politics of Genocide - the Holocaust in Hungaryâ€, Yehuda Bauerâ€™s â€œJews for Sale? â€“ Nazi-Jewish Negotiations 1933-1945â€, and Szabolcs Szitaâ€™s â€œTrading in Lives? Operations of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest, 1944-1945â€. All of these books give a far more scholarly and accurate account of the Kaztner affair than the ideologically motivated travesties of Brenner, Allen and Hecht that Cohen mentions.
Cohen states â€œThe fact that the Revisionists would not have hesitated to have attacked/imprisoned/ murdered those of us taking place in this disputation is irrelevant to the present argument.â€. Personally, I am no fan of the Revisionists, but I have no idea where Cohen gets information to write that sentence from. It is so erroneous that the sentence is farcical. I would be interested to know what possessed Cohen to make such a claim?
Cohen refers to the Board of Deputies of British Jews as â€œself-proclaimedâ€ without mentioning that they are an elected body. Cohen argues their role is to â€œto control and depoliticise the communityâ€. That is news to me. I have yet to see a memorandum come through from the Board of Deputies telling Jews not to get involved in politics. In fact I would guess that the opposite would be the case â€“ they would like Jews to get involved in politics. Greville Janner (now Lord Janner), a past President of the Board of Deputies was even a Member of Parliament for many years, so I fail to see how or why the Board would want to â€œdepoliticise the communityâ€. Where he gets the idea that the Boardâ€™s role is to â€œcontrolâ€ Jews is beyond me. I would be very interested to see a source for this nonsense. However as for Cohen, the Board is comprised of â€œQuislingsâ€ acting in the interests of the British State, I suppose I should not be so surprised.
Cohen informs us that he can â€œno longer see any point in being Jewishâ€. He wants to â€œbecome unJewish - a person of the worldâ€. It is as if for Cohen that being Jewish and being a person of the world are mutually exclusive. He does not explain why that is the case. We are left to guess. I have tried to guess why and have failed miserably. For Cohen being Jewish is something of a burden â€“ He wants to â€œbounce higher and higherâ€ and free himself from the shackles that his Jewish identity beholds him to. He thinks everyone should do it. He wants no religion â€“ The Jewish religion has only been going 5,767 years and still thrives, but Cohen has read Karl Marx, whose words for him are like words spoken directly from God and as a follower of this new religion of Marxism, Cohen comes up with a solution!
And what is the solution to all this for Cohen â€“ â€œa federated Socialist Middle Eastâ€. And how is this to be achieved? Well Cohen calls himself â€œa revolutionary Marxistâ€. So he wants a revolution â€“ Presumably therefore Cohen does not believe in democracy ("There is no parliamentary road to socialismâ€ and all that Marxist/Leninist stuff). But for Cohen he admits that it would require â€œthe unity of Palestinian/Jewish workersâ€. Before we look at places far away in the Middle East â€“ Let us look closer to home â€“ in the UK. Given that the revolutionary Marxists here can not even have â€œpolitical unityâ€ that he so requires â€“ you only have to look at the far left groupings here â€“ The Socialist Workers Party, Workers Power, Workers Fight, Alliance for Workers Liberty, Socialist Action etc etc etc to realize that not even those that call themselves Revolutionary Marxists in the UK can agree on political unity, let alone all the workers in the UK. When the far left in the UK can sort themselves out, agree a common political programme, build a workers' party and take control of the Government via the revolution they hope to have, then maybe they might be in a position to comment on what those in the Middle East should do. And that is my message to Steve Cohen â€“ Come back after the revolution and we will discuss it.
Secret files reveal early battle over Hatikvah
BY BERNARD JOSEPHS AND GABRIEL WEBBER
ON A scalding hot day in 1930s Jerusalem, off-duty khaki-clad British officers attending a concert would have been confused as they tried to carry out their latest orders from the Mandate authorities.
They were to snap to attention when the band played the British national anthem at the end of the show, but were to remain standing â€œbut not at attentionâ€ when it played Hatikvah.
The perplexing instruction reflected an agonised debate between Colonial Office mandarins about how to avoid angering Palestineâ€™s Jewish population by disrespecting Hatikvah, while, at the same time, not angering the Arabs by honouring the Zionist anthem.
There was â€œconsiderable feeling amongst British officials about having to treat Hatikvah as a national anthemâ€, reported the mandateâ€™s Chief Secretary ,Sir William Battershill, in a dispatch to Whitehall. In shocked terms, another senior mandate figure, General Robert Haining, noted that in Tel Aviv, â€œ Hatikvah is sometimes played without the [British] national anthemâ€.
The battle of the anthems was uncovered last week in confidential files at the National Archive in Kew. They also revealed sharp differences between two High Commissioners, Sir Arthur Wauchope and Sir Harold MacMichael.
In a 1937 letter to General John Dill, commander of British forces in Palestine, Sir Arthur â€” sacked in 1938 for tolerating increased Jewish immigration â€” clearly wanted to avoid problems.
General Dill, described in one biography as â€œhandsome, charming, inspiring, noble â€” and just a bit dimâ€, had suggested stopping military bands from playing Hatikvah. A horrified Sir Arthur told him that such an order â€œwill raise considerable political difficultiesâ€. Not only would there be trouble with protocol when foreign royalty visited Palestine, but as Britain was â€œresponsible for the establishment of a [Jewish] national homeâ€, he â€œsaw no reason why the people of the national home should not have a national anthemâ€.
In addition, said the High Commissioner, there would be great resentment amongst Jews in Palestine, Britain and America, not to mention hostile questions in Parliament and articles in the press. It was even possible, warned Sir Arthur, â€œthat as retaliation, the Jews might refuse to play our national anthem at concerts... So far as I know, we could not force them to do so.â€
A tougher line was taken by Sir Arthurâ€™s successor, Sir Harold MacMichael, who, a British diplomat said, â€œis quite definitely of the opinion that Hatikvah should not be played on the occasion of his formal reception at Haifa and Jerusalemâ€.
A few weeks later in an ominoussounding document, â€œSecret Circular 49â€, General Haining, who had taken over from General Dill, set out new regulations. Hatikvah, it said, was not to be played by military or government bands at state occasions.
If it were played by other bands, it had to be with the permission of the commander of British forces or the chief of police. Permission would be granted at purely Jewish events or where the playing of the anthem would not cause offence to non-Britons.
Finally, said the document, â€œcourtesy demands that officers and officials should remain standingâ€ during the playing of Hatikvah, but â€œthey are not required to stand to attention to anything but the national anthemâ€.
Adina Hay-Nissan, then a teen-age girl who moved easily as an Irgun courier, was given the job of calling inthe warning.
She recalled that she had waited for a long time outside the hotel until she got a signal that the charges were planted. Then she telephoned the British command from a pharmacy across the street, she said, and spoke first in English, then in Hebrew: ''This is the Hebrew resistance uprising. We planted bombs in the hotel. Please vacate it immediately. See, we warned you.''
Then, she said, she ran to King George Street and phoned the French Consulate, which was near the hotel. Then she went farther along and phoned The Palestine Post, a newspaper that is now The Jerusalem Post. She walked slowly up Jaffa Road, and as she passed a police station near the market at Mahane Yehuda, she recalled, ''I heard the big explosion.'' When she learned later that the British had ignored her warnings, she said, ''I was baffled; there we were, genuinely trying to save lives, and they took no heed.''
SARAH AGASSI, 77, said she knows the phone calls were made in due time - she and another woman, "Tehiya" (Adina Hay), were the ones assigned the task of calling The Palestine Post, the French Consulate and the hotel dispatcher to warn them of the coming explosion.
"We chose a place ahead of time and made sure that we had change for the telephones. We watched and waited until we saw the last of the fighters come out. I didn't know it until that moment, but one of the last of the fighters was my brother. Then we made the phone calls.
"While we were waiting, a British soldier came up to me and asked me my name. I think he was trying to pick me up. I told him my name was Mary and I thought to myself, 'In a few minutes he'll really know what kind of a Mary I am.'"
WHY DID Shaw not order the evacuation of the hotel?
Twenty-three years after the explosion - when he was interviewed for a Voice of Israel radio program - this was still a mystery to Begin: "...It didn't occur to them that we really had smuggled explosives into the hotel. As I've said before, it was a fortress, and it was hard for them to imagine us succeeding in penetrating the wire fence, evading the mobile patrols and the machine-gun emplacements and all the rest; and then there's the matter of the incendiary bomb outside, the one that preceded the main explosion - maybe they thought that was it, end of story! Perhaps they thought it was all a joke at their expense, meant as a blow to the prestige of the British government and the British empire; the Jews wanted to see the British ruling class running in panic from the hotel...They all should have gotten out, and what would it have mattered if it did turn out to be a false alarm, or just a smoke-bomb or something? If they assumed the warning wasn't serious and the intention was to humiliate them, that could explain why they preferred to stay put. And there's a third possibility: they were simply afraid to come out. Perhaps they thought we wanted to get them out of the fortress and into the open so we could ambush them. But of course these are only speculations. No one will know for certain, so long as Mr. Shaw declines to explain his reasons for not evacuating the hotel, despite the warning that was received."
'Sadness and Mourning'
To which Irgun's Jerusalem-area commander at the time, Yitzhak Avinoam, replied that ''after the action itself there was a feeling of sadness and mourning,'' but that the aim was accomplished.
Yitzhak Tobiana, who guarded a corridor, caught the mixture of emotions. ''I am very proud of the operation militarily,'' he said. ''I felt myself like a soldier of these Jewish forces. But I feel very sorry about the number of victims.'' ''I was sorry a long time afterwards,'' he said, ''but they had a lot of time, more than half an hour, they all had time to get out.''
Amihai Paglin, operations officer of the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the one who planned the King David Hotel action - points to another consideration which could have influenced Shaw's decision: At that time the British decided to plant an informer in the ranks of the IZL in Jerusalem, preferably in a senior combat command role, a position which would guarantee the British advance notice of all operations planned by the Irgun in the Jerusalem area.
"The informer did indeed serve as commander of one of the back-up units in the bombing of the King David Hotel. Beforehand, he tried to get away from the briefing room to make contact with Shaw, but the security rules in Irgun combat units were strict and he wasn't allowed to leave, even though it wasn't yet known he was an enemy agent... Lack of information from the above-mentioned informer was apparently one of Shaw's major considerations in deciding to ignore the warning given him. Absence of information on the one hand and serious miscalculation on the other - an assumption that the docile leadership of the Jewish community would not dare sanction such an extreme action - these, in my opinion, led to Mr. Shaw's fateful decision not to evacuate the building."
And there may be yet another reason why the order to evacuate was not given: This has been suggested by Elimelech Spiegel, in whose workshop, in Fierberg Street in Tel Aviv, the bombs were assembled... Fifty-three years on, Elimelech Spiegel is still convinced the milk-churns exploded prematurely.
"I'm the one who fitted the chemical and mechanical clocks to the churns that were smuggled into the basement of the King David Hotel," he says, "and the warning period was set at 45 minutes, not 35. I'd stake my life on it. Someone tried to dismantle the bombs and that's why they exploded prematurely. I reckon that's why the Brits were in no hurry to evacuate: they thought they could neutralize the explosives and when that didn't work, they had to do something to clear themselves of the charge of homicide, so they made up that story about getting no advance warning."
The suspicion that the British tried to defuse the bombs was not confined to Spiegel alone. It was also a topic of great interest to the intelligence branch of the Hagana. Intelligence documents from this period are crammed with information pointing in that direction.
The British went out of their way to try and prove there had been no warning. They clung to this lie as if it were an article of faith, and hitched to it all the official propaganda machinery available to them in this country and abroad.
They carried on with this even after the British Forces newspaper in the Middle East, the Middle East Post, reported in its 23 July issue (the day after the explosion): "Fifteen minutes before the explosion, the telephonist of the King David Hotel received an anonymous tip-off, warning that the hotel was about to go up and she should run for her life."
British accounts were kept confidential for 30 years, and to date some relevant documents remain closed in the British Foreign Office.
According to Neil Cobbett, of the British Public Record Office, certain documents pertaining to the bombing are kept closed because they may "cause distress to former members of the government, or personnel, or to public opinion."
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/9ad7 ... endocument
344. The movement was repressed swiftly and savagely. Some of the persons involved could be considered as important figures in the liberal progressive movement; it was believed that their positions would secure pardons for them notwithstanding the gravity of the political charges laid against them as from the start of the first judicial investigations. The best-known of all of them was Lic. EfraÃn Aguilar Fuentes. Some citizens, such as Jorge GarcÃa Granados, were brave enough to address petitions to the President begging him to spare the accused from the death penalty. The result was that GarcÃa Granados was taken to the central prison to witness the executions, following which he was sent into exile. It is believed that he owed his life to the fact that the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of General Justo Rufino Barrios, whose name was to be celebrated together with that of Miguel GarcÃa Granados, was approaching. In this context the centenary of Barrios was celebrated on 19 July 1935. Prior to this event, major urban development works had been undertaken in the southern part of the city. These included the extension of 7th Avenue as far as Los Arcos, the erection of the Tower of the Reformer, the reconstruction of the Charles III fountain and the rebuilding of the old central airport on the La Aurora Estate. The equestrian statue of Barrios was moved to a small square near the railway station, whence it was moved again to decorate the Avenida de las AmÃ©ricas (instead of the Paseo de la Reforma, where it originally stood). These achievements permitted the further expansion of the city southwards which had begun when President Reyna Barrios ordered the construction of the Bulevar de la Reforma.
284. Telegram From the CIA Station in Guatemala to the Central Intelligence Agency/1/
Guatemala City, August 24, 1954, 0337Z.
/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79-01025A, Box 11, Folder 7. Secret; Priority; RYBAT; PBSUCCESS.
185. 1. Since returning to Station, have held conversations with ESQUIRE, Calligeris, ESCOBILLA, [name not declassified], ZPSEMANTIC, [name not declassified], ZPSECANT and other contacts this Station. Following conclusions have been reached which believe represents true picture although some details lacking.
A. Political situation tends worsen because Calligeris shows little political sense.
B. Calligeris apparently putting to one side tried collaborators of previous days and now surrounded by highly suspicious opportunistic elements including Jorge Garcia Granados, former secretary of Vicente Lombardo Toledano, former Ambassador to Washington, well known for Communist tendencies. Calligeris denies he has anything do with Garcia Granados, blamed latter's presence in palace and closeness to govt on [name not declassified]. However known that Calligeris has dined with him and consulted him on important matters.
These chapters of Jorge Garcia Granados' memoirs, written in 1951, are a retrospective look at how his life intersected with the history of Guatemala. It includes his recollections of the Estrada Cabrera dictatorship, his participation in the formation of the Unionist Party, of being embassador in Washington, and his involvement in the 1944 revolution.
Cuaderno de Memorias (Historia)
Jorge GarcÃa Granados
Artemis Edinter, 2000 - 259 pages