A review of State Of Terror, How Terrorism Created Modern Israel by Thomas Suarez, Skyscraper Publications, £20
RESEARCHING THIS SEMINAL WORK, THOMAS SUAREZ found himself at The National Archives at Kew, an untapped library of primary sources from British officials, the British secret services, national journals and Zionist organisations themselves.
The received history of the creation of Israel is that, in the aftermath of the Holocaust and in the pursuit of a safe haven for Jews, attacks were targeted by the incipient Israeli army on the British garrison in Palestine, and in the quest for a state some atrocities were committed by small bands of extremists, the Irgun and Lehi (Stern) gangs.
Suarez’s research led him to an alternative narrative - that these small bands were integral components of the regular Jewish Agency’s Hagana, its elite corps, the Palmach, and Pum, its assassination unit. All were engaged in a programme of terror, where the end, Eretz Israel, justified Revisionist Zionism’s means. Their obstacles were the British, the other key players in the UN Partition plan, and the existing occupants of Palestine.
Violence to the Palestinians, modelled on the 18th century and 19th century pogroms in eastern Europe, commenced before World War I and rose to a crescendo between December 1947 and May 1948 with public bombings and the poisoning of wells with typhoid and dysentery, to provoke a reaction and a premise for full scale attack. Intelligence gatherers posing as hikers devised Plan Dalet - the massacre at Deir Yassin and 19 other villages, and the raising of hundreds more, creating the Nakba of 900,000 refugees. After Deir Yassin, the Irgun, under Menachem Begin, announced, “ We intend to attack, conquer and keep until we have the whole of Palestine and Transjordan in a greater Jewish state. This attack is the first step.”
Contrary to common belief this violence did not cease after 1948. Many pages document hundreds of attacks on the British presence in Palestine, which hit both military and civilian targets. Violence to the regional powers ranged from:
- assassination plans, with actual attempts on the lives of Churchill, Eden and Ernest Bevin; » sabotage of British forces during WWII;
- plans to explode bombs in London and UK facilities in France, Austria and Italy (most but not all foiled);
- false flag operations (the Lavon affair in Egypt, the Baghdad Trials in Iraq) to ‘create’ antisemitic movements to justify Zionist demands;
- the sinking of British ships carrying Jewish refugees diverted away from Palestine (causing 276 deaths);
- the training and use of child operators;
- assassinations of leading Jewish critics, whom they called Kikes (the ’N’ word for Jews) - most assassinations by Irgun and Stern were of anti-Zionist Jews;
- sabotaging Jewish anti-Zionist printing presses and institutions supporting a two state solution.
The Revisionists determined to direct Jewish refugees away from asylum offers and to exert pressure to send them to Palestine. Thus they were key in quashing Roosevelt’s 1938 plan to accept 400,000 from Nazi Germany. They maintained this policy even after there was knowledge of the camps from 1941. The litany is shocking. Many quotes from UK, UN, US and international observers compare the Revisionists and their military operators to the Nazis. It must be the author’s meticulous and voluminous referencing which has safeguarded him from legal action.
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Prior to 1948 the Irgun and Stern gangs numbered 8,500, the Palmach 5,000 and the Hagana army and air force 90,000, with a fully armed call-up potential of 200,000. From within the comparatively small terrorist groups the future leaders of Israel could set the agenda of violence to build the Iron Wall of the father of the Irgun, Jabotinsky. With the British exhausted and desperate to withdraw, and the rule of law disintegrating, these terrorist groups, as small cogs in the gears of the military machine, dictated and drove the strategy to create mayhem across the Mandate to extract their demands. Conceived in a state of terror, terror became the new state’s modus vivendi, a macabre dance which continues today in the Occupied Territories.
Suarez’s book explains why commanders of the Irgun and Stern gangs - Begin, Ben-Gurion, and Shamir - became the new state’s leaders, why Israel has never defined its eastern border and why from 1949 successive peace talks have failed.
His account of the terror, which predated the Holocaust, exposes how political Zionism has deployed humanitarian Zionism to cloak its past. For many Jews Zionism is core to their identity, the solution to millennia of persecution. Suarez reveals it to have been yet another false flag.
Some Jews, however, disavow this Zionist tradition, reasserting Jewish and international values of human rights. While political Zionists wield their weapon of antisemitism, a stubborn minority argue that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism and reclaim the genuine Jewish socialism of the Bund, forged in the period of revolutionary working class organisation at the start of the 20th century.
is General Secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour.